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The first time I heard the phrase “passive income” I was visiting a friend in Chicago. She had just bought her first condo and had plans to turn it into a passive income-generating rental. I was mesmerized by this concept – money that requires little to no effort. I read every passive income book I could find.
Flash forward five years, I now make roughly $1100/month in passive income between a rental and investments and I have every intention of increasing this amount exponentially. However, not every venture I’ve tried has been successful. I wasted quite a bit of time on my first blog and netted -$770 when I took on dog sitting as a side hustle (to earn money to invest) and the dog ate my night guard.
Why build passive income?
I also want to stress that the end result of passive income is awesome. But the work that it takes to build those passive income streams is hard. I’ve had to study the rental market and learn investing. Currently, I work about 20 hours a week on this blog on top of my 9-5.
I do the work because I am passionate about not deferring freedom until retirement age. I want to travel the world while I have the energy to do it. So first I’ll hustle, then I’ll enjoy.
Everyone should understand that a lifestyle where they don’t sell their time for money is an option. To understand that option, the first step is learning the mechanics that drive passive income.
Without further ado, here are the 5 passive income books that everyone should read.
1.) 101 Passive Income Ideas Under $1000 by Frank Coles
Before you can earn passive income, you have to decide how you’ll do it. Frank Coles lays out the options and assigns each a risk and difficulty score along with the potential for profit.
If you’ve been doing your research on passive income for a while, you might not find anything groundbreaking in the ideas, but the magic lies in having them all ranked in order to prioritize where to focus your energies.
2.) The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, Luke Daniels, et al.
When it comes to passive income, the tried and true strategy is investing and this is the book that Warren Buffet said changed his financial life. If it’s good enough for the Oracle of Omaha, then it’s good enough for me.
The Intelligent Investor was originally published in 1949 and since then has been called the stock market bible. The focus is on what’s called “value investing” – which shields investors from substantial error and teaches them to develop long-term strategies.
There are countless investing advice books out there, but this one is the best. If you’re planning on finding a way to quit your job one day, you need to know how to mitigate risk and invest for the long term. This book will guide you.
3.) The Book on Rental Property Investing by Brandon Turner
I made the mistake of listening to this book on audio. If you want to get into real estate investing, which is also one of the most lauded tactics for passive income – read this book, don’t listen to it. Turner offers up a variety of calculations you need to know to assess a property, and listening to calculations on audio just doesn’t cut it.
I loved this book, and while it left me realizing there is way more to know about real estate investing than I can get in one book, it taught me strategies like BRRR (buy, rehab, refinance, rent) that I was able to put into practice on my house to turn it into a rental.
4.) How to Start an Online Business by Emilie Pelletier
As a professional marketer, whenever I read a list of passive income ideas that say something along the lines of “start a blog in ten minutes!” or “launch an eCommerce business!” it makes me throw up in my mouth, just a little. This shit is hard, and it’s really easy to sink a ton of time into strategies that don’t work.
That being said, it’s also not rocket science and with a little bit of the right information, you can certainly Google your way into learning to build a profitable online business that eventually becomes passive income.
This book is that little bit of right information. If you decide to build an online business model, you’ll need to get in-depth with skills like content creation, SEO, and web design, but first, use this book to ground yourself in what it actually takes.
5.) The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
I saved the best for last – The Four Hour Work Week is the passive income book to rule them all. If you read one book on this list, make it this book. Ferriss is arguably responsible for bringing the concept of passive income into the popular lexicon.
This book opened my eyes to the idea that we are programmed to think it makes sense to postpone our lives, that we will live out our dreams when we retire. Why not now?
Beyond that, Ferriss fascinates me. He’s not only the author of this New York Times Bestseller, he has also been a national Chinese kickboxing champion and an MTV break-dancer in Taiwan.
In this book, you will learn about concepts like being effective rather than efficient, how to ignore the 80% of things in your life that aren’t important, and adopting a low information diet.
With the right strategy and some hustle, living a life where you don’t sell your most valuable asset, your time, is possible. Check out these books and comment below if to share any favorites of your own that may have not made the list.