7 of the best finance books of the year


Whether you’re looking for last-minute Christmas present ideas, or want to teach yourself the basics of investment, 2020 has been a bumper year for finance books.

Here’s your guide to seven of the best.

1. No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram, by Sarah Frier

Instagram arrived ten years ago. It’s now a $100-billion company with more than 50 billion photos uploaded so far, at a rate of 995 every second.

No Filter follows Instagram from its founding to its acquisition by Facebook. It won the FT Business Book of the Year Award for 2020.

With access to many of the key players, from co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger to influencers like Kris Jenner, the book does not focus solely on the app itself. Rather, it looks at the culture of Silicon Valley and the rise of influencer marketing, making for a fascinating read.

2. Flash Crash: A Trading Savant, a Global Manhunt, and the Most Mysterious Market Crash, by Liam Vaughan

Longlisted for the FT Business Book of the Year Award, Flash Crash, tells the story of Navinder Singh Sarao, alternatively known as the ‘Hound of Hounslow’ or the ‘Flash Crash Trader.’

Back in 2010, working from his family home, this trading prodigy triggered a $35 trillion market collapse and an international manhunt, which only ended five years later.

It became known as the ‘Flash Crash’ and this real-life financial thriller uncovers both the cause of the mysterious crash and the life and subsequent pursuit, of the man responsible.

3. Broke Millennial Talks Money: Scripts, Stories, and Advice to Navigate Awkward Financial Conversations, by Erin Lowry

Erin Lowry follows up Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together and Broke Millennial Takes On Investing: A Beginner’s Guide to Levelling Up Your Money with another lengthily-titled guide for millennials and their money.

Her first book was one of the best money books of 2017, according to Money Watch.

This time out, Lowry uses her conversational tone to talk struggling millennials through awkward money conversations, be they with colleagues, friends, family members, or partners.

4. Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing, by Jacob Goldstein

From Fijian sperm whales to cattle in Vanuatu, the economy of barter and trade was replaced around 600 BC. In Lydia, a region of present-day Turkey, a gold-silver alloy called electrum was mined, broken into equal size lumps, with each lump stamped with the image of a lion. Coins were born.

From there, Money follows our obsession with metal discs and paper rectangles over the next two and half millennia.

From the gold standard to central banks and Bitcoin, Money is a fascinating and immensely readable insight into where money comes from, and how it might continue to evolve.

5. But First, Save 10: The One Simple Money Move That Will Change Your Life Paperback, by Sarah-Catherine Gutierrez

But First, Save 10 is aimed predominately at 18 to 30-somethings women – it is subtitled ‘Ladysplaining money.’ A great introduction to finance for all those leaving further education and entering the workforce for the first time is an easy and often funny read with a serious message.

It can teach you how to save enough for retirement, build an emergency fund, manage debt, and save for those future expenses that will both give you joy and allow you to live the life you want.

Gutierrez believes that ‘financial pain does not have to be a rite of passage’ and aims to give you the lessons and understanding to help you avoid that pain, paying your future self first and building long-term routines that, she argues, could change your life.

6. Clever Girl Finance: Learn How Investing Works, Grow Your Money, by Bola Sokunbi

Author of Clever Girl Finance: Ditch debt, save money, and build real wealth, Sokunbi returns with this go-to guide for women looking to learn the foundations of investing.

Over twelve chapters Sokunbi explains the benefits of compounding, how to build and rebalance a portfolio, and how to invest for retirement. A key message of the book is the importance of investing with long-term goals in mind, and understanding the difference between making money and building wealth.

With its straightforward writing style, this book is accessible and invaluable if you’re looking to enter the world of investing or want to further understand the basic principles behind the decisions that affect your existing portfolio.

7. Kings of Crypto: One Startup’s Quest to Take Cryptocurrency Out of Silicon Valley and Onto Wall Street, by Jeff John Roberts

Kings of Crypto charts the rise of cryptocurrency to the point in 2018 when one Bitcoin was worth the same as a pound of gold. That’s $20,000 for a virtual, digital coin. The cryptocurrency bubble burst but Bitcoin remains.

This story follows Brian Armstrong, CEO of the largest cryptocurrency exchange in America, Coinbase. As Armstrong tries to take his start-up – and cryptocurrency as a whole – mainstream, he battles hackers, thieves, zealots, and government investigations.

Kings of Crypto tells the story of Coinbase in a page-turning and novelistic style packed with narrative drive and unforgettable characters.