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Better to realize it now, if you haven’t already:

Getting rich quick is a myth.

Building wealth is a process that requires strategy and time. Get rich quick schemes tend to prey on people with the desire but not the willingness to truly achieve financial security.

There’s nothing wrong with big dreams. They should be goals, in fact. However, they need the reality of planning a logical course and then taking action.

Here’s a list of books to help you set your frame of reference:

1. The Richest Man in Babylon – George S Clayson

Richest Man in BabylonThis set of faux-biblical parables about acquiring wealth has inspired investors since the 1920s. Like most of the personal finance books that followed, The Richest Man In Babylon emphasizes saving over spending. Just know the difference between saving and saving. The book also insists that charitable giving is equally as important, provided you don’t allow those to whom you give to become dependent upon your gifts.

Best quote: “Budget thy expenses that thou mayest have coins to pay for thy necessities, to pay for thy enjoyments and to gratify thy worthwhile desires without spending more than nine-tenths of thy earnings.”

2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Poor DadAn eighth-grade dropout who spends less than he earns is smarter than a college professor who can’t make ends meet, according to Robert Kiyosaki. Consider that a nod to street sense. Furthermore, while working for a steady paycheck can get you started, your best investment of your time and money is to buy property or a business.

Or better yet, do what Kiyosaki did and write a best-selling book.

Best quote: “The key to financial freedom and great wealth is a person’s ability or skill to convert earned income into passive income and/or portfolio income.”

3. The Millionaire Fast Lane – MJ DeMarco

The Millionaire Fast LaneWorking hard, saving 10%, and retiring at 65 is a chump’s game because:

  • Financial markets are simply too volatile, and
  • You’ll “be in a wheelchair” by the time you actually have enough to retire.

DeMarco believes it’s better strategy to use the volatility of the financial markets to build wealth aggressively and enjoy it now.

Best quote: “Show me a 22-year-old who got rich investing in mutual funds. Show me the man who earned millions in three years by maximizing his 401k. Show me the young twenty-something who got rich clipping coupons. Where are these people? They don’t exist.”

4. Your Money or Your Life – Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez

Your Money or Your LifeContrary to popular belief, living more frugally increases — rather than decreases — your quality of life.

Author Vicki Robin cites many examples, such as the practice of working at a job that brings in less than the amount you pay out for childcare and “time saving” trips to fast-food joints.

Best quote: “Conditions have changed, but we are still operating financially by the rules established during the Industrial Revolution — rules based on creating more material possessions. But our high standard of living has not led to a high quality of life — for us or for the planet.”

5. The Science of Getting Rich – Wallace Wattle

The Science of Getting RichEven though it contains nothing that even vaguely resembles science, this 1910 book provided the intellectual framework for thousands of personal wealth-building seminars.

Author Wallace Wattle believed that your ability to accumulate wealth is directly dependent upon how you think about it. In other words, if you believe money is the root of all evil, you’ll never be wealthy.

Besides, it’s the love of money that’s the root of all evil. That’s a huge distinction.

Best quote: “No man can rise to his greatest possible height in talent of soul development unless he has plenty of money.”

6. The Millionaire Next Door – Thomas Stanley & William Danko

The Millionaire Next DoorThrough research into American households with a net worth of $1million or more, authors Thomas Stanley and William Danko identify most individuals as Under Accumulators of Wealth (UAW) who have a low net wealth compared to their income.

They then provide advice — like “take skimpy vacations” — to help people achieve a higher net worth compared to their income.

Of course, one way to enhance that advice is to set the Dot Com lifestyle as your goal. Scalability is a wonderful thing.

Best quote: “People whom we define as being wealthy get much more pleasure from owning substantial amounts of appreciable assets than from displaying a high-consumption lifestyle.”

7. Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey

Anyone who’s listened to Dave Ramsey’s radio show knows that he’s all about common sense:

  • avoid buying on credit,
  • pay cash for everything possible,
  • get yourself out of debt, and
  • build an emergency fund.

Rather than blue-sky promises and feelgood anecdotes, Ramsey offers solid basic advice for the everyman and everywoman.

Best quote: “What I have done is packaged the time-honored information into a process that is doable and has inspired millions to act on it.”

8. Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, & Broke – Suze Orman

Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and BrokeMost personal finance books seem to be written with the about-to-retire set in mind.

In this sprightly offering, TV star Suze Orman helps millennials navigate the basics of the financial world, like coping with huge student loans and a job market that, for young people, is nearly as dismal as the Great Depression was for their grandparents.

Best quote: “You picked up this book because you are broke. Keep reading, and you will discover what you need to know — and do — so you will not be broke forever.”

9. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind – T Harve Eker

Secrets of the Millionaire MindIf you’re poor, it’s because you think like a poor person. If you’re rich, it’s because you think rich.

According to author and multi-millionaire T Harv Eker, your frame of reference defines your horizons.

To make matters worse, poor people essentially program their children to be poor by providing them with a worldview that makes wealth accumulation impossible. Not to worry, though. If you start thinking like a mogul, you can be one, too.

Just have a plan.

Best quote: “The vast majority of people simply do not have the internal capacity to create and hold on to large amounts of money and the increased challenges that go with more money and success.”

10. Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow RichWay back in the 1930s, author Napoleon Hill interviewed a series of millionaires and philanthropists, starting with the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. The result was a perennially best-selling work of self-development that encourages the notion that, basically, “greed is good” as long as you’re willing to share your wealth.

Best quote: “If you truly desire money so keenly that your desire is an obsession, you will have no difficulty in convincing yourself that you will acquire it. The object is to want money and to be so determined to have it that you convince yourself that you will have it.”

Special thanks to Geoffrey James for compiling this list.

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