While in school, I was taught everything from imaginary numbers to the quadratic formula. Unfortunately, my knowledge of numbers never extended to personal finance, much less investing and actually digging into the top investment books.
Growing up, I was always told that the stock market was volatile. This made sense. I grew up amidst the Great Recession and saw the world around me struggling to make ends meet. After all, wasn’t it greedy bankers and investors who made the Great Recession possible in the first place? Why would I want anything to do with a system they treat as their own casino?
Honestly? While Wall Street seems like an evil place and has been responsible for amoral financial practices for decades, it is a key avenue for millions to build generational wealth, stay ahead of inflation, and achieve financial freedom. For many, it’s a necessary evil. But the good thing, as you’ll see with the wealth of information in these top investment books, is it’s the devil we know (for the most part).
The stock market can be scary for beginners because there are so many complex rules, and getting acquainted with even basic terminology can be part of a huge learning curve. What’s the difference between an ETF and a mutual fund? Should I get a Roth IRA or a 401(k)? Or both? What are the tax implications of each option?
The following top investment books offer advice and instruction on how to confidently navigate the stock market and answer all your burning questions.
Note: Most of these books are specifically geared toward the stock market. However, the truth is that investing in stocks is one part of a larger financial equation. As such, I’ve included some personal finance books that have information on investing but also offer a more holistic education on finance.
The following top investment books are perfect for giving you an overview of investing as well as personal finance. Some books are also classics with fundamental advice that has stood the test of time. The stock market and real estate market are volatile; however, understanding time-tested investment advice and strategies will help you stay ahead of the curve.
A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing by Burton G. Malkiel
This book is perfect for those ready to set up a stock portfolio and/or 401(k). It’s a classic, gimmick-free book on investment strategy with sound advice. Malkiel’s updated version will help you navigate a volatile stock market and learn about everything from real estate investment trusts to bonds.
The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns by John C. Bogle
As the title suggests, investing doesn’t have to be super complicated. Much of the time, it just takes some common sense and fundamental knowledge of the stock market. Bogle will walk you through on diversifying your portfolio and on the importance of investing for the long term. Investing is a mindset, and Bogle will show you how to successfully think about investing and implement proven strategies.
How to Make Money in Stocks: A Winning System in Good Times or Bad by William J. O’Neil
Yet another practical rule book; O’Neil will show you how to become a pro at investing. Even if you’ve never owned a stock, his research-based approach and advice is invaluable and includes everything from how to read the daily financial pages to selecting stocks.
The Warren Buffett Way: Investment Strategies of the World’s Greatest Investor by Robert G. Hagstrom
Warren Buffett is hailed as one of the most successful investors of all time. In this book, Hagstrom outlines Buffett’s career and offers real-world examples of investment techniques and the rundown of stocks Buffett has bought over the years. Sometimes, it’s great to learn by example.
The Dhandho Investor: The Low-Risk Value Method to High Returns by Mohnish Pabrai
This one is a comprehensive guide for individual investors looking for a unique approach. What’s interesting about Pabrai’s methods is that he uses the mindset of business-savvy Indian immigrants as a framework for successfully investing in the stock market. This mindset also incorporates lessons from other legendary investors such as Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.
The hardest part about investing is just starting. My first foray into investing was with my company’s 401(k) plan, and it took me months to understand how I wanted to balance my portfolio. But hey, everyone has to start somewhere. These books include practical advice and some will even give you step-by-step instructions to set you up for financial success.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
I first came across this gem on BookTok, which has catapulted this already-famous investment book to a wider audience. Rich Dad, Poor Dad specifically looks at how investors should think about money. For example, we have all been told that our house is an asset. Kiyosaki, however, asserts the opposite because houses equal mortgages, meaning they take away money from you rather than put it in your pocket. The book will help you unlearn some of the deleterious financial advice we’ve been fed through schools and other institutions.
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
Graham’s classic book has sold over a million copies and for good reason. The Intelligent Investor is chockful of time-tested financial advice that also includes commentary on the realities of the 21st-century stock market as well as practical guidance on how to apply Graham’s principles.
Broke Millennial Takes on Investing by Erin Lowry
Believe or not, Millennials are no longer the new kids on the block. We’re bonafide adults who need to get our financial lives in order, especially after growing up amidst the Great Recession and the recent one from the COVID-19 pandemic. This book will empower Millennials, and really anyone new to investing, to confidently make financial decisions.
I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
I figure that a practical guide is more useful to some new investors. Sethi’s book details his six-week program that’ll set up beginners for success. This book doesn’t just deal with investing, it also deals with paying off debt, setting up bank accounts, and “set it and forget it” investment techniques. For many, jumping straight into investment is unrealistic, so Sethi’s advice on setting up your finances first are super helpful.
The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
Money and how to handle it are all about your mindset. Housel teaches his readers about how their behavior affects this money management through a series of short stories. Each one details a case study on how different people think about money. While this book isn’t specifically about investing, the art of selecting stocks and other investments does come down to human behavior and whims.
It’s 2021 and women are still paid less than men for the same work and skills. This means that women have a harder time just getting the funds they need to invest. The following books offer a treasure trove of investment advice for women as well as general financial advice to ensure there are funds to invest.
Women & Money by Suze Orman
I love listening to Suze Orman’s Women & Money podcast because she realistically walks listeners through everyday financial decisions. In her book of the same name, she specifically looks at the dysfunctional relationship that many women have with money. With compassion, she outlines her five-month program to help women achieve financial security with plenty of advice on long-term investments and when to invest in the stock market.
The Money Manual by Tonya Rapley
Here’s another book with excellent general advice on personal finance. I think Rapley’s book pairs well with Suze Orman’s Women & Money because both books give sound advice to women who want to take charge of their finances. Rapley has a six-month program that is an excellent guide for any woman prepared to get her finances in order.
The Women’s Guide to Successful Investing: Achieving Financial Security and Realizing Your Goals by Nancy Tengler
Tengler is a wealth advisor and CEO who walks women through the process of building practical, reliable investment portfolios. She offers case studies and personal anecdotes that’ll resonate with many readers’ own financial situations and decodes the complexities of stocks.
Clever Girl Finance: Learn How Investing Works, Grow Your Money by Bola Sokunbi
Sokundi is the go-to person for women seeking to build a strong foundation for personal investing. Readers find her no-nonsense approach to be refreshing and practical. In the book, Sokunbi provides instruction on how investing works and which pitfalls to avoid. The information is accessible to readers with varying degrees of financial literacy and is great for beginners.
Finally, The Wisdom of Finance is an excellent manifesto on how to restore the humanity back into finance. Desai was a professor at Harvard Business School, and The Wisdom of Finance accounts his “last lecture,” in which he draws on his rich knowledge of the humanities to relay the inner workings of finance. This isn’t specifically an investment book; however, it’s important to understand how your money plays out in the real world because investments have real-world consequences.