Boost your money knowledge with our summer reading list



Myles Ma

Myles Ma

Senior Managing Editor

Myles Ma is a health care expert & personal finance writer for Policygenius. He edits the Easy Money newsletter.

Published June 25, 2019|6 min read

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Why spend your beach day reading another trashy thriller when you could be brushing up on your money knowledge?

We asked our favorite people in the personal finance world what they're reading this summer, creating the ultimate reading list for anyone who wants to master their budget by the time beach season is over:

Donna Freedman

"I've just started reading Cameron Huddleston's new book, Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk: How to Have Essential Conversations With Your Parents About Their Finances. Even though I'm only a few chapters in, I'm convinced that everyone who has a living parent should read this book. She writes clearly and compassionately about why this squirm-inducing topic MUST be discussed before it's too late. And 'too late' doesn't necessarily mean before your parents die: Cameron has a parent with Alzheimer's, and writes from painful personal experience about how difficult it is to deal with financial issues after a problem has already begun."

Donna Freedman is a contributor to Money Talks News and author of "Your Playbook for Tough Times."

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley

"I'm reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and while it's about courage, shame and vulnerability in every area of our lives, personal finance in particular is an area where most of us feel a lot of shame. This has us feel stuck and shuts down forward progress."

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley is founder of The Fiscal Femme blog and author of "The 30-Day Money Cleanse."

Tanja Hester

"I loved Maid by Stephanie Land, a first-person account of trying to get by on a low-wage job in our current economy. Most readers of personal finance books have money to save or invest, and it’s illuminating to hear directly from someone in completely different circumstances.

"Fed Up by Gemma Hartley is a well-researched and much-needed book about women and emotional labor, which has a whole range of financial and career consequences, and not just for women.

"If you want something more traditionally finance, Broke Millennial Takes on Investing by Erin Lowry is my favorite new money book. It makes the often-intimidating topic of investing completely accessible to millennials and anyone who has felt like stocks and mutual funds aren’t for them."

Tanja Hester is founder of the Our Next Life blog and author of "Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way."

Scott Keyes

"I just finished reading the JL Collins book The Simple Path to Wealth and cannot recommend it enough. Many of us are led to believe that personal finance is a complex mystery, requiring a load of specialized knowledge that only Wall Street types possess. In reality, as Collins shows, it's the simplest strategies that are most effective in the long run. Many of us struggle with personal finance, making it seem more complex than it has to be; The Simple Path to Wealth is the antidote."

Scott Keyes is founder and CEO of Scott's Cheap Flights.

Erin Lowry

"One of my favorites to recommend is The Thin Green Line: The Money Secrets of the Super Wealthy by Paul Sullivan. It's a really interesting look into the world and mindset of the one percent of the one percent! If your goal is to build wealth, it's always helpful to learn more about the mindsets of those who already have accumulated theirs, especially people who didn't just inherit money. Another interesting insider book, but more with an investigative journalism lean than a self-help angle is Young Money by Kevin Roose. Finally, I would recommend the forthcoming Quit Like a Millionaire by Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung. It hits shelves in July, and I love the narrative take as well as a highly unique story in the personal finance realm. Spoiler: it includes China's Cultural Revolution."

Erin Lowry is a personal finance expert and author of "Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping by and Get Your Financial Life Together" and "Broke Millennial Takes on Investing."

Paula Pant

"I'm listening to Dollars and Sense by Dan Ariely as an audiobook. This book describes our cognitive biases around money—the irrational ways in which our emotions react to pricing and payment, even when it's irrational. For example, it describes price anchoring, in which we judge prices relative to some external benchmark rather than relative to our own account balance. It describes compartmentalizing, in which we spend money differently depending on how we've mentally bucketed it. It provides great insight into how we can recognize our own natural irrational behavior."

Paula Pant is founder of the website and podcast Afford Anything.

Jeff Rose

"Here's one book I'm excited about this summer: Todd Herman's The Alter Ego Effect. Todd Herman says there’s one main factor standing between you and your dreams—you. To make up for your own shortcomings (professionally or financially), he suggests creating a powerful alter ego that can handle life’s ups and downs and always give 100% to any performance—even under pressure or when the stakes are high. If you struggle to perform or have some hang-ups that stop you from reaching your full money potential, I think this book is a must-read."

Jeff Rose is a certified financial professional, author of "Soldier of Finance" and founder of

Jill Schlesinger

"Fiscal Therapy: Curing America's Debt Addiction and Investing in the Future by William Gale. While he veers into the wonky (a place that I love to visit!), Gale outlines the history of how the nation accumulated its trillions in debt, the much-misunderstood programs that have contributed to the debt (and how to fix them) and a prescription of how to reduce it to more sustainable levels.

"Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein. Epstein's well-researched book debunks the idea that every successful person, regardless of field, needs to specialize from an early age. He starts with a great story about the difference between uber-specializer, Tiger Woods and generalist Roger Federer and then expands from sports, to the arts, to science and business and even to how any of us should think about learning.

"Finally, I am a huge fiction enthusiast, so I am about to re-read Tolstoy's Anna Karenina,  which is one of my favorite novels!"

Jill Schlesinger is a CBS News Business Analyst, author of "The Dumb Things Smart People Do with Their Money" and host of the "Jill on Money" podcast and radio show.

John Schneider

"I’d recommend David Bach’s new The Latte Factor. It’s an engaging story with a similar tone as 'The Richest Man in Babylon’ and ‘The Alchemist.’ Bach explains the accessibility most of us have to achieving wealth and living the lives of our dreams. The story is set in modern day New York City and is about a younger business woman, Zoey Daniels. Her blossoming career is as hectic as ever, she’s pondering taking on a new job and questioning where her life is going. It’s a story to which many of us can relate and provides the prescription for financial security and authentic happiness that we all want."

John Schneider is a personal finance author, blogger and speaker at

Kristin Wong

"Right now I'm reading my friend Erin Lowry's book, Broke Millennial Takes On Investing. Erin has a way of breaking down these incredibly overwhelming topics and making them seem doable. Plus, she's hilarious and warm. I definitely recommend it for people who are ready to level up their money and start saving for the future."

Kristin Wong is a contributor to the New York Times and author of "Get Money."

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