Five beach reads to help boost your finances

Five beach reads to help boost your finances
27 June 2013

Summer holidays are a great for relaxing with a book to stimulate the mind. Why not use your well-earned down-time to brush up on a few financial facts? Colin Lewis recommends his top five inspiring cashy reads

The Hour Between Dog and Wolf

The author, Dr. John Coates is a former Wall Street trader and now a senior research fellow in neuroscience and finance at the University of Cambridge. The book offers a number of fascinating lessons from a booming new field, the biology of risk, in The Hour between Dog and Wolf – with a sub title;  Risk Taking, Gut Feelings, and the Biology of Boom and Bust. Coates reveals how risk taking and stress transform our body chemistry, driving us to irrational exuberance or pessimism. This is a wonderfully easy read, with straight-forward language and a clear focus. It helps us look at how we live and what goes on in our brains and bodies as we make financial decisions, big and small.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman is the only psychologist to win a Nobel Prize for Economics. This is one of my favourite books and one I often carry with me just to refresh my own understanding. In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Dan explains his own research and that of others in an easy-to-read prose. Knowledge of how the human mind’s two systems work can help all of us make better investment and life decisions and live a more quality life.

What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite

Why do we routinely choose options that don't meet our short-term needs and undermine our long-term goals?  In What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite, science writer David DiSalvo takes us on a tour of our mind's delusions. No aspect of daily life is left untouched: whether he is exploring job interviews, first dates or the perils of eBay, DiSalvo will change the way you think about thinking. DiSalvo draws out insights that we can use to identify our brains' quirks and turn our awareness into positive, more fulfilling action.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds

This is an old book, written in 1841 by Charles MacKay, but it is a classic for understanding how bubbles happen and how to avoid them. When everybody thinks alike, everyone is likely to be wrong. Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds, has been described as the best book ever written about investment psychology. By understanding the patterns of greed and hope, you might avoid the pitfalls that inevitably follow when market hysteria, overconfidence and irrational optimism, happens. And in so doing you might just save your nest egg.

The Willpower Instinct

If you struggle to set, stick with and achieve goals, this book is a fabulous read. Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist who devised the acclaimed Stanford Universtiy Course 'The Science of Willpower.' She describes her job as a role that helps people manage stress and make positive changes in their life. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works; Why It Matters, And What You Can Do To Get More Of It, really does live up to the book cover with a step-by-step guide to strengthening willpower and getting more out of life.

Have you read any of these books and found a better understanding of how we make decisions helped you overcome financial mistakes? What books are on your summer reading list?

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Head of Behavioral Finance
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