Here is a list of the ‘best books’ from Jason Zweig of the Wall Street Journal. Zweig highlights his ‘top’ books for investors highlighting best value investing books for holidays, books include Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein, Common Sense on Mutual Funds by John C. Bogle, Triumph of the Optimists by Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh and Mike Staunton, The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham and more.

I’m often asked, especially as the holiday gift-giving season approaches, which books I recommend for investors.

I haven’t kept exact count, of course, but over the past quarter-century I have surely read (or tried to read) a couple thousand books on investing. Nearly all of them were a tragic waste of good trees. Most weren’t worth reading even a few pages of.

See full article by Wall Street Journal

Value investing books: Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them

Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them: Lessons from the Life-Changing Science of Behavioral Economics by Gary Belsky and Thomas Gilovich

A fascinating and practical manual: Looking at the ways we spend, save, borrow, invest, and waste money, Gary Belsky and Thomas Gilovich reveal the psychology underlying irrational financial behavior. Entertaining case studies illustrate common patterns of thinking and show readers how changing their habits can protect and grow their assets. .

New information for a new economic climate: Belsky and Gilovich offer sound theory and sensible advice that accounts for new economic realities and helps people make good decisions in these difficult times. .

Value investing books: Against the Gods

Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein

A Business Week, New York Times Business, and USA Today Bestseller “Ambitious and readable …an engaging introduction to the oddsmakers, whom Bernstein regards as true humanists helping to release mankind from the choke holds of superstition and fatalism.” -The New York Times “An extraordinarily entertaining and informative book.” -The Wall Street Journal “A lively panoramic book …Against the Gods sets up an ambitious premise and then delivers on it.” -Business Week “Deserves to be, and surely will be, widely read.” -The Economist “[A] challenging book, one that may change forever the way people think about the world.” -Worth “No one else could have written a book of such central importance with so much charm and excitement.” -Robert Heilbroner author, The Worldly Philosophers “With his wonderful knowledge of the history and current manifestations of risk, Peter Bernstein brings us Against the Gods. Nothing like it will come out of the financial world this year or ever. I speak carefully: no one should miss it.” -John Kenneth Galbraith Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University In this unique exploration of the role of risk in our society, Peter Bernstein argues that the notion of bringing risk under control is one of the central ideas that distinguishes modern times from the distant past. Against the Gods chronicles the remarkable intellectual adventure that liberated humanity from oracles and soothsayers by means of the powerful tools of risk management that are available to us today. “An extremely readable history of risk.” -Barron’s “Fascinating …this challenging volume will help you understand the uncertainties that every investor must face.” -Money “A singular achievement.” -Times Literary Supplement “There’s a growing market for savants who can render the recondite intelligibly-witness Stephen Jay Gould (natural history), Oliver Sacks (disease), Richard Dawkins (heredity), James Gleick (physics), Paul Krugman (economics)-and Bernstein would mingle well in their company.” -The Australian

Value investing books: Common Sense on Mutual Funds

Common Sense on Mutual Funds: Fully Updated 10th Anniversary Edition by John C. Bogle

John C. Bogle shares his extensive insights on investing in mutual funds Since the first edition of Common Sense on Mutual Funds was published in 1999, much has changed, and no one is more aware of this than mutual fund pioneer John Bogle. Now, in this completely updated Second Edition, Bogle returns to take another critical look at the mutual fund industry and help investors navigate their way through the staggering array of investment alternatives that are available to them. Written in a straightforward and accessible style, this reliable resource examines the fundamentals of mutual fund investing in today’s turbulent market environment and offers timeless advice in building an investment portfolio. Along the way, Bogle shows you how simplicity and common sense invariably trump costly complexity, and how a low cost, broadly diversified portfolio is virtually assured of outperforming the vast majority of Wall Street professionals over the long-term. Written by respected mutual fund industry legend John C. Bogle Discusses the timeless fundamentals of investing that apply in any type of market Reflects on the structural and regulatory changes in the mutual fund industry Other titles by Bogle: The Little Book of Common Sense Investing and Enough. Securing your financial future has never seemed more difficult, but you’ll be a better investor for having read the Second Edition of Common Sense on Mutual Funds .

