The 6 Best Investing Books of All Time
What are the best investing books of all time?
Well, these books are commended by today’s top investors, hedge fund managers, universities, and investment banks.
They cover value investing, growth stock investing, asset allocation and more.
You will learn how Warren Buffett achieved average annual returns of 20.5% versus 9.7% for the S&P 500—over a 50-year period.
How Benjamin Graham achieved returns of 14.7% annually versus 12.2% for the market as a whole from 1936-1956.
And how someone who never finished the 8th grade became one of the richest men in all of Hawaii.
Many of these books are dated; however, their principles and strategies are still very relevant today.
We will begin with my favorite book, by Benjamin Graham—which is arguably the best investment book of all time.
“The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham
The Intelligent Investor is widely regarded as one of the best investing books of all time. Despite the book’s original 1949 publish date, the information is still relevant today. As Warren Buffett said, it is “By far the best book on investing ever written.”
What the Book Will Teach You
The book will teach you nearly everything you need to know about stock market investing. Graham covers: stock market history, teaches you how to interpret market fluctuations, compares stocks and bonds, and more.
He even explains in-depth how he beat the market for twenty years—and how you can apply these principles and techniques towards your investment portfolio!
The Intelligent Investor will provide you with the knowledge needed to independently select stocks with confidence.
Graham employed a value investing approach and pursued stocks he believed were worth more than their current market quotation would suggest.
Essentially, he would buy stocks trading at $0.50 that he believed had an intrinsic value of $1.00. This is how he was able to beat the market consistently for twenty years—and make his clients wealthy in the process.
Margin of Safety
In this book, Graham also popularized the “Margin of Safety” principle.
When employing a margin of safety, you will only purchase securities (stocks and bonds) when their market price is greatly below their intrinsic value (what you believe the stock is actually worth). Buying a stock below the perceived intrinsic value provides you with a margin of safety.
As mentioned above, Graham would buy stocks trading at $0.50 that he believed had an intrinsic value of $1.00. Thus, providing him with a “margin of safety”.
Buying within the margin of safety does not guarantee the stock price will go up—but it will limit your losses substantially if the stock price falls.
The Author – Benjamin Graham, B.S
Benjamin Graham was an extraordinary person. He attended Colombia Business School on a scholarship. (Colombia Business School currently holds the #7 position worldwide for its MBA program). Graham graduated from Colombia as the salutatorian of the class at the young age of 20.
As mentioned previously, he gained at least 14.7% annually for his clients, versus 12.2% for the overall stock market; this became known as one of the best long-term track records in history.
Warren Buffett, one of Graham’s most successful students—originally developed his investment philosophy around the principles Graham advised.
“Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Rich Dad Poor Dad is the #1 best-selling personal finance book of all time.
Kiyosaki will separate the middle class from the wealthy—by comparing his rich dad (his friend’s dad) to his poor dad (his dad).
And the ways in which the men shaped his thoughts on money, investing and success.
Kiyosaki explains how his poor dad, a Ph.D. graduate who initially completed his four-year undergraduate degree in two years—was vastly less successful than his “rich dad”.
His rich dad never finished the 8th grade and eventually become of the richest men in Hawaii.
What the Book Will Teach You
The book’s main lessons can be summarized in three lines:
- Buy assets instead of liabilities.
- You don’t need a high income to be rich.
- Rich people make money work for them.
Rich Dad Poor Dad has been translated into 51 languages and is available in 109 countries; the Rich Dad series has sold over 27 million copies worldwide and has dominated best sellers lists across Asia, Australia, South America, Mexico, and Europe.
Rich Dad Poor Dad – Contents
I have listed the book’s contents page below as I believe it’s important for this title:
Rich Dad Poor Dad
- Chapter One
Lesson 1: The Rich Don’t Work for Money
- Chapter Two
Lesson 2: Why Teach Financial Literacy
- Chapter Three
Lesson 3: Mind Your Own Business
- Chapter Four
Lesson 4: The History of Taxes and the Power of Corporations
- Chapter Five
Lesson 5: The Rich Invent Money
- Chapter Six
Lesson 6: Work to Learn—Don’t Work for Money
- Chapter Seven
- Chapter Eight
- Chapter Nine
Still Want More? Here Are Some To Do’s
- Final Thoughts
In the beginning, Kiyosaki spends a decent amount of time exploring his childhood—and the ways in which is rich dad altered his perception of the wealthy.
He then explores some important principles of wealth building in subsequent chapters.
I believe Kiyosaki’s strong contrarian views towards wealth building are what make Rich Dad Poor Dad the best-selling personal finance book of all time.
If you’re an average middle-class person and want to learn how to build wealth in abundance—this is the best book for you!
