top of page
  • Writer's pictureAlpesh Patel

50 Most Important Finance and Investing Books: Three Key Points from Each (aide memoire)

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

We remind you of the important three points from each, because you will of course have read each of these.

1. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham

  • Value Investing: Focus on intrinsic value rather than market price. Look for stocks that are undervalued compared to their inherent worth.

  • Margin of Safety: Always invest with a safety margin. This means buying stocks at a price well below their intrinsic value to minimise downside risk.

  • Mr. Market Analogy: The stock market is like a moody business partner (Mr. Market) who offers daily buy/sell prices. Use his mood swings to your advantage, buying when he's pessimistic and selling when he's overly optimistic.

2. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

  • Assets vs. Liabilities: Understand the difference between assets (things that put money in your pocket) and liabilities (things that take money out of your pocket). Build assets and reduce liabilities.

  • Financial Education: Continuously educate yourself about money and investing. Knowledge is a powerful tool in wealth-building.

  • Work for Passive Income: Instead of working for money, make money work for you. Focus on building passive income streams.

3. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Philip A. Fisher

  • Scuttlebutt Method: Do your own research by talking to competitors, customers, and suppliers about a company before investing.

  • Long-term Investing: Invest in well-researched stocks with the intention of holding them for the long term.

  • Quality Management: The quality of a company's management team is crucial. Good management can drive a company's success.

4. Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd

  • Fundamental Analysis: Focus on a company's fundamentals, such as earnings, dividends, and financial health, rather than market trends.

  • Bond Analysis: Understand the intricacies of bond investing, including the importance of interest coverage and debt ratios.

  • Defensive vs. Enterprising Investing: Differentiate between defensive (conservative) and enterprising (aggressive) investing strategies and choose based on your risk tolerance.

5. The Little Book That Beats the Market by Joel Greenblatt

  • Magic Formula: Use the "Magic Formula" which ranks companies based on return on capital and earnings yield to pick stocks.

  • Consistency: Stick with the formula consistently, even if it underperforms in the short term.

  • Quality Companies: Invest in good companies at bargain prices for long-term success.

6. A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel

  • Efficient Market Hypothesis: The stock market is efficient, and it's challenging to consistently outperform the market.

  • Diversification: Spread your investments across various asset classes to reduce risk.

  • Index Investing: Consider investing in low-cost index funds as a way to achieve market returns with lower fees.

7. One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch

  • Invest in What You Know: Focus on companies and industries you're familiar with.

  • Earnings Growth: Look for companies with consistent earnings growth as they often lead to higher stock prices.

  • Avoid Following the Crowd: Don't get swayed by market trends or popular opinion. Do your own research and trust your judgment.

8. The Essays of Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett and Lawrence A. Cunningham

  • Value Investing Principles: Invest in companies that are undervalued based on their fundamentals.

  • Importance of Integrity: Invest in companies with trustworthy management.

  • Long-term Perspective: Think of stocks as owning a piece of a business and invest with a long-term horizon.

9. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

  • Live Below Your Means: Wealth is accumulated by spending less than you earn.

  • Avoid Debt: Stay away from unnecessary debt and pay off debts quickly.

  • Financial Discipline: Consistently save and invest a portion of your income.

10. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

  • Pay Yourself First: Save at least 10% of your income before spending on anything else.

  • Seek Wise Counsel: Get advice from knowledgeable individuals before making investment decisions.

  • Avoid Get-rich-quick Schemes: Focus on steady and consistent wealth-building strategies.

11. How to Make Money in Stocks by William J. O'Neil

  • CAN SLIM Strategy: A unique system for selecting stocks based on seven criteria including Current quarterly earnings, Annual earnings, New products, Supply and demand, Leaders and laggards, Institutional sponsorship, and Market direction.

  • Buy High, Sell Higher: Contrary to the conventional wisdom of buying low and selling high, O'Neil suggests buying stocks that are already on the rise.

  • Cut Losses Short: Always set a limit on how much you're willing to lose on a stock and sell it before it reaches that point.

12. The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing by Taylor Larimore, Michael LeBoeuf, and Mel Lindauer

  • Low-Cost Index Funds: Emphasises the benefits of investing in low-cost index funds over trying to beat the market.

