Everyone loves a good book on investing, economics, and anything else offering a fresh take on finance.
With all of the titles floating around out there, though, it can be hard to sort through the pile.
“Doug Kass has a terrific reading list,” says Blackstone Vice Chairman Byron Wien.
Kass, the widely-followed portfolio manager who is president and founder of Seabreeze Partners Management, gave us a list of his 31 favourite titles he recommends investors should read.
By Howard Marks
'Informed by a lifetime of experience and study, The Most Important Thing explains the keys to successful investment and the pitfalls that can destroy capital or ruin a career. utilising passages from his memos to illustrate his ideas, Marks teaches by example, detailing the development of an investment philosophy that fully acknowledges the complexities of investing and the perils of the financial world. Brilliantly applying insight to today's volatile markets, Marks offers a volume that is part memoir, part creed, with a number of broad takeaways.'
By Charles Mackay
'Why do otherwise intelligent individuals form seething masses of idiocy when they engage in collective action? Why do financially sensible people jump lemming-like into hare-brained speculative frenzies--only to jump broker-like out of windows when their fantasies dissolve? We may think that the Great Crash of 1929, junk bonds of the '80s, and over-valued high-tech stocks of the '90s are peculiarly 20th century aberrations, but Mackay's classic--first published in 1841--shows that the madness and confusion of crowds knows no limits, and has no temporal bounds.'
By Adam Smith
'The Money Game, written by one who signs himself 'Adam Smith' (and who some believe is Harvard-and-Oxford-trained George J. W. Goodman), is a modern-day classic. Like many modern paintings, the book looks simple. But as W. Somerset Maugham said about an unforgettable Mondrian abstraction: 'It looks as though you had only to take a ruler, a tube of black paint and a tube of red, and you could do the thing yourself. Try!' '--Professor Paul A. Samuelson, First American Nobel Prize Winner in Economics.'
By Martin Mayer
'The Federal Reserve system was designed, built and operated as an agency that forced its policies on American banks. The banks in turn had the power to push around the real economy. Now the Federal Reserve finds itself in a world where banks don't matter as much. Markets set interest rates, markets determine liquidity and markets help or hinder the plans of businessmen. Markets are unpredictable, international and, worst of all, they have their own information systems that do not follow the rules of banking or bank supervision. In response, the Federal Reserve has reinvented itself in a way not yet understood even by sophisticated investors.'
By Barry Ritholtz
'Bailout Nation offers one of the clearest looks at the financial lenders, regulators, and politicians responsible for the financial crisis of 2008. Written by Barry Ritholtz, one of today's most popular economic bloggers and a well-established industry pundit, this book skillfully explores how the United States evolved from a rugged independent nation to a soft Bailout Nation-where financial firms are allowed to self-regulate in good times, but are bailed out by taxpayers in bad times. Entertaining and informative, this book clearly shows you how years of trying to control the economy with easy money has finally caught up with the federal government and how its practice of repeatedly rescuing Wall Street has come back to bite them.'
By Michael Douglas
'The crucial question is this: Who understood the risk inherent in the assumption of ever-rising real estate prices, a risk compounded daily by the creation of those arcane, artificial securities loosely based on piles of doubtful mortgages? Michael Lewis turns the inquiry on its head to create a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humour, a fitting sequel to his #1 best-selling Liar's Poker. Who got it right? he asks. Who saw the real estate market for the black hole it would become, and eventually made billions of dollars from that perception? And what qualities of character made those few persist when their peers and colleagues dismissed them as Chicken Littles?'
By Andrew Ross Sorkin
'Andrew Ross Sorkin delivers the first true behind-the-scenes, moment-by-moment account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami. From inside the corner office at Lehman Brothers to secret meetings in South Korea, and the corridors of Washington, Too Big to Fail is the definitive story of the most powerful men and women in finance and politics grappling with success and failure, ego and greed, and, ultimately, the fate of the world's economy.'
By Jim Cramer
'The right book for every investor: Cramer offers specific advice on how to make the best moves to position yourself and your investments for an economic recovery. With 20 new rules for investing in the current economic climate, Getting Back to Even includes advice on rebuilding your portfolio and putting your financial life back on track. According to Cramer, before we make money we need to get back to even, setting aside fear and panic and taking control of our money. Whether you're 20-five and investing to build wealth or 60-five and hoping to restore your retirement savings, you'll need Cramer's proven wealth-building advice in Getting Back to Even.'
By Richard Bernstein
'In an investment climate characterised by rapidly increasing access to information, sorting legitimate financial advice, grounded in traditional analysis, from the constant stream of useless information, or 'noise,' is difficult. Let author Richard Bernstein guide you through the 'noise' and show you where and how to find solid investment information.'
