Warren Buffett spends 80% of his working day reading. Now I know as CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) he may have a bit more control over his work day than you or I, but his quest to constantly add to his vast wealth of knowledge is one every investor should aspire to match. Whether or not it’s during your 9-5, reading should be the number one tool in your arsenal. We’ve made a list of the best investing books, all of which will make you think like an investor.
Check out the rest of our Think Like an Investor Series:
- Best Investing Apps
- Best Investing Podcasts
- Best Investing Blogs
- Best Investing Newsletters
- Best Investing Twitter Accounts
Best Investing Book: ‘One Up On Wall Street’ by Peter Lynch
This book is the cornerstone of our investment strategy here at MyWallSt, and one that our staff practices in their personal portfolios as well. The three main tenets of the book are: investing opportunities are everywhere, buy what you know, hold for the long term. Lynch writes from his own personal experience, having gone from an intern at Fidelity Investments to growing a small mutual fund called the Magellan Fund from $18 million to $14 billion over the course of 23 years. Averaging almost 30% annual return, the Magellan Fund was the most successful mutual fund in the world.
‘One Up On Wall Street’ is a must for anyone thinking of getting started in buying stocks. Lynch’s narrative gives a perspective that is devoid of intimidation and trepidation. His demystification of the stock market for the small retail investor is something we try to emulate here at MyWallSt. We truly feel it is the best investing book to begin your journey.
Favorite Quote: “Know what you own, and know why you own it”
Where Can You Buy it: ‘One Up On Wall Street’
Best Financial Management Book: ‘The Psychology of Money’ by Morgan Housel
If you’ve read any of Morgan Housel’s work on The Collaborative Fund, then you know that he is one of the most-knowledgable money handlers in the business.
While many financial books can feel tome-like and bogged down in figures and charts, Morgan Housel’s inaugural book is one of the easiest and most-relatable books about managing your wealth that you could find. Condensed into a compact 20 lessons, Housel draws from relevant real-life experiences and gives them an insightful spin, while also drawing distinctions between terms that might not seem so different on the surface — riches vs. wealth, rational vs. reasonable, fee vs. fine.
If you were to read just one book about money management for the rest of your life, this would be the one. Easy to read, enjoyable, and insightful, there is nobody who does financial management better than Housel.
Favorite quote: “Good investing is not necessarily about making good decisions. It’s about consistently not screwing up.”
Where Can You Buy It: ‘The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness’
Best Value Investing Book: ‘The Intelligent Investor’ by Benjamin Graham
The great Warren Buffett christened ‘The Intelligent Investor’ as “the best book on investing ever written”, but what does that guy know? I’m sure you’re much more interested in hearing my two cents on the matter.
With such grandiose monikers as ‘the father of value investing’ and ‘the dean of Wall Street’, Benjamin Graham’s name holds quite a bit of weight in investment circles, as is seen by the Oracle of Omaha’s glowing review. ‘The Intelligent Investor’ applies a common-sense approach to the stock market which still holds true today, 70 years after it was first published. Updated for modern times by Jason Zweig of the Wall Street Journal, ‘The Intelligent Investor’ is an excellent first investing book for anyone who wants to start their investment journey.
To give you a taste, here are Graham’s Six Key Principles of Intelligent Investing:
- Know the business you’re investing in.
- Know who runs the business.
- Invest for profits over time, not for quick buy-and-sell transaction profits.
- Choose investments for their fundamental value, not their popularity.
- Always invest with a margin of safety.
- Have confidence in your own analysis and observations.
Favorite Quote: “People who invest make money for themselves; people who speculate make money for their brokers.”
Where Can You Buy it: ‘The Intelligent Investor’
Best Book on Big Tech: ‘The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google’ by Scott Galloway
Scott Galloway is a professor of marketing at NYU, one of the most prominent tech writers out there, and arguably, one of the best investing Twitter accounts to follow for anyone interested in the stock market.
His book ‘The Four’ revolves around Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google and how the companies became such an integral part of modern life, their seeming infallibility and their ability to recover from their ever-growing series of missteps along the way. Far from a love story, Galloway asks the tough questions about the so-called “Four Horsemen” and how they are viewed in today’s society.
As someone who writes about these companies every week, I found this book an eye-opening account of the true power held by such a select few at the head of these conglomerates. One insight I particularly liked was Galloway’s contrast of “normal business thinking” v “Amazon business thinking.” For anyone with skin in the game on Wall Street, this book is a must.
Favorite Quote: “Expect that a certain amount of failure is out of your control, and recognize you may need to endure it or move on.”
