When I left home headed to college many years ago, I had one goal in mind. That goal was to become successful and to make something different of my life…something better. I was the first in my family to go to college, that in itself came with its own share of challenges! After graduating and reaching what others and I thought was the American Dream, I still felt stuck…I still felt…well, the same.
Not long after getting married, I heard Dave Ramsey on the radio talking about debt freedom. I thought that this was my ticket out of samedom land for sure, but how to get out of debt wasn’t the most valuable thing that I learned from Dave.
Nope! One day I was driving and listening to Dave’s radio show and Dave made a profound statement that changed my life! He said a quote from Charles “Tremendous” Jones, “You are the same today as you’ll be in five years except for two things: the books you read and the people you meet.”
With hearing this, my love for reading was born! I set out to read at least a book a month. To date, I have read over 100 books! I encourage my children to read and have strived to cultivate a culture of learning through reading all around me.
Some of my best mentors have been found in the pages of a book. That’s right! Did you know that if there is no one around you to mentor you and teach you, that everything you seek to know can be found in a book? For example, Ben Carson mentored me in the medical field through his book, “Gifted Hands”.
He instilled in me that no matter where you come from, no matter your background, nothing can stop you from reaching your goals. More recently, Michelle Obama has mentored me through her book, “Becoming,” by showing me how to stay true to yourself when you are elevated to high places.
Did you know that she required her kids to continue to make their own beds even though they were residents of the White House? My mentor, Damon John improved my confidence with, “The Power of Broke,” by helping me to see that not being raised in privilege can actually be an advantage.
Growing up with a lack of resources increases creativity and tenacity.
You see, books not only increase your knowledge and confidence but they also make you are more well-rounded person and increase your ability to interact with people on many different levels. Reading increases your vocabulary 100 fold and helps you to conjugate sentence structures more easily, therefore, making you a better communicator. And lastly, reading helps to renew your mind.
The bible talks about the importance of changing your mind or renewing your thinking so that you will not copy the patterns of this world (Romans 12:2). Most of us have been restricted to doing things the way that we have seen them done around us. Reading introduces us to new ways of doing things. It helps us to change our minds from stuck patterns that we have recreated out of habit.
Let’s explore 5 of my favorite books that were influential in my journey to debt freedom.
- The Holy Bible. When I first started reading my bible, it was challenging to say the least. Partly because I had already convinced myself that I would not understand what I was reading. I thought that I most definitely had to read the King James Version (KJV) if I were to be considered a “real Christian” with all of the honors that come with conquering the “wherefores and thys”. Later, I came to understand that the bible has many different translations, some are easier to understand.
My challenge to you is to find a version that you can understand and feel comfortable with. The bible has many things to say about money and contains over 2000 verses on the subject. Discovering the heart of God regarding money and stewardship is foundational to building wealth.
- The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. This book gave me the how-to on getting started on my journey to debt freedom. The language was simple to understand. The personal stories of how others did it and were successful encouraged me that we too could do this. We could become debt-free! And with over $250k in debt, we needed all the encouragement that we could get. Since reading this book years ago, I went on to become a Dave Ramsey Financial Master Coach! I have read every book released by Dave Ramsey and almost every book on his recommended reading list. Dave has a way of making things simple and inspiring you to just do it!
- Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Reading this book made me realize that I needed to unlearn a lot of things that I believed about money and business. There has been a subliminal message infiltrating our culture that wealth is evil and to prosper in business one must do things that are immoral. These beliefs work simultaneously to create shame in the church around being becoming successful, especially in business.
So why do the Jews prosper so frequently and easily? Rabbi Lapin explains that Jews are taught from birth that money is not evil, it is just a token of appreciation for the services you render to your fellow man. The more money you make is in direct correlation to the needs you meet through services or goods provided. In essence, to make more money, find a need, and meet it! This is the win-win situation that Jews are taught to operate in per Lapin. This way of thinking transformed my thinking regarding success through entrepreneurship!
- Money and the Prosperous Soul by Stephen K. DeSilva. When we started climbing our way out of debt, I realized that there was something else lingering in our spirits. Though we were breaking free financially, there was something holding us in the same spiritual position. We continued to feel a sense of lack in areas where we truly had more than enough. Stephen K. Desilva addresses this as a spirit of poverty. He goes on to say that the “bent” of poverty is a pattern in our souls affecting our expectations for what we experience and defining our warped reality. This reading helped me to identify the strongholds that were threatening to keep us bound.
- The Monk and the Merchant by Terry Felber. This one is a quick read but so packed with good lessons on successful living.
It further dispels the myth that wealth is evil. It reinforces the Scriptures by explaining that God is more concerned with our hearts, actions, and belief around wealth than our actual possessions. Felber teaches us that we cannot separate our spiritual life from our work. Work is ministry! This book will help you to discover ministry in the marketplace and how your beliefs around this affect wealth creation.
As I stated earlier, I love to read but these days with tons of kid events going on that cause me to be in the car more than I am home, I have found it more difficult to find the time. Audiobooks have become an all-time favorite of mine. I love downloading books to listen to while I work out or during carpool. As a matter of fact, I don’t think that I ever turn the radio on anymore!
I have listed just a few of my favorite books. Tell us what books have most influenced you on your financial journey? Share in the comments.