20 of the Best Investing Books Every Investor Should Read
When it comes to investing, Rule #1 investors take a similar approach to billionaire Warren Buffett’s views. It’s only fitting that some of my favorite investing books are also some of Buffett’s as well.
Buffett says that, “Knowledge builds up like compound interest.”
He actually devotes 80% of his day just to reading. Now, I know you probably have a job and other responsibilities, so you probably can’t devote that much time to reading. Regardless, I’ve got some great recommendations for you for this year. Start with these.
Here’s a list of 20 of the best investing books out there, including some of Buffett’s favorites as well.
This 1949 book focused on Graham’s strategy of loss minimization over profit maximization. This is the basic foundation of a Rule #1 education and is a good investing book for beginners. Buffett wrote a preface and appendix to the 2006 edition.
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.
This book traces the arc of a transformation. Author Guy Spier started his career as a Gordon Gekko wannabe — brash, short-sighted and entirely out for himself. Then, a series of transformations and self-realization led him from an investment banking job with a third-rate firm to managing his own fund, which has generated tremendous returns for his investors. Get it here.
3. The Dhandho Investor by Mohnish Pabrai
One of the best Ruler type investors shows how to start with nothing and become wealthy using principles of business.
A comprehensive value investing framework for the individual investor.
Written with the intelligent individual investor in mind, this comprehensive guide distills the Dhandho capital allocation framework of the business savvy Patels from India and presents how they can be applied successfully to the stock market. The Dhandho method expands on the groundbreaking principles of value investing expounded by Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett, and Charlie Munger. Get it here.
4. Rule #1 by Phil Town
This book combines modern tools with Buffett-style investing and takes you step-by-step through the analysis process. A must-read for new investors.
Phil Town is now a very wealthy man, but he wasn’t always. In fact, he was living on a salary of $4000 a year when some well-timed advice launched him down a highway of investing self-education that revealed what the true “rules” are and how to make them work in one’s favor.
Chief among them, of course, is “Rule #1: Don’t lose money.”
Other rules are: don’t diversify…think like an owner, not an investor… never, ever be seduced into thinking the market is efficient. Town also believes strongly in “betting on the jockey,” putting your faith in managers who’ve proven their financial mettle. Get it here.
Best Warren Buffett Investing Books
As one of the most successful investors of all time and the unofficial “grandfather” of Rule #1 Investing, these top books are written by and about Warren Buffett are some must-reads for any value investor.
5. The Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein
Warren Buffett has become an American icon for good reason: he started simple, invested consistently, lived modestly, and built a ridiculous fortune. In my opinion, this is just the best book ever written about Warren Buffett, and it’s worth a read – or reread, if you’ve read it before. I’m on my third read.
This book also digs deep into the deals Buffett made and why he chose them. It’s a timeless handbook on investing, and it takes a hard look at the way Buffett’s values drove his investment choices. You can’t go wrong with this one. Get it here.
6. The Essays of Warren Buffett by Lawrence Cunningham
Perhaps one of the best investing books of all time – this timeless literary feat consists of key letters from Buffett to his partnership and to Berkshire shareholders. This is seminal wit and wisdom.
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 a chief executive not only in duration but in value creation and philosophizing.
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. Get it here.
7. The Super-Investors of Graham-and-Doddsville by Warren Buffett
This is Buffett’s lecture to Columbia University MBA students. You can find the free PDF on Google or here. This is a key work about the foolishness of Modern Portfolio Management’s claim that no one beats the market except by luck.
8. Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger by Peter D. Kaufman
This book is a hot mess but it’s packed full of Munger’s ideas on investing.
Poor Charlie’s Almanack contains the wit and wisdom of Charlie Munger: his talks, lectures, and public commentary. And, it has been written and compiled with both Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett’s encouragement and cooperation.
So, pull up your favorite reading chair and enjoy the unique humor, wit, and insight that Charlie Munger brings to the world of business, investing, and life itself. Get it here.
Top Investing Books Phil Town’s Recommends
9. Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard Thaler
Misbehaving is written by a Nobel Prize laureate who practically pioneered the field of behavioral economics. You don’t need to know economics, or even like it to benefit from this book. This book frames the study of economics wonderfully and it’s highly relevant for anyone who wants to learn more about investing and following the whims of the market.
Misbehaving is an arresting, frequently hilarious account of the struggle to bring an academic discipline back down to earth―and change the way we think about economics, ourselves, and our world. Get it here.
10. Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business by John Mackey
One of the great CEOs talks about investing with integrity and leaving a positive impact on the world.
