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The publications listed below represent, in our opinion, the very best thinking on investing and investment-related topics. To some, reading about such topics is at worst a cause of migraines and at best a cure for insomnia. However, if you want to learn, these books are a good place to start.
To learn more about a publication, click on "more info +" or click on the title to find it on Amazon.com. We append this list periodically as we discover worthy additions. If you know of a potentially worthy publication, please send an email to us at .
- Against the Gods – The Remarkable Story of Risk | more info +-
by Peter L. Bernstein (1996). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
A fascinating chronology of the birth of risk, chance, probability and statistics. Bernstein compares subjective and quantifiable approaches to estimations of risk, and illuminates the significance of early mathematics and statistics on historical preconceived notions of superstition and fatalism regarding uncertain outcomes.
- Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits | more info +-
by Philip A. Fisher (1984). Revised Edition. Woodside, CA: PSR Publications.
Fisher is another investor who used a fundamental analysis approach to achieve investment success, particularly in his analysis of growth stocks. I have always been particularly enamored of his “scuttlebutt” methods, relying on his network of experts and industry contacts to gather information.
- Margin of Safety | more info +-
by Seth A. Klarman (1991). New York, NY: Harper Business.
This book provides an in-depth look at what the phrase “margin of safety” means to value investors. It is a seminal work that follows nicely from Graham and Dodd’s manufacturing-centric Security Analysis with more updated examples and insights from more recent investment periods, especially the junk bond era of the 1980s. Klarman also offers concise advice on avoiding many of today’s investing pitfalls, as well as a value investors approach to looking at service industry businesses.
- Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics | more info +-
by Richard H. Thaler (2015). New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Richard Thaler is a, if not the, founding father of the field known as behavioral economics. Behavioral economic theory relies on real human behavior, including biases and flaws in judgment, and "prospect theory" or asymmetrical feelings of economic utility to challenge some of the core concepts of neo-classical economic theory, most notably the traditional economic concepts of "rational actors" and "the economic utility of wealth".
- Nonsense: How To Overcome It | more info +-
by Robert J. Gula (1979). Briarcliff Manor, NY: Stein and Day.
The late author Bob Gula was a well-respected faculty member and Director of Studies at Groton School during my time as a student attending this New-England preparatory school. Shortly after I had been elected a dormitory prefect by the faculty for my senior year, he gave me a copy of this book, along with what I inferred as a warning about “not tolerating any nonsense next year” from the lower school boys. Since then, the book has been a valuable resource for me.
- On Bullshit | more info +-
by Harry G. Frankfurt (2005). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
This is an enjoyable little 67-page book written by a professor of philosophy at Princeton that explores its namesake, lying and truth in both practical and existential ways. It goes well with the book Nonsense, listed above.
- Poor Charlie’s Almanack – The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger | more info +-
edited by Peter D. Kaufman (2013). Expanded Third Edition, Seventh Printing. Virginia Beach, VA: Donning Company Publishers.
As entertaining as it is insightful, this book reveals pieces of the person behind the other half of the dynamic duo that presides over Berkshire Hathaway. What I found most intriguing was Charlie Munger’s multi-disciplinary approach to investing. Charlie is living proof that it pays to be a renaissance man.
- Security Analysis | more info +-
by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd (1934). Classic Edition. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Although this book is a dry, boring read for non-financial people and I would recommend The Intelligent Investor or Margin of Safety (both on this list) before suggesting you suffer through this tome, it is the “investment bible” for value investors. As Charlie Munger often says at Berkshire Hathaway annual meetings, “I have nothing further to add.”
- The Intelligent Investor | more info +-
by Benjamin Graham (1973). Fourth Revised Edition. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
This is the “investment bible’s” appendix and/or cliff notes. A broad fundamental summary of Graham’s principles of value investing, this book is an easier, slightly less technical (but no less vital) addition to Security Analysis.
- The Little Book that Beats the Market | more info +-
by Joel Greenblatt (2010). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Sometimes big things actually do come in small packages. While this book is physically small, it delivers on a very big and simple message – value investing works and is the only proven approach to beating the market over time. In my view, this book does not present a formulaic approach to investing so much as it presents a useful formulaic approach to initially identifying or screening for potential investment opportunities.
- The Outsiders | more info +-
by William N. Thorndike, Jr. (2012). Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.
An excellent compilation of stories about eight iconoclastic CEOs and their track records compared to the market, their industry peers, and retired GE CEO Jack Welch. Captured in numerous interviews, the stories are easy to understand and provide insight into what value investors look for in corporate management teams. Will is a friend, an astute investor and a follower of Event Value Fund, L.P., and three of the CEOs presented in his book operate and/or control companies in which Event Value Fund, L.P. has invested.
- The Value Investors – Lessons from the World’s Top Fund Managers | more info +-
by Ronald W. Chan (2012). Singapore: John Wiley & Sons.
This book is a collection of interviews with well known, highly successful value investors (other than Warren Buffett) from around the world, including William Browne, Jean-Marie Eveillard, Cheah Cheng Hye, the Kahn brothers (Irving and Thomas), J. Mark Mobius (advisor to Tano Capital, a previous employer of mine), and the late Walter Schloss (former student and employee of Benjamin Graham, as well as a former colleague and friend of Warren Buffett). It showcases what influences have shaped the thinking of these value investors over time.
- The Warren Buffett Way | more info +-
by Robert G. Hagstrom, Jr. (1994). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Warren Buffett (and compatriot Charlie Munger) are two of the most, if not the two most, successful investors in history. Although this is not an autobiography, the book provides keen insights into the evolution of Warren Buffett’s investment style and those who helped shape it. The author presents the “how and why” behind each major investment decision illustrated.
- Thinking Fast and Slow | more info +-
by Daniel Kahneman (2011). New York, NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
You may have to read this book slowly or more than once, and actually do the exercises provided throughout the book in order to truly benefit from all Kahneman has to teach us about brain function, the roles our two brain ”systems” play in forming biases, and how to recognize and overcome biases to achieve clarity of thought and superior judgments.
- “It’s Not Easy”: A Memo to Clients | more info +-
by Howard Marks (September 9, 2015) of Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.