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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”.