Several weeks ago, I wrote a list of competencies that can help you become a versatilist. Here is one of them:

An awareness of accounting, finance, and marketing fundamentals.

I’m not a finance and business person, so this is definitely something I need to learn about. I write this post as a beginner who wants to learn more about finance and business.

What I’d like to share is some practical steps to introduce you to the world of finance and business. These steps have been proven useful for me. In each step, I will show you one book, one blog, or one podcast that can help you apply that particular step. Of course there are other good books, blogs, and podcasts you can use, but I limit it to one here for simplicity.

So here are five practical steps to start learning finance and business:

  1. Read an introductory book on personal finance
    In my opinion, starting with personal finance is a good way to learn finance and business. It is from personal finance that you get the most applicable ideas for your life. Isn’t it ironic if you know a lot about finance and business but have your own personal finance in a mess?
    So I’d recommend reading a book that introduces you to all important aspects of personal finance. For this purpose, I like the book Personal Finance by Kapoor, Dlabay and Hughes. It is very readable, and cover all important aspects of personal finance like budgeting, consumer credit, housing, insurance, investing, and retirement. The book is also very scannable; you can easily scan through it to grasp the main ideas of every part.
    The book is expensive ($132.19), but I borrow it from the library for free. If you can’t get it, don’t worry, you can always read other books. The bottom line is the book should introduce you to all important aspects of personal finance.
  2. Subscribe to a personal finance blog
    Subscribing to a personal finance blog will help you apply the principles of personal finance in your daily life. It will remind you of the principles you have learned, help you learn new principles, and most importantly help you put those principles into practice. The blog I like is Get Rich Slowly. The tips and experiences shared there are very useful and practical.
  3. Subscribe to a personal finance podcast
    Similar to my previous point about blog, subscribing to a personal finance podcast is a good way to help you put personal finance principles into practice. The podcast I like is Money Girl. It’s short (often less than five minutes), very easy to understand and contains a lot of practical tips.
  4. Subscribe to a business podcast
    Now we move from personal finance to finance and business in general. A good way to start is subscribing to a business podcast. There are many business podcasts, but the one I like most is HBR Ideacast for one simple reason: it gives me preview of the newest business ideas.
    The podcast often features interview with the authors of new business books. By listening to this podcast alone, I can quickly get the main ideas of those books. In some cases, I get enough from the podcast that I no longer need to read those books. It saves me a lot of time while keeping me up-to-date with the newest concepts in the business world.
  5. Read an introductory book on finance and business
    Eventually, to get deeper knowledge about finance and business, there is no choice but to read “real” finance and business books. By “real” here I mean something that uses those jargons MBAs talk about in their conversations about business.
    Fortunately, there are books that can help you get there in relatively short time. The book I like is The Ten-Day MBA by Steven Silbiger. This book introduces you to all important aspects of finance and business like marketing, accounting, economics, and strategy. It gives you enough knowledge to understand the conversations in finance and business world.

These five steps should give you strong enough foundation in finance and business. However, if you want to move beyond these five steps, I’d recommend reading the books listed in the Personal MBA. The list contains 42 books and periodicals which aim to give you finance and business knowledge comparable to someone taking an MBA program. To further enrich your experience, Personal MBA also has a forum in which you can discuss the topics with your “classmates”.

Categories: Finance, Learning

Please use your real name and note that I reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

  • Althea

    In reference to a good personal finance book. “The Insider’s Guide to Saving Money” by Michael Ellenbogen is the best book by far when it comes to financial information. This book only cost about $20. This book tells you how you should do these things, unlike other books. Everyone should be able to take advantage of this down to earth information.

  • Matt

    Another good way–subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. Articles may seem a little dry at the beginning, but you will definitely develop a good understanding of business with continual reading.

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  • Donald Latumahina

    Althea and Matt, thanks for the tips! You show us new good resources to learn from.

  • Dave

    Those references are well chosen. Your tips are helpful and I admire your courage in taking up something which is not in your line. Keep it up.

  • Alan

    Those are helpful tips. It’s nice that you introduced a bit of finance and business. We can’t just engage in business with out the simple idea about it.

  • Donald Latumahina

    Thanks, Dave! I just try to be a good learner. There is still a lot of room for improvement.

    Yes, I think some knowledge of finance and business is important for everyone. Especially in this Internet age where everyone can be his/her own boss. Thanks for stopping by!

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  • Angel

    Great ways to learn the concepts.Mortgage refinancing at adds to online support on financial concerns indeed.

  • Donald Latumahina

    Thanks for the tips, Angel!

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  • Selena

    Right business and finance are very important issues today and there should be special cources and literature to educate those wishing to undertake. Thase are very important tips. Thanks.

  • Donald Latumahina

    My background is actually IT, but I do find that business and finance are increasingly important these days. In fact, recently I read much more business and finance books than IT books. I agree that courses and literatures for beginners are very important.

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  • Sebbi

    thanks for the post. i hope to listen some more.
    Best regards from Sebbi

  • Donald Latumahina

    You’re welcome!

  • saul velasquez

    Very good idea in order to teech an esential knowing for oll people; congratulations, Saúl

  • Ryan @ Planting Dollars

    For a first time personal finance book I’d also highly recommend “Your Money or Your Life.” Gives a great handle on the “why” aspect of personal finance.

  • sabiha

    the link for hbr podcast is broken or dont knw what? i cant get it………….

    • Donald Latumahina

      HBR changed the address but I’ve now fixed the link.

  • sahil khan

    i want to learn finance hoe how how