  • Simplicity: Keep your investment strategy simple and straightforward.

  • Start Early: The power of compound interest means that starting to invest early can lead to significantly larger returns over time.

13. Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

  • Relationship with Money: Understand and transform your relationship with money, recognising that money is something you trade your life energy for.

  • Intentional Spending: Spend money in ways that align with your values and bring genuine fulfilment.

  • Financial Independence: Aim for a life where you're not beholden to a job for your livelihood, achieving freedom and autonomy.

14. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

  • Baby Steps: Follow Ramsey's seven "baby steps" to financial freedom, starting with saving an emergency fund and ending with building wealth and giving.

  • Debt Snowball Method: Pay off debts in order of smallest to largest, gaining momentum as each balance is cleared.

  • Live on a Budget: Plan and control your spending by creating a monthly budget.

15. The Dhandho Investor by Mohnish Pabrai

  • Low Risk, High Uncertainty: Look for investment opportunities where the risk is low, but the outcome is uncertain.

  • Buy Cheap: Invest in businesses that are available at a significant discount to their intrinsic value.

  • Cloning: Learn from successful investors and emulate their strategies.

16. The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias

  • Live Frugally: The best way to have more money to invest is to spend less.

  • Diversify: Spread your investments across different asset classes to mitigate risk.

  • Avoid Unnecessary Costs: Be wary of high fees and commissions that can eat into your returns.

17. The Money Game by Adam Smith

  • Market Psychology: Understand the psychological factors that drive market movements.

  • No Sure Things: There's no guaranteed way to beat the market consistently.

  • Investment as a Journey: View investing as a continuous learning journey, adapting and evolving your strategies over time.

18. The Simple Path to Wealth by J.L. Collins

  • Stocks Over Bonds: For long-term growth, stocks are a better investment than bonds.

  • Avoid Debt: Debt is a significant hindrance to building wealth.

  • VTSAX: Collins recommends investing in Vanguard's Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX) for simplicity and broad market exposure.

19. Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

  • Role of Luck: Recognise the significant role that luck and randomness play in investment outcomes.

  • Limit Exposure: Protect yourself from negative events that can have a large impact on your investments.

  • Skeptical Empiricism: Be skeptical of claims of certainty and rely on empirical evidence.

20. The Four Pillars of Investing by William J. Bernstein

  • Theory: Understand the underlying theories of investing, including risk and return.

  • History: Learn from the history of investing and financial markets.

  • Psychology: Recognise the psychological traps and biases that can impact investment decisions.

  • Business: Understand the investment industry's mechanics and be wary of conflicts of interest.

21. The Alchemy of Finance by George Soros

  • Reflexivity Theory: Markets are influenced by the biases of participants, which can cause prices to deviate from their fundamental values.

  • Market Equilibrium: Markets tend toward equilibrium but never actually reach it due to constant changes and biases.

  • Speculative Bubbles: Understand the formation and bursting of speculative bubbles and how they can be both created and exploited by savvy investors.

22. The White Coat Investor by James M. Dahle

  • Financial Education for Professionals: Tailored advice for high-income professionals, especially those in the medical field, on managing their unique financial challenges.

  • Avoiding Bad Advice: Be wary of financial advisors with conflicts of interest and understand the basics to make informed decisions.

  • Debt Management: Strategies for managing and paying off large student loans that many professionals face.

23. The Coffeehouse Investor by Bill Schultheis

  • Simplicity: Emphasises the benefits of a simple, passive investment strategy.

  • Asset Allocation: The importance of diversifying investments across different asset classes.

  • Ignore the Noise: Avoid getting caught up in market predictions and stay focused on long-term goals.

24. The Behavior Gap by Carl Richards

  • Emotional Investing: Understand how emotions can lead to poor investment decisions.

  • Avoiding Impulse Decisions: The importance of taking a step back and thinking rationally before making financial decisions.

  • Visual Learning: Uses simple sketches and drawings to illustrate complex financial concepts.

25. The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape

  • Financial Freedom: Strategies for achieving financial independence and security.

