Investing

The Best Investing Books of All Time (As Voted by 20 Top Investors)

Best Investing Books of All Time: As Voted By 24 Top Investors & Institutions
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What are the best investing books according to the world’s best investors? 

To find out, I sought out the recommended books of 20 of the most successful investors and hedge fund managers of all time. 

All in all, I curated a total of 246 book recommendations, combined them into a spreadsheet and sorted them by count. 

The result is a list of the best investing books ranked by the number of recommendations each one received.

You can view the data in its raw form here

Note that in cases where two books were tied, I ranked them based on my own preferences.

Here’s a list of each of the books that scored more than three recommendations. 

The Best Investing Books of All Time

#1. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham

Number of recommendations: 9
Recommended by: Bill Ackman, Bruce Berkowitz, Warren Buffett, Michael Burry, Joel Greenblatt, Seth Klarman, Mohnish Pabrai, Walter Schlossl and Guy Spier.

Benjamin Graham - The Intelligent Investor

Warren Buffett has called The Intelligent Investor, “by far the best book on investing ever written.”

He continues: “Chapters 8 and 20 have been the bedrock of my investing activities for more than 60 years. I suggest that all investors read those chapters and reread them every time the market has been especially strong or weak.

First published in 1949, Benjamin Graham’s now-classic book has impacted generations of investors and is recommended by many of today’s well-known hedge fund managers, including, Joel Greenblatt and Michael Burry.

Known as “the father of value investing,” Graham revised the book four times, with the last revision being published in 1971. In 2003, respected Wall Street Journal financial columnist Jason Zweig updated the book with his own commentary and footnotes.

#2. Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham

Number of recommendations: 9
Recommended by: Bill Ackman, Bruce Berkowitz, Warren Buffett, Michael Burry, Joel Greenblatt, John Griffin, Seth Klarman, Walter Schloss and Don Yacktman.

Benjamin Graham and David Dodd - Security Analysis

Benjamin Graham’s first book, Security Analysis (co-written with David Dodd), comes in at #2 on the list of best investing books of all time.

Buffet, who also wrote the forward, is quoted on the back cover calling it, “a roadmap for investing that I have now been following for 57 years.”

While Graham’s The Intelligent Investor is by no means a light read, Security Analysis is an even more detailed overview of Graham’s stock-picking methods. So if you plan on reading both, I’d start with the former.

The newest version of Security Analysis, published in 2008, includes insight from some of today’s top investors, including Seth Klarman, Howard Marks, Bruce Berkowitz, Bruce Greenwald and others.

#3. You Can Be A Stock Market Genius by Joel Greenblatt

Number of recommendations: 6
Recommended by: Bill Ackman, Michael Burry, David Einhorn, Seth Klarman, Dan Loeb and Guy Spier.

While it’s too popular to be called a hidden gem, it’s fair to say that You Can Be A Stock Market Genius has flown under the radar, ranking at just #60 in Amazon’s finance section. 

(Greenblatt’s second book, The Little Book That Beats The Market, is #17.)

You Can Be A Stock Market Genius details how individual investors can use special situation investing to beat the market.

This involves investing in:

  • Spin-offs
  • Restructurings
  • Merger securities
  • Rights offerings
  • Recapitalizations
  • Bankruptcies
  • Risk arbitrage

Researching these opportunities does require work — which may be part of the reason why the book hasn’t caught on with mainstream individual investors. 

However, with six recommendations out of the 20 lists I reviewed, it’s fair to say that You Can Be A Stock Market Genius has made an impact on many of the best investors of our generation.

#4. The Essays of Warren Buffett

Number of recommendations: 5
Recommended by: Bill Ackman, Bruce Berkowitz, Joel Greenblatt, John Griffin and Don Yacktman.

Coming in at #4 on the list of best investing books of all time are Warren Buffett’s essays and annual letters to shareholders, in which the famed investor shares his wisdom and methods. 

