Top 20 Books Financial Advisors Should Read in 2020


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We’ve updated our list for 2021. You can find the new list here.

If you’re a financial advisor looking to step up your game this year, it’s not only crucial to be open to new ideas but also to continually seek out knowledge. One of the best ways to do this is by reading the words of those who have been successful in your field—or whose expertise will help you to better service your clients.

Below, you’ll find a list of 20 books that will teach you new ways to provide exceptional service to your clients, build and maintain relationships, and see amazing returns for years to come.

Principles: Life and Work


Ray Dalio’s success speaks for itself: in June 2019 he was the 58th richest man in the world, and his net worth today is more than $18 billion. In his 2017 best-seller, Principles, he outlines the goal-oriented approach that brought him success, which he encourages readers to apply to their own lives.

What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence

What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence

As the founder of the Blackstone Group, Stephen Schwarzman knows quite a bit about building and scaling a successful company. In his 2019 best-seller, Schwarzman relays lessons he’s learned along the way, from investment strategies to building relationships.

The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Excellence: Becoming a World-Class Practitioner

The Financial Advisor's Guide to Excellence

If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to succeeding in the world of finance, this is an incredible resource. Globally acclaimed coach and trainer Daniel Collison outlines, step-by-step, how to create processes that will help you grow your business and retain clients.

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator

The oldest entry on this list (first published in 1923), Edwin Lefèvre’s classic book is a fictional treatment of the life of American investor, Jesse Livermore. It documents Livermore’s rise from a simple day trader to a master of the stock market. Nearly a century after it first went to print, this tome is still a favorite of investors the world over—full of wisdom that remains useful to this day.

The Keys to the Ladies’ Room: A New Business Model for Financial Advisors

The Keys to the Ladies Room

Adri Miller-Heckman is a leading expert on women and financial services. Her book focuses on how advisors can do right by their female clients (and build a better business in the process). For more from Miller-Heckman, check out her interview on our weekly sales and marketing podcast, Stay Paid.

The Intelligent Investor

The Intelligent Investor

More than half a century after it was first printed, Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investoris still seen as the definitive volume on value investing. If you haven’t read this essential work before, make sure you do it this year. (Or, if it’s been a while, consider giving it another read!)

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Questions Great Financial Advisors Ask… and Investors Need to Know

Questions Great Financial Advisors Ask ....And Investors Need to Know

Communication is key to providing the best possible service to your clients, and that means knowing the right questions to ask. If you’re new to the game, Alan Parisse and David Richman have compiled some of the most important questions you need to be asking. Incorporate them into your client interactions, and watch as your business changes for the better.

Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions

Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions

Author Gerd Gigerenzer is the director of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science in Berlin. Though his background is in psychology, the wisdom he shares in Risk Savvyis of particular interest to advisors, who specialize in helping clients navigate uncertain financial waters.

Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Robert Kiyosaki’s hugely successful personal finance primer is full of simple, yet powerful insights you can share with new investors. Pick up a copy for yourself or any of your clients who would benefit from the fundamental investment philosophies Kiyosaki shares.

Storyselling for Financial Advisors: How Top Producers Sell

Story Selling for Financial Advisors

Logic brings customers to the table, but it’s emotion that get them to close the deal. This popular book is a great tool for advisors who have their facts in order but may be struggling to connect with their clients on an emotional level.

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The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

The Total Money Makeover

This classic, best-selling book from financial expert Dave Ramsey is full of actionable steps investors can take to improve their financial wellness. Whether or not you subscribe to all the ideas in this book, it’s well worth your time to read it (and see what all the fuss is about).

UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.

UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging

For many marketers, it can be difficult to let go of decades-old techniques that don’t seem to work as well as they used to. But, for co-authors (and spouses) Scott and Alison Stratten, letting go of what doesn’t work is crucial to success. UnMarketing focuses on the value of working with the right customers and engaging them in the right way.

The Financial Advisor’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide: 77 Proven Prescriptions to Build Your Resilience

The Financial Advisor's Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide

In all your efforts to better grow your business and service your clients, be careful not to neglect what’s most important. If you aren’t managing your stress properly, you’ll become less effective at taking care of your other daily duties.

Housing Wealth: 3 Ways the New Reverse Mortgage is Changing Retirement Income Conversations (An Advisor’s Guide)

Housing Wealth: An Advisor's Guide to Reverse Mortgages

When you’re helping your clients plan for retirement, it’s important to think holistically, which means considering allof their assets. While they’ve gotten a bad reputation in recent years, reverse mortgages are a great idea for many people approaching retirement. Don Graves explains why in this innovative tome.

Gen-Savvy Financial Advisor: Advising the Generations in the New Age of Uncertainty

The Gen-Savvy Financial Advisor

As the Baby Boomer generation ages and younger generations begin investing in their own futures, it’s essential for advisors to understand the concerns unique to different demographics. As head of the Generational Insights—a consulting firm with more than two decades of experience advising companies on generational issues—Cam Marston offers invaluable tips for financial professionals looking to connect with younger clients.

10 Common Mistakes Financial Advisors Make & Simple Ideas to Avoid Them: How to Create Happy Loyal Clients

10 Common Mistakes Financial Advisors Make & Simple Ideas to Avoid Them

In any industry, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate the decisions you’re making on a daily basis. Author Howard Lashner offers advice for creating better client relationships that result in higher retention rates and more referrals.

The Truth Shall Set Your Wallet Free: Secrets to Finding the Perfect Financial Advisor

The Truth Shall Set Your Wallet Free

Nicholas Stuller has worked in and around financial services for more than 30 years, and his primary mission today is improving relationships between financial advisors and investors. The Truth Shall Set Your Wallet Freeis clearly written with investors in mind, but it also gives advisors valuable insight into the things that really matter to their clients. Check out Stuller’s interview on Stay Paidto learn how you can use this book for prospecting purposes.

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Start with Why

Every financial advisor needs to have a sound, relationship-based approach to sales, and that means understanding your client’s “why.” But the importance of “why” is a two-way street. In his 2009 best-seller, consultant and motivational speaker Simon Sinek makes a compelling case for inspiration being the most important factor in sales.

The Million Dollar Financial Advisor: Powerful Lessons and Proven Strategies from Top Producers

The Million Dollar Financial Advisor

After retiring as Managing Director at Merrill Lynch in 2007, David J. Mullen, Jr. wrote The Million Dollar Financial Advisor. Though it’s now a decade old, the influential release continually ranks among the top books for financial advisors on Amazon.

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That’s no accident. The strategies in The Million Dollar Financial Advisor are based on Mullen’s own interviews with fifteen top producers, which he then organizes into 13 actionable lessons.

The Resilient Advisor: How Financial Advisors Build Resilience in Business & Life

With all the talk of recession in recent months, many advisors are understandably uneasy about what the future might hold. In The Resilient Advisor, Jay Coulter offers solid advice for creating a business that is tough enough to weather any shifts in the market.

Remember: learning is a life-long endeavor. Your long-term success as a financial advisor depends on your ability to continually adapt and provide the best service possible to your clients.

By reading even a few of the books listed above, you can be more deliberate about what you do and, ultimately, provide a level of service that will result in referrals and repeat business for years to come.

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