Top 10 Must-Read Books For Finance Professionals by Poonkulali Thangavelu, Investopedia

The world of finance has provided the backdrop for many dramas, from mergers and acquisitions and Wall Street shenanigans to Tulip Mania and the recent housing market downturn and subsequent financial crisis. Finance obviously has no lack of gripping topics for authors to write about. For finance professionals who want to better understand the history of their industry and better grasp the fundamentals underlying its various dramas, here are 10 suggestions. Most of these books have stood the test of time and are all worth reading.

Must-read books for finance professionals – Barbarians At the Gate

“One of the finest, most compelling accounts of what happened to corporate America and Wall Street in the 1980’s.” —New York Times Book Review

A #1 New York Times bestseller and arguably the best business narrative ever written, Barbarians at the Gate is the classic account of the fall of RJR Nabisco. An enduring masterpiece of investigative journalism by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar, it includes a new afterword by the authors that brings this remarkable story of greed and double-dealings up to date twenty years after the famed deal. The Los Angeles Times calls Barbarians at the Gate, “Superlative.” The Chicago Tribune raves, “It’s hard to imagine a better story…and it’s hard to imagine a better account.” And in an era of spectacular business crashes and federal bailouts, it still stands as a valuable cautionary tale that must be heeded.

Must-read books for finance professionals – Security Analysis

“A road map for investing that I have now been following for 57 years.” –From the Foreword by Warren E. Buffett

First published in 1934, Security Analysis is one of the most influential financial books ever written. Selling more than one million copies through five editions, it has provided generations of investors with the timeless value investing philosophy and techniques of Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd.

As relevant today as when they first appeared nearly 75 years ago, the teachings of Benjamin Graham, “the father of value investing,” have withstood the test of time across a wide diversity of market conditions, countries, and asset classes.

This new sixth edition, based on the classic 1940 version, is enhanced with 200 additional pages of commentary from some of today’s leading Wall Street money managers. These masters of value investing explain why the principles and techniques of Graham and Dodd are still highly relevant even in today’s vastly different markets. The contributor list includes:

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  • Seth A. Klarman, president of The Baupost Group, L.L.C. and author of Margin of Safety
  • James Grant, founder of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, general partner of Nippon Partners
  • Jeffrey M. Laderman, twenty-five year veteran of BusinessWeek
  • Roger Lowenstein, author of Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist and When America Aged and Outside Director, Sequoia Fund
  • Howard S. Marks, CFA, Chairman and Co-Founder, Oaktree Capital Management L.P.
  • J. Ezra Merkin, Managing Partner, Gabriel Capital Group .
  • Bruce Berkowitz, Founder, Fairholme Capital Management.
  • Glenn H. Greenberg, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Chieftain Capital Management
  • Bruce Greenwald, Robert Heilbrunn Professor of Finance and Asset Management, Columbia Business School
  • David Abrams, Managing Member, Abrams Capital

Featuring a foreword by Warren E. Buffett (in which he reveals that he has read the 1940 masterwork “at least four times”), this new edition of Security Analysis will reacquaint you with the foundations of value investing?more relevant than ever in the tumultuous 21st century markets.

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Must-read books for finance professionals - The Intelligent Investor

This classic text is annotated to update Graham's timeless wisdom for today's market conditions...

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.

Vital and indispensable, this HarperBusiness Essentials edition of The Intelligent Investor is the most important book you will ever read on how to reach your financial goals.

Must-read books for finance professionals - Common Sense on Mutual Funds

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.

Must-read books for finance professionals - A Random Walk Down Wall Street

The best investment guide money can buy, with over 1.5 million copies sold, now fully revised and updated.

In today’s daunting investment landscape, the need for Burton G. Malkiel’s reassuring, authoritative, and perennially best-selling guide to investing is stronger than ever. A Random Walk Down Wall Street has long been established as the first book to purchase when starting a portfolio. This new edition features fresh material on exchange-traded funds and investment opportunities in emerging markets; a brand-new chapter on “smart beta” funds, the newest marketing gimmick of the investment management industry; and a new supplement that tackles the increasingly complex world of derivatives.

Must-read books for finance professionals - Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds is a work by Charles MacKay now brought to you in this new edition of the timeless classic.

