Investor’s bookshelf

Since I seem to be buying more than a few books every month these days (all hail the great Amazon), I thought it’d be useful to write down some of the better books on investing I’ve read and/or bought as a sort of paper trail for when I think of re-reading them. I would’ve loved to write reviews for each, but that will have to wait for another day.

So without further ado, here’s my investor’s bookshelf which will hopefully be updated as I read/buy more. Note that I’m putting up only books that I deem (hear, hear) directly relevant to investing and markets so regrettably this won’t include such gems as Understanding Comics and Influence. If I’m sufficiently motivated, I might even write one page for each category of books I read and enjoy.

Investing, capital markets and other such whatnots
  • The Aggressive Conservative Investor. Martin Whitman is one of the two original ideas in investing – Whitman carries the immense force of his ideas lightly – a classic. The other is Value Investing.
  • Graham & Dodd’s 1940 edition of Security Analysis. The Intelligent Investor is the more accessible version. One of the two original ideas in investing.
  • Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits. Accessible yet superb – the “scuttlebutt” approach is outlined here by Fisher.
  • Warren Buffett’s Shareholder Letters. Buffett is surely in the league of the greatest value investors of all time, but that’s not the only thing that’s special about his letters to Berkshire shareholders. These are shareholder letters like no other – straight-shooting, candid and bold. How many Chairmen of a publicly traded companies write about their mistakes as eloquently and fearlessly as their successes? Full of witty, poignant epigrams. Available online. Free.
  • Ahead of the Curve. Pragmatic applications of macroeconomic indicators for stock market investing and forecasting, written by a very successful sell-side consumer/retail analyst on Wall Street.
  • More than you know. Behavioral finance, psychological aspects of investing and thinking about how to think in the capital markers.
  • Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan. Both by Nassim Taleb dealing with meta-issues in finance and investing.
  • One up on Wall Street. Get inside the head of one of the most successful equity fund managers of all time. I’ve met Peter many times and believe me, this is sage advice from the master himself.
  • Inside the House of Money. Hedge fund investing.
  • Market Wizards: Interviews with top traders. As advertised!
  • When Genius Failed. A top finance journalist chronicles the meteoric rise and the precipitous fall of LTCM.
  • Hot Commodities. Investment Biker. Adventure Capitalist. Very light reading, but deliciously litteredwith nuggets of investment wisdom from Jim Rogers, co-founder of the Quantum fund with George Soros.
  • Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Lessons from history ranging from witch hunts, the South Sea Bubble and the tulip-mania.
  • Manias, Panics and Crashes. It’s spooky how history repeats itself, how the cycle of boom and bust seems to flow inexorably from greed to fear to anxiety. Written by one of the foremost financial historians who peers back to the 1600s and 1800s all the way to the 2000s. Kindleberger clearly illustrates how human nature is unchanging and how manias, panics and crashes will look and smell just the same irrespective of what year it is.
  • The Great Crash of 1929. A recount of those fateful years.
  • Liar’s Poker. Michael’s Lewis’s hilarious classic. Lewis is an exceptional writer, with the uncanny ability to reduce all to nothing with his scathing sarcasm and wry, observational wit.
  • Investment Philosophies. Prof. Damodaran takes a look at some of the most successful investors of all time and the strategies that they put to work for them. Buffett to Lynch to Soros.
  • The (Mis)Behavior of Markets. Mandelbrot contends that the traditional view of finance that is accepted and practised by Wall Street today is nearly indistinguishable from balderdash and that a new world-view is imminent if we are to make any sense of how markets work. He uses fractal math as the backbone of this better world-view and explains why fractal randomness has better explanatory power than your friendly, neighborhood Guassian curve.

Update: 19/06/2009

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