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Best Investment Books for Beginners | Odd Cents

It’s quite possible that I’m allowing thousands of dollars to escape through the crack in my bank account. I’m scared of investing simply because I don’t understand many of the concepts. But because I love to read, I think that finding the best investment books for beginners is the way for me to become immersed in this exciting field and use it as a new method to boost my savings.

To create this list, I combed through Amazon, read all of the reviews and perused the table of contents of each book. I decided to go this route because I just did not want to waste time purchasing a book, start reading it and then realise that I’m still lost. I wanted a solid list of the best investment books that would provide me with the exact information that I was looking for and one that I could refer to time and time again.

A little while ago, I wrote a review of the Wealthy Barber, a personal finance book. This is one of the few personal finance books that I’ve read. (PS. You can take a look at the Wealthy Barber Returns which is an updated version of the text.)

I don’t purchase many finance books- I prefer to read free ebooks like the one that was written by Debt Free Black Girl. But investments and investing are different because I’m not totally confident in my knowledge of the subject.

This is why buying an investment book is necessary.

Best Investment Books for Beginners

If you consider yourself well versed in investments terminology and the world of investing, these books may bore you. But, if you’re a newbie or looking for a refresher, then you will be pleasantly surprised.

These are the books that made my top ten list of the best investment books for beginners in 2017.

Book NameAuthor(s)Release Date
A Beginner's Guide to InvestingAlex H. Frey, Ivy Bytes and Alex Frey2013 Check Price
The Four Pillars of InvestingWilliam J. Bernstein2010 Check Price
The Intelligent InvestorBenjamin Graham, Jason Zweig, Warren Buffet1984 Check Price
Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other WritingsPhilip A. Fisher and Kenneth L. Fisher2003 Check Price
The Wall Street Journal Complete Money and Investing GuidebookDave Kansas2006 Check Price
A Random Walk Down Wall StreetBurton Malkiel2016 Check Price
The Essays of Warren Buffet: Lessons for Corporate AmericaWarren Buffet and Lawrence Cunningham2015 Check Price
Step by Step Investing: A Beginner's Guide to the Best Investment in StocksJoseph Hogue2015 Check Price
One Up on Wall StreetPeter Lynch and John Rothchild2000 Check Price
The Little Book of Common Sense InvestingJohn Bogle2007 Check Price

Before I begin, you should be aware that these are not the only investing books on the market. I chose the books that I want to read and the ones that met my for criteria for the best investment books for beginners.

1. A Beginner’s Guide to Investing – Alex Frey

A Beginner’s Guide to Investing is one of the best investing books available today. It is an excellent introduction for those interested in learning about investing. There are several analogies throughout the book which adequately explain basic concepts for easy comprehension.

The table of contents reads as follows:

  • Chapter 1: How to Double Your Money Every Seven Years: The Parable of Jill and Average Joe
  • Chapter 2: Laying a Solid Foundation: How to Make Sense of the Investment World
  • Chapter 3: How to Get Off to the Right Start: A Practical Guide to Choosing an Investment Account
  • Chapter 4: How to Save Tens of Thousands of Dollars in Taxes Without Opening an Offshore Bank Account (or Doing Anything Unethical)
  • Chapter 5: Getting Organized: How to Form Your Own Personal Investing Plan
  • Chapter 6: Why You Need to Know Your Investing Alphas and Betas: A Guide to Investment Returns
  • Chapter 7: Moving Beyond the Stock Market: An Introduction to Asset Classes
  • Chapter 8: Why the S&P 500 Is Not Good Enough: How to Use the Principles of Diversification to Choose n Intelligent Asset Allocation
  • Chapter 9: Putting It Into Practice: How to Painlessly Implement Your Target Asset Allocation Using ETFs
  • Chapter 10: Making it Bulletproof: How to Manage for the Long-Term with a Lockbox (and a Sandbox)
  • Clear, concise and simple writing
  • Provides basic information about investing
  • Uses relatable references to explain concepts
  • Very easy to read and comprehend
  • Mentions the importance of saving for retirement early

There was were only a few negative notes about this book, but they do not detract from the quality of the text:

  • Not recommended for intermediate and advanced investors
  • Does not adequately explain how to invest
  • It is written with US investors in mind

About the Author: The book was written by Alex Frey and published by Ivy Bytes. Frey is a knowledgeable and accomplished professional with Chartered Financial Analyst and Master of Business Administration qualifications. He has been dabbling in investing from the time he was sixteen and worked at a mutual fund company.