  • Money Management: Practical advice on budgeting, saving, and investing.

  • Avoiding Financial Pitfalls: Tips for avoiding common financial mistakes and scams.

26. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John C. Bogle

  • Index Funds: Advocates for the benefits of low-cost index funds over actively managed funds.

  • Cost Matters: The impact of fees on long-term investment returns.

  • Stay the Course: The importance of a long-term, consistent investment strategy.

27. The Little Book of Value Investing by Christopher H. Browne

  • Margin of Safety: The importance of buying stocks at a price below their intrinsic value.

  • Long-term Perspective: The benefits of a long-term investment horizon.

  • Diversification: The importance of spreading investments across different stocks and sectors.

28. The Warren Buffett Way by Robert G. Hagstrom

  • Value Investing: Buffett's approach to finding undervalued companies based on their fundamentals.

  • Business Perspective: Thinking of stock purchases as buying a piece of a business.

  • Circle of Competence: Sticking to industries and companies you understand well.

29. The Little Book That Still Beats the Market by Joel Greenblatt

  • Magic Formula: A strategy for picking stocks based on a combination of earnings yield and return on capital.

  • Consistent Application: The importance of consistently applying the formula over time.

  • Rational Approach: Avoiding emotional decisions and sticking to a rational strategy.

30. The Most Important Thing by Howard Marks

  • Risk Awareness: Understanding and managing risk is crucial in investing.

  • Market Cycles: Recognising and navigating the cyclical nature of markets.

  • Defensive Investing: The importance of protecting the downside to ensure long-term success.

31. Pioneering Portfolio Management by David F. Swensen

  • Endowment Model: Insights into the investment approach used by endowments, emphasising diversification and long-term strategy.

  • Alternative Assets: The importance of including alternative assets like real estate and private equity in a diversified portfolio.

  • Active Management: The potential benefits of active management in certain asset classes, when done correctly.

32. The Dao of Capital by Mark Spitznagel

  • Austrian Investing: Applying principles of Austrian economics to investing, focusing on long-term value and capital preservation.

  • Roundabout Approach: Emphasises indirect, more strategic paths to achieve investment goals.

  • Understanding Bubbles: Recognising and protecting against asset bubbles and their eventual bursts.

33. Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein

  • History of Risk: Traces the development of the concept of risk from ancient times to the modern era.

  • Probability Theory: The evolution and importance of probability theory in finance and decision-making.

  • Risk Management: The challenges and complexities of managing risk in various fields, especially finance.

34. The Big Short by Michael Lewis

  • Financial Crisis: An in-depth look into the causes and key players of the 2008 financial crisis.

  • Mortgage-backed Securities: The role of these complex financial instruments in the housing bubble and subsequent crash.

  • Contrarian Investing: The story of a few who saw the crash coming and profited from it, highlighting the value of independent, contrarian thinking.

35. Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis

  • Wall Street Culture: A glimpse into the high-stakes, aggressive culture of Wall Street in the 1980s.

  • Mortgage Bonds: The rise and significance of mortgage bonds and their role in the financial industry.

  • Ethical Dilemmas: The challenges of navigating ethical dilemmas in a profit-driven environment.

36. The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

  • Improbable Events: The significant impact of rare and unpredictable events (Black Swans) on markets and the world.

  • Limitations of Predictions: The dangers of relying too heavily on models that cannot account for extreme outliers.

  • Robustness: The importance of building systems and portfolios that can withstand shocks and Black Swan events.

37. Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

  • High-frequency Trading: An exploration of the world of high-frequency trading and its impact on markets.

  • Market Inefficiencies: How technological advancements can lead to new forms of market inefficiencies.

  • Ethical Considerations: The debate over the fairness and ethics of high-frequency trading practices.

38. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

  • Buffett's Life: An in-depth look into the life and career of Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors of all time.

  • Value Investing: Insights into Buffett's value investing philosophy and approach.

  • Business Acumen: Buffett's ability to understand and evaluate businesses, leading to his investment success.

39. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre

  • Trading Psychology: The psychological challenges and emotions involved in trading.

  • Market Manipulation: Insights into the early days of stock market manipulation and speculation.