Where Can You Buy It: ‘The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google’
Best Long Term Investing Book: 100 Baggers by Christopher Mayer
To give it its full title is as good an explanation as any: ‘100 Baggers: Stocks That Return 100-to-1 and How To Find Them’. In this book, Christopher Mayer breaks down the mythical 100-bagger, meaning for every $1 you invest in the stock, it returns $100. It was inspired by ‘100 to 1 in the Stock Market’ by Thomas Phelps, which was written in 1972, and gives a modern twist to the foundation laid by Phelps.
What I love about this book is Mayer’s consistent use of real-world examples throughout to prove his investment theses. Whether he’s talking about things like return on equity, insider ownership, buybacks, or economic moats, there is always a great business to back up his argument.
What becomes evident as you read the book is that while there aren’t many commonalities between the industries, sectors, or products that have returned 100-fold for investors, they all share a certain number of characteristics, with good leadership being front and center. Mayer also has a very approachable writing style and at 210 pages, this can be a weekend read for the more diligent readers out there.
Favorite Quote: “Over the course of an investing life, stuff is going to happen—both good and bad—that no one saw coming. Instead of playing the guessing game, focus on the opportunities in front of you. And there are always, in all markets, many opportunities.”
Where can you buy it: ‘100 Baggers’.
Best Book on Index Funds: ‘A Random Walk Down Wall Street’ by Burton Malkiel
Self-titled as the “time-tested strategy for successful investing”, Malkiel’s book is slated by many as a necessity before starting your 401k or managing your own portfolio. The title of the book is in reference to the Random Walk Hypothesis, which essentially states that changes in the stock market are random and can’t be predicted. Malkiel expands on the point, portraying the futility in trying to exploit the inefficiencies of the stock mark, hammering home the benefit of a long-term strategy.
‘A Random Walk’ has been meticulously maintained to keep up with changes in the stock market. I certainly wasn’t expecting to read about Bitcoin in a book first published in 1973. However, the necessity for continuous updates is a testament to the book’s popularity and how evergreen the content remains, almost 50 years after pen was first put to paper. While some chapters may seem tough to digest for those starting out, the lessons one can glean from Malkiel’s prose will provide vital weapons in the arsenal of any beginner investor.
Favorite Quote: “A blindfolded chimpanzee throwing darts at the stock listings can select a portfolio that performs as well as those managed by the experts.”
Where Can You Buy It: ‘A Random Walk Down Wall Street’
Best Book on the Investing Brain: ‘Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking’ by Malcolm Gladwell
I really couldn’t write a list like this without mentioning Malcolm Gladwell. You could arguably have a separate list dedicated solely to Gladwell, all of which would make you a better investor. I’ve narrowed it down to ‘Blink’ because I think it’s the most relevant to the investor’s mindset. How many companies have you looked at, before conducting any serious due diligence, and just had a gut feeling about them? How many of these gut feelings turned out to be right? ‘Blink’ goes about to explain this phenomenon.
While I’ll leave the explanations of “thin-slicing” and “the adaptive unconscious” to Gladwell himself, what ‘Blink’ does is examine closely the power of instincts, hunches, and those aforementioned gut feelings. Through his eye-opening case studies and what must have been a mountain of background research, he succeeds in informing us of the power of human judgment, as well as its pitfalls. It’s a fascinating book that makes the reader examine their own decision-making process.
Favorite Quote: “The power of knowing, in that first two seconds, is not a gift given magically to a fortunate few. It is an ability that we can all cultivate for ourselves.”
Where Can You Buy It: ‘Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking’
Best Silicon Valley Thriller: ‘Bad Blood’ by John Carreyrou
As investing books go, ‘Bad Blood’ does not conform to the norm. It reads more like a detective thriller than a book about investing. However, that doesn’t make it any less educational than the other books on this list.
Anyone interested in the stock market will know the ill-fated Theranos story. It’s a tale of fraud and deceit surrounding the inexhaustible search for the next unicorn that will cause the reader to constantly return to the question: “How do they keep getting away with this?” Giving a detailed examination of the Silicon Valley startup scene and its ability to be manipulated, John Carreyrou’s bestseller is tough to put down.
I highly recommend ‘Bad Blood’ to anyone with the slightest interest in investing, tech companies, Silicon Valley, or investigative journalism. The Wall Street Journal alum paints a fascinating portrayal of greed which will make any investor introspective about their own investing strategy. The main takeaways we can take from this book are: invest in what you know and don’t believe the hype.
Favorite Quote: “The way Theranos is operating is like trying to build a bus while you’re driving the bus. Someone is going to get killed.”
Where Can You Buy it: ‘Bad Blood’
MyWallSt operates a full disclosure policy. MyWallSt staff currently holds long positions in Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple. Read our full disclosure policy here.
Content Manager at MyWallSt
Michael's first and favorite stock is Square, which he sees becoming a massive player in the payments industry and a leader in the war on cash.