 

Value investing books: Triumph of the Optimists

Triumph of the Optimists: 101 Years of Global Investment Returns by Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh and Mike Staunton

Investors have too often extrapolated from recent experience. In the 1950s, who but the most rampant optimist would have dreamt that over the next fifty years the real return on equities would be 9% per year? Yet this is what happened in the U.S. stock market. The optimists triumphed. However, as Don Marquis observed, an optimist is someone who never had much experience. The authors of this book extend our experience across regions and across time. They present a comprehensive and consistent analysis of investment returns for equities, bonds, bills, currencies and inflation, spanning sixteen countries, from the end of the nineteenth century to the beginning of the twenty-first. This is achieved in a clear and simple way, with over 130 color diagrams that make comparison easy.

Crucially, the authors analyze total returns, including reinvested income. They show that some historical indexes overstate long-term performance because they are contaminated by survivorship bias and that long-term stock returns are in most countries seriously overestimated, due to a focus on periods that with hindsight are known to have been successful.

Value investing books: Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character) by Richard P. Feynman

Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures. Here he recounts in his inimitable voice his experience trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek; cracking the uncrackable safes guarding the most deeply held nuclear secrets; accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums; painting a naked female toreador. In short, here is Feynman’s life in all its eccentric—a combustible mixture of high intelligence, unlimited curiosity, and raging chutzpah. Black-and-white photographs throughout

Value investing books: The Intelligent Investor

The Intelligent Investor: The Classic Text on Value Investing by Benjamin Graham

The greatest investment advisor of the twentieth century, Benjamin Graham taught and inspired people worldwide. Graham’s philosophy of “value investing” — which shields investors from substantial error and teaches them to develop long-term strategies — has made The Intelligent Investor the stock market bible ever since its original publication in 1949.

Over the years, market developments have proven the wisdom of Graham’s strategies. While preserving the integrity of Graham’s original text, this revised edition includes updated commentary by noted financial journalist Jason Zweig, whose perspective incorporates the realities of today’s market, draws parallels between Graham’s examples and today’s financial headlines, and gives readers a more thorough understanding of how to apply Graham’s principles.

Value investing books: How to Lie with Statistics

How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff

Darrell Huff runs the gamut of every popularly used type of statistic, probes such things as the sample study, the tabulation method, the interview technique, or the way the results are derived from the figures, and points up the countless number of dodges which are used to full rather than to inform.

Value investing books: Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow is destined to be a classic.

Value investing books: Manias, Panics and Crashes

Manias, Panics and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises, Sixth Edition by Charles P. Kindleberger

Selected as one of the best investment books of all time by the Financial Times, Manias, Panics and Crashes puts the turbulence of the financial world in perspective. Here is a vivid and entertaining account of how reckless decisions and a poor handling of money have led to financial explosions over the centuries. Covering topics such as the history and anatomy of crises, speculative manias, and the lender of last resort, this book has been hailed as “a true classic . . . both timely and timeless.” In this new, updated sixth edition, Kindleberger and Aliber expand upon the ideas presented in the previous edition to bring the history of the financial crisis up-to-date.  It now includes two new chapters that provide an in-depth analysis of the causes, consequences and policy responses to the first global crisis of the 21st century, the Financial Crisis of 2007-2008.  In addition, these new chapters also cover significant crises of the last fifteen years.  The authors offer valuable lessons that will allow the reader to successfully navigate the financial crises of today and ones that lie ahead.

Value investing books: Buffett

Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein

Since its hardcover publication in August of 1995, Buffett has appeared on the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Newsday and Business Week bestseller lists. The incredible landmark portrait of Warren Buffett’s uniquely American life is now available in paperback, revised and updated by the author.

Starting from scratch, simply by picking stocks and companies for investment, Warren Buffett amassed one of the epochal fortunes of the twentieth century–an astounding net worth of $10 billion, and counting. His awesome investment record has made him a cult figure popularly known for his seeming contradictions: a billionaire who has a modest lifestyle, a phenomenally successful investor who eschews the revolving-door trading of modern Wall Street, a brilliant dealmaker who cultivates a homespun aura.

