Generally, the most successful people in the world are also voracious readers. This is also true of the most successful value investors.
Both Warren Buffett (who used to read 1,000 pages a day when he was starting out) and Charlie Munger (who often advises young investors to “develop into a lifelong self-learners through voracious reading”) credit their habit of reading as a major contributor to their success. Ben Graham was an even more prolific reader than his successors – he would often quote the Latin and Greek classics and once translated a Spanish novel into English.
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Hopefully, I’ve convinced you how important it is to read and learn, especially if you are new to investing. Luckily, I’ve compiled a list just for you (don’t worry, you won’t have to translate anything from Spanish).
Here are the 11 best investment books for beginners:
Investment Books #1 The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing by Benjamin Graham
If you only ever read one investment book, then let it be The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. There’s a reason why Graham is called the “Godfather of Value Investing.” Benjamin Graham was probably the most influential investing figure of the 20th century, and The Intelligent Investor is probably the most influential investment book of all time. The Intelligent Investor is the value investor’s bible… keep this one on your bedside table.
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.
Investment Books #2 The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America by Lawrence Cunningham (Editor), Warren Buffett
If The Intelligent Investor is the value investor’s bible, then The Essays of Warren Buffett are the value investor’s New Testament. Warren Buffett has been writing essays on investing and business for 50 years, and his genius – combined with his down-to-earth charm and clear prose – makes him perhaps one of the greatest educators as well as one of the greatest investors to have ever lived. Many of these essays can be found for free online, but The Essays of Warren Buffett by Lawrence Cunningham brings them all together under one roof.
The year 2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Berkshire Hathaway under Warren Buffett's leadership, a milestone worth commemorating. The tenure sets a record for chief executive not only in duration but in value creation and philosophizing. The fourth edition of The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America celebrates its twentieth anniversary. As the book Buffett autographs most, its popularity and longevity attest to the widespread appetite for this unique compilation of Buffett's thoughts that is at once comprehensive, non-repetitive, and digestible. New and experienced readers alike will gain an invaluable informal education by perusing this classic arrangement of Warren's best writings.
The fourth edition's new material includes:
- Warren's 50th anniversary retrospective, in what Bill Gates called Warren's best letter ever, on conglomerates and Berkshire's future without Buffett;
- Charlie Munger's 50th anniversary essay on ''The Berkshire System'';
- Warren's definitive defense of Berkshire's no-dividend practice; and
- Warren's best advice on investing, whether in apartments, farms, or businesses.
Investment Books #3 Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond by Bruce Greenwald, Jude Kahn, Paul Sonkin, & Michael van Biema
Bruce Greenwald is the Robert Heilbrunn Professor of Finance and Asset Management at Columbia University and is one of the leading authorities on value investing. This book gives the most comprehensive overview of value investing of any investment book I’ve read, covering general techniques of value investing as well as profiles of successful value investors such as Warren Buffett and Mario Gabelli.
From the "guru to Wall Street's gurus" comes the fundamental techniques of value investing and their applications
Bruce Greenwald is one of the leading authorities on value investing. Some of the savviest people on Wall Street have taken his Columbia Business School executive education course on the subject. Now this dynamic and popular teacher, with some colleagues, reveals the fundamental principles of value investing, the one investment technique that has proven itself consistently over time. After covering general techniques of value investing, the book proceeds to illustrate their applications through profiles of Warren Buffett, Michael Price, Mario Gabellio, and other successful value investors. A number of case studies highlight the techniques in practice.
Bruce C. N. Greenwald (New York, NY) is the Robert Heilbrunn Professor of Finance and Asset Management at Columbia University. Judd Kahn, PhD (New York, NY), is a member of Morningside Value Investors. Paul D. Sonkin (New York, NY) is the investment manager of the Hummingbird Value Fund. Michael van Biema (New York, NY) is an Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University.
Investment Books #4 Stocks for the Long Run: The Definitive Guide to Financial Market Returns & Long-Term Investment Strategies by Jeremy Siegel
Jeremy Siegel‘s nickname is the “Wizard of Wharton” (he’s been teaching there for 45 years). His investment book Stocks for the Long Run is sometimes called “the buy and hold Bible.” The book makes the convincing argument that – after you account for inflation – equities are actually the safest investment in the long run, proving the point that most people should be long-term, passive investors in the stock market.
Stocks for the Long Run set a precedent as the most complete and irrefutable case for stock market investment ever written. Now, this bible for long-term investing continues its tradition with a fourth edition featuring updated, revised, and new material that will keep you competitive in the global market and up-to-date on the latest index instruments.
