When it comes to learning about investing, the Internet is a convenient way to navigate the current information jungle. But those seeking a greater historical perspective and a more detailed analysis should consider reading classic investment books. Here we've compiled a list of some of the best stock market investing books that should prove valuable guides to anyone looking to boost their investing knowledge and skills.
- By reading classic investment books, investors can gain valuable insights they can use to develop a profitable investing strategy.
- Published in 1949, Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor is an example of a classic investing book that influenced generations of investors, most notably Warren Buffett.
- Legendary former manager of the Magellan Fund, Peter Lynch has written several top stock market investing books, including One Up on Wall Street and Beating the Street.
- Vanguard Group Founder John Bogle wrote Common Sense on Mutual Funds, one of the classic books for mutual fund investors looking to understand an index investing strategy.
- In Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki stresses the importance of financial education and starting at a young age to build wealth through investing in assets.
The Intelligent Investor (1949), by Benjamin Graham
The undisputed father of value investing, Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor birthed ideas about security analysis that laid the foundation for a generation of investors, including his most famous student, Warren Buffett, who called this work, "By far the best book on investing ever written." Published in 1949, this book teaches time-tested principles that every investor can use.
Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits (1958), by Philip A. Fisher
Another pioneer in the world of financial analysis, Philip Fisher has had a major influence on modern investment theory and is credited with the idea of analyzing stocks based on their growth potential. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits teaches investors to analyze the quality of a business and its ability to produce profits. First published in the 1950s, Fisher's lessons are just as applicable today, more than a half-century later.
Stocks for the Long Run (1994), by Jeremy Siegel
As the title suggests, Wharton School of Business professor Jeremy Siegel champions the concept of investing in stocks over the long haul. Extensively drawing on more than two centuries of research, Siegel believes equities will not only surpass all other financial assets when it comes to performance, but he argues that stock returns are safer and more predictable during inflationary climates.
Learn to Earn (1995), One Up on Wall Street (1989), or Beating the Street (1993), by Peter Lynch
Peter Lynch came to prominence in the 1980s as the manager of the spectacularly-performing Fidelity Magellan Fund, and he has since authored a trio of well-received books. Geared towards a younger audience, Learn to Earn explains many business basics, while One Up on Wall Street makes the case for the benefits of self-directed investing.
Not to be outdone, Beating the Street focuses on the process Lynch used for picking winning stocks when he ran the famed Magellan Fund. All three titles preach a common-sense approach, insisting that individual investors who conduct thorough due diligence can invest just like the experts.
A Random Walk Down Wall Street (1973), by Burton G. Malkiel
According to Malkiel's book, no amount of fundamental or technical analysis will help investors beat the market, and he consequently likens investing to a random walk. Like any good academic, Malkiel backs up his argument with copious research and statistics. But even so, many find Malkiel's ideas to be controversial at best, blasphemous at worst.
The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America (Fifth edition, revised 2019), by Warren Buffett and Lawrence Cunningham
Although he seldom comments on his specific stock holdings, Warren Buffett is transparent about the principles behind his investments. This book is a collection of letters he wrote to shareholders over the past few decades that definitively summarize the techniques of the world's greatest investor.
Warren Buffett invests in undervalued companies with low leverage, high profit margins, and the ability to generate cash for shareholders.
How to Make Money in Stocks (Fourth edition, revised 2009), by William J. O'Neil
Bill O'Neil founded Investor's Business Daily, a national publisher of daily financial newspapers, and created the CAN SLIM system of choosing stocks, where each letter in the acronym stands for a key factor to look for when purchasing shares in a company. If you're interested in stock picking, How to Make Money in Stocks is a great place to start because it skips generalities to provide tangible ideas you can immediately apply to your research.
Rich Dad Poor Dad (1997), by Robert T. Kiyosaki
This book centers around the lessons rich folks teach their kids about money, which according to Robert Kiyosaki, poor and middle-class parents too often neglect. Kiyosaki's simple-but-effective message preaches the importance of investing early to make your assets work for you—a concept all children should know.
Common Sense on Mutual Funds (1999), by John Bogle
John Bogle, the founder of the Vanguard Group, is a driving force behind the case for index funds and the case against actively-managed mutual funds. His book begins with a primer on investment strategy, before blasting the mutual fund industry for the exorbitant fees it charges investors. Mutual fund investors should be sure to give this book a read.
Irrational Exuberance (2000), by Robert J. Shiller
Named after Alan Greenspan's infamous 1996 comment on the absurdity of stock market valuations, Shiller's book, released in March 2000, gave a chilling warning of the impending dotcom bubble's burst. The Yale economist dispels the myth that the market is rational and instead explains that the market is more influenced by emotion, herd behavior, and speculation.
The Bottom Line
Investing can be a confusing endeavor, with vast choices that can either generate or dissipate one's wealth. Fortunately, there are many books on the subject containing valuable strategies written by those who have achieved investment success. The more you know, the more you'll be able to incorporate the advice of some of these experts into your own investment strategy.