If you want to learn more about investing, and have already read the basics, here are some of the better books that don’t get as much coverage. All are accessible, but best suited to the reader who has read some of the more basic and popular investment books. The list reflects the importance of the power of historical data to inform investment decisions.
The Go-Go Years: The Drama and Crashing Finale of Wall Street’s Bullish 60s by John Brooks
Market history tends to be mostly numerical, especially when you go back decades. With the rise of statistics in finance, a lot is known about historical correlations, factor performance and draw downs, to take just a few examples.
However, though quantitative analysis is undoubtedly valuable, the broader context of the markets beyond simply crunching the numbers can be helpful to understand. Sadly, this area is less well-covered and the focus tends to be more on negative and unusual events. That said, John Brooks’ summary of the markets in the 1960s and 1970s is an entertaining and interesting read, bringing many of the larger than life characters from those decades to life. The reader will find many parallels to recent history and John Brooks happens to be among Bill Gates’ favorite writers.
Security Analysis by Ben Graham and David Dodd
The Intelligent Investor generally gets more coverage, and nothing should be taken away from that great book, but Security Analysis contains a similarly deep level of insight of investing that has stood the test of decades (first published in 1934) while the publication of thousands of other books over the past 80 years have not. Over time, the great investor, Warren Buffett’s style has evolved to a more nuanced and quality focused version of Ben Graham’s thinking, Buffett learnt many of his core investment tenets from Graham directly.
For example, Graham’s insights on the defensive nature of debt investing and how a higher coupon seldom offsets greater risk is a powerful insight, and like many of his insights, is seldom internalized by the markets. The book is peppered with thinking that’s just as insightful and useful today as it was at the time of publication last century.