2. The Four Pillars of Investing – William J. Bernstein

Looking to create a smart and effective portfolio can be a headache for beginner investors. That’s why I’ve added the Four Pillars of Investing to my list of investment books for beginners. The book focuses on the four essential financial topics that the basic topics of investing fall under which are: The Theory of Investing, The History of Investing, The Psychology of Investing and The Business of Investing.

A look at the table of contents revealed fifteen chapters under the four pillars and investment strategy:

  • Chapter 1: No Guts, No Glory
  • Chapter 2: Measuring the Beast
  • Chapter 3: The Market is Smarter Than You Think
  • Chapter 4: The Perfect Portfolio
  • Chapter 5: Tops: A History of Manias
  • Chapter 6: Bottoms: The Agony and the Opportunity
  • Chapter 7: Misbehavior
  • Chapter 8: Behavioral Therapy
  • Chapter 9: Your Broker is Not Your Buddy
  • Chapter 10: Neither is Your Mutual Fund
  • Chapter 11: Oliver Stone Meets Wall Street
  • Chapter 12: Will You Have Enough?
  • Chapter 13: Defining Your Mix
  • Chapter 14: Getting Started, Keeping it Going
  • Chapter 15: A Final Word

These are the best compliments about the book:

  • Addresses the importance of psychology in investing
  • Details how to construct a portfolio
  • Highlights the importance of taxes
  • Supports the use of diversification to match market results
  • Assertions are backed by credible data

Here are a few things about this book that you might not like:

  • Not enough discussion about the risks of investing
  • Does not clearly explain the importance of timing
  • The importance of market/ investment valuation are not explained clearly

About the Author: William Bernstein is described as a market historian, strategist, neurologist and author who has expansive knowledge of finance and history. He writes for the Efficient Frontier website which highlights his library of investor books. His boutique investment advisory firm provides portfolio management for a limited number of clients.

3. The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham, Jason Zweig and Warren Buffet

The Intelligent Investor is one of the best investment books for beginners ever written. This particular edition was updated to reflect current market conditions. One of Amazon’s best selling books, the Intelligent Investor lives up to its reputation as an investment Bible that teaches investors the importance of value investing.

Each of the twenty chapters of the book comes with a commentary that explains the main learning objectives for each chapter:

  • Chapter 1: Investment versus Speculation: Results to be Expected by the Intelligent Investor
  • Chapter 2: The Investor and Inflation
  • Chapter 3: A Century of Stock-Market History
  • Chapter 4: General Portfolio Policy: The Defensive Investor
  • Chapter 5: The Defensive Investor and Common Stock
  • Chapter 6: Portfolio Policy for the Enterprising Investor: Negative Approach
  • Chapter 7: Portfolio Policy for the Enterprising Investor: The Positive Side
  • Chapter 8: The Investor and Market Fluctuations
  • Chapter 9: Investing in Investment Funds
  • Chapter 10: The Investor and His Advisors
  • Chapter 11: Security Analysis for the Lay Investor: General Approach
  • Chapter 12: Things to Consider About Per-Share Earnings
  • Chapter 13: A Comparison of Four Listed Companies
  • Chapter 14: Stock Selection for the Defensive Investor
  • Chapter 15: Stock Selection for the Enterprising Investor
  • Chapter 16: Convertible Issues and Warrants
  • Chapter 17: Four Extremely Instructive Case Histories
  • Chapter 18: A Comparison of Eight Pairs of Companies
  • Chapter 19: Shareholders nd Managements: Dividend Policies
  • Chapter 20: Margin of Safety as the Central Concept

These are the pros of the Intelligent Investor which you should consider before you purchase:

  • Proves that the fundamental concepts can stand the test of time
  • Includes extensive visuals (charts and tables) to support text
  • Breaks down how Wall Street works and how investors can survive in the environment
  • Introduces readers to Behavioural Economics
  • Thoroughly explains diversification as an investment strategy

Before you buy, there are a few things to note:

  • Contains a few inaccuracies in terms of dates and events
  • Might appear to be a bit dated
  • Could be considered better reading for intermediate investors

About the Author: Benjamin Graham first published this book in 1949. The most recent edition builds on the wealth of knowledge in the first version with relevant advice, analytical guides and cautionary tales. Graham was a British born investor and American Economist who had an overwhelming impact on his students and colleagues. Graham passed away in 1976.

4. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings – Philip A. Fisher and Kenneth L. Fisher

When creating a list of the best investment books for beginners, I had to give a nod to established publishers. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings is a Wiley Investment Classics book that contains pure genius investment wisdom that is lacking from other investment books. It was written by Philip Fisher and includes annotations from his son Kenneth.

The book is divided into sections as follows:

  • Part One: Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits
    • Clues from the Past
    • What “Scuttlebutt” Can Do
    • What to Buy: The Fifteen Points to Look for in a Common Stock
    • What to Buy: Applying This to Your Own Needs
    • When to Buy
    • When to Sell: And When Not To
    • The Hullabaloo about Dividends
    • Five Don’ts for Investors
    • Five More Don’ts for Investors
    • How I Go about Finding a Growth Stock
    • Summary and Conclusion 172
  • Part Two: Conservative Investors Sleep Well
    • The First Dimension of a Conservative Investment
    • The Second Dimension
    • The Third Dimension
    • The Fourth Dimension
    • More about the Fourth Dimension
    • Still More about the Fourth Dimension
  • Part Three: Developing an Investment Philosophy
    • Origins of a Philosophy
    • Learning from Experience
    • The Philosophy Matures
    • Is the Market Efficient?

Should you buy the Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings?

  • Proves that the fundamental concepts can stand the test of time
  • Includes extensive visuals (charts and tables) to support text
  • Breaks down how Wall Street works and how investors can survive in the environment
  • Introduces readers to Behavioural Economics
  • Thoroughly explains diversification as an investment strategy

What are the shortcomings of the book?

  • Fisher’s investment philosophy is a bit one-sided
  • Places too much “power” in the hands of the investment manager
  • Difficult writing style that could be hard to understand

About the Author: Philip Fisher was an American stock investor who founded the money management company Fisher & Co. His specialty was in long-term investing and creating innovative companies. He has published several books including Paths to Wealth through Common Stocks, Conservative Investors Sleep Well and Developing an Investment Philosophy.

5. The Wall Street Journal Complete Money and Investing Guidebook – Dave Kansas

The Wall Street Journal’s Complete Money and Investing Guidebook  breaks down how investing works and explains some of the basic concepts. Learn about the information you need to invest in stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Find out about the role of individual investors and why they should pay attention to the performance of the economy.

The table of contents is set up in the following format:

  • Chapter 1: Stocks
  • Chapter 2: Main Street
  • Chapter 3: Bonds
  • Chapter 4: Wall Street
  • Chapter 5: Economics and Money
  • Chapter 6: Mutual Funds
  • Chapter 7: Retirement Investing
  • Chapter 8: Private Money
  • Chapter 9: Options, Futures and Nontraditional Investments
  • Chapter 10: Real Estate Investing

This book is one of the top investment books for beginners because of the following reasons:

  • Adequately describes financial, economic and investing tools and terms
  • Details how specific investments work
  • Well organized and easy to read
  • Mentions potential risks of investing in the financial market
  • Offers suggestions for additional reading resources

Note the following criticisms of the book:

  • Not enough detail on ratios and measurement of stock issues
  • Some explanations are not clear enough
  • Does not have in depth practical instructions

About the Author: Dave Kansas was the editor of The Wall Street Journal’s Money & Investing section and is a former president of Other titles attributed to the author include The Wall Street Jounal Guide to the End of Wall Street as We Know It and The Wall Street Journal Guide to the New Rules of Personal Finance.

6. A Random Walk Down Wall Street – Burton Malkiel

Knowing that a book has sold a million copies is one positive sign that it’s one of the best. A Random Walk Down Wall Street is that book that gets into the nitty gritty of investing. Before you call up a broker, read this book so that you will have some idea of what you are getting into. Instead of just focusing on stocks and bonds, the text delves into home ownership, real estate investing, gold and other collectibles.

Table of contents:

  • Part One: Stocks and Their Value
    • Chapter 1: Firm Foundations and Castles in the Air
    • Chapter 2: The Madness of Crowds
    • Chapter 3: Speculative Bubbles from the Sixties Into the Nineties
    • Chapter 4: The Explosive Bubbles of the Early 2000s
  • Part Two: How the Pros Play the Biggest Game in Town
    • Chapter 5: Technical and Fundamental Analysis
    • Chapter 6: Technical Analysis and the Random Walk Theory
    • Chapter 7: How Good is Fundamental Analysis? The Efficient Market Hypothesis
  • Part Three: The New Investment Technology
    • Chapter 8: A New Walking Shoe: Modern Portfolio Theory
    • Chapter 9: Reaping Reward by Increasing Risk
    • Chapter 10: Behavioural Finance
    • Chapter 11: Is “Smart Beta” Really Smart?
  • Part Four: A Practical Guide for Random Walkers and Other Investors
    • Chapter 12: A Fitness Manual For Random Walkers and Other Investors
    • Chapter 13: Handicapping the Financial Race: A Primer in Understanding and Projecting Returns from Stocks and Bonds
    • Chapter 14: A Life-Cycle Guide to Investing
    • Chapter 15: Three Giant Steps Down Wall Street
    • Chapter 16: Supplement