  • Learning from Mistakes: The importance of learning from trading mistakes and continuously improving.

40. When Genius Failed by Roger Lowenstein

  • Rise and Fall: The story of the rise and fall of Long-Term Capital Management, a hedge fund that nearly collapsed the global financial system.

  • Over-leveraging: The dangers of excessive leverage and overconfidence in financial models.

  • Systemic Risk: How individual firm failures can pose risks to the broader financial system.

41. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

  • Economic Insights: Applying economic principles to unconventional problems, revealing surprising connections.

  • Data Interpretation: The importance of understanding and interpreting data correctly to draw meaningful conclusions.

  • Incentive Structures: How incentives drive behaviour in various scenarios, from schoolteachers to sumo wrestlers.

42. The Little Book of Behavioural Investing by James Montier

  • Cognitive Biases: Understanding the psychological traps and biases that can impact investment decisions.

  • Emotional Investing: The dangers of letting emotions drive investment decisions and strategies to mitigate this.

  • Contrarian Approach: The potential benefits of going against the herd and thinking independently.

43. The Margin of Safety by Seth Klarman

  • Value Investing: Emphasises the importance of buying securities at prices significantly below their intrinsic value.

  • Risk Aversion: The significance of always considering and mitigating potential risks in investment decisions.

  • Long-term Focus: The benefits of a long-term investment horizon and the dangers of short-term market predictions.

44.The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America by Warren Buffett and Lawrence A. Cunningham

  • Corporate Governance: Insights into Buffett's views on corporate governance and business ethics.

  • Investment Philosophy: Deep dives into Buffett's investment strategies and principles.

  • Business Valuation: Buffett's approach to evaluating and valuing businesses.

45. The Zurich Axioms by Max Gunther

  • Risk-taking: The importance of taking calculated risks to achieve investment success.

  • Skepticism: The value of always questioning and being skeptical of too-good-to-be-true opportunities.

  • Decisiveness: The significance of making decisions promptly and not being paralysed by indecision.

46. More Money Than God by Sebastian Mallaby

  • Hedge Fund History: A comprehensive history of hedge funds and their impact on global finance.

  • Investment Strategies: Insights into various investment strategies employed by successful hedge funds.

  • Regulatory Challenges: The ongoing debate and challenges related to hedge fund regulation.

47. The Little Book That Builds Wealth by Pat Dorsey

  • Economic Moats: The importance of investing in companies with sustainable competitive advantages or "moats."

  • Business Analysis: How to evaluate a company's competitive position and its potential for long-term profitability.

  • Valuation: The significance of not overpaying for a stock, even if the company has a strong competitive position.

48. The Investment Answer by Daniel C. Goldie and Gordon S. Murray

  • Asset Allocation: The critical role of asset allocation in determining investment returns.

  • Active vs. Passive: The debate between active and passive investment strategies and their respective merits.

  • Financial Advisors: The importance of choosing the right financial advisor and understanding their fee structures.

49. The Future for Investors by Jeremy J. Siegel

  • Long-term Returns: Analysis of long-term stock returns and the factors that drive them.

  • Growth vs. Value: The ongoing debate between growth and value investing and their respective merits.

  • Global Investing: The potential benefits and risks of investing in emerging markets and global equities.

50. Capital Ideas by Peter L. Bernstein

  • Modern Finance Evolution: Traces the evolution of modern finance and investment theory.

  • Innovative Thinkers: Profiles of influential thinkers who shaped modern investment theory.

  • Risk and Return: Exploration of the relationship between risk and return and its significance in investment decisions.

Mind of a Trader by Alpesh Patel (personal favourite)

  • Trader Psychology: Patel delves deep into the psychological aspects of trading, emphasising the importance of discipline, patience, and emotional control in achieving trading success.

  • Insights from Successful Traders: The book provides interviews with successful traders, offering readers a chance to learn from their experiences, strategies, and mistakes.

  • Holistic Approach: Beyond just strategies and techniques, Patel discusses the lifestyle, mindset, and habits that contribute to trading success, emphasising the importance of continuous learning and adaptation.

Alpesh B Patel


bottom of page