There are many personal finance and investing related books out there. But surprisingly there are more bad books than good ones. I’ve reviewed a lot of them (see Book Reviews). Here are the books I recommend.
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All books on the Recommended Reading List have or will have a detailed review. I put the books into these five buckets:
If you’d like to recommend a good book, please contact me.
These books cover the basics. If you don’t have much experience in personal finance or investing, start here. Don’t be turned off by the Basics label. If you mastered the basics, you are more than 90% there. Andrew Tobias wrote in The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need:
"The odd thing about investing — the frustrating thing — is that it is not like cooking or playing chess or much of anything else. … … when it comes to investing, all these ordinarily admirable attributes — trying hard, learning a lot, becoming intrigued — may be of little help, or actually working against you."
This is very true. If you are trying too hard, you actually do more harm than good to your financial health.
|Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People by Jane Bryant Quinn. This book covers a wide array of topics. The author did the research for you and her recommendations are indeed both smart and simple. More in full review.|
|The Random Walk Guide to Investing by Burton Malkiel. A easier-to-read version of this Princeton professor’s masterpiece A Random Walk Down Wall Street book, also on the recommended reading list in the Intermediate section. More in full review.|
|The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias. Another easy to read book, first published in 1978, now in its 9th edition. You really don’t need much more than what’s covered here. More in full review.|
||The New Coffeehouse Investor by Bill Schultheis. Former Smith Barney broker reveals the secret of Wall Street — there is no secret formula. Just follow a simple and effective 3-part strategy: save, asset allocation, index. More in full review.|
|The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John Bogle. Vanguard founder John Bogle makes the compelling case for investing in low cost index funds. More in full review.|
These books cover more ground in more details.
|The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer, and Michael LeBoeuf. A book from non-professional authors I hang out with on the Bogleheads forum. Good, honest advice from fellow investors. More in full review (coming soon).|
|The Four Pillars of Investing by William Bernstein. Great book on asset allocation. Same author has a more advanced book The Intelligent Asset Allocator in the Advanced section below. More in full review (coming soon).|
|A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel. A masterpiece on investment and financial markets. In print for more than 30 years, it’s now in its 10th edition. More in full review.|
These books give you more advanced knowledge.
|The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. The classic book on value investing from Warren Buffett’s teacher. Read it and read it three times. More in full review (coming soon).|
|The Intelligent Asset Allocator by William Bernstein. A well written book about the relationship between risk, return and portfolio construction. More technical than The Four Pillars of Investing by the same author in the Intermediate section above. More in full review (coming soon).|
|The Bond Book by Annette Thau. Most people will do OK with bond funds as opposed to buying individual bonds. But if you want to go that way, this is a good reference book about bonds and bond funds for an individual investor. More in full review (coming soon).|
|The Only Guide to Alternative Investments You’ll Ever Need by Larry Swedroe and Jared Kizer. Beyond stocks and bonds, this book reviews the good, the flawed, the bad, and the ugly investments. More in full review.|
|The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need for the Right Financial Plan by Larry Swedroe. Adapt investment strategies to one’s personal situations. More in full review.|
These are not guide books per se but they will add to your knowledge in the personal finance area.
|Where Are The Customers’ Yachts by Fred Schweb, Jr. A humorous light-hearted book full of astute observations of how the investment world really works. More in full review.|
|A Fool and His Money by John Rothchild. A funny book about an average investor’s experience in trying to make money with money. More in full review.|
|Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes And How To Correct Them by Gary Belsky and Thomas Gilovich. A fun read that reveals the common fallacies of our behavior in managing our finances. More in full review (coming soon).|
|Gotcha Capitalism by Bob Sullivan. A small book full of information on how to avoid the fee traps. More in full review.|
|The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz. A book about how the abundance of choices actually makes us unhappy and how to deal with choice overload. More in full review.|
|Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. Learn how Humans are not Econs and how to push yourself toward doing the right thing. More in full review.|
|Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. Another book on behavioral economics. See why we make the same mistakes repeatedly and predictably. More in full review (coming soon).|
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Whatever we are seeing today happened in one form or another in the past. It’s important to study history and learn from it.
|When Genius Failed by Roger Lowenstein. Fascinating stories about the LTCM crisis in the 1990’s. Great lessons for today. More in full review.|
|Origins of the Crash by Roger Lowenstein. What was the 2000-2002 stock market crash about? Read the analysis and see if it will happen again. More in full review.|
|The Greatest-Ever Bank Robbery by Martin Mayer. A review of events in the Savings & Loan crisis in early 1990s. More in full review.|
|While America Aged by Roger Lowenstein. A book with three case studies on the history of pension funds. More in full review.|