Top Fintech Books You Must Read This Year

By Josh Book

Technology and innovative thinking are transforming business models and changing the ground rules, virtually remaking the banking and financial services industry as we know it.

With changes happening faster than ever, it is critical for financial professionals to stay ahead of technological advancements and industry trends. Below, I’ve compiled ten relatively recent fintech books that I think should be on every financial professional’s reading list. Those which I've yet to get to are all on my reading list for this year.

I welcome feedback on these selections and suggestions for books I may have overlooked.

Bye Bye Banks?

James Haycock and Shane Richmond

This book explores how the future of the retail banking business model is set to be changed by digital transformation. James Haycock and Shane Richmond describe these startups, and to which areas of the banking industry they are laying siege. It shows that this assault is already well underway and that many incumbents are poised to be displaced, diminished and disintermediated. It draws on extensive research and on-and-off the record interviews with senior executives in some of the biggest banks. Haycock and Richmond conclude with the recommendation that traditional banks need to reinvent themselves by launching a ‘Beta Bank’: a lean, stand-alone organization fit for the future for which they provide a ten-point operating model. This short book is a bold, urgent and timely analysis of the forces shaping the future of financial services. It is a message to industry leaders in the sector that could not be more simple: adapt or prepare to be disrupted.

Augmented: Life in Smart Lane

brett king

Smartphones, social networking platforms and digital bankings are just the latest in a 250-year cycle of disruption that has changed our work lives, how we communicate and the way we live. Brett King says the coming Augmented Age, however, will bring with it a level of behavioural shifts and disruption that have never been witnessed before. We watch news of Google’s self-driving cars but don’t likely realize this means progressive cities will have to ban human drivers in the next decade because us humans are too risky. This book is more than a book about the future of our history, but it is a narrative of how our identities will adapt to live in a world that will shift more in the next 20 years than it has in the last 250 years. Are you ready to live in an augmented reality? Brett King tells us that we don’t really have a choice.  

The Power of Mobile Banking

Sandra Krishnan

There are two large disruptors that are completely transforming retail banking. The first is a worldwide convergence of financial services, telecom, retail, healthcare, and media. Second, the chaotic mash-up of multiple emerging phenomena including nanotechnology, big data analytics, telemedicine, smart cities, machine-to-machine interaction (the Internet of Things) and the incredibly rapid growth of the middle class in Asia, South Asia and parts of Africa. The new middle class represents hundreds of billions of dollars in fresh revenue for retail banks. By training and temperament, however, most retail bankers are unable to “think beyond the branch.” They do not understand that in the modern connected world, the “branch” is becoming largely irrelevant. What matters instead are the services delivered to your laptop, your tablet, and your smartphone. Sankar Krishnan in this book, provides compelling insights into the steps the retail banks need to talk to modernize and succeed in the new world.

The End of Banking: Money, Credit and The Digital Revolution

jonathan mcmillian

In this thought-provoking book, Jonathan McMillian reveals why the banking industry is broken and why we can no longer fix it. He cuts into the inner workings of the industry and shows how the digital revolution turns out to be the game changer that calls for the end of banking. This book transforms our understanding of the financial system. It identifies the root cause of today’s problems with banking and presents a solution that stands out against existing reform proposals. McMillian’s book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand why a financial system without banking is both desirable and possible in the digital age.

Virtual Banking: A Guide to Innovation and Partnering

Dan Schatt

Dan Schatt, the former PayPal Head of Financial Innovation, discusses how banks must compete in the new modern banking environment. He explores the reasons behind the massive consumer migration away from traditional banks and provides clear steps on how to beat new banking models at their own game. Digital payment is the hottest topic in banking today and is set to define the future of the industry. Between the pace of financial regulatory reform and the cloud computing revolution, the old banking model is on the fast track to extinction. Electronic Payments, Mobile Commerce, and Virtual Banking provide the information banks need to compete in this new environment and details the integral implementation actions that will allow them to thrive. If you want to learn about banking innovations, competitors and the new outsourced banking model, I highly recommend reading this book.

Smarter Bank: Why Money Management is More Important than Money Movement

ron Shevlin

What should banks and credit unions do to defend their positions with technological developments and upstarts threatening to disrupt and displace established financial institutions? The smarter bank helps banks and credit unions to understand and react to emerging technological disruptions, to regain consumer trust and to be more profitable. In short, it’s about how to become a “smarter” bank. Smarter about developing customer trust and relationships, smarter about understanding consumers’ needs and wants, smarter about using technology, smarter about marketing products and services, and smarter about making money. Ron Shevlin in this book provides a compelling read for anyone who wants to learn from a no-nonsense framework to address broad issues impacting banking’s rapidly changing business model.

Digital Bank: Strategies to Launch or Become a Digital Bank

Chris skinner

In this book Chris Skinner tracks the innovations in banking and how mobile banking is changing the way consumers interact with the industry that now must be focused on modern technologies. Digital Bank not only includes extensive guidance and background on the digital revolution in banking, but also in-depth analysis of the activities of incumbent banks such as Barclays in the UK and mBank in Poland, as well as new start-ups such as Metro Bank and disruptive new models of banking such as FIDOR Bank in Germany. Add on to these a comprehensive sprinkling of completely new models of finance, such as Zopa and Bitcoin, and you can see that this book is a must-have for anyone involved in the future of business, commerce and banking.

Valueweb: How Fintech Firms are Using Bitcoin Blockchain and Mobile Technologies to Create the Internet of Value

Chris skinner

The Internet of Things is all about machines trading with machines – your fridge orders groceries; your car, fuel; your television, entertainment; and so on. However, machines cannot trade with machines if it’s expensive and slow. Would you really want your TV to order the next season of Games of Thrones if the payment took ten days and cost $25 or more? Unfortunately, with the way the bank system works today, that is the problem we face today. As a result, we need an Internet of Value to work with the Internet of Things. To allows machines to trade with machines and people with people, in real-time and for free. Using a combination of technologies from mobile devices to Bitcoin and the Blockchain, FinTech firms are building the ValueWeb. The question then is what does this mean for financial institutions, governments, and citizens? This book by Chris Skinner is a definite must read to find out the answers.

The Disruptors' Feast: How to Avoid Being Devoured in Today's Changing Global Economy

frits van paasschen 

Digitization is making our world run at faster speeds than we have ever seen before. While this is exciting, most organizations and individuals are ill-equipped to face this level of disruption and volatility. Frits van Paasschen, a global executive whose work has brought him to more than 100 countries, provides readers with a look into the trends that are shaping the world of the future and the global forces that are disrupting the status quo and driving change. This book provides readers with compelling applications for financial service professionals and a unique macro view of the rapidly evolving world that everyone should read. 

The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order

Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey 

Bitcoin is a buzzworthy term that is showing up all over headlines, social media posts and in media debates. You can apparently even use it purchase things from coffee to cars, yet few people seem to truly understand what it is. This raises the question: Why should anyone care about bitcoin? In this book,  Wall Street journalists Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey discuss how cybermoney is poised to launch a revolution, one that could reinvent traditional financial and social structures while bringing the world's billions of "unbanked" individuals into a new global economy.

Jay Palter