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28 Life-Changing Books: My 2019 Reading List + Freebies

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“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I’ve eaten; even so, they have made me.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Books are bae! Didn’t you know?!

When I was kid, one of my aunts always gave me and my siblings books for gifts. We’d strain smiles and sing, “Thank you!” but we really wanted new Sega games, dolls or straight up cash. You couldn’t pay me to read then.

My fondness for a good page-turner came after leaving college. That’s when I realized no one was gonna save me from my debt or give me the life that I wanted BUT ME! The local library became my pusha and books, my drug of choice.

This year, I decided to read all of the 28 life-changing books curated by @FutureNow, formerly @FutureSuccessors, of Instagram. I had already read 8 by coincidence. So 2019 is marked for reading the remaining 20 books on the list.

I’ll also apply, at least, one thing that I learned from each book. Knowledge alone isn’t power. Applied knowledge is power.

Wise Woman Wallet Book List and Reading Log Blog Graphic

Do you want to join me? You don’t have to read all 28 books this year, but start by reading 12 (an average of 1 per month). Feel free to download the book list and reading, and start checking off your books ASAP.

The Life-Changing Books List

  1. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
  2. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
  3. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  4. The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
  5. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

I’ve created this handy-dandy book list and reading log to track my progress and jot down notes, especially about what action steps I’ll take. I’ve given you a free copy of one book in the Freebies section, too. Shhhh…don’t tell anybody. Don’t say I never gave you anything, OK? 😉

Which book should I read first? What are Wise Woman Wallet’s favorite books?

These are tough questions. I’ve read 9 out of 28 books so far (8 of them before I discovered this curated list). (You can check out what I’m currently reading, want to read and have read on the free GoodReads app.)

If you like to get swept away in good storytelling and eat medicine in your candy, The Alchemist and The Richest Man in Babylon are awesome choices.

In The Alchemist, a shepherd named Santiago travels from his home in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure. As you can imagine, he meets quite a few characters and several roadblocks. I don’t want to give away all of the lessons, but the book reiterated that failure is part of success. Failure is feedback. Learn the lessons and move on with a different strategy, but don’t give up on the goal.

The Richest Man in Babylon gives you direct instructions on how to do well with money through awesome parables set centuries ago. At first, you’re like “What in the world could I learn from camel trader and chariot builder stories?” But then you get sucked into the vivid descriptions and lively dialogue. The book starts off with Arkad, the Richest Man in Babylon. His friends from back in the day complain to him about how he dons the finest clothes and eats the rarest foods while they still struggle. They wonder how they started out at the same level and in the same field of clay tablet scribing, but he’s the only one who achieved major success. Arkad reveals how he learned from an old, rich man, and then teaches others at the Temple of Learning the Seven Cures for a Lean Purse.


The Richest Man in Babylon was first published in 1926. I read it over 2-3 days on my phone while I was traveling in 2018 and found that everything in the book—and I mean EVERYTHING—still applies today. If you only read the Seven Cures for a Lean Purse, you’ll have a blueprint for financial success.

Wise Woman Wallet life-changing books read by 013119
As of February 7, 2019, I have read 9 of the 28 life-changing books (marked by the green checks) and am currently reading the 4-Hour Workweek (marked by the purple and white star).

The two books that actually changed my life, though, were The Millionaire Next Door and Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

The Millionaire Next Door showed me that it was possible for little, ol me—a black woman from rural North Carolina—to become wealthy through a solid strategy, consistency and perseverance. Roughly 80% of millionaires in the U.S. were first-generation millionaires, the authors said. This book was one of the first to study the habits of millionaires—what cars did they drive, how much did they pay for their homes. Peeling back those layers helped me get into the millionaire mindset and inspire me to think I could change my family tree in one generation, too.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad really rocked my world. Robert T. Kiyosaki grew up in Hawaii. His biological dad was a higher-up in the state’s education department. He thought getting a well-paid job with benefits and more degrees and certificates would increase his income and produce wealth. He’s Poor Dad. Kiyosaki considered his childhood friend’s father his other dad, in a sense. Rich Dad was not formally educated, but he became one of Hawaii’s most successful businessman. Rich Dad taught Kiyosaki everything about creating wealth.

The book made me realize how I had been living by so many money myths, how mindset plays such a significant role in whether you’ll build wealth, and how the U.S. education system has been producing sheep-like employees who toil 9-to-5 for decades at a job. And then he showed this chart about how rich- and poor-minded folks think about money, assets and liabilities. MIND=BLOWN! I immediately saw I had been screwing up with money. If you really wanna know about this chart, then read the book.

Rich Dad Poor Dad's cash patterns of the rich versus the middle class.

How can I read these books on the cheap?

  • Get a library card and check out all of the books you can carry to your car.
  • If you have a valid library card or school ID, perhaps you can borrow ebooks from your library or school’s digital collection using the OverDrive app.
  • Get free 30-day trials through Audible.com, Audiobooks.com or Scribd.com and listen to the audiobooks while you’re taking a stroll, commuting or cleaning. (Set an alarm on your phone a few days before the trial ends to cancel your subscription if you don’t want to start getting charged. Spread out your free trials i.e. get 1 per month consecutively.)
  • Borrow books from your friends. If you start a book club, perhaps you could trade books at the end of each month.
  • Buy used books from a store like McKay’s, which caters to North Carolina and Tennessee residents. Perhaps your city might have a used bookstore, too. Here’s the cool thing about McKay’s: You can trade in toys, games, books and DVDs for other items in the store. Declutter and save!
  • Buy used books at a local thrift store or library sales.

Will you join the reading challenge? Have you read any of these books? Please tell me about what you learned from the books in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “28 Life-Changing Books: My 2019 Reading List + Freebies”

  1. I have several books in my “want to read” list. Want to recommend an app I happen to find from another person suggesting to Rachel Cruze, Goodreads. What I like about it is you can actually track the books you read, start and finished. Track the books you want to read, additionally share your list with others. Highly recommend 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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