Investing in the future


Here is an ABC of superb investment books. The list is rather short because there aren't that many.  Nor will you find any websites on our list. Having looked at hundreds of websites with investment themes, we conclude that there are none that are great. Our general observation about investment websites is that they are too flexible – always changing their content and appearance, in a misguided effort to stay current, while the principles of good investing are fixed and rather timeless.

For Beginners

The Great Game: The Emergence of Wall Street as a World Power, 1653 to 2000, by John Steele Gordon. Wall Street has always conveyed the appearance of a den of thieves. It is a den of thieves! This history sends that message loud and clear in less than 300 pages.

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, by Alice Schroeder. This book tells an engaging story, and illuminates the genius and eccentricities of our most successful investor.

For Intermediates

The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham. Sometimes held up as a great investment book for beginners. This is not true. Some familiarity with financial statements is an absolute necessity to absorb the lessons of this book, and to overcome the dry text. Try to find a fourth edition copy or earlier - one which includes introductions and afterwards by Warren Buffett, but which omits the "updates" from the journalist Jason Zweig.

The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Not so much a book on investing as a meditation on risk. One of the most intelligent statements on investment risk ever made.

For the Advanced

Security Analysis, by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd. Revered, and properly so, by professionals as the bible of investing. So dry and technical that even we don't enjoy reading it.

Margin of Safety, by Seth A. Klarman. Out of print. Good luck finding a copy. Sells for more than $1,000 per copy on Seth Klarman is one of the leading practitioners of value investing in our time.