Spanning decades of correspondence, there are actually two separate books that have compiled his writing:

Buffett’s unedited letters are also available for free on Berkshire’s website.

#5. The Warren Buffett Way by Robert Hagstrom

Number of recommendations: 5
Recommended by: Bill Ackman, Joel Greenblatt, John Griffin, Howard Marks and Mohnish Pabrai. 

Robert Hagstrom - The Warren Buffett Way

There’s no question that Warren Buffett has profoundly shaped the investment community.

Having written decades of letters containing his wisdom (see above) — and never one to back away from an interview — Buffett’s been generous in sharing his investment philosophy over the years. 

So it’s no wonder that his footprints are all over this list of best investing books.

What’s unique about The Warren Buffett Way is that it dives deep into the actual strategies Buffett has used to succeed. It’s the definitive book on his strategies from an outsider’s point of view.

Originally written in 1997, it was revised in 2013 to analyze Buffett’s more recent investments.

#6. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre

Number of recommendations: 4
Recommended by: Bruce Berkowitz, John Griffin, Dan Loeb and Guy Spier.

Written in 1923, Edwin Lefèvre’s classic Reminiscences of a Stock Operator comes in at #6. 

The book is a fictionalized biography of one of the greatest investors of the time, Jesse Livermore, who made and lost millions multiple times throughout his career. 

His most famous move was shorting the market in 1929 — immediately before the crash that marked the beginning of the Great Depression.

Livermore ended his own life in 1940, after losing most of what he made (which was reportedly over $100 million). 

His life story remains relevant today for its views on investor psychology, speculation, and the nature of the market.

#7. Margin of Safety by Seth Klarman

Number of recommendations: 4
Recommended by: Bill Ackman, David Einhorn, Joel Greenblatt and Guy Spier.

Margin of Safety

The “margin of safety” is the difference between the intrinsic value of a stock and its market price.

Seth Klarman has used the concept to become one of the most successful hedge fund managers of the day at the Baupost Group.

Often called “the next Warren Buffett” by the media, Klarman is a classic value investor. So it’s no surprise that in the book, he dives deep into the “margin of safety” philosophy — a classic value investing framework — arguing that it’s the most important concept for investors to understand.

Unfortunately, as the book is out of print, used copies often go for over $1,000. The lowest price for a used copy on Amazon at the time of this writing is $899.

#8. Common Stock, Uncommon Profits and Other Writings by Philip Fisher

Number of recommendations: 3
Recommended by
: Michael Burry, Warren Buffet and John Griffin.

Philip Fisher - Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits

Originally published in 1958, Common Stock, Uncommon Profits and Other Writings by Philip Fisher was one of the books that helped shape a young Warren Buffett’s investment philosophy.

Buffett has said about the book: 

“I sought out Phil Fisher after reading his Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits […] A thorough understanding of the business, obtained by using Phil’s techniques […] enables one to make intelligent investment commitments.

With insight into evaluating earnings and management, it’s easy to see how Fisher’s classic book helped Buffett build upon the concepts he learned from Benjamin Graham.

Common Stock, Uncommon Profits and Other Writings was updated by Philip Fisher’s son (popular Forbes columnist Ken Fisher) in 2003.

#9. One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch

Number of recommendations: 3
Recommended by: Bill Ackman, John Griffin and Mohnish Pabrai.

One Up On Wall Street

Charged with operating the Magellan Fund between 1977 and 1990, Peter Lynch produced an annual average return of 29%, beating the S&P Index in 11 of his 13 years at the helm.

In his book One Up On Wall Street, Lynch explains his philosophy and methods to help the individual investor succeed.

First published in 2000, making it the second-youngest book on the list, One Up On Wall Street has become very popular (boasting over 590 reviews on Amazon) for its insights into how average investors can leverage certain advantages over large money managers.

Its simple approach to investing (one sentence summary: invest in companies you know and love) means there’s no question the book will continue to impact both individual investors and tomorrow’s top hedge fund managers.

