Finance and investing books are a wealth of knowledge – pun intended. Most simple questions can be answered by Investopedia or a Reddit search. But the sheer depth and breadth of content available in the back catalogs of finance and investing books are invaluable.
The best benefit to diving into finance and investing books rather than scrolling through Wikipedia or r/wallstreetbets on your phone?
You get answers to questions you don’t even know you have.
Countless times, I’ve read books about the history of finance and investing without looking for actionable strategies. I found them anyway. We stand on the shoulders of giants, and the best way to prepare for the economic future is to learn from the past.
Here are a few of my favorite finance and investing books that impacted me. The links point to Amazon affiliate pages, so I will earn a commission if you buy through this page. Still, I stand by my recommendations even if you buy them on your own.
Listed in the order on my bookshelf, not by merit or preference:
History of Finance and Investing Books
- Young Money: details the lives of some fresh faces in the investment banking world and shows that it may not be as great a career option many young graduates see it as.
- More Money than God: a history of hedge funds, this book will be of particular interest to all those caught up in 2020’s Gamestop saga. It gives a great background of how hedge funds formed to hedge against the overall market and how they’ve evolved over time.
- The House of Nomura: this is probably my favorite history of finance and investing book. The Japanese made the stock market as we see it today and the building of the Nomura dynasty against a post-war backdrop is fascinating.
- The Man Who Solved the Market: detailing the quant revolution before personal computing and AI made it relatively easy, this book is a great look into the highest-grossing fund of all time – the Renaissance Medallion Fund. Like I said, shoulders of giants.
- Bond King: fixed-income investing isn’t the snoozefest you might think it is, and this book by Childs goes into the history of how bonds became an actively-traded asset rather than just a certificate needing its coupons clipped semiannually. This year’s wild bond market ride just reinforces retail’s need to understand this side of the capital structure equation.
- Barbarians at the Gate: corporate raiding and LBOs used to be high drama in high finance. This book is an amazing and engaging look at the biggest of them all.
- Reminiscences of a Stock Operator (public domain PDF): a great look into Depression-era stock jockeys, this book shows that no matter how much things change, they stay the same. It also serves as a stark reminder to keep the real-life risks of stock operating in mind. Bonus points for this 1923 book for catching the attention of FTX/Alameda Research queenpin Caroline Ellison’s attention.
“Nuts and Bolts” Finance and Investing Books
- Investments: including this one is cheating a bit, as it’s a textbook. But this book by Bodie, Kane, and Marcus is a great one-stop-shop that goes just beyond the basics. It’s a great tool for a newer investor to get a comprehensive look at the entire world of investing. I find myself referencing it often to this day.
- Options as a Strategic Investment: learning to use options as part of a comprehensive, long-term investment strategy is a hidden secret buried under retail’s lotto ticket perspective. This book shows how levering through options can 10X your long-term investment opportunity, and it’s particularly useful in retirement account planning.
- The Intelligent Investor: I hesitated to include this classic by Graham as it does seem dated in many parts. Keep in mind, though, that Graham published multiple iterations over his life in reaction to changing economic conditions. The book is intended to change with the times. There are still some gems in here, especially for those looking to rotate into more defensive and value-oriented sectors.
- Zero to One: it’s a bit of a SV meme these days, but this pure nuts-and-bolts guide is a great look under the hood of successful startups.
These didn’t have an immediate or outsized impact on me when I read them. I probably won’t reread them like I would most of the above picks. Still, they each contributed to my overall understanding of the field in their own ways and I still recommend them:
- Backstage Wall Street
- A Random Walk Down Wall Street
- The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness
- Stan Weinstein’s Secrets for Profiting in Bull and Bear Markets: don’t be put off by the awful title and worse cover image. There’s some gold in here, especially for younger investors who grew up during the decade-long bull run of the 2010s.
Final Thoughts on Finance and Investing Books
I admit it. A lot of these are often recommended. Nothing on my list is revolutionary. But these books have stood the test of time for a reason and their collective relevance isn’t waning.
The best way to prepare for the future is to learn from the past. Finance and investing is particularly cyclical no matter how drastic technological changes make today seem different than yesterday.
This post contains affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission. This post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice. You can find other work of mine here.