31 of the best books about investing, no matter what type of investor you are
New to investing, or trying to deepen your knowledge about your favourite investment class? Here's our roundup of 31 of the most mentioned books about investing, and our reviews of them.
We've broken up our list into these subsections:
- 10 books for beginner investors and fans of lazy investing
- 6 books for value investors and stock pickers
- 2 books for real estate investors
- 6 books about the psychology of money
- 5 personal finance primers for 20- and 30-somethings
- 2 bonus books written by Lettuce's cofounders
Is your favourite investment book missing from this list? Let us know!
10 books for beginner investors and fans of lazy investing
1. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing - John C. Bogle
This classic book by the godfather of modern index investing makes the case that most of the financial services industry is made of up nonsense, and that the best approach for most investors is to own a simple product that tracks the market as a whole, and be patient. As Bogle says, "don't look for the needle in the haystack. Just buy the haystack!"
2. The Four Pillars of Investing - William J. Bernstein
Like Bogle, Bernstein is another advocate of lazy investing (buy cheap index funds), but this book is a more thorough explanation about why. His four pillars are understanding investment theory, knowing investment history (so you're not surprised when it repeats itself), mastering investment psychology, and handling the investment business by avoiding fees and ignoring the financial press. This is an excellent follow-on to The Little Book of Common Sense Investing that goes into more nuanced questions like whether you should overweight small-cap stocks.
3. The New Coffeehouse Investor: How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street, and Get On With Your Life - Bill Schultheis
Another simple, extremely readable book advocating for index funds, this one centres on three simple ideas: don't put all your eggs in one basket, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and save for a rainy day. Aimed at beginners, and often recommended by the Bogleheads community.
4. The Lazy Person's Guide to Investing: A Book for Procrastinators, the Financially Challenged, and Everyone Who Worries About Dealing With Their Money - Paul B. Farrell
This book covers a lot of the same ground as The New Coffeehouse Investor, but it's funnier, and offers a few different portfolio ideas. A great book for beginners!
5. The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need - Andrew Tobias
Funny and relatable, this is a popular option amongst beginner investors. The first section is devoted to practical ideas about saving money (so you have something to invest in the first place). Like many others on this list, Tobias warns against expensive brokers and recommends index funds for beginner investors, but he also describes more complex financial instruments like options and futures (and devotes a good chunk of the book to warning everyday investors against commodities as an asset class). Be aware that the book is quite U.S.-centric and doesn't cover some important investing concepts like diversification.
6. Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom - Tony Robbins
This doorstopper of a book is written in superstar motivational speaker Tony Robbins' "kick up the butt" style, which you either love or hate. It's a long book covering a lot of the common wisdom about investing (like, start when you're young, be fearful when others are greedy) and advocates a fairly sensible low-fee indexing approach, although more heavily weighted towards bonds than most similar strategies recommend. Many people love it, but almost everyone agrees that it could have been half as long.
7. A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing - Burton G. Malkiel
This 1973 classic shocked the investment world when Malkiel popularised the "efficient market hypothesis": the idea that the movement of the price of an individual asset is almost impossible to predict, because the price will only move in reaction to new information. Despite being a bit dated, it's still a crucial book for investors who want a deeper understanding of how the stock market functions and want to develop better long-term strategies. Complement it with Justin Fox's more modern The Myth of the Rational Market.
8. Common Sense on Mutual Funds - John Bogle
Another book on our list by John Bogle, this thorough book is devoted to explaining the hidden fees that plague the mutual funds industry, and why this means that most people are better off investing in low-fee index funds. The core message that simplicity and common sense trump costly complexity is as resonant today as when the book was first published in 1999. This is the best book for more experienced investors who wish to understand the full argument in favour of passive investing.
9. The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing - Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBoeuf
John Bogle's investment ideas have been so influential, that there are online communities dedicated to them. They call themselves "Bogleheads", and this is a good primer to the basic strategies the community follows. It's U.S.-centric, and a good supplement for people who are getting involved in Boglehead forums and communities online (there are several).
10. The Simple Path to Wealth: Your Road Map to Financial Independence and a Rich, Free Life - J.L. Collins
J.L. Collins is another big name in the "FIRE" community (financial independence/retire early). This U.S.-centric book explains principles for reaching financial independence, advocates for frugality and low-fee index investments and targeting the 4% rule, and it's a good mix of philosophical and practical. It's full of warnings against the charlatans in the finance industry and how to avoid being swindled by them.
6 books for value investors and stock-pickers
1. The Intelligent Investor - Benjamin Graham
This classic from 1949 advocates for value investing: identifying high-value stocks and holding onto them for a long time. The book has a reputation for being quite complex, but it's an essential read for those who want to venture off the index fund path and identify specific high-value, long-term investments.
2. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America - Warren Buffett
These wide-ranging, philosophical essays are essential reading for value investors. Although a lot of the essays concern business and corporate management, many of them distil Buffett's timeless wisdom about how to identify and select businesses that you'll never want to sell. It's also surprisingly readable.
3. One Up On Wall Street: How to Use What You Already Know to Make Money in the Market - Peter Lynch
Peter Lynch is another proponent of value investing, and this book offers practical tips about what to look for in a company's financial statements when deciding whether it's a good investment. Lynch also advocates relying on your experience as a consumer of a company's products, and investing in businesses you already know and like. Quirky and original, but The Intelligent Investor is a less dated presentation of the same core ideas.
4. The Little Book that Beats the Market - Joel Greenblatt
Joel Greenblatt's book recommends picking individual stocks using a "magic formula" involving the earning yield and the return on capital. Quick and surprisingly digestible for a book involving so much math, but read it after you've got a basic understanding of general investing concepts.
