Looking for some timeless investing knowledge? Don’t miss our picks for the best stock books to read right away.
If you’re looking for the best stock books to read, you might want to stay away from browsing some of the big online sellers. One site brings up more than 80,000 results. Even if you filter out the duplicate versions and the items that aren’t actually books, that’s still waaaay too much to pick just a few good ones.
You can find anything from your Investing 101 books to detailed investing theory textbooks to histories of stock market crashes. You can even find recipe books for stocks and broths, but that’s not the kind of stock that falls within our area of expertise, so we can’t really comment on that.
Yes, you could certainly find a few good reads in there. Or you could spend hours sorting through the listings looking for the best stock books to read, only to end up with a dry, sleep-inducing tome that doesn’t give you any helpful investing ideas. And it’s those ideas that make a book worth reading. Cabot’s founder, Carlton Lutts, was fond of saying that as long as a book contained at least “one good idea,” it was worth reading.
So let’s take a look at some of our favorites, in the hopes that we can point you in the right direction.
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The 7 Best stock books to read so you can make better investing decisions
1. How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market by Nicolas Darvas
Three of our editors picked this investing book (likely a testament to its importance). Nicolas Darvas is a champion ballroom dancer who decides to get into the market. He develops his own system for growth investing and fine-tunes it to achieve the result in the title. It’s a fun read, full of his personality and with enough reversals, eccentricities, and breakthroughs to keep you interested while you’re learning more than you realize about technical analysis and portfolio management. It’s a great story.
2. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
Benjamin Graham penned The Intelligent Investor in 1949, and the book has since been called “by far the best book on investing ever written,” by Warren Buffett, one of Graham’s students and followers. Bear in mind that the book came out in 1949. A lot has changed in the world of prose since then. In that respect, the book may feel a little dated. The information, however, is still just as valid and valuable today as it was over 70 years ago.
3. Invest Like a Shark by James DePorre
James DePorre lost his hearing, career, and marriage in the early 1990s, and turned to online investing. His book details his investment strategy for average, individual investors. DePorre explains his theory that small investors can beat the Whales of Wall Street by using speed and flexibility to their advantage. DePorre encourages investors to use their small size, quickness, and aggressiveness to outmaneuver investing giants.
4. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefevre
If you consider yourself a student of the market, there is no better book than Reminiscences of a Stock Operator. This conversational biography of the exploits of Jesse Livermore contains more market lessons than any “how to” book available today … or ever. Divided into reasonably sized chapters, the book allows you to follow one of Wall Street’s all-time great speculators through his winnings and his many mistakes.
5. Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein
Around 1470, the monk Luca Pacioli posed a question: How would one divide the stakes of an unfinished game of chance when one player was ahead of the other? The answer confounded mathematicians for 200 years, until Blaise Pascal came up with a solution and, with it, gave birth to the modern concept of risk, leading ultimately to Wall Street. Bernstein’s book focuses on how people make choices and how the notion of controlling what one can and minimizing exposure to what one has no control over liberated finance and tells us how to be better investors.
6. Beware the Crowd at Extremes: The Importance of Contrary Opinion in the Stock Market by Nathan E. Davis
Published in 2003, this is an easy read, full of modern references, charts, and tables, and aimed directly at the moderately experienced investor who needs a little more guidance in learning to separate his own thoughts from those of the masses. Independent thinking is critical for successful investing, and this book will help you develop your own.
7. One Up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch
In One Up on Wall Street, Peter Lynch writes about his theory that average investors can become experts in their field and pick winning stocks as well as Wall Street professionals just by doing some research. The author writes that there are many investment opportunities for the average investor that can be found by observing business developments and noticing what’s going on in the world. Lynch writes that investors will be rewarded in the long run if they ignore the fluctuations of the market and speculation about interest rates.
Bonus Book! Dear Chairman: Boardroom Battles and the Rise of Shareholder Activism by Jeff Gramm
We couldn’t leave this one out. It’s a truly entertaining read. Published in 2016, this engaging book recounts several of the more colorful shareholder efforts to change bad management practices. Each chapter is based on an actual letter written by an activist investor, starting with Benjamin Graham’s comparatively genteel pressure on Northern Pipeline to the highly entertaining letter written by Daniel Loeb to Star Gas, wondering whether the CEO’s 78-year-old mother belongs on the Board of Directors.
Do you have a favorite that you would add to the list of best stock books to read? We’d love to get your opinion in the comments section.