Must-read books for finance professionals - Liar's Poker

The time was the 1980s. The place was Wall Street. The game was called Liar’s Poker.

Before there was Flash Boys and The Big Short, there was Liar's Poker. A knowing and unnervingly talented debut, this insider’s account of 1980s Wall Street excess transformed Michael Lewis from a disillusioned bond salesman to the best-selling literary icon he is today. Together, the three books cover thirty years of endemic global corruption?perhaps the defining problem of our age?which has never been so hilariously skewered as in Liar's Poker, now in a twenty-fifth-anniversary edition with a new afterword by the author.

It was wonderful to be young and working on Wall Street in the 1980s: never before had so many twenty-four-year-olds made so much money in so little time. After you learned the trick of it, all you had to do was pick up the phone and the money poured in your lap.

This wickedly funny book endures as the best record we have of those heady, frenzied years. In it Lewis describes his own rake’s progress through a powerful investment bank. From an unlikely beginning (art history at Princeton?) he rose in two short years from Salomon Brothers trainee to Geek (the lowest form of life on the trading floor) to Big Swinging Dick, the most dangerous beast in the jungle, a bond salesman who could turn over millions of dollars' worth of doubtful bonds with just one call.

As he has continued to do for a quarter century, Michael Lewis here shows us how things really worked on Wall Street. In the Salomon training program a roomful of aspirants is stunned speechless by the vitriolic profanity of the Human Piranha; out on the trading floor, bond traders throw telephones at the heads of underlings and Salomon chairmen Gutfreund challenges his chief trader to a hand of liar’s poker for one million dollars.

Must-read books for finance professionals - Freakonomics

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?

What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?

How much do parents really matter?

These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports—and reaches conclusions that turn conventional wisdom on its head.

Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They set out to explore the inner workings of a crack gang, the truth about real estate agents, the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan, and much more.

Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, they show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.

Must-read books for finance professionals - Competitive Strategy

Now nearing its sixtieth printing in English and translated into nineteen languages, Michael E. Porter's Competitive Strategy has transformed the theory, practice, and teaching of business strategy throughout the world.

Electrifying in its simplicity—like all great breakthroughs—Porter’s analysis of industries captures the complexity of industry competition in five underlying forces. Porter introduces one of the most powerful competitive tools yet developed: his three generic strategies—lowest cost, differentiation, and focus—which bring structure to the task of strategic positioning. He shows how competitive advantage can be defined in terms of relative cost and relative prices, thus linking it directly to profitability, and presents a whole new perspective on how profit is created and divided. In the almost two decades since publication, Porter's framework for predicting competitor behavior has transformed the way in which companies look at their rivals and has given rise to the new discipline of competitor assessment.

More than a million managers in both large and small companies, investment analysts, consultants, students, and scholars throughout the world have internalized Porter's ideas and applied them to assess industries, understand competitors, and choose competitive positions. The ideas in the book address the underlying fundamentals of competition in a way that is independent of the specifics of the ways companies go about competing.

Competitive Strategy has filled a void in management thinking. It provides an enduring foundation and grounding point on which all subsequent work can be built. By bringing a disciplined structure to the question of how firms achieve superior profitability, Porter’s rich frameworks and deep insights comprise a sophisticated view of competition unsurpassed in the last quarter-century.

Must-read books for finance professionals - Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises

Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises, the best known and most highly regarded book on financial crises. Financial crises and speculative excess can be traced back to the very beginning of trade and commerce. Since its introduction in 1978, this book has charted and followed this volatile world of financial markets. Charles Kindleberger's brilliant, panoramic history revealed how financial crises follow a nature-like rhythm: they peak and purge, swell and storm. Now this newly revised and expanded Fourth Edition probes the most recent "natural disasters" of the markets-from the difficulties in East Asia and the repercussions of the Mexican crisis to the 1992 Sterling crisis. His sharply drawn history confronts a host of key questions. Charles P. Kindleberger (Boston, MA) was the Ford Professor of Economics at MIT for thirty-three years. He is a financial historian and prolific writer who has published over twenty-four books.

Top 10 Must-Read Books For Finance Professionals

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