Updated: March 08, 2022

12 Best Business Finance Books to Read in 2023

You found our list of the top business finance books.

Business finance books are guides that give strategies for finding funding and making money. These works cover topics such as valuation, trading, return on investment, profit, debt management, and funding. The purpose of these books is to fund ventures, increase profits, and help organizations be economically successful long term.

These guides are a subset of business books and are similar to entrepreneurship books and books on business strategy.

This list includes:

  • small business finance books
  • business finance books for beginners
  • books for learning business finance
  • finance books for entrepreneurs

Here we go!

List of business finance books

From new releases to all-time bestsellers, here is a list of books on business finance to make operations more profitable.

1. Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies by McKinsey & Company Inc., Tim Koller, Marc Goedhart, and David Wessels

Valuation book cover

Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies is a masterclass in corporate valuation from consulting firm McKinsey. The textbook covers basic concepts such as creating value, predicting and assessing performance, and strategic investment and management. The book breaks down how to value companies accurately while considering factors such as taxes, inflation, operating and non-operating costs, and retirement. The final chapter also outlines special circumstances and exceptions such as emerging markets and high-growth companies. The appendices expand upon these ideas and offer case studies and formulas to round out the text. Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies paints a full picture of how to tell what companies are worth and achieve optimal return on investment.

Notable Quote: “Companies thrive when they create real economic value for their shareholders. Companies create value by investing capital at rates of return that exceed the cost of their capital. These two truths apply across time and geography.”

Read Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies.

2. The Alchemy of Finance by George Soros

the alchemy of finance book cover

The Alchemy of Finance is the published wisdom of famed investor George Soros. The book sheds light onto Soros’s trading and investment strategies, and provides a framework for making financial decisions. Earlier chapters view economics through a historical lens, while later chapters make predictions about emerging trends. The economic experiment at the heart of the book takes place during the 1980’s, however the takeaways and observations about markets are still relevant for current times. The writing is dense and this is not a breezy read, however readers who put in the effort can mine valuable economic insights. The Alchemy of Finance is a business finance classic and deserves a spot on any economics must-read list.

Notable Quote: “Economic theory is devoted to the study of equilibrium positions. The concept of equilibrium is very useful. It allows us to focus on the final outcome rather than the process that leads up to it. But the concept is also very deceptive.”

Read The Alchemy of Finance.

3. The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman

the personal mba book cover

The Personal MBA is one of the most useful business finance books for beginners. The book spans a range of topics typically covered in MBA programs and includes an extensive section on finance. Within that chapter, the authors define and explain concepts such as cash flow and income statements, purchasing power, lifetime value, pricing, and funding. This section offers a comprehensive overview of money-making best practices. Surrounding chapters deal with complimentary subjects such as valuation, sales, and improving systems. The book as a whole is a guide to making businesses profitable and efficient and acts as a crash course to holistic business operations.

Notable Quote: “Every time your customers purchase from you, they’re deciding that they value what you have to offer more than they value anything else their money could buy at that moment.”

Read The Personal MBA.

4. Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz

Profit First book cover

Profit First is one of the best finance books for entrepreneurs. The book preaches that to make money instead of losing money, one must use profit as a starting point when making decisions. In other words, instead of determining profit based on sales minus operating costs, leaders should first think of the desired profit and work backwards. This reverse engineering approach encourages entrepreneurs to act more intentionally and make choices that support the end goal. The book outlines how to put this theory into practice and overcome challenges that may arise. The final pages include resources such as a beginning assessment and a setup guide that make the advice even more actionable.

Notable Quote: “A financially healthy company is a result of a series of small daily financial wins, not one big moment. Profitability isn’t an event; it’s a habit.”

Read Profit First.

5. How Finance Works: The HBR Guide to Thinking Smart About the Numbers by Mihir Desai

how finance works book cover

How Finance Works is one of the most helpful books for learning business finance. The book acts as an introductory course into the world of financial systems. The guide outlines how to conduct financial analysis, explains key players and concepts within capital markets, and explores valuation. The guide also touches on capital allocation and dissects the ways good leaders make financial decisions. This guide distills complex concepts down into simple summaries and easily-digestible snippets, yet the book is not so basic that more established professionals cannot find value in it.

