Investing Reading List

Below is a list of books I recommend. This list includes those listed in my own book Wealth & Wisdom as well as more recent works I have since discovered.


Investing Classics 1 - Fun Reads

This first batch I consider required reading classics, for anyone interested in investing, money or finance. These are the first set of "core" books I assign to my investment research summer interns, and as the section title implies, these are the ones most people will find fun, entertaining, and easily consumed over a weekend.

Michael Lewis, Liar's Poker
This is one of the all-time classic stories of a young person discovering Wall Street, and having his eyes opened to what really goes on there. A fun, must-read for anyone interested in finance or investing.

Edwin Lefevre, Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
Another classic, this time a look-back biography by a famous investor who made and lost several fortunes in the early 20th century. A good read not only from a historical point of view, but also to see how little the markets have really changed.

Christopher Browne, The Little Book of Value Investing
A very nice little summary of a career, introduction to basic valuation principles, and notions of how to think differently than the herd. A good basic text for those starting out.

Fred Schwed, Where Are the Customers' Yachts?
An infamous and tongue-in-cheek look at Wall Street. Filled with good reminders about who makes money, how, and where on Wall Street. Many good observations about human nature and "follow the money" as regards the investing business.

John Brooks, Once in Golconda
The classic and very readable history of the events leading to the 1929 stock market crash, and its aftermath. Essential reading for any history of the market, and now in our time post- Internet and Housing bubbles, a reminder that bubbles have (and will) always exist.

Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds
Another classic study of crowd psychology as applied to markets, from Dutch tulips to the Mississippi Scheme to the South Sea Bubble, along with various other examples of delusional groupthink. Another must-read for serious students of the markets.

Jose De La Vega, Confusion de Confusiones
An entertaining look at the Amsterdam stock market in the late 1600s, and thereby an important reminder that in 400 years, markets still largely work the same, and investors still largely ask the same questions and face the same risks.

Nina Munk, Fools Rush In
The story of how AOL bought Time Warner. An excellent (and sobering) example of a major corporate deal being engineered by smooth talkers, used-car salesmen, and general knaves. For investors, a reminder to not always invest in the hype.

Keith Gessen, Diary of a Very Bad Year
A day-by-day, blow-by-blow account, written with an annonymous hedge fund manager, of the unravelling of the 2006 housing bubble. A good reminder that even the market so-called market experts can also have very bad days.

Harry Frankfurt, On Bullshit
A lovely, short, scholarly, but highly readable treatise on all the different flavors of bullshit. Invaluable preparation for any investor who will ever listen to a salesman extolling any potential investment.


Investing Classics 2 - Serious Reads

These are the second set of "core" books I assign to my investment research summer interns, and as the section title implies, these are the more serious ones. Though equally captivating, some of these are a bit denser, and may provoke more reflection.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan
A seminal book to open the investor's eyes to the possibility of the untoward and unexpected. Along with a send-up of the notion of "beta" being a useful predictor, this highly provocative book reminds one to question all assumptions - an excellent practice if one wishes to retain wealth over the long term.

Note: There is also Taleb's earlier book, Fooled by Randomness, which is also an excellent read. This book will teach you that maybe that fund manager (or you!) with the good investment performance was just lucky, and may not be quite as lucky tomorrow.

Peter L. Bernstein, Against the Gods
The subtitle is "The Remarkable Story of Risk" - and it is. From early merchants financing trading vessels, it explores how we have come to measure, protect against, and price, the notion of risk. This leads to discussions about the stability of things like interest rates, gold, and even Amsterdam townhouses.

Charles P. Kindleberger, Manias, Panics and Crashes
The subtitle of this one is "A History of Financial Crises" - and that is also what this book covers very well. The importance of this book is to see that throughout time, during the course of every generation, there has always been at least one large bubble, crash or other systemic trauma. Of course, the lesson we should take away from this book is that we too, for current and future generations, will in turn have our own market crisis.

Charles D. Ellis, The Investor's Anthology
A series of interviews and vignettes with well-known, successfull investors and fund managers, this book is important in that it teaches the reader that there are many, many different ways to make money in the markets; and that what works for one person, may not work or be suitable for another person.

Jack D. Schwager, Market Wizards, Updated
Another series of investor and trader interviews, with a similar message. Find what works for you, don't get emotional, and stick with it. Reading a book of these interviews is useful to remind one that perseverance and common sense do work.

Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor
I include this book here because it is the "bible" of value investing. And while it is a little dated, and some of the ideas about ratios should probably be a bit more flexible, it is still useful for understanding how one finds value, and how one thinks about some industries that may be cyclical or distressed.

James Grant, Bernard Baruch: The Adventures of a Wall Street Legend
An excellent biography of a very smart and insightful investor. From avoiding crashes, to navigating turmoil, to protecting one's wealth over the long term, Bernard Baruch's career is one to contemplate, emulate and learn from.

Peter Lynch, One Up On Wall Street
A bit of a pop classic, but still very useful for some basic messages about having a diversified portfolio, finding value anywhere you might look, and investing over the longer term.

David Dreman, Contrarian Investment Strategies
An important book for those interested in the psychology of markets. From being aware of one's emotional reaction to good or bad news, to being aware of what "everyone else" seems to be doing, to questioning some of the basic theory they still teach in introductory finance and investing classes. This book is a helpful first step in learning to think for yourself.

Victor Niederhoffer, The Education of a Speculator
Another good book, by a very ecclectic gentleman, that besides being highly entertaining, will teach you to think for yourself, to find your own data, and reach your own conclusions.


Other Investing Classics Worth Reading

All the rest, all worthy, in no particular order.

John Brooks, The Go-Go Years: The Drama and Crashing Finale of Wall Street's Bullish 60s
A look at a period in time, not so long ago, when people became infatuated with a small set of "one decision" stocks. This has happened before, and has happened since, and has always ended the same way.


Industry-Specific

I tell all my interns that, to make themselves subsequently more more employable in this business, they should become as familiar as possible with one to three (start with two) industries that they might enjoy covering. Herewith, in no particular order, some reading recommendations for various industries.

Energy

Daniel Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power
A definitive history of the development of the petrolium and energy industries, and how the need for energy led to intrigues and conflicts that simmer to this day. An essential read for anyone interested in energy.



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Other / Various / Unclassified

Worthy reads I could not figure out where else to put.

New York City

For those who are new to New York City (and especially my interns here from abroad), below are a few recreational books to acquaint you with the city and some of its history.

Russell Shorto, The Island at the Center of the World
An excellent and fascinating history of the founding of this Dutch trading outpost, its absorption into the growing English colonies, its growth to today, and how its mixed history influenced its diverse makeup and attitudes towards business.



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Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for this site to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
That said, I have purchased these books and many, many more with my own money; never received any free or review or promo samples; actually read all of them; included above only those I believe have merit; and all commentary above is my own opinion and not a paid-for endorsement.