Wharton School professor Jeremy Siegel provides a potent mix of new evidence, research, and analysis supporting his key strategies for amassing a solid portfolio with enhanced returns and reduced risk. In a seamless narrative that incorporates the historical record of the markets with the realities of today's investing environment, the fourth edition features:
- A new chapter on globalization that documents how the emerging world will soon overtake the developed world and how it impacts the global economy
- An extended chapter on indexing that includes fundamentally weighted indexes, which have historically offered better returns and lower volatility than their capitalization-weighted counterparts
- Insightful analysis on what moves the market and how little we know about the sources of big market changes
- A sobering look at behavioral finance and the psychological factors that can lead investors to make irrational investment decisions
A major highlight of this new edition of Stocks for the Long Run is the chapter on global investing. With the U.S. stock market currently holding less than half of the world's equity capitalization, it's important for investors to diversify abroad. This updated edition shows you how to create an “efficient portfolio” that best balances asset allocation in domestic and foreign markets and provides thorough coverage on sector allocation across the globe.
Stocks for the Long Run is essential reading for every investor and advisor who wants to fully understand the market-including its behavior, past trends, and future influences-in order to develop a prosperous long-term portfolio that is both safe and secure.
Investment Books #5 The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns by John C. Bogle
Investing is all about common sense. Owning a diversified portfolio of stocks and holding it for the long term is a winner’s game. Trying to beat the stock market is theoretically a zero-sum game (for every winner, there must be a loser), but after the substantial costs of investing are deducted, it becomes a loser’s game. John C. (“Jack”) Bogle is the founder of the Vanguard Group and creator of the world’s first index fund, and The Little Book of Common Sense Investing is a top recommendation of Warren Buffett’s. There’s actually a funny story that when Jack Bogle first met Warren Buffett, Jack recognized Warren, went up and introduced himself, and he said to Warren, “you know the thing I really like about you is you have rumpled suits just the same as I do” – and Jack and Warren have been good friends ever since.
“There are a few investment managers, of course, who are very good – though in the short run, it’s difficult to determine whether a great record is due to luck or talent. Most advisors, however, are far better at generating high fees than they are at generating high returns. In truth, their core competence is salesmanship. Rather than listen to their siren songs, investors – large and small – should instead read Jack Bogle’s The Little Book of Common Sense Investing.” – Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, 2014 Annual Shareholder Letter.
Investing is all about common sense. Owning a diversified portfolio of stocks and holding it for the long term is a winner’s game. Trying to beat the stock market is theoretically a zero-sum game (for every winner, there must be a loser), but after the substantial costs of investing are deducted, it becomes a loser’s game. Common sense tells us—and history confirms—that the simplest and most efficient investment strategy is to buy and hold all of the nation’s publicly held businesses at very low cost. The classic index fund that owns this market portfolio is the only investment that guarantees you with your fair share of stock market returns.
To learn how to make index investing work for you, there’s no better mentor than legendary mutual fund industry veteran John C. Bogle. Over the course of his long career, Bogle—founder of the Vanguard Group and creator of the world’s first index mutual fund—has relied primarily on index investing to help Vanguard’s clients build substantial wealth. Now, with The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, he wants to help you do the same.
Filled with in-depth insights and practical advice, The Little Book of Common Sense Investing will show you how to incorporate this proven investment strategy into your portfolio. It will also change the very way you think about investing. Successful investing is not easy. (It requires discipline and patience.) But it is simple. For it’s all about common sense.
With The Little Book of Common Sense Investing as your guide, you’ll discover how to make investing a winner’s game:
- Why business reality—dividend yields and earnings growth—is more important than market expectations
- How to overcome the powerful impact of investment costs, taxes, and inflation
- How the magic of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs
- What expert investors and brilliant academics—from Warren Buffett and Benjamin Graham to Paul Samuelson and Burton Malkiel—have to say about index investing
- And much more
You’ll also find warnings about investment fads and fashions, including the recent stampede into exchange traded funds and the rise of indexing gimmickry. The real formula for investment success is to own the entire market, while significantly minimizing the costs of financial intermediation. That’s what index investing is all about. And that’s what this book is all about.
Investment Books #6 Buffettology: The Previously Unexplained Techniques That Have Made Warren Buffett the World’s Most Famous Investor by Mary Buffett & David Clark
Mary Buffett is Warren Buffett’s former daughter-in-law and her book Buffettology provides a good introduction to Warren Buffett’s investment approach. The book offers profiles and analysis of 54 “Buffett companies.” Read it for the qualitative discussion of Buffett’s investment style, and skim the mathematical chapters (which I didn’t find to be as useful).
In the world of investing, the name Warren Buffett is synonymous with success and prosperity. Learn how Warren Buffett did it—and how you can too.