The Author – Robert T. Kiyosaki B.S
As seen here: https://www.richdad.com/about/robert-t-kiyosaki
“Best known as the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad—the #1 personal finance book of all time—Robert Kiyosaki has challenged and changed the way tens of millions of people around the world think about money. He is an entrepreneur, educator, and investor who believes that each of us has the power to makes changes in our lives, take control of our financial future, and live the rich life we deserve.
With perspectives on money and investing that often contradict conventional wisdom, Robert has earned an international reputation for straight talk, irreverence, and courage and has become a passionate and outspoken advocate for financial education.”
Robert T. Kiyosaki is a self-made multi-millionaire and has an estimated net worth of $US80 million.
“One Up On Wall Street” by Peter Lynch
Written by legendary mutual fund manager Peter Lynch, One Up On Wall Street has sold more than one million copies and was originally published in 1989.
Peter Lynch views stock market investing differently than many of the titans of the industry today.
Lynch believes there are opportunities everywhere to make money in the stock market and that anyone “can pick stocks just as well if not better, than the average Wall Street expert.”
He also believes that anyone spending a significant amount of time researching their stock picks should be aiming for a 12%-15% annual return. Otherwise, you might as well invest in a managed fund and save yourself the trouble.
What the Book Will Teach You
In his direct outspoken way—Lynch covers everything you need to know about stock market investing in these three parts:
- Preparing to Invest
- Picking Winners
- The Long-term View
Part I – Preparing To Invest
In this section, Lynch details what you should know before considering stock market investing.
Are you a long-term investor? Short-term investor? And how will you react to sudden, unexpected drops in market price?
Lynch believes having clear objectives at the outset helps you stick to your goals and ultimately lower your chances of becoming a market victim.
He believes it is personal preparation, as much as knowledge and research that separate “the successful stockpicker from the chronic loser.”
He began by describing his caddying days as an 11-year-old, where his clients consisted of presidents and CEOs of major corporations.
He mentioned that “if you wanted an education on stocks, the golf course was the next best thing to being on the floor of a major stock exchange.”
Part II – Picking Winners
In this section, Lynch will show you the methods he used to pick winners and nearly double the return of the S&P 500 between 1977 and 1990.
He explores popular accounting metrics including the p/e ratio and book value—whilst also showing you how to examine a stock’s cash position and debt factor.
Lynch separates stocks into one of the following categories:
- The Slow Growers
- The Stalwarts
- The Fast Growers
- The Cyclicals
- Asset Plays
And explores each in detail to give you a better understanding of the type of stocks found in the market.
Part III – The Long-term View
In this section, Lynch provides his “two cents” on matters including portfolio design for maximum gain and minimum risk, when to buy and when to sell, what to do when the market collapses—and other important topics.
He also briefly explores stock options, futures, and shorting stocks.
Lastly, he talks about “what’s new, old, exciting, and perturbing about companies and the stock market today.”
The Author – Peter Lynch B.A, MBA
Peter Lynch is an American investor, former mutual fund manager, and philanthropist.
In 1965, he graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts. And in 1968 earned a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
While managing the Magellan Fund at Fidelity Investments from 1977 to 1990, Lynch averaged returns of 29.2% annually—versus 15.8% for the S&P 500 during the same period.
In 1977, the Magellan Fund had $18 million in assets. When Lynch resigned as the fund manager in 1990, the fund had over $14 billion in assets—and held more than 1,400 stock positions.
“The Warren Buffett Way” by Robert G. Hagstrom
The Warren Buffett Way provides an insight into Buffett’s investment techniques and practices.
It’s a great read, and if you would like to learn more about Warren Buffett and his investment methodology, there is no better place to look.
The book was originally published in 1994 and is now onto its third edition, published in 2014. The third edition contains updated accounts to ensure its relevancy today.
Containing forewords from some of the greatest investors of all time.
Including Howard Marks, co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management, a global asset management firm with over US$122 billion in assets under management.
And Peter Lynch, former mutual fund manager, and philanthropist, who averaged returns of 29.2% annually, between 1977 and 1990.
What the Book Will Teach You
The Warren Buffet Way is a comprehensive investment resource, and Hagstrom has provided us with an in-depth insight into Buffett’s investment career.
It details how he was able to turn $US100 in 1957, into a personal net worth of over $US80 billion today.
The book explores some of Buffett’s largest and most significant investments and their outcomes.
Companies such as Coca-Cola and The Washington Post are included.
Hagstrom has also explored areas of investing that are not commonly covered—including behavioral finance and the mathematics of focus investing.
The Warren Buffett Way will give you an insight into the techniques and strategies employed by one of the most successful stock market investors of all time.
Who Is Warren Buffett?
Warren Edward Buffett is an American business magnate, philanthropist and one of the most successful investors of all time.