5. You Can Be a Stock Market Genius: Uncover the Secret Hiding Places of Stock Market Profits - Joel Greenblatt
A book about spotting money-making opportunities in the stock market, exploiting things like restructurings and bankruptcies. The book became popular after being praised in The Big Short by Michael Lewis as the book that guided many of the people who made money in the 2008 stock market crash. An interesting book for those who've read the value investing basics and are looking for new ideas.
6. Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and the Markets - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Another controversial one on the list - this book is an investigation into probability and uncertainty in the markets. Some love Taleb's contrarian views on the traps we fall into thinking we can predict the unknowable, others are put off by his self-aggrandisement. But his central message is an important one for any investor.
2 books for real-estate investors
1. How to Invest in Real Estate: the Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Getting Started - Joshua Dorkin and Brandon Turner
A good primer for beginners that compares a number of different strategies for investing in real estate, and offers practical tips for getting started. It's a summary of ideas found on the authors' popular podcast, and some fans suggest that the podcast is a better starting point than the book.
2. The Millionaire Real Estate Investor - Gary Keller
Practical and comprehensive, many readers cite this as their favourite book about real estate investing. It's sometimes criticised for not downplaying the risks associated with investing in real-estate, but it's generally considered thorough, easy to understand, and inspiring.
6 books about the psychology of money
1. Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman
This very readable summary of the work that won Daniel Kahneman a nobel prize describes the two different systems that drive the way we think: system 1 thinking (intuitive, fast) and system 2 thinking (rational, slow). This simple idea has a range of consequences on investor behaviour, and Kahneman presents some practical ideas to overcame the brain's worst mental quirks.
2. Your Money or Your Life - Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
Vicki Robin's bestseller takes the reader through 9 steps to transforming their emotional relationship with money. This poignant book has encouraged people all around the world to embrace the freedom that comes from frugality and simple living. More a look at financial mindfulness than a practical guide to budgeting and investing, Your Money or Your Life is highly recommended by advocates of the "FIRE" movement ("financial independence/retire early"), and more recent versions feature a forward by the godfather of the modern FIRE movement, Mr Money Mustache.
3. The Behaviour Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things With Money by Carl Richards
As a financial planner, Carl Richards has spent years observing what he calls "the behaviour gap": the difference between what we know we should do and what we actually do when it comes to our money. This is a relatable, quick read (with fun illustrations) about those silly things we all do, with some helpful advice about how regular people can narrow their own behaviour gap.
4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad - Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter
Love him or hate him, possibly no-one has done more to help people understand the importance of building a portfolio of assets than Robert Kiyosaki. Kiyosaki's book is ultimately a parable about the importance of having your money work for you, rather than working for your money. Some find Kiyosaki's style off-putting, but there's no doubt that he's changed many people's lives.
5. Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill
Incredibly, this 1937 book still makes it onto many people's list of favourite investment books. Many of the ideas in it are downright kooky by today's standards, but the central message that becoming wealthy requires, more than anything else, the unflinching desire to be wealthy is one that still resonates with a lot of people.
6. The Richest Man in Babylon - George S. Clason
Another classic from the early 20th century that people still recommend today, this book takes the form of simple parables that communicate principles of sound personal financial management. The messages are as simple as "don't put all your eggs in one basket" and "pay yourself first", but people have returned to this book over the generations because of the common sense advice and clear story style.
5 personal finance primers for 20 and 30-somethings
1. I Will Teach You to Be Rich - Ramit Sethi
A 6-week programme aimed at young adults, I Will Teach You to Be Rich covers the basics of spending, saving and investing for 20-35 year olds, in a fresh, conversational style. The book is targeted to an American audience, and may be of less value outside of the U.S.
2. Broke Millennial Takes on Investing: a Beginner's Guide to Levelling Up Your Money - Erin Lowry
Erin Lowry's first book (Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping by and Get Your Financial Life Together) was an accessible guide for U.S. Millennials which covered basic steps like dealing with student loans and credit cards. In the sequel, Lowry helps young people recognise when they're ready to start investing and describes the first baby steps to buying your first investments. Extremely contemporary, the book considers hot-button questions like ethical funds and robo investing. A good first book for beginner investors in the U.S.
3. Money: A User's Guide - Laura Whateley
A comprehensive beginner's guide to money, especially for the U.K. Whateley's light, readable book demystifies all aspects of personal finance, but her chapter on investing is a top-notch guide for beginners.
4. The Financial Diet - Chelsea Fagan
A great alternative to Money: A User's Guide for young people based in the U.S., Fagan's guide is a great beginner's guide to all aspects of personal finance, including some good common-sense advice about how to start investing.
5. The Barefoot Investor: the Only Money Guide You'll Ever Need - Scott Pape
Apparently, 1 in 24 Australians own this book, and it's easy to see why: Pape's book is an excellent, practical introduction to personal finance, especially tailored for the Australian context.
Bonus: books by Lettuce's cofounders
Of course, we should also mention that two of Lettuce's cofounders have written books about investing!
Manage Your Money Like a F-cking Grownup: the Best Money Advice You Never Got - Sam Beckbessinger
Sam Beckbessinger, our Chief Product Officer, wrote a bestselling guide to personal finance, that's been adapted for South Africa, the United Kingdom and Germany
In Math We Trust: Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and the Journey to Being Your Own Bank - Simon Dingle
And Simon Dingle, our CEO, wrote a book about cryptocurrencies and how they have the potential to change the world.
Looking for an app to manage that beautiful investment portfolio you've built up? Lettuce is a free portfolio tracker that lets you see what your assets are worth in realtime, in your own currency. Download it for free and give it a whirl.