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  • Timothy Iseler

2023 Recommended Reading List

Chalk it up to age, upbringing, or disposition – I prefer learning by reading over watching videos or listening to podcasts. A good book, read at the right time, can stimulate the mind, spark creativity, and change how we think, act, and view the world. In a world where work and recreation increasingly happen via screens and endless feeds of email, social media, and streaming, reading provides recreation that requires little more than a quiet room with adequate light.

Below is a short list of books, along with brief descriptions, that have been important and influential in my life. There are certainly other excellent titles that are not mentioned, and some may already be on the large stack of “books to read next”. There is always more to learn with limited time in which to learn it, and I hope that some of the books mentioned will resonate with you.

Please reach out directly at or (919) 666-7604 if you would like to discuss any titles listed below – or make suggestions for next year’s list!


“The Psychology of Money” – Morgan Housel

Subtitle: “Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness”

Housel has a way of writing about money, personal finance, and business that is relatable, understandable, and actionable. By understanding the roles that risk, luck, fear, and comfort play in one's life, a person can better navigate the fog of uncertainty that often surrounds financial decisions. Recommended for people at any age or stage of life.

“The Simple Path to Wealth” – J L Collins

Subtitle: “Your Road Map to Financial Independence and a Rich, Free Life”

“The Simple Path to Wealth” is a no-nonsense approach to saving and investing, with a priority placed on financial independence – affording one’s lifestyle without relying on earned income or dependence on another. Originally written as a series of letters to his daughter, Collins’s book is an excellent choice for graduates or people about to join the workforce.

“Just Keep Buying” – Nick Maggiulli

Subtitle: “Proven ways to save money and build your wealth”

In "Just Keep Buying", Maggiulli provides clear and actionable strategies for saving, managing debt, and investing. I have already borrowed a few of his concepts for use with clients, including the advantages of spending to increase fulfillment instead of happiness.

“I Will Teach You to Be Rich” – Ramit Sethi

Subtitle: “No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-Week Program That Works”

Full disclosure – I enjoy listening to Ramit Sethi being interviewed more than I enjoy his writing. However, there is no doubt that all of the suggestions in this book will lead to better financial health and, over time, to financial independence. Much like “The Simple Path To Wealth”, “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” is a great book for people entering the workforce.

“The Motley Fool Investment Guide” – David & Tom Gardener

While The Motley Fool has avid supporters and detractors, the company that brothers David and Tom Gardener founded over 20 years ago has done a tremendous amount to educate and encourage people participating in stock market investing. “The Motley Fool Investment Guide” is a great primer for anyone interested in understanding a business-centric investment approach and can help novice investors avoid some common pitfalls.

Productivity/Lifestyle Design

“Atomic Habits” – James Clear

Subtitle: “An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones”

James Clear takes many of the concepts from Charles Duhigg's excellent "The Power of Habit" and goes a step further, resulting an easier to understand & implement framework for building better habits. Thinking consumes a lot of energy, so our brains move often-repeated tasks to a different part of the brain to free up resources for other tasks. The upshot is that your brain knows how to make coffee before you are fully awake; the downside is that we often unknowingly act in counter-productive ways as a result of habit. This is a great one to revisit again and again.

“Digital Minimalism” – Cal Newport

Subtitle: “Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World”

My friend used to have a "Kill Your TV" bumper sticker on the back of her car. I don't want to kill my TV – or my smartphone – but I do want my technology tools to work for me and not against me. This book includes instructions for your own "digital detox", which I recommend for anyone who feels like the fun apps on your smartphone just aren't that ... fun anymore.

“The 4-Hour Workweek” – Tim Ferriss

Subtitle: “Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich”

“The 4-Hour Workweek” has dramatically influenced how I move through the world, prompting me to examine my motivations for working, earning (not always the same thing), and lifestyle choices. It is full of challenges, thought prompts, and ideas for defining or refining a “dream life”, as well as suggestions for how one might generate passive income to fund that lifestyle


“The Four Agreements” – Don Miguel Ruiz

Subtitle: “: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom”

“The Four Agreements” is a great book for recognizing the stories that we tell ourselves about reality. The beginning, which covers Toltec beliefs, takes a bit of patience for the sceptic. However, a little patience for the mystical pays off and the chapters on the agreements themselves are great. The book provides four easy to remember guideposts for knowing which actions and beliefs are helpful and which are based on obsolete stories that have been told and retold throughout life.

“Deep Survival” – Laurence Gonzales

Subtitle: “Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why”

A friend introduced me to this book with the following intriguing endorsement: “I have read this several times, and each time it applied exactly to what was happening in my life.” “Deep Survival” explores the neuroscience behind why some people make bad decisions despite good information, how seasoned experts make rookie mistakes, and why some people seem to make the same poor choices again and again. I recommend keeping a copy to review every 5-10 years.

Happy reading!

Timothy Iseler, CFP®

Founder & Lead Advisor

Iseler Financial, LLC | Registered Investment Advisor | Durham NC

Iseler Financial is here to simplify the process of building the strong foundation you need to achieve your goals and dreams. As both advisor and accountability partner, we help identify current strengths and weaknesses, clarify and refine your long-term goals and dreams, and prioritize understandable, manageable, and repeatable actions to bring long-term financial well-being. Reach out today to take the first step.

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