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Money Lessons from 11 Classic Novels

How To

Personal finance books are a dime a dozen these days, but if you want to learn the fundamentals of money management while enjoying a good read, you needn’t look further than the classic novel. While the lessons may not be overt, a good novel can offer keen insight on how to manage one’s finances. Read between the lines and you’ll find that literary characters can even make excellent financial advisers. Here’s a list of books worth considering.

The Lord Of The Rings


“There is a seed of courage hidden (often deeply, it is true) in the heart of the fattest and most timid hobbit, waiting for some final and desperate danger to make it grow.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

If you’re looking to make the big bucks, you’re going to need the courage to take risks. Remember, the most effective risks are those which are well calculated. So take the time to do your research before investing. The fat, little hobbit inside you may cry out to play it safe and do nothing at all, but some time along the way finding the courage to take a risk will be essential.

The Fountainhead


“Nothing can be reasonable or beautiful unless it’s made by one central idea, and the idea sets every detail.” – Ayn Rand

What’s more beautiful than a wallet full of cash, or a well-funded retirement account? As the book points out, a beautiful product is the result of a good idea. In other words, in order to achieve your financial goals you must first come up with a clear idea of what they are. Then once you’ve decided on where you want to be, how you want to live, and when you would like to retire, map out a plan in detail and get to work.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest


Evil August

“What can you pay for the way a man lives? What can you pay for what a man is?” – Ken Kesey

When setting financial goals for yourself remember to be realistic. If money is time, how much time are you willing to spend in the pursuit of money? Careful planning should leave you with money in the bank and time to enjoy the lifestyle you’ve been working so hard to obtain.

Fahrenheit 451


“Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes!” – Ray Bradbury

The simple act of reading can increase your financial IQ and help you avoid costly mistakes. Scour the Internet, pick up a newspaper, or browse the finance section at your local bookstore. The information you gather will help you to make wise decisions and sound investments.

For Whom The Bell Tolls


“How little we know of what there is to know.” – Ernest Hemingway

When it comes to managing your finances, the more you know the better. This goes for saving, learning how to cut expenses, planning for the future. By any means, novels shouldn’t be the only source of advice: newsletters, magazines, websites, and financial advisers are just a few of the resources available to you. And the best thing about learning about personal finance is that many of the resources are readily available for free.

On The Road


“I began to learn from him as much as he learned from me.” – Jack Kerouac

If you’re having trouble creating a financial plan, you may want to consider speaking with someone whose financial decisions and position you respect. Can’t find a mentor? Consider meeting with a financial adviser. Advisers are a good source of knowledge to tap into, but make sure they don’t have an interest in selling you investments that are better for their own bottom line (heavy on commissions, that is) than yours. Fee-only financial planners get paid by the hour or session, so you’ll get impartial advice.

The Grapes Of Wrath

alaina marie

“I know this…a man got to do what he got to do.” – John Steinbeck

It’s easy to talk about managing money, but not everyone puts their words into action. While the first step to getting one’s finances in order is creating a plan, the second is putting this plan into place: one small step at a time. Building up your savings or saving for a home may seem difficult, but but it’s worth, as those are the first steps on your path to financial freedom.

The Swiss Family Robinson


“The world is full of nice, ordinary little people who live in nice, ordinary little houses on the ground. But didn’t you ever dream of a house up on a treetop?” – Johann David Wyss

Whether you desire a house in a treetop, a mansion in the mountains or a seaside cabana—don’t be afraid to think big. Once you know what you want, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to get it.

The Picture of Dorian Gray


“A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.” – Oscar Wilde

Of course, an increase in income means an increase in taxable income. While you shouldn’t think of the IRS as your enemy, you should avoid paying more taxes that you really owe. Not taking the right deductions, or write-offs, can increase your tax liability, while filing a tax return with errors can rouse the interest of Uncle Sam. It’s best to keep on good terms with the Service, because with them, there is no winning.

The Jungle


“In a society dominated by the fact of commercial competition, money is necessarily the test of prowess, and wastefulness the soul criterion of power.” –Upton Sinclair

Managing your personal finances requires a delicate combination of risk and caution. Pay attention to what’s going on in the world and know when the time is right for a calculated move, versus when it is best to play it safe.



“We control matter because we control the mind. Reality is inside the skull.” – George Orwell

When it comes to finances, people’s opinions can vary immensely. There are risk-takers, savers, spenders, and those who do nothing at all. It’s easy to become lost in the shuffle of words and statistics. While it’s important to gather information from a variety of sources, only you can decide how you will manage your money.

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