#10. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

Number of recommendations: 3
Recommended By
: Bruce Berkowitz, John Griffin and Charlie Munger.

Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion

While you won’t find this book in the investment section of any bookstore, it has clearly had a great impact on the investment world and some of today’s greatest financial leaders. 

In fact, when we did a similar experiment that looked at the recommended reading lists of 100 famous CEOs and entrepreneurs, Influence came in at #1.

Written by Robert Cialdini, the book explores how our minds can be easily influenced — and how to prevent it. It’s therefore no surprise that an investor like Charlie Munger, who popularized the idea of mental models, loves the book. 

Munger liked the book so much, in fact, that he gifted Cialdine a share of Berkshire Class A stock. The value of that share today is well over $330,000.

#11. The Great Crash 1929 by John Kenneth Galbraith

Number of recommendations: 3
Recommended by: Bruce Berkowitz, Warren Buffett and Jim Chanos. 

The Great Crash 1929

First published in 1955, economist John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Great Crash explores the events that produced the most damaging economic meltdown in American history, ultimately arguing that it was driven by what he described as “rampant speculation.” 

That argument has remained prescient, regardless of the era. 

Whether during the “irrational exuberance” of the 90s dot-com bubble, the economic crisis of 2008 (The Independent used arguments from the book to explain why the global economy was collapsing), or today — with stocks like Tesla defying market reality by trading at hundreds of times their future earnings — Galbraith’s warnings serve as important reminders that markets are not perfect and stocks do not “only go up.”

#12. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John C. Bogle

Number of recommendations: 3
Recommended by: Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and Mohnish Pabrai.

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing

I was happy to see this book make the list, as it’s the investment book I credit for shaping a lot of my views on investing.

I was fortunate enough to read it in my early 20s, at a time when my confidence as an investor — but not my ability — was at an all-time high. 

Written by the late John Bogle, who founded Vanguard and invented index funds, this book goes into detail on why an index-based approach to investing is the wiser approach for the non-professional investor (and why it often even beats most professional investors).

Because index investing is such a simple approach, it’s not as much about understanding the details. More so, it’s about getting the big idea and then sticking with the plan to be a disciplined investor through thick and thin. 

Bogle’s book, out of any other I’ve read, convinces you that index investing is indeed the right path. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re considering a career in investing, these are the must-read books that will help you build a strong foundation in investment strategy, portfolio management and financial decision-making. They’re the classics that have impacted the superinvestors of our time. 

While Buffett had the advantage of being taught by Benjamin Graham, some of today’s most successful investors are self-trained through these books. Michael Burry, for example, was trained as a doctor, not a financial professional. 

Similarly, Todd Combs, the current CIO of Berkshire Hathaway, famously took Warren Buffett’s advice to read 500 pages a day. Now works directly with Buffett. As the story goes about Comb’s reading habits:

“Eventually finding and reading productive material became second nature, a habit. As he began his investing career, he would read even more, hitting 600, 750, even 1,000 pages a day. Combs discovered that Buffett’s formula worked, giving him more knowledge that helped him with what became his primary job — seeking the truth about potential investments.”

But it’s important to note that the books on this list are also valuable even if you’re a new investor who plans on investing passively and/or going the index fund route.

Reading even just one of these books will give you a much better understanding of how the economy and the market function, and how the people you entrust to manage your money go about making the investment decisions that impact your personal finances and life goals.

And if these options aren’t enough, here are a few more posts that highlight great investing and finance books:

Finally, there were a few classic books and bestsellers that I was surprised didn’t make the final cut, as they often appear on “best investing books” lists. Some of the most notable omissions include A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel and Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio.

 
R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss is the founder and editor of The Ways To Wealth, a Certified Financial Planner™, husband and father of three. He's spent the last 10+ years writing about personal finance and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, MSN Money, and other publications.

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