By Michael Lewitt
'In The Death of Capital, respected portfolio manager and longtime investment professional Michael Lewitt looks at how the U.S. economy has increasingly been dominated by short-term speculation rather than industrial expansion in recent years. These disastrous trends, described here as financialization, ignore the fact that capital itself is a highly unstable process rather than a fixed object or category. As a result of our failure to understand the true nature of capital, we have developed a financial and regulatory system that does exactly the opposite of what it should be doing--favouring obscurity over transparency and fomenting instability rather than growth.'
By Gregory Zuckerman
'In 2006, hedge fund manager John Paulson realised something few others suspected--that the housing market and the value of subprime mortgages were grossly inflated and headed for a major fall. Paulson's background was in mergers and acquisitions, however, and he knew little about real estate or how to wager against housing. He had spent a career as an also-ran on Wall Street. But Paulson was convinced this was his chance to make his mark. He just wasn't sure how to do it. Colleagues at investment banks scoffed at him and investors dismissed him. Even pros sceptical about housing shied away from the complicated derivative investments that Paulson was just learning about. But Paulson and a handful of renegade investors such as Jeffrey Greene and Michael Burry began to bet heavily against risky mortgages and precarious financial companies.'
By Edwin Lefevre
'Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is the thinly disguised biography of Jesse Livermore, a remarkable character who first started speculating in New England bucket shops at the turn of the century. Livermore, who was banned from these shady operations because of his winning ways, soon moved to Wall Street where he made and lost his fortune several times over. What makes this book so valuable are the observations that Lefèvre records about investing, speculating, and the nature of the market itself.'
By Jeff Matthews
'They come to Omaha by the tens of thousands, flocking to an annual meeting that has become legendary for investors, businesspeople, and fans of one of the most savvy capitalists on the planet. They come to eat steak, buy furniture at a discount, and bask in the brilliance of value investor extraordinaire, Warren Buffet. Hedge fund founder, financial blogger, and professional sceptic Jeff Matthews got his own highly-coveted ticket to the Berkshire Hathaway meeting held only for shareholders and their guests--and proceeded to post reports on his blog, offering tempting glimpses into the much-discussed meeting...'
By Jim Cramer
'After telling the story of his own trading days in Confessions of a Street Addict, Cramer appeases fans hoping for advice on how to duplicate his success with their own investment portfolios. But not without some strong caveats: his approach requires devoting at least an hour a week to educating yourself about each stock you own. But since most pros are 'rank amateurs themselves,' anyone willing to do the work should consider getting in. Cramer breaks down the fundamentals of his investment approach, built on the twin principles of diversification and speculation: while most of your portfolio should contain reliables like oil, financials and blue-chip companies, 20% per cent of your money should go toward a slightly riskier bet on a company's future ('owning a stock is a bet on the future, not the past').'
By Jeff Hirsch
'In 1976, Yale Hirsch predicted a fifteen-year super boom--a move in the stock market of 500% or more. His forecast proved accurate as the market rose and continued upward, eventually posting growth over 1,000% just before the tech crash in 2000. History has a way of repeating itself, especially in the financial markets. The American economy, and subsequently the world economy, has always existed in a cycle of boom and bust: gold, grain, oil, technology, and most recently, real estate, have all bubbled and popped. The key to investing profitably is spotting macroeconomic historical trends and positioning to reap the benefits. In Super Boom, Jeffrey Hirsch, President of the Hirsch organisation and Editor in Chief of the Stock Trader's Almanac, unveils the next market expansion.'
By Walt Deemer
'Today's volatile markets are challenging for professional and retail investors alike. Just in time, Walter Deemer, a cornerstone of technical analysis for nearly 50 years, has culled his insight and knowledge to show investors how to achieve steady investment gains in the current markets. With the stock market expected to trade generally sideways for many years, a buy-and-hold strategy may not give you the returns you need on your investments. InDeemer on Technical Analysis, Walter distills his decades spent on the front lines of the financial markets into a useful strategy that shows you how to time the markets to successfully grow wealth. The key is solid technical analysis.'
By Jim Cramer
'If you invested money in the last five years, chances are you lost some of it. Or even all of it. Rounds of layoffs at ill-conceived dot-coms may no longer be making headlines, but the toppling of behemoths WorldCom and Enron have alerted investors to the pitfalls of unprincipled accounting. In this little book, the outspoken commentator and cofounder of TheStreet.com breaks down how such widely touted companies got away with blatant fraud and why investors got screwed in the process. Cramer (Confessions of a Street Addict) uses WorldCom's Hindenburg-like plummet to illustrate how unscrupulous analysts hyped stocks they knew were already overvalued in return for hefty compensation. He goes after Jack Grubman, former analyst for Salomon Smith Barney, who 'was the chief proselytizer for unrelenting, ineluctable, telecommunications growth.' Grubman's success as an industry cheerleader got the better of WorldCom after he hyped its competitors.'
