The 13 Best Books for Beginning Investors

1. More Straight Talk on Investing by Jack Brennan

First on our list is More Straight Talk on Investing by former Vanguard CEO Jack Brennan. It’s an update to his 2004 book Straight Talk on Investing and could easily be the only book on investing you ever read.

He covers every topic a new or experienced investor needs. The book assumes no previous knowledge on investing, and walks through everything from asset allocation to mutual funds, diversification to fees. Perhaps the most important part of the book comes in Part IV, Stay the Course. It’s here that Jack discuss the importance of sticking to your investment plan, in good times and bad.

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20. Encyclopedia of Chart Patterns

Book: Encyclopedia of Chart Patterns Author: Thomas Bulkowski

An extremely detailed work that rivals “Technical Analysis of Stock Trends” and should provide traders with a complete understanding of chart patterns. The hard work is to apply the knowledge.

6. Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist

Book: Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist Author: Roger Lowenstein

This book sheds insight into the ways and means of the Oracle of Omaha. Warren Buffett’s thoughts are insightful and his methods may yield fruitful rewards for investors with enough patience to learn them, understand them and apply them correctly.

Best on the Psychology of Investing: The Psychology of Money

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This collection of 19 short stories focuses on not just the numbers behind financial strategies and investing, but also how people think about money. And for anyone who has ever made an emotional decision regarding their budget or investment portfolio, this book’s message—emotions matter when it comes to money—rings true. Morgan Housel’s The Psychology of Money highlights not only how our own emotions, bias, and ego play into our financial moves, but also gives the reader common sense tools for making those decisions. Housel, an award-winning financial journalist, is a partner at the Collaborative Fund and a former columnist at The Wall Street Journal and The Motley Fool.

Best Conceptual: A Random Walk Down Wall Street

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The updated version of this Wall Street classic helps investors understand important stock market concepts including exchange-traded funds (ETFs), emerging market investments, derivatives, and more. From Princeton economist Burton Malkiel, this book popularized the “random walk hypothesis.”

The random walk hypothesis states that one cannot consistently beat the markets, so it makes more sense to build a balanced portfolio that matches market performance. This idea also supports the efficient-market hypothesis.

Fundamental concepts in the book include technical and fundamental analysis, whether or not actively managed mutual funds make sense, and other tried and true investment theories.

Best Biography: One Up On Wall Street

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The author of another great investment book, "Beating the Street," Peter Lynch's "One Up On Wall Street"is a go-to for investors who want to draw on their own common sense and knowledge to make smart investments.

Lynch managed the prestigious Magellan Fund at Fidelity from 1977 to 1990 producing an average 29.2% annual return — more than double the S&P 500 in the same period. His investment success led the fund to swell from $18 million in assets when he took over to $14 billion. The legendary investor has plenty of lessons in "One Up On Wall Street" for you to take to your investment accounts.

Lynch is another advocate of long-term investment strategies. He is a proponent of investing in what you know best and investing in companies where you see the investment power right in front of you. From the supermarket shelves to workplace tools and products, you might already know the next big thing. And according to Lynch, you may want to put your money behind it. 

Read Next: The Best Investing Books for Beginners

Best for Value Investing: The Little Book of Value Investing

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Value investing is the practice of purchasing stocks that are undervalued and holding them for longer periods of time, ideally earning returns when those stocks rebound. Though not a new concept, it’s an undervalued one for many investors (pun intended). Christopher Browne’s The Little Book of Value Investing shows readers how to put this strategy into action to purchase bargain stocks and grow your portfolio. This title has earned glowing reviews from The Independent, Financial Times (U.K.), Bloomberg, and The Wall Street Journal.

5. The Allocator’s Edge: A modern guide to alternative investments and the future of diversification by Phil Huber

I’m not at all convinced that most investors need alternative investments. Perhaps a small exposure to REITs will suffice the vast majority of us. I am, however, always interested in other perspectives, and The Allocator’s Edge gives us that in spades.

Phil Huber walks through his case for the need of alternatives, resting in large part on his view that the 60/40 portfolio is dead. He then covers a wide spectrum of alternatives ranging from insurance-linked assets to private equity to digital assets. He also provides suggested portfolios, and he even describes his own investment strategy into alternatives.

In the end I’ve not bought into the need for alternatives, but I continue to research the subject with an open mind. The Allocator’s Edge was a good resource to explore this area of investing.

And if the above books don’t fit the bill as you look for a holiday gift, there’s always my book published in 2019, Retire Before Mom and Dad—The Simple Numbers Behind a Lifetime of Financial Freedom.

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