Value investing books: A Random Walk Down Wall Street

A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing by Burton G. Malkiel

Especially in the wake of the financial meltdown, readers will hunger for Burton G. Malkiel’s reassuring, authoritative, gimmick-free, and perennially best-selling guide to investing. With 1.5 million copies sold, A Random Walk Down Wall Street has long been established as the first book to purchase when starting a portfolio. In addition to covering the full range of investment opportunities, the book features new material on the Great Recession and the global credit crisis as well as an increased focus on the long-term potential of emerging markets. With a new supplement that tackles the increasingly complex world of derivatives, along with the book’s classic life-cycle guide to investing, A Random Walk Down Wall Street remains the best investment guide money can buy.

Value investing books: The Scientific Outlook

The Scientific Outlook by Bertrand Russell

According to Bertrand Russell, science is knowledge; that which seeks general laws connecting a number of particular facts. It is, he argues, far superior to art, where much of the knowledge is intangible and assumed. In The Scientific Outlook, Russell delivers one of his most important works, exploring the nature and scope of scientific knowledge, the increased power over nature that science affords and the changes in the lives of human beings that result from new forms of science. Insightful and accessible, this impressive work sees Russell at his very best.

Value investing books: The Snowball

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

Here is THE book recounting the life and times of one of the most respected men in the world, Warren Buffett. The legendary Omaha investor has never written a memoir, but now he has allowed one writer, Alice Schroeder, unprecedented access to explore directly with him and with those closest to him his work, opinions, struggles, triumphs, follies, and wisdom. The result is the personally revealing and complete biography of the man known everywhere as “The Oracle of Omaha.”

Although the media track him constantly, Buffett himself has never told his full life story. His reality is private, especially by celebrity standards. Indeed, while the homespun persona that the public sees is true as far as it goes, it goes only so far. Warren Buffett is an array of paradoxes. He set out to prove that nice guys can finish first. Over the years he treated his investors as partners, acted as their steward, and championed honesty as an investor, CEO, board member, essayist, and speaker. At the same time he became the world’s richest man, all from the modest Omaha headquarters of his company Berkshire Hathaway. None of this fits the term “simple.”

Value investing books: Where Are the Customers’ Yachts

Where Are the Customers’ Yachts: or A Good Hard Look at Wall Street by Fred Schwed

‘Once I picked it up I did not put it down until I finished…What Schwed has done is capture fully-in deceptively clean language – the lunacy at the heart of the investment business’ – From the Foreword by Michael Lewis, Bestselling author of “Liar’s Poker”. ‘…one of the funniest books ever written about Wall Street’ – Jane Bryant Quinn, “The Washington Post”. ‘How great to have a reissue of a hilarious classic that proves the more things change the more they stay the same. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent’ – Michael Bloomberg. ‘It’s amazing how well Schwed’s book is holding up after fifty-five years. About the only thing that’s changed on Wall Street is that computers have replaced pencils and graph paper. Otherwise, the basics are the same. The investor’s need to believe somebody is matched by the financial advisor’s need to make a nice living. If one of them has to be disappointed, it’s bound to be the former’ – John Rothchild, Author, “A Fool and His Money”, Financial Columnist, “Time” magazine. Humorous and entertaining, this book exposes the folly and hypocrisy of Wall Street. The title refers to a story about a visitor to New York who admired the yachts of the bankers and brokers. Naively, he asked where all the customers’ yachts were? Of course, none of the customers could afford yachts, even though they dutifully followed the advice of their bankers and brokers. Full of wise contrarian advice and offering a true look at the world of investing, in which brokers get rich while their customers go broke, this book continues to open the eyes of investors to the reality of Wall Street.

Value investing books: Money Game

Money Game by Adam Smith

“This is a modern classic.” —Paul A. Samuelson, First American Nobel Prize Winner in Economics

“The best book there is about the stock market and all that goes with it.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Anyone whose orientation is toward where the action is, where the happenings happen, should buy a copy of The Money Game and read it with due diligence.” —Book World

” ‘Adam Smith’ is a veteran observer and commentator on the events and people of Wall Street…. His thorough knowledge of financial affairs gives his observations a great degree of authenticity. But the joy of reading this book comes from his delightful sense of humor. He is a lively and ingeniously witty writer who never stoops to acerbity. None of the solemn, sacred cows of Wall Street escapes debunking.” —Library Journal

Best Value Investing Books For Holidays From Jason Zweig