- Is the book itself ugly? I have noticed that ugly books have generally have better content then the shiny, slick books. Especially books with a holographic covers – I have yet to read a personal finance or investment book with a holographic cover that was worth the pulp it was printed on.
- Is the title a little dull? Again, it’s as if marketing money spent is an inverse sign of quality. I have read a couple of books that were pretty good that also had snappy titles, but the vast majority of quality personal finance books I’ve read are pretty dull. Which leads me to my next point…
- Is it a bestseller? If so, you’re probably safe skipping it. Marketing and sales are not necessarily a good guide to quality. Again and again, I’ve found that the most worthwhile books go unnoticed while books that promise the moon and are hyped to the stars get sold. Like most of my rules of thumb, this isn’t always true; but, it’s generally the case.
- Is the author’s photo on the cover? There’s a risk that the book is designed to enhance the author’s credibility and teach you a few things; but I bet it’s pretty light on the proverbial meat and heavy on the potatoes.
Finally, if you really want a solid education on financial topics, I recommend going out and buying a slightly out-of-date textbook. The prices are rock bottom, but the information therein is usually timeless. Textbooks are also light on the rah-rah motivation and heavy in the facts and principles.
Do you have a favorite personal finance book? Share in the comments.