There are hundreds if not thousands of books on real estate, personal finance, personal development, and motivation. It’s likely you’ve heard of many of them, whether you read about them in a blog post or heard about them during the “famous four” questions asked at the end of every BiggerPockets Podcast and BiggerPockets Money Show.
Titles such as How to Win Friends and Influence People, The One Thing, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Think and Grow Rich, and The Millionaire Next Door have been recommended by many successful real estate investors and entrepreneurs as the best books they have read to grow their business.
Trying to decide which book you should read first or read next or which book is right for you in the current stage of your investing journey is a daunting task—one that can lead to just throwing up your hands and giving up.
Luckily I have done some of the heavy lifting for you by reading most of these. I have also put a lot of thought into the proper order to read them in.
To go from zero knowledge about personal finance and real estate to becoming a successful investor, here are the five books you should read and the order in which you should read them.
Top 5 Books to Get Started in Real Estate Investing
Richest Man in Babylon
This book is one of the most highly recommended on both the BiggerPockets Podcast and the BiggerPockets Money Show and is a personal favorite of mine and Mindy Jensen’s. It’s only 144 pages and can easily be read in a single day or two.
The Richest Man in Babylon highlights one of the most powerful personal finance principles: paying yourself first. The book does this by walking you through a few simple and relatable stories. Not only does author George S. Clason explain how to pay yourself first, but The Richest Man in Babylon also describes how you can get out of debt while still paying yourself first.
Clason goes on to point out that saving for saving’s sake is not enough. You need to save to invest.
So once you’ve gotten yourself out of debt and started paying yourself first, you can begin investing those savings. Which brings us to the next book…
Rich Dad Poor Dad
This book is by far the most recommended on the BiggerPockets Podcast—and for good reason. Rich Dad Poor Dad is an amazing book that has helped tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands ) of people change their mindset and build serious wealth.
Author Robert Kiyosaki outlines a number of ways the rich separate themselves from the poor by sharing stories about an actual rich dad and poor dad in his own life.
The “rich dad” is a friend’s father, who is a successful entrepreneur in Hawaii. The “poor dad” is his actual father, who works a job and makes good money but never buys any assets and ends up never accumulating wealth.
Kiyosaki outlines a number of principles on how to get out of the rat race and separate yourself from those who never accumulate a large number of assets and wealth.
The three biggest takeaways are:
- Make your money work for you, instead of working for money
- Know the difference between assets and liabilities
- Focus on acquiring as many assets as possible
Kiyosaki goes into detail on these principles and more in the book. It’s written in a similar manner to The Richest Man in Babylon and is truly a quick read.
Rich Dad Poor Dad is a life-changing book for many, so go read it now! (Well, actually, wait until you finish reading this article and the first book I mentioned.)
Set for Life
Now that you are paying yourself first and understand that you need to make your money work for you, what should your first investment be? A house hack, of course!
- The first step is creating $25,000 in savings by being frugal and efficient with your money. Scott preaches riding your bike into work and cooking all your meals, a practice he continues to do even as the CEO of BiggerPockets.
- The next step is to go from $25,000 to $100,000 in net worth by house hacking to eliminate your housing cost and coming up with ways to increase your income, such as earning bonuses and commission at your job or taking on side hustles (like becoming a real estate agent or creating an online business).
- The final step is going from $100,000 to financial freedom by becoming a savvy investor and tracking your progress. There are a number of different ways to invest your money, including buying stocks and purchasing rental properties. Scott outlines both of these investment vehicles and highlights the advantages and disadvantages of each.
No matter what you decide to invest in, the most important piece here is to track your progress. If you want to continually make big strides toward financial freedom, you need to consistently track spending, track your investments, and take action to optimize both.
Set for Life on its own is a book that can take you from zero to hero, but if you want to build a sizable real estate business, there are a few more books you need to read, too.
How to Invest in Real Estate
At this point, you have learned how to pay yourself first, house hack, invest in index funds, and make your money work for you by buying assets. The next logical step is to learn how to acquire more assets.
The perfect introduction to investing in real estate is a book appropriately titled How to Invest in Real Estate. It was written by Brandon Turner, who hosts the BiggerPockets Podcast, and Josh Dorkin, the founder of BiggerPockets.
Brandon and Josh highlight a number of pieces of actionable advice and effective strategies from their own experience and the experience of 300-plus guests on the BiggerPockets Podcast. Seriously, there may not be another book out there that does a better job of describing all the ways you can invest in the real estate asset class.
The 4-Hour Workweek
You might be thinking there cannot possibly be anything left to learn about becoming a successful real estate investor. Even though by now you have read about all the tools necessary to invest and start to skyrocket your net worth, there is still one thing you should learn how to do. That thing is creating systems for your business so that it can grow and scale without you having to manually do all the work.
Tim Ferris’s book The 4-Hour Workweek is a powerful read that illustrates the concept of systems perfectly. Tim outlines how to create a lifestyle business that can be run on as little as a few hours a week (hence the title, I suppose).
Tim does this by teaching you to define your goals, focus on only doing what is important, and outsourcing the rest. He recommends using the 80/20 principle to figure out what action is actually moving your business forward and what is slowing it down, and then automating your business to run on its own. By taking this approach, you can create a scalable real estate business that is spitting out cash flow and growing at all times—even when you are not working on it.
There are a number of other books that cover all of these topics, but in my opinion, the five I mentioned here are the best! By reading all of these books—in this order—and taking action on them one at a time, as well as continuing to learn from other investors and mentors, I promise you will be on your way from zero to real estate investing hero in no time.
Looking for a plan to achieve financial freedom in just five to 10 years? Even with a full-time job, median income, or negative net worth, you can accumulate a lifetime of wealth in a short period of time. Set yourself up for life with this bestselling book, written by the CEO of BiggerPockets, Scott Trench! Pick up your copy from the BiggerPockets bookstore today!
What are some other books you recommend for people on their journey to become a great investor?
Leave them in a comment below.