Jim Chanos’ Favorite Books

Jim Chanos started Kynikos Associates in 1985 and the group has since become the world’s largest exclusive short-selling investment firm. As of mid 2015, The hedge fund manages approximately $6 billion in assets.

UPDATED 2/29/2020

Throughout his investment career, Chanos has identified and sold short the shares of numerous well-known corporate financial disasters; among them Baldwin-United, Commodore International, Coleco, Integrated Resources, Boston Chicken, Sunbeam, Conseco and Tyco International. His celebrated short-sale of Enron shares was dubbed by Barron’s as “the market call of the decade, if not the past fifty years.”

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Chanos’ most famous short landed Chanos on the cover of Barron’s in 2002 as “The Guy Who Called Enron.” But the list of his targets stretches from Michael Milken’s junk bond empire through the real estate boom of the late 1980s, the telecom bubble of the late 1990s, Dennis Kozlowski’s Tyco and Bernie Ebbers’s WorldCom at the turn of the century, subprime mortgage lenders and home builders in 2007, and most recently China.

For more on Jim Chanos, head over to ValueWalk’s Jim Chanos Resource Page, where you can find a detailed rundown of his background, bio and investment philosophy.

Jim Chanos: Recommended books

The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, The Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals by Frank Paternoy.

The story of a 20th century Swedish businessman named Ivar Kreugar, who convinced everyone that he's a tycoon in the match business. Really, he just borrowed money in the U.S. and loaned it out in Europe in exchange for match companies.

Bernard Baruch: The Adventures of a Wall Street Legend by James Grant.

This biography of Bernard Baruch considered to be renowned as the definitive story about the notorious financial wizard and presidential advisor.

Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles by Bernard Cornwell

The Shareholder Value Myth: How Putting Shareholders First Harms Investors, Corporations, and the Public by Lynn Stout

Updated 5/12/18 the following three book recommendations come from a Jim Chanos interview with Barry Ritholtz of Bloomberg

American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964 by William Manchester

The Last Lion Box Set: Winston Spencer Churchill, 1874 – 1965 by William Manchester

A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age by William Manchester


Mr. China: A Memoir by Tim Clissold source

And Then the Roof Caved In: How Wall Street’s Greed and Stupidity Brought Capitalism to Its Knees — book by David Faber - FT interview

The Big Short (sorta) FT

Updated 10/05/2018 the following are Jim Chanos's "recommended readings for the class" as seen on the Institutional Investor.

The Great Crash 1929 by John Kenneth Galbraith

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

The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse: How to Spot Moral Meltdowns in Companies... Before It's Too Late by Marianne M. Jennings

The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry by William K. Black

Millionaire: The Philanderer, Gambler, and Duelist Who Invented Modern Finance by Janet Gleeson

The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, The Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals by Frank Partnoy

Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend by Mitchell Zuckoff

The Go-Go Years: The Drama and Crashing Finale of Wall Street's Bullish 60s by John Brooks

The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind

Fooling Some of the People All of the Time by David Einhorn

Confidence Game: How Hedge Fund Manager Bill Ackman Called Wall Street's Bluff by Christine S. Richard

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