Buffett bought his first stock at age 11 and later graduated from Colombia Business School with a Master of Science in Economics at 21 years old.
From 1964-2017, Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway, achieved average annual returns of 20.9%, versus 9.9% (including dividends) for the S&P 500. As mentioned previously.
This became known as one of the best long-term records in stock market history. Buffett’s returns more than doubled that of the S&P 500 index over this period.
Visit our Who is Warren Buffett? post to learn more about Warren Buffett.
The Author – Robert G. Hagstrom, CFA
Robert G. Hagstrom is the chief investment strategist and managing director for Legg Mason Investment Counsel. He has also authored other investment books including “Investing: The Last Liberal Art” and “The Essential Buffett: Timeless Principles for the New Economy”. This is a great buy for value investors and belongs on every serious investors’ shelf at home.
“Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits” by Philip A. Fisher
Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits is a comprehensive investment resource and is one of the best investing books regarding growth stock investing.
What the Book Will Teach You
The book is a more compact guide on stock market investment when compared to others included in this article.
It contains topics including Fisher’s illustrious “scuttlebutt” strategy, what stocks to buy, when to buy, and when to sell—while also teaching you how to apply his ideas to suit your own needs.
This is by no means a basic guide to stock market investment. More advanced stock selection specific strategies are also explored in this text.
This book alone will provide you with the knowledge needed to independently and confidently invest in the stock market.
A stock must have 15 specific characteristics before Fisher would make an investment—as he explored in great depth in the book.
Fisher’s Investment Philosophy
Fisher’s investment philosophy was quite different from Graham’s. Fisher preferred growth stocks. He would purchase companies with a strong likelihood of increasing their earnings in the future. Consequentially, increasing their market quotations and providing Fisher with significant returns.
Fisher’s “scuttlebutt” strategy was based on the belief that every piece of information about a company should be exploited.
He believed that through the grapevine, you could paint an accurate picture of any company’s relative strengths and weaknesses.
To quote Fisher: “Most people, particularly if they feel sure there is no danger of their being quoted, like to talk about the field of work in which they are engaged and will talk freely about their competitors.”
Fisher would go to great lengths to learn more about a company before making an investment. He is known to have contacted current and former employees, suppliers and even top-level management of the company under consideration.
To quote Fisher: “When it comes to selecting growth stocks, the rewards for proper action are so huge and the penalty for poor judgment is so great that is it hard to see why anyone would want to select a growth stock on the basis of superficial knowledge.” Now, a little bit about Fisher.
Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits will help newbie, intermediate and experienced investors buy growth stocks with confidence!
The Author – Philip A. Fisher
Fisher graduated high school at age 16 and graduated from Stanford at age 20. As part of the first class of the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1927.
Fisher started his career as a securities analyst in 1928 and founded Fisher & Company, an investment counseling business, in 1931. He is known as one of the pioneers of modern investment theory.
Fisher is reported to have made his clients extraordinary investment gains over his career and managed the company’s affairs until his retirement in 1999 at the age of 91.
“Unshakeable” by Tony Robbins
Unshakeable by Tony Robbins, published on February 28, 2017, is one of my favorite personal finance books.
Not only is it a New York Times bestseller, but 100% of the profits from the book are also donated to Feeding America, a non-profit hunger-relief organization.
What the Book Will Teach You
Educating you on stock market investing is not the primary focus of this book; however, there are certain chapters directed towards stock market investment.
Tony will teach you how to properly allocate your assets, explain why index funds are better than managed funds—and teach you how to navigate through crashes and corrections in the market.
Tony’s honesty and outspoken attitude are what make this one of my favorite stock market investing books.
This is more than just a personal finance book. As well as stock market investing, you will also learn how human behavior and psychology can negatively affect your investment returns, and how to combat those vulnerabilities.
Seen on the back cover of Unshakeable: “No matter your salary, your stage of life or when you started, this book will provide the tools to help you achieve your financial goals more rapidly than you ever thought possible.”
While Robbins is not a full-time stock market investor—he is closely acquainted with the owner of the most successful hedge fund of all time. Ray Dalio.
This book is a more compact version of his book “MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom”.
If you would like to read a more extensive version of this book—consider reading Money: Master the Game. Which is over 600 pages long—compared to this book’s 200ish page length.
The Author – Tony Robbins
Tony is an American author, entrepreneur, philanthropist and life coach. He is known for his infomercials, seminars, and self-help books including Unlimited Power and MONEY: Master the Game. He is the founder of several companies that earn approximately $6 billion in annual sales.
If you are looking for a book that encompasses more than just investing but will provide you with everything you need to become financially independent, this is a must buy.
These are some of the best investing books of all time—and any serious investor should have these books on their shelf.
I have also explored these investing books on our YouTube channel—linked below!
What is your favorite investing book?