By Jack Schwager
'How do the world's most successful traders amass tens, hundreds of millions of dollars a year? Are they masters of an occult knowledge, lucky winners in a random market lottery, natural-born virtuosi--Mozarts of the markets? In search of an answer, bestselling author Jack D. Schwager interviewed dozens of top traders across most financial markets. While their responses differed in the details, all of them could be boiled down to the same essential formula: solid methodology + proper mental attitude = trading success. In Market Wizards Schwager lets you hear, in their own words, what those super-traders had to say about their unprecedented successes, and he distils their responses down into a set of guiding principles you can use to become a trading star in your own right.'
By George Soros
'George Soros is unquestionably one of the most powerful and profitable investors in the world today. Dubbed by BusinessWeek as 'the Man who Moves Markets,' Soros made a fortune competing with the British pound and remains active today in the global financial community. Now, in this special edition of the classic investment book, The Alchemy of Finance, Soros presents a theoretical and practical account of current financial trends and a new paradigm by which to understand the financial market today. This edition's expanded and revised Introduction details Soros's innovative investment practices along with his views of the world and world order.'
By Leon Levy
'As stock prices and investor confidence have collapsed in the wake of Enron, WorldCom, and the dot-com crash, people want to know how this happened and how to make sense of the uncertain times to come. Into the breach comes one of Wall Street's legendary investors, Leon Levy, to explain why the market so often confounds us, and why those who ought to understand it tend to get chewed up and spat out. Levy, who pioneered many of the innovations and investment instruments that we now take for granted, has prospered in every market for the past 50 years, particularly in today's bear market. In The Mind of Wall Street he recounts stories of his successes and failures to illustrate how investor psychology and willful self-deception so often play critical roles in the process.'
By Jim Cramer
'It's hard to think of anyone more intense or opinionated, or who wears as many hats as James Cramer. In Confessions of a Street Addict, the man who first made a name for himself on Wall Street successfully managing his hedge fund--and then became famous on Main Street with his manic appearances on CNBC--tells the improbable story of his career as journalist, Wall Street pundit, Internet entrepreneur, and television commentator.'
By James Grant
'Grant is publisher of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, an investment newsletter with influence far beyond its relatively small subscription base of 3,000. Rather than offering stock picks, Grant provides economic analysis based on credit market activity and fluctuations in interest rates. Last year his noteworthy Money of the Mind railed against a century of credit recklessness, tracing 'borrowing and lending in America from the Civil War to Michael Milken.' Since its inception 10 years ago, Grant's bearish newsletter has often been wrong, but Grant's contrarian views have been much sought on financial panels and news commentaries. Here he reprints more than 80 essays that appeared in the newsletter over the last decade. Grant writes well; these pieces are always incisive and often entertaining. Cartoons by Hank Blaustein will be added to the finished book.'
By Jim Cramer
'Whether you're a recent college grad trying to figure out how to start investing, a young parent struggling to decide where and how to put away money, or someone well into middle age and worried about whether you've saved enough for retirement, Jim Cramer's Stay Mad for Life has the answers. Cramer covers all the essentials: how to save, where to invest, which pitfalls to avoid. He offers valuable advice on everything from mortgages to college tuition. He explains what professional money managers do right that amateur investors do wrong. Because there is always a bull market somewhere, Cramer tells readers where to find the bull markets of the future, and for those willing to do the homework, he chooses 20 stocks that could be long-term moneymakers.'
By James Altucher
'Hedge funds and hedge fund trading strategies have long been popular in the financial community because of their flexibility, aggressiveness, and creativity. Trade Like a Hedge Fund capitalises on this phenomenon and builds on it by bringing fresh and practical ideas to the trading table. This book shares 20 uncorrelated trading strategies and techniques that will enable readers to trade and invest like never before. With detailed examples and up-to-the-minute trading advice, Trade Like a Hedge Fund is a unique book that will help readers increase the value of their portfolios, while decreasing risk.'
By Martin Schwartz
'Welcome to the world of Martin 'Buzzy' Schwartz, Champion Trader--the man whose nerves of steel and killer instinct in the canyons of Wall Street earned him the well-deserved name 'Pit Bull.' This is the true story of how Schwartz became the best of the best, of the people and places he discovered along the way and of the trader's tricks and techniques he used to make his millions.'
By Jim Cramer
'Jim Cramer is the champion of the middle-class investor. Every night on Mad Money, he provides valuable information about stocks, steering investors away from danger zones and leading them to the investments that can turn a lackluster portfolio into a powerhouse of profit. In his new book, he shows investors how to take the advice on his TV program and put it into action. Cramer walks investors through the key decisions they have to make: understanding their tolerance for risk and defining their goals, doing the essential homework on a stock, and knowing how to buy and sell stocks the right way -- the Cramer way. This is a true nuts-and-bolts guide to investing, from Cramer's detailed discussion of the sort of homework investors must do to his own guidelines for knowing when and how to sell stocks.'