After you identify those events that are most likely to put you in a tailspin, we need to look for resources to educate us on how to prepare for those specific life-changing events. As someone that loves to read and likes having the material around later for reference, I started reading all I could find on the subject. You should have a lot more than three books, you could have three books just on first aid and not cover everything. One thing that I have done was to search out what I think are three of the best non-fiction books on preparedness, because most of ideas and skills will be learned from them. The list could go one for pages as to which books are best, but the ones I think will serve you for the longer term are When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes by Cody Lundin, The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery , and either the SAS Survival Handbook by John "Lofty" Wiseman (for outdoor survival) or Preparedness Now! by Aton Edwards (for urban survival).
Add to those three books, the best three fiction books on preparedness. For this list I feel like the best book on the market with a financial collapse as the setting is Patriots by James Wesley, Rawles. For those of us that are concerned with a total grid down scenario that could be caused by an EMP, then there is One Second After by William R. Forstchen. If you would like to read about life after a nuclear exchange, Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank would be my choice. Each of these have almost a cult following and are revered in the prepping world as definitive works on the subject. So for a little more that $75 you would be on your way to the wealth of knowledge needed for your family’s survival. OBTW, I just received the Survival Blog Archives CD in the mail. I am enjoying reading and in some cases re-reading articles that are tried and true from real-life people. These books aren’t listed in any particular order, but I might would purchase one fiction and non-fiction at a time or in pairs. The fiction you will obviously read straight through and the non-fiction can act as your reference material for acquiring the skills we’ll talk about later.