This is a short course in Financial Competence, written for fellow autodidacts. The texts in the “Essential Reading” section are exactly that — books, articles, white papers, and web pages — that constitute the minimum of essential reading for anyone interested in reaching financial competence.
Please note that at this time, this list is nowhere near complete. I’m adding only books that I have myself read and talked about on this blog, and since I’m still working my way through my financial education, so is this list.
I suggest you read the Essential Reading section in the order listed. For the Recommended Reading section, I’d suggest reading anything that strikes your fancy.
It took me time to read these blogs and books, and it should take you time as well. Pace yourself — if you’re starting from near ignorance, I was, it will take time to work your way to financial competence.
- Mr. Money Mustache blog, by Mr. Money Mustache. Despite the ridiculous site name and pseudonym, Mustache is a good writer on investment issues, and the best on saving money. There’s no writer currently out there who writes more moving, motivating and energetic prose about living simply and saving money. Mustache calls himself a badass, and he is. I highly recommend starting from the first article in his blog and working your way forward.
- The Investor’s Manifesto, by William J. Bernstein. (Review / Notes). William J. Bernstein is the dean of clear, concise, simple prose about investing. His insights are invaluable, his knowledge encyclopedic, and his logic clear. This should be the first book you read on investing.
- The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder. (Review) An inspiring and educational view of Buffett’s life, written with the cooperation of Buffett, his partners, and his family.
- Oblivious Investor blog by Mike Piper. A good general-purpose passive investing blog. Lots of good information.
- Retirement Researcher Blog by Wade Pfau. Incredibly thorough and detailed. I’ve added every page on the site to my Instapaper queue for further reading. Highly recommended for those who want to dive into this further.
- Mad Fientist blog, by the Mad Fientist. Mr. Fientist is just getting started, but he’s already put up some great articles (his “Ultimate Retirement Account” piece was eye-opening, and I highly recommend reading it) and some great podcast interviews with other financial bloggers.
- JCollinsNH blog, by Jim Collins. Jim hasn’t written very much, but what he has written is worth reading. I particularly recommend his series on investing, called Stocks parts 1 through 15. I came to Jim through Mr. Money Mustache’s site, and it’s a great introduction to index investing.
- “Think, Act, and Invest Like Warren Buffett: The Winning Strategy to Help You Achieve Your Financial and Life Goals,” by Larry Swedroe. (Review)
Unread Books (AKA The To-Do List)
In my quest to learn more about investing, I’ve developed quite a list of books to read and write about. The books in the Short List are in the order that I’ll be reading them and writing about them; the ones in the Very Long List are not in reading order. Have an addition, a comment, or want something moved up the list? Contact me or add a comment to the bottom of this page.
The Short List
- “Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation,” by Edward Chancellor
- “The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy,” by Thomas J. Stanley
- “Early Retirement Extreme: A Philosophical and Practical Guide to Financial Independence,” by Jacob Lund Fisker
- “The Random Walk Guide To Investing,” by Burton G. Malkiel
- “A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing (Tenth Edition),” by Burton G. Malkiel
- “Value Averaging: The Safe and Easy Strategy for Higher Investment Returns (Wiley Investment Classics),” by Michael E. Edleson
- “The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel (Revised Edition),” by Benjamin Graham
- “Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century,” by Joseph R. Dominguez
The Very Long List
- Warren Buffett
- “The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Second Edition,” by Warren Buffett
- “Warren Buffett Speaks: Wit and Wisdom from the World’s Greatest Investor,” by Warren Buffett
- “Warren Buffett on Business: Principles from the Sage of Omaha,” by Warren Buffett
- “Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012: A Fortune Magazine Book,” by Warren Buffett
- John C. Bogle
- “The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism,” by John C. Bogle
- “The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation,” by John C. Bogle
- “Common Sense on Mutual Funds: Fully Updated 10th Anniversary Edition,” by John C. Bogle
- “Don’t Count on It!: Reflections on Investment Illusions, Capitalism, “Mutual” Funds, Indexing, Entrepreneurship, Idealism, and Heroes,” by John C. Bogle
- “Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life,” by John C. Bogle
- “John Bogle on Investing: The First 50 Years,” by John C. Bogle
- “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns (Little Books. Big Profits),” by John C. Bogle
- “Bogle on Mutual Funds: New Perspectives for the Intelligent Investor,” by John C. Bogle
- William J. Bernstein
- “A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World,” by William J. Bernstein
- “The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World was Created,” by William J. Bernstein
- Larry E. Swedroe
- “The Only Guide to a Winning Bond Strategy You’ll Ever Need: The Way Smart Money Preserves Wealth Today,” by Larry E. Swedroe
- “The Only Guide To Winning Investment Strategy You’ll Ever Need: Index Funds and Beyond–The Way Smart Money Creates Wealth Today,” by Larry E. Swedroe
- “The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need for the Right Financial Plan: Managing Your Wealth, Risk, and Investments (Bloomberg),” by Larry E. Swedroe
- “The Quest for Alpha: The Holy Grail of Investing (Bloomberg),” by Larry E. Swedroe
- “What Wall Street Doesn’t Want You to Know: How You Can Build Real Wealth Investing in Index Funds,” by Larry E. Swedroe
- Everyone Else
- The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
- “Security Analysis: Sixth Edition, Foreword by Warren Buffett (Security Analysis Prior Editions),” by Benjamin Graham
- “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World: A Handbook for Personal Liberty,” by Harry Browne
- “Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger, Expanded Third Edition,” by Charles T. Munger
- “The Cartoon Guide to Statistics,” by Larry Gonick
- “Global Investing: The Professional’s Guide to the World Capital Markets,” by Roger G. Ibbotson
- “Statistics Without Tears: A Primer for Non-Mathematicians (Allyn & Bacon Classics Edition),” by Derek Rowntree
- “Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment,” by David F. Swensen
- “Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond (Wiley Finance),” by Bruce C. N. Greenwald
- “Winning the Loser’s Game, 6th edition: Timeless Strategies for Successful Investing,” by Charles D. Ellis
- Philip A. Fisher Collected Works, Foreword by Ken Fisher: Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, Paths to Wealth through Common Stocks, Conservative Investors … and Developing an Investment Philosophy