Notable Quote: “How safe is it to lend to a company? How financially rewarding is it to be a shareholder of a company? How much value does this company provide? Each of these questions cannot be answered by looking at any one number in isolation. Ratios provide a comparison of relevant numbers in a common way, which makes sense of otherwise meaningless numbers.”

Read How Finance Works: The HBR Guide to Thinking Smart About the Numbers.

6. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham

the intelligent investor cover

The Intelligent Investor is one of the best guides to trading. Written by Benjamin Graham, the legendary investor and mentor to Warren Buffet, the book preaches the gospel of value investing. This philosophy urges readers to invest for the long-term rather than chasing immediate wins. The book lays out formulas for reducing risk and achieving better returns. Graham explores ways to invest defensively in any climate and gives advice on conditions like inflation, volatility, and market fluctuations. The book outlines considerations such as portfolio policy, security analysis, dividend policy, per-share earnings, and stock selection. Graham also provides historical background, case studies, and company comparisons. The Intelligent Investor explores the inner workings of the stock market and lays out sound strategies for avoiding ruin and accumulating wealth.

Notable Quote: “But investing isn’t about beating others at their game. It’s about controlling yourself at your own game.”

Read The Intelligent Investor.

7. Accounting for the Numberphobic: A Survival Guide for Small Business Owners by Dawn Fotopulos

accounting for the numberphobic cover

Accounting for the Numberphobic is one of the best small business finance books. This book is specifically geared towards owners whose area of expertise is not accounting. This guide teaches entrepreneurs how to overcome the dread of crunching the numbers and how to make sense of available information. The book explores the ins and outs of net income statements, breaks down how to determine a business’s breakeven point, explains why cash flow is important and how to maintain it, and shows owners how to use balance sheets to estimate a company’s worth. The book also contains a financial dashboard that serves as a toolkit to run the numbers. Having a grasp on these concepts helps owners understand how a business is performing, and this book grants entrepreneurs the foundational knowledge and confidence to oversee the books and make financial decisions.

Notable Quote: “The goal is to build a profitable business, not maintain an expensive hobby that will leave you in the poorhouse.”

Read Accounting for the Numberphobic, and check out more small business books.

8. How to Read a Financial Report: Wringing Vital Signs Out of the Numbers  by Tage C. Tracy and John A. Tracy

how to read a financial report

How to Read a Financial Report is one of the more practical books on business finance for beginners. This work teaches readers how to make sense of economic data. The book breaks down standard parts of financial reports such as cash flow statements, net income, tax and liability. The authors show how to understand each factor individually and judge profitability and investment soundness as a whole. The final section explains ways to use financial statements. Scattered throughout the book are exhibits and examples to further readers’ understanding. How to Read a Financial Report touches on the fundamentals of economic analysis and shows beginners how to understand and pinpoint a business’s bottom line.

Notable Quote: “The cash flows summary for the year does not reveal the financial condition of the company. Managers certainly need to know which assets the business owns and the amounts of each asset, which can include cash, receivables, inventory, among others. Also, they need to know which liabilities the company owes and the amount of each.”

Read How to Read a Financial Report.

9. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns by by John C. Bogle

the little book of common sense investing book cover

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing is a helpful guide to index investing. The book makes the point that the most reliable investment strategy is to hold a portfolio of diversified stocks that earn gains over time rather than trying to beat the market and as a result pay high fees or see major losses. This guide explores the nuances of index funds and shows readers how to build a strong and stable portfolio that accumulates wealth. John C Bogle is a founder of Vanguard and one of the creators of the first index funds, so readers receive insights on the topic from one of the world’s foremost experts.

Notable Quote: “The true investor . . . will do better if he forgets about the stock market and pays attention to his dividend returns and to the operating results of his companies.”

Read The Little Book of Common Sense Investing.

