The Best Books on Living an Intentional, Happy Life (Before and After FI!)

When I first started my journey to financial independence, I read every personal finance book I could get my hands on. However, there is only so much to learn about basic money management, FI math and investing. Over time I’ve become much more interested in books on related topics like money mindset, minimalism, life design, happiness research, mindfulness – basically anything related to living a good, intentional life.

I often get asked which books I recommend, especially for those who are considering taking an alternative, more intentional route to FI or are ready to downshift. So in today’s post, I want to share some of the books I find most relevant and helpful for people who want to live great lives along the path to FI (and beyond!) and who are new to some of the concepts mentioned above.

This article contains some affiliate links which means the blog earns a small commission if you decide to purchase one of the books via my links. Thanks for your support.

Here they are (in no particular order!):

Four Thousand Weeks
Olive Burkeman

This book is marketed as a guide to time management, but it is not about schedules, to-do lists and morning routines. Quite the opposite. It is about what really counts in life and how we can make the most of our 4000 weeks on earth.

Die With Zero
Bill Perkins

A fantastic book that talks about what accumulating wealth is really about – living life to the fullest. Thought-provoking and possibly a game-changer for people who are racing toward Financial Independence.

Minimalism – Live A Meaningful Life
The Minimalists

A good introduction to minimalism and intentional living (these two concepts go hand in hand). This is a short, easy-to-read book that I keep coming back to and recommend often.

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying
Bronnie Ware

A powerful book written by a palliative care nurse. A little self-indulgent at times but definitely a great reminder of how important it is to create a life that’s aligned with our values and priorities.

How Much Is Enough?
Arun Abey and Andrew Ford

This book looks at personal finance and investing through a happiness and well-being lens. The authors emphasize the importance of balance, a holistic view and finding one’s “enough”. It really is a book about living authentically and intentionally (including when it comes to money), which really resonated with me.

The Slight Edge
Jeff Olson

This is a book about the power of small positive actions over time. The author describes how little decisions that seem insignificant in the moment add up over time and lead you either to success or failure. The principles in this book are applicable in all areas of life like money, health and relationships.

The Art of Frugal Hedonism
Adam Grubb and Annie Raser-Rowland

This book is all about enjoying life! The title does not do it justice – it is not a book about penny-pinching at all. Lots of great ideas around enjoying the best things life has to offer.

Brooke McAlary

This a great introduction to the concept of slow living and mindfulness. I find that books on these topics are often too “hippyish” (is that a word?) and spiritual, but this one is written in a down-to-earth style and has many good tips for living in the moment and overcoming the constant busyness many of us suffer from.

Taking Stock
Jordan Grumet, MD

This book was written by Doc G who some of you might know from the Earn & Invest Podcast. He combines his experience as a hospice doctor with his knowledge about financial independence and teaches us to be more mindful and intentional. If you’ve read all the other books on the list, you will probably be familiar with most of the concepts covered in the book, but it’s definitely worth a read.

The Psychology of Money
Morgan Housel

One of my all-time favourite personal finance books! I liked it so much that I wrote a full book review. A fantastic read. I really hope Morgan writes another book soon!

I hope this list provided some reading inspiration! 🙂 Remember, financial independence is about more than just money!

Bonus tip: If you prefer podcasts, check out “The Happiness Lab” with Dr. Laurie Santos!

Which books from the list have you read already? What other books on intentional living, happiness, mindset, money psychology, lifestyle design and living a meaningful life do you recommend?

13 thoughts on “The Best Books on Living an Intentional, Happy Life (Before and After FI!)”

  1. You are amazing, thank you so much for this list! I’ve been meaning to get back into reading, this is the perfect motivation! 🙂

  2. Great selection – thank you! I read The Slight Edge many years ago, such a good book. Have to get it out of my boxes (we moved 6 months ago and I never unpacked my books). Cheers!

  3. I love these kinds of posts. I am always on the lookout for new books to read. I have read Die with zero, Slow, The art of frugal hedonism, and The psychology of money (which was my favourite of these). Four thousand weeks and Taking stock are on my list. I also really like the Happiness lab podcast and find it very complementary to the slow FI concept. Here are some book recommendations: Digital Minimalism, by Cal Newport, Do you really need it, by Pierre-Yves McSween, and The day the world stops shopping, by J.B. MacKinnon.


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