Read this book and you’ll better understand how four specific tenets—higher purpose, stakeholder integration, conscious leadership, and conscious culture and management—can help build strong businesses, move capitalism closer to its highest potential, and foster a more positive environment for all of us. Get it here.
11. Security Analysis by Ben Graham and David Dodd
This is the foundation textbook of value investing. It’s a tough read but if you want to drill down on the numbers, this is your huckleberry.
“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. Get it here.
12. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Philip Fisher
An interesting book on choosing investments by evaluating a company’s management team. Fisher is one of the few guys Buffett points to as an influence on his investing strategy.
Widely respected and admired, Philip Fisher is among the most influential investors of all time. His investment philosophies, introduced almost forty years ago, are not only studied and applied by today’s financiers and investors but are also regarded by many as gospel.
This book is invaluable reading and has been since it was first published in 1958. Get it here.
13. Business Adventures by John Brooks
This is the book that Buffett sent to Bill Gates when he asked Warren what his favorite book is. Twelve tales from the world of business that point to how critical management is.
What do the $350 million Ford Motor Company disaster known as the Edsel, the fast and incredible rise of Xerox, and the unbelievable scandals at General Electric and Texas Gulf Sulphur have in common?
Each is an example of how an iconic company was defined by a particular moment of fame or notoriety; these notable and fascinating accounts are as relevant today to understanding the intricacies of corporate life as they were when the events happened. Get it here.
14. The Outsiders by William Thorndike
Stunning portraits of how a great CEO allocates capital to maximize shareholder return.
What makes a successful CEO? Most people call to mind a familiar definition: “a seasoned manager with deep industry expertise.” Others might point to the qualities of today’s so-called celebrity CEOs—charisma, virtuoso communication skills, and a confident management style.
But what really matters when you run an organization? What is the hallmark of exceptional CEO performance? Quite simply, it is the returns for the shareholders of that company over the long term.
In this refreshing, counterintuitive book, author Will Thorndike brings to bear the analytical wisdom of a successful career in investing, closely evaluating the performance of companies and their leaders. You will meet eight individualistic CEOs whose firms’ average returns outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of twenty. Get it here.
15. Antifragile by Nassim Talib
This is another ‘stream of consciousness’ opus from Talib that spells out how fragility is at the heart of investment failure and anti-fragile strategies are the key to long-term success.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the bestselling author of The Black Swan and one of the foremost thinkers of our time, reveals how to thrive in an uncertain world.
Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls “antifragile” is that category of things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish. Get it here.
16. Simple But Not Easy: An Autobiographical Book about Investing by Richard Oldfield
Simple But Not Easy has plenty of interest to the experienced professional and is aimed also at the interested amateur investor. The theme of the book is that making smart investments are simpler than non-professionals think it is in that the rudiments can be expressed in ordinary English, and picked up by anybody. Get it here.
17. Irrational Exuberance by Robert Shiller
Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller, who warned of both the tech and housing bubbles, cautions that signs of irrational exuberance among investors have only increased since the 2008–9 financial crisis.
With high stock and bond prices and the rising cost of housing, the post-subprime boom may well turn out to be another illustration of Shiller’s influential argument that psychologically driven volatility is an inherent characteristic of all asset markets. In other words, Irrational Exuberance is as relevant as ever. Get it here.
18. Principles, by Ray Dalio
This book is part memoir, part how-to guide for crafting the life you want based on the principles that matter to you. You’ll find immense practical wisdom here from a legend who runs the most valuable hedge fund in the world.
And it’s not just for wealthy CEOs: there’s wisdom in here for everyone, but the emphasis is on leading and building what you want through unshakeable principles. Get it here.
19. The Investment Checklist: The Art of In-Depth Research by Michael Shearn
Too many people base their investment decisions on their impressions of a company’s welfare, stock market swings, or other emotional factors. And that’s a mistake. The book gives you a framework to deeply understand the businesses you’re investing in so you can make balanced, logical decisions about your investments.
20. Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that Explain Everything About the World (Politics of Place), by Tim Marshall
This one isn’t specifically a finance book, but it’s a solid read that will give you a more robust understanding of the forces driving the markets. You’ll learn about borders and world powers that make all the difference in today’s financial world. Get it here.
P.S. If you have already read the books listed above, here are a few investing resources you might also appreciate.
Editor’s Note: This post was updated for 2021 with 3 new investing books to add to your list. Book cover photos are from Amazon.
I’m a full-time investor and 3x New York Times best-selling author. I want to help the little guys, people like you and me, gain financial freedom by using simple principles that Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger have been using for over 80 years.
I have a passion for investing and I can’t wait to share it with you.