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10 Books to Read Before Investing

Starting out in investments and stock trading can be a daunting prospect, but there are many books out there to help you on your way and provide reference and support. This post brings together a selection of 10 of the best books available on the subject from contemporary experts and classic theorists. These texts are certainly not get-rich-quick titles; they are trusted books written by investment professionals offering the concepts of the field and solid advice for long-term strategies. So to get your investment portfolio started, whether that may be in property or stocks, read up on strategy with these ten books.

1. The Financial Times Guide to Investing by Glen Arnold

Glen Arnold’s guide is the definitive introduction to all the key aspects of stock market investing and finance, offering a solid foundation for anyone wanting to enter the world of investment. Starting with the absolute basics of the purpose of investment and how the markets work, and then explaining in easy-to-read, step-by-step chapters, Arnold details how to start a profitable personal financial portfolio. The book contains up-to-date statistics, the latest tax legislation, glossary of investment jargon, and Arnold makes excellent suggestions for further reading to build on the knowledge presented in his text.

2. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham

The Intelligent Investor, first published in 1949, is probably the single most important book written on the subject by one of the pioneers of investment. As an economist and lecturer Graham developed his theory of ‘value investing’ in the wake of the Great Depression, and began teaching his ideas to his students at Columbia Business School. This highly regarded and trusted text details the theory of value investing and explains how to develop the skills and analytical tools to successfully engage with the markets. A timeless classic and an essential addition to any investor’s library.

3. Shares Made Simple: A Beginner’s Guide to the Stock Market by Rodney Hobson

Financial journalist Rodney Hobson shares his extensive knowledge of the markets in a friendly manner ideal for those starting out fresh in the investing game. Hobson turns his attention to the basics including what a share is, how the stock exchange functions, how to invest and how to analyse the results for future decision making. There are useful sections on investment jargon, company accounts and indexes and much more. This book is a great place for absolute beginners entering the markets.

4. Smarter Investing: Simpler Decisions for Better Results by Tim Hale

Time Hale’s Smarter Investing is an informative and clearly written book guiding the reader through a series of practical suggestions for sensible investments and financial planning. While the concepts are presented in a simple manner, the text is a remarkably comprehensive in the subjects it covers, and contains plenty of illustrations and examples to support its suggestions. Drawing on his experiences of working as a professional in financial management companies, Hale also references a variety of respected investment writers including Bernstein, Bogle, Ellis, and Swensen. He shares his expertise from inside the financial services industry to provide advice on intelligent investing to build solid portfolios.

5. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Philip A Fisher

American stock investor Philip A Fisher’s masterpiece Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits was first published in 1958 and has remained in print ever since. One of the true pioneers in the field of growth investment, Fisher relates the guiding principles of successful portfolio including 15 criteria for identifying which companies to invest in, five don’ts, and then five more to add extra protection to the investor. These points create a template for sensible investment. Fisher encourages investing in growth companies and when considering the best time to sell a stock he concludes ‘almost never’.

6. 100 Secret Strategies for Successful Investing by Richard Farleigh

Richard Farleigh is a highly successful hedge fund manager, and in this gem of a book he shares his insider knowledge of how to speculate and profit. He offers great advice on building a private portfolio by investing in property and equity markets, bonds, currencies and commodities. Farleigh presents some interesting thoughts and convincing arguments concerning market trends and how best to make money from changes and constants.

7. Winning the Loser’s Game by Charles D Ellis

Charles D Ellis sets out his timeless strategies for successful investing in this masterful book, showing how investors can approach today’s turbulent markets. Sections of the book detail how many people fail to make profits, and then explains in easy-to-follow steps how to avoid these pitfalls. Ellis asserts the importance of having a clearly defined plan when initiating a portfolio and that investors should never attempt to beat the markets, because this will always fail. He observes that investing is a ‘losers game’, but in this book he shows how individual investors can pick ‘winning’ assets.

8. The Little Book of Commonsense Investing by John C Bogle

John C Bogle is the founder and former CEO American investment management company the Vanguard Group. He successfully built the company using the practice of index investing, and he relates and elaborates on his investment methods in The Little Book of Commonsense Investing. In this invaluable volume Bogle states the importance of business realities over market speculations; how to soften the impact of expenses, taxes and inflation; how compounding costs overwhelm compounding returns; and supports his ideas with the work of other investment theorists including Warren Buffett, Benjamin Graham, Paul Samuelson and Burton Malkiel. All the information is presented in a concise and logical style in this brilliantly accessible book.

9. Contrarian Investment Strategies: The Next Generation by David Dreman

Contrarian Investment Strategies: The Next Generation is an updated and revised edition of David Dreman’s original text, which was first published in 1982. A highly experienced money manager and investment journalist, Dreman works by the contrarian approach of buying out of favour stocks and profiting from market fears. By incorporating the latest research on investor psychology, Dreman offers fascinating insights into the human aspects of market trends, how fears cause shifts in stock value, and how investors can defy their instincts to maximise gains.

10. The Essays of Warren Buffett by L A Cunningham

As arguably the world’s most successful investor and contender for wealthiest man, Warren Buffett thoughts on value investing are understandably treasured and admired. This collection brings together his essays and letters to shareholders, each containing insightful observation and pearls of wisdom, the selection chosen as lessons for investors and managers. The book presents the letters thematically in easy-to-digest chapters, revealing Buffetts’ expertise, philosophy and wit.

Tom works at Money Choices, an Australian website where users can perform a home loan comparison to find the best investment or refinance mortgage. Read more of his work on their blog, Money Hacker.

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