I could make this list 100 books long. I have read over 100 finance books in my short 32 years on this planet. Picking 5 is difficult. However, it’s absolutely necessary for anyone looking to advance their knowledge of how the world works. When I was a Financial Advisor at big name firms like Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, I would get new guys in my office all the time asking what books or material they should be reading. I always told them they were on the right path at least knowing reading was absolutely critical to their success. I would imagine (if you’re reading this article) that you think reading is critical to your success as well. I spend a considerable amount of time reading (4-6 hours a day), and I think you should too.
The hard thing about finance books is there are so many of them. Everyone seems to have an opinion these days and with the creation of e-books and self-publishing, the canon of financial literature keeps growing exponentially.
So without further ado…Here are the top 5 money/finance/economics/investment books I think you should read right away:
- Economics In One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt (com)
Though I personally subscribe to many different economic theories, I tend to believe the Austrian School is a notch above the rest. Henry Hazlitt wrote this gem in the year 1946. He argues for an anti-deficit position, free markets, the economic liberty of individuals, and the dangers of government intervention. This is an absolute must for anyone interested in economic theory, finance, or markets.
- The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham (com)
Graham is often considered the mentor to investment legend, Warren Buffet. This book has been considered the investment bible since it was first published in 1949. Grahams value investing principles are timeless and will teach you fundamental investment analysis in a way no other book can.
- Hedgehogging by Barton Biggs (com)
This may be one you haven’t heard of, but makes it no less worthwhile. Barton Biggs is a larger than life hedge fund guy who spent his career on Wall Street. This book gives you a little flavor of what that life looks like. He discusses investing in general, hedge funds in particular, and gives the reader an insight into the high money game like no one else can. If you want a great read about the perils of making money in the dog eat dog investment world, this books for you.
- The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (com)
This book examines how seemingly improbable, nay impossible, events not only happen out of the blue, but affect our lives in massive ways. Taleb is a master storyteller, weaving his diverse and scholarly background into an amazing story about how we calculate risk in this extraordinarily random world. To understand todays global economy and markets, you have to take into consideration all possibilities, even the most improbable, the black swans.
And last, but certainly not least…
- The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson (com)
This should be required reading in High School. Niall Ferguson does a tremendous job at explaining what money really is, where its ideas originate, and the story behind the evolution of our financial system. He argues that the evolution of credit and debt were just as important as any technological innovation. Part history book, part finance book, this is a must read for anyone that wants to think about “money” in its proper context.
I have read these books multiple times and it’s hard to pick only 5 from a universe of millions. However, I think this a good start for anyone interested in finance. What would you add to the list?
About the Author:
Matt DiNinno is the Managing Director of DiNinno Consulting, LLC based in Redlands, California. He and his team help Small and Medium Sized Enterprises thrive. Matt spent 13 years as a licensed Financial Advisor with firms like Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch (see his FINRA Brokercheck Record here).