I am currently a 17-year old Student with no major source of income being supported by my parents. I would like to learn about Finance and managing money, a skill which I hope will help me in the future.

To begin with, I am confused about the resources to refer to. There are so many books on finance out there that I don't know which one to pick. The main question I have: How should I go about accumulating my knowledge in this field? A few ideas regarding this are:

  • Pick up a few school textbooks on Commerce, Economics, Business studies and Accounts from my friends; These follow the school curriculum in India for high school (11th and 12th grade, ISC education board). I do not know how much practical application information from these textbooks will have in my future life, which is why I am hesitant to do this.
  • Chart out my own syllabus and topics of interest to read, which will be handy in the future. Then acquire a set of books to study these topics. I am currently leaning the most towards this option.
  • Do nothing about it and let experience be the teacher: this is the option I choose not to pursue, which is why I'm here

My current knowledge level:

I know the basics of banking, compound interest, loans, stocks, savings etc.

What I would like to learn

A deeper insight into the above topics as well as Accounting, Asset Management and Investing

A few book recommendations I already have:

  • The Intelligent Investor - Benjamin Graham
  • Securities Analysis - Benjamin Graham
  • Options, Futures and Derivatives - John Hull
  • Margin of Risk - Seth Klarman

Which path out of the above three would you recommend for learning? Also, would you make any changes to the above booklist? Are there any books that give a greater insight into the fundamentals of money? How money works, the cash flow of the world, socioeconomic impacts of money etc.

Apologies if this is a soft question: It may be closed by the moderators in that case. Thank you for any further advice.

  • 1
    "I would like to learn about Finance and managing money, a skill which I hope will help me in the future." The hard finance of business, or the soft finance of personal budgeting?
    – RonJohn
    Dec 20, 2019 at 15:59
  • If you can modify the question away from asking for specific recommendations, and more "what to look for", this will be more on-topic for the site. As a side note, I'll suggest you start by focusing on budgeting, rather than investing, as a money-management skill for a 17 year old. Simply saving more money will have more impact at this stage in your life, compared with making specific investment choices. Dec 20, 2019 at 16:15

3 Answers 3


I would recommend first learning more about personal finance before jumping into investing. Investing is great to understand when you have extra money, but as a 17 year old that doesn't support himself (yet), all of that could be wiped away with bad personal finance habits. At this stage, just investing in something relatively safe is more effective than trying to optimize.

So look for books/resources on budgeting, saving, using debt wisely (or not at all), etc.

In addition, if you plan to go to university, then forget investing until you're done. Keep all the money you have available for school so that you can avoid wealth-crushing student loans (perhaps things are different in India, but that's my biggest advice to student in the US). Once you've finished school, then make investing a part of your personal finance plan.

Side note: Hull is NOT for investors IMHO - it's for researchers or other technical fields related to investing. Just understanding the math behind options will NOT make you a good option trader.


As a 17-year-old Indian student, I would not pick up finance textbooks, but general money management text-books. There are two radio personalities in the U.S.A.

Clark Howard and Dave Ramsey. Both are radio hosts who give out financial advice to individuals. Both will introduce you to concepts like money management, loans, amortization schedules, and the basics of market/housing investing.

Both have books and youtube videos. Master the basics first. Use more advanced financial tools once you've mastered positive cash flow.

Remember more advanced financial tools such as leveraging amplify the positive AND negative consequences of your financial decisions


I have to laugh when a beginner asks about what to read in order to learn about personal finance and related topics and in return he receives recommendations like:

  • SECURITY ANALYSIS by Benjamin Graham

You're a beginner. You don't jump to right into complex tomes that will bore you to sleep because you don't understand what you are reading.

Start with beginner level introductory material. It could be as basic as some of the "XYZ For Dummies" books or it could be something a bit deeper. Build a basic foundation of understanding.

As you understand more, read more complex books in areas of the market that interest you. As you become more financially literate, you'll be able to judge for yourself what suits you and then you can dive into the detailed books written by experts.

Add OPTIONS AS A STRATEGIC INVESTMENT by Lawrence McMillan to your list of future reading (read it before Hull's book).

  • Too bad Louis Rukeyser isn't around anymore. At 17, I enjoyed watching Wall $treet Week and reading the Finance section of the newspaper.
    – RonJohn
    Dec 20, 2019 at 16:42
  • Now there's a blast from the past. Dec 20, 2019 at 17:31

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