10. Warren Buffett and the Interpretation of Financial Statements: The Search for the Company with a Durable Competitive Advantage by Mary Buffett and David Clark

warren buffet and the interpretation of financial statements book cover

Warren Buffett and the Interpretation of Financial Statements offers an in-depth analysis of Warren Buffet’s investment philosophy and strategies. The guide offers a step-by-step breakdown of how to examine investment statements and decide a company’s worth, and is one of the better books for learning business finance. The book relays Buffett’s insights into areas such as how much debt a company can hold and still be healthy, the toll research and development can have on the bottom line, and the types of companies that are better to avoid even if they do seem like a bargain. The guide shows readers how to make sense and make best use of the information on documents like balance sheets and income statements and to make informed decisions that translate into wise investments.

Notable Quote: “Before we start looking for the company that will make us rich, which is a company with a durable competitive advantage, it helps if we know where to look. Warren has figured out that these super companies come in three basic business models: They sell either a unique product or a unique service, or they are the low-cost buyer and seller of a product or service the public consistently needs.”

Read Warren Buffett and the Interpretation of Financial Statements.

11. Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Is Changing the World by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott

blockchain revolution book cover

Cryptocurrency is a hot topic in the world of finance, and Blockchain Revolution provides a crash course in the concept. The guide gives an introduction to blockchain before projecting the impact this technology will have on various parts of the economy. The book explores cryptocurrency’s potential effects on the financial services sector, government, and culture, and imagines how wide scale adoption might shape future leadership and business models. Later chapters lay out challenges to implementing blockchain technology and brainstorm possible solutions. Blockchain Revolution explains the potential for cryptocurrency to reinvent industry and increase equity and entrepreneurial inclusion, while also providing a guide to the fundamentals of blockchain.

Notable Quote: “Data is becoming a new asset class – one that may trump previous asset classes.”

Read Blockchain Revolution.

12. The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness by Morgan Housel

the psychology of money book cover

The Psychology of Money is a fascinating study of the mindsets behind financial decisions. The book makes the case that accumulating and maintaining wealth is largely about behavior and beliefs, and that business decisions are a matter of emotion as well as math. Morgan Housel sets out to pinpoint the mentalities that lead to money missteps. The pages are full of entertaining anecdotes and valuable lessons about the driving forces behind financial decisions. This book explores how humans think and feel about money, and how those factors impact the way they act. The Psychology of Money subtly shows readers how to gain control of their finances by understanding and regulating their money mindsets and emotions.

Notable Quote: “Growth is driven by compounding, which always takes time. Destruction is driven by single points of failure, which can happen in seconds, and loss of confidence, which can happen in an instant.”

Read The Psychology of Money.

Final thoughts

Common wisdom says that numbers do not lie, however, the numbers can lead to incorrect conclusions if not interpreted correctly. Books on business finance teach professionals how to navigate the often confusing world of accounting, trading, and economics, attain profitability, and make decisions that benefit a business’s bottom line both in the short and long terms. These guides are useful not only for leaders, but anyone involved in making financial decisions. Not to mention, these concepts give readers a deeper understanding of how the best businesses generate returns and can help individually understand how to make fiscally sound decisions and operate more efficiently, in both their personal and professional lives.

For more reading recommendations, check out this list of CEO books, these franchise books, and these office management books.

FAQ: Business finance books

Here are answers to common questions about books on business finance.

What are business finance books?

Business finance books are guides to finding funding, operating within budgets, and achieving profitability. These works cover topics such as investment strategy, financial reporting, valuation, and capital structure. The purpose of these books is to help professionals understand the economics behind business operations and to make sound decisions that serve the organization’s books both in the immediate and far-off future.

What are the best business finance books for beginners?

The best business finance books for beginners include How to Read a Financial Report by Tage C. Tracy and John A. Tracy, How Finance Works: The HBR Guide to Thinking Smart About the Numbers by Mihir Desai, and The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman.

What are the best finance books for entrepreneurs?

The best finance books for entrepreneurs include Valuation by McKinsey & Company Inc. et al, Profit First by Mike Michalowicz, and The Alchemy of Finance by George Soros.

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Marketing Coordinator at teambuilding.com.
Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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