Summer Reading List - Understanding Investments

Amy Hubble |

I'm having a great day!  Oil is trading above $50 for the first time in what feels like forever, the OKC Thunder are playing (best described by the Wall Street Journal as) "Bonkersville Good," and we're a day away from Memorial Day weekend, the semi-official start of summer.  If you're like me, summer is the time where I can finally kick back and enjoy some leisure reading, a luxury not often afforded to PhD students or working professionals. 

This summer, I invite you to join me on a literary journey.  These five books are simply what I would consider to be required reading for anyone who is, was, or ever wants to be better at managing their own investments. 

A Random Walk Down Wall Street

Burton Malkiel

This book is truly what I consider THE seminal book on understanding the investment world, trading, and market phenomena; which is why it tops the list.   It’s a beginner-intermediate (financial knowledge) read and a bit longer, but if you only read one book on investing your whole life…it should be this one.

The Intelligent Investor

Benjamin Graham

Benjamin Graham is considered by most to be the godfather of value investing, and served as mentor to a guy named Warren Buffett.  With a focus on fundamentals and how to “buy low, sell high” he shows extensive empirical research about indexing and how smart money should be managed in a logical and straightforward way.

Thinking Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman

Dr. Kahneman, a Nobel laureate and revered figure in the emerging area of behavioral economics, presents his research in a fun and startling way that will leave you questioning everything.   It is a psychological dissection of how humans make irrational financial decisions, and a must read for emotionally-driven investors.

The Whistle

Benjamin Franklin

A gift from my grandfather, this ultra short essay (you can quickly read it here) written about Ben Franklin’s childhood experience of purchasing a whistle has surprising and insightful implications for modern investing and a challenge to false valuations.   

Half the Sky

Nicholas D. Kristof

While not a book specifically on investments, it will radically change how you view charity, investment, and economic development around the world.  This book is not for the faint of heart, and includes several intense illustrations of mistreatment of women.  Although heart wrenching, ultimately it’s a compelling triumph of how investment in women is revolutionizing the world.