Building from the ground up, Buffett chose wisely and picked his stocks with care, in turn amassing the huge fortune for which he is now famous. Mary Buffett, former daughter-in-law of this legendary financial genius and a successful businesswoman in her own right, has teamed up with noted Buffettologist David Clark to create Buffettology, a one-of-a-kind investment guide that explains the winning strategies of the master.
- Learn how to approach investing the way Buffett does, based on the authors' firsthand knowledge of the secrets that have made Buffett the world's second wealthiest man
- Use Buffett's proven method of investing in stocks that will continue to grow over time
- Master the straightforward mathematical equipments that assist Buffett in making investments
- Examine the kinds of companies that capture Buffett's interest, and learn how you can use this information to make your own investment choices of the future
Complete with profiles of fifty-four "Buffett companies" -- companies in which Buffett has invested and which the authors believe he continues to follow -- Buffettology can show any investor, from beginner to savvy pro, how to create a profitable portfolio.
Investment Books #7 One Up On Wall Street: How To Use What You Already Know To Make Money In the Market by Peter Lynch
Peter Lynch is one of the most successful investors ever – from 1997 to 1990, his Magellan Fund averaged a 29.2% compound annual return. In One Up On Wall Street, Peter Lynch explains how average investors can beat the pros by using what they know. According to Lynch, investment opportunities are everywhere: from the supermarket to the workplace, we encounter products and services all day long. By paying attention to the best ones, we can find companies in which to invest before the professional analysts discover them.
More than one million copies have been sold of this seminal book on investing in which legendary mutual-fund manager Peter Lynch explains the advantages that average investors have over professionals and how they can use these advantages to achieve financial success.
America’s most successful money manager tells how average investors can beat the pros by using what they know. According to Lynch, investment opportunities are everywhere. From the supermarket to the workplace, we encounter products and services all day long. By paying attention to the best ones, we can find companies in which to invest before the professional analysts discover them. When investors get in early, they can find the “tenbaggers,” the stocks that appreciate tenfold from the initial investment. A few tenbaggers will turn an average stock portfolio into a star performer.
Lynch offers easy-to-follow advice for sorting out the long shots from the no-shots by reviewing a company’s financial statements and knowing which numbers really count. He offers guidelines for investing in cyclical, turnaround, and fast-growing companies.
As long as you invest for the long term, Lynch says, your portfolio can reward you. This timeless advice has made One Up On Wall Street a #1 bestseller and a classic book of investment know-how.
Investment Books #8 Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors by Michael Porter
Studying Michael Porter is one of the first things you do in business school. Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter has transformed the theory, practice, and teaching of business strategy throughout the world. This book introduces Porter’s 5 Forces to help investors analyze industry attractiveness, as well as the 3 forms of a company’s strategy – low cost, differentiation, and focus.
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.
Investment Books #9 The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson
Niall Ferguson follows the money to tell the human story behind the evolution of our financial system, from its genesis in ancient Mesopotamia to the latest upheavals on what he calls Planet Finance. What’s more, Ferguson reveals financial history as the essential backstory behind all history, arguing that the evolution of credit and debt was as important as any technological innovation in the rise of civilization. This is a great overview of all things money and a nice introduction to the world of finance.
Niall Ferguson follows the money to tell the human story behind the evolution of our financial system, from its genesis in ancient Mesopotamia to the latest upheavals on what he calls Planet Finance. What's more, Ferguson reveals financial history as the essential backstory behind all history, arguing that the evolution of credit and debt was as important as any technological innovation in the rise of civilization. As Ferguson traces the crisis from ancient Egypt's Memphis to today's Chongqing, he offers bold and compelling new insights into the rise--and fall--of not just money but Western power as well.
Investment Books #10 Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Daniel Kahneman is a professor of behavioral & cognitive psychology at Princeton, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize for economics, and author of the best-selling book on cognitive biases and heuristics: Thinking Fast & Slow. This book explains the natural biases that affect our judgment in everyday life, as well as in investing. If you want to be a great investor, then it’s critical to be aware of the biases and tendencies. This is a fascinating book, and Kahneman himself is actually the subject of Michael Lewis’s next book The Undoing Project.
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.
Investment Books #11 The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas Stanley & William Danko
Although less of an investment book, The Millionaire Next Door is a wonderful book for anyone who wants to grow their wealth. Stanley and Danko break down 7 common traits that show up again and again among those who have accumulated wealth. By the end of the book, you’ll understand that wealth in America is more often the result of hard work, diligent savings, and living below your means than it is about inheritance, advance degrees, and even intelligence.
The bestselling The Millionaire Next Door identifies seven common traits that show up again and again among those who have accumulated wealth. Most of the truly wealthy in this country don't live in Beverly Hills or on Park Avenue-they live next door. This new edition, the first since 1998, includes a new foreword for the twenty-first century by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley.
Article by Vintage Value Investing