The 9 Best Books on Investing of 2020
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Whether you’re an experienced trader or you’re just starting out with your first investment, it always pays to have a good understanding of the rules and trends, and to keep abreast of them as they change. Tips on technique and insights from those investors who have excelled can come in pretty handy, too. Read up to find out what others are doing and how and why they’ve been so successful before you invest your next dollar.
Best Overall: "The Essays of Warren Buffett"
The fourth edition of "The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America" was released in 2015, and it’s a worthy read if for no other reason than it pays to learn from the very best. You’d be hard-pressed to name a more successful investor than Buffett, and he’s taken the time to share what he knows and has learned on the subject over the years.
The title addresses “corporate America,” but you can take that to include shareholders. The book offers an excellent explanation of the relationship between corporations and their shareholders, which makes it ideal for those new to investing who really don’t have a handle on this yet.
This collection of essays spans more than 50 years, and they’re all related in a voice that suggests you’re having a cup of coffee with the great legend himself.
Best Common Sense: "The Intelligent Investor"
Before his death, Benjamin Graham was a renowned professor known as the godfather of investing, and Jason Zweig writes "The Intelligent Investor," a column for The Wall Street Journal.
What’s unique about this book is its lack of "Rah! Rah! Anything is possible and anyone can do it!” rhetoric. It mostly takes the opposite approach, although it’s not without positive encouragement. It won’t tell you how to make millions, but rather how not to lose your shirt. The authors impart must-read basics to get you started in investing and keep you going for a long time, from recommended strategies and how to analyze stocks to a comprehensive history lesson on the stock market.
Graham published the first edition of this book in 1949, and Buffett himself has called that version “the best book on investing ever written.”
Best by an Experienced Investor: "The Little Book of Common Sense Investing"
John C. Bogle is credited with creating the first-ever index fund, so he surely knew a good bit about investing. He was also the founder of Vanguard Group, and it was rumored that he and Buffett were the best of friends. It stands to reason that you’d want to learn from both of them, and Buffett has given his endorsement to Bogle’s book, saying that “investors large and small” should read it.
"The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns" takes the surprising approach that for many investors, the stock market is a lose-lose proposition. Bogle then explains what he learned to turn the odds in his favor.
This isn’t Bogle’s only book, but it’s the one that manages to cover his own personal innovative techniques and truths in a relatively short and easy read.
Best for Newbies: "A Random Walk Down Wall Street"
Investing doesn’t necessarily mean you devote hours a day and extensive energy and thought to manage a broad-based, extensive portfolio, and Burton Malkiel knows that. "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" is invaluable reading for those who are trying to get a handle on their first 401(k)s. First you have to learn to talk the talk, or at least understand what’s being said when someone else speaks it.
Malkiel’s book includes some handy definitions of investment terms, and it applies them to various investment strategies geared toward different stages in life. He emphasizes long-term investments rather than get-rich-quick schemes, and how to predict prices and avoid common mistakes.
This is a revised edition of a book that’s been around for a while. "A Random Walk" has sold more than 1.5 million copies to date.
Best Book on the Psychology of Investing: "Thinking, Fast and Slow"
Daniel Kahneman knows a thing or two about thinking. He’s a psychology professor at Princeton University and knows a lot about finances, having won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.
His New York Times bestseller, "Thinking, Fast and Slow," delves into how your thought processes can affect your success in investing. Everyone harbors their own little biases, sometimes subconsciously. Kahneman explains how to identify your own and lock them away so you can make investment decisions without their input, thinking clearly, rationally, and analytically.
This book isn’t just about investing, although that’s its focus. Kahneman also explains how biases can affect our everyday lives and other financial decisions.
Best Book on Investing Like a Pro: "One Up on Wall Street"
The title gets your competitive juices flowing, doesn’t it? "One Up On Wall Street: How to Use What You Already Know to Make Money in the Market" throws down a challenge flag to beat the beast. Author Peter Lynch says it’s not only possible for newbie investors to do as well as—if not better than—the pros, but he maintains they already have everything it takes right at their fingertips.
Lynch believes that solid investment opportunities are everywhere. They litter the ground at our feet and we just have to stop walking so fast, pause in our everyday lives, and bend down to inspect the clutter so we can pluck out the most viable options. In doing so, we can beat the pros to the punchline and get in on an investment before the rest of the world realizes its potential.
"One Up on Wall Street" has sold more than 1 million copies since its release in 2000. The New York Times says Lynch, a renowned investor in his own right, is “in a league by himself.”
Best Book About Finances in General: "Principles: Life and Work"
This No. 1 New York Times bestseller is written by one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. An average, middle-class kid who grew up in Long Island, Ray Dalio began his investment firm in his New York apartment. Forty years later, Fortune named his company, Bridgewater Associates, one of the five most important in the U.S.
"Principles: Life and Work" is part autobiography, part instructional. Dalio shares his secrets and insights, and explains how businesses, individuals, and organizations can adopt them, including a set of rules for applying them to investing, life, your business, and your finances in general.
The New York Times says the book is “surprisingly moving.” Bill Gates said it provided him with “invaluable guidance.” Published in September 2017, the book is still making fresh waves in the industry.
Best for Conservative Investors: "The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need"
This book has been around for over 40 years and for good reason. The Los Angeles Times says it “actually lives up to its name.” Don’t worry—it’s not antiquated with advice from the 1970s. It was recently updated in 2016 to keep pace with the current economy and trends.
Andrew Tobias doesn’t just address the wealthy investor. He offers tips and guidance for those with more limited capital, and he does it in frank, easy-to-understand, and often humorous language. He dedicates the book to his broker, who, he says, “from time to time made me just that.”
"The Only Investment Guide" has helped educate over 1 million readers to date.
Best Book About Startups: "Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups"
The full title of Jason Calacanis' book, "Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups—Timeless Advice from an Angel Investor Who Turned $100,000 into $100,000,000," explains why you might want to forget the stock market and take a slightly different approach to investing.
Calacanis made his name as an angel investor in Silicon Valley, and he insists there are two ways to make money with startups. Both involve coming up with something new and innovative that the public simply can’t live without. The first way is to actually come up with an idea and create it. The other is to fund its creation and distribution. Angels do the latter, and Calacanis explains his personal techniques for identifying and assisting worthy startups.
Learn to think like an angel by investing in startups in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity. "Angel" was first released in 2017 and The New York Times calls it “refreshing and clarifying.”