Here are the reasons why you should consider A Random Walk Down Wall Street:

  • Strong advocate for sensible investing choices
  • Uses economic, mathematical and practical arguments to support its claims
  • Teaches readers how to manage their money effectively
  • Acknowledges the presence of risks and their potential impact on investments and cash savings
  • Includes recommendations that can be applied to build a portfolio

The main criticisms of the book are:

  • Some explanations are repetitive
  • A few of the concepts may be wrapped in hard to digest prose
  • Older editions are outdated

About the Author: Burton Malkiel is an American economist and a leading proponent of the efficient market hypothesis. He has written several books including “From Wall Street to the Great Wall” and “Naked Economics.

7. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America – Warren Buffett and Lawrence Cunningham

Warren Buffet and Lawrence Cunningham collaborate to curate a text that gives insights into Buffet’s investment philosophy. The book is essentially a collection of letters that Buffet wrote to the “shareholders” of Berkshire Hathaway over a period of time. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America letters contain detailed lessons about good business practices and priceless business and investment advice.

Here is a look at the Table of Contents:

  • Part One: Corporate Governance
  • Part Two: Finance and Investing
  • Part Three: Investment Alternatives
  • Part Four: Common Stock
  • Part Five: Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Part Six: Valuation and Accounting
  • Part Seven: Accounting Shenanigans
  • Part Eight: Taxation
  • Part Nine: Berkshire at Fifty and Beyond

Interested in the essays? Here’s why you should buy now:

  • Delivers a common sense and logical view of investing
  • Juxtaposes humour and honest views with concepts to make them fun
  • Provides insight into Warren Buffett’s investment principles, business valuation and the role of management
  • Includes information about how to run a business effectively
  • Establishes that investors should focus on good business practices

The main criticisms of the book are:

  • Information is not direct and does not detail how to invest
  • It’s a collection of letters to shareholders
  • Might be too advanced for beginners, but too simple for intermediate investors

About the Authors: Warren Buffett is a renowned American investor whose philanthropic endeavours and investment knowledge are valuable to understanding the ins and outs of investing. Lawrence Cunningham is an academic authority on corporate governance, business law and a talented author. His other titles include Quality Investing and The AIG Story.

8. Step by Step Investing: A Beginner’s Guide to the Best Investment in Stocks (Volume 1) – Joseph Hogue

The first in a four volume series, Step by Step Investing: A Beginner’s Guide to the Best Investment in Stocks is a worthy primer to learning about investing. Written by Joseph Hogue, the text discards any ideas that you need to beat the stock market to be successful. Instead it shows how a simple investing strategy can get you to where you want to be.

The Table of Contents reads as follows:

  • How to Start Investing and Why it Can’t Wait
  • Don’t Start Investing Until You Read This
  • How to Win the Stock Market Game
  • The Top 10 Investing Basics
  • Mutual Funds and Exchange Traded Funds: Opening the Markets to Everyone
  • A Step-by-Step Investing Strategy
  • Resources

Some of the reasons why you should consider this book are:

  • Ignores popular investment myths and replaces them solid facts
  • Focuses on creating a strategy and portfolio to suit one’s needs
  • Adequately details major stocks concepts for beginners
  • Places much emphasis on creating and understanding one’s financial goals
  • Easy to read and understand

The main drawbacks to the text are:

  • Some concepts may be too simple for intermediate and advanced investors
  • Lacks fine details about investing
  • Additional information is provided in subsequent volumes

About the Author: Joseph Hogue is a Chartered Financial Analyst who has worked as an Investment Analyst. His experiences with money and background have provided useful teaching lessons. He runs two blogs – Crowd101 and PeerFinance101.

9. One Up on Wall Street – Peter Lynch and John Rothchild

Doing well on Wall Street is based on using your advantages to achieve financial success. This is why this book made the list as one of the best investment books for beginners. One Up on Wall Street is written by Peter Lynch and John Rothchild and tell you exactly what you have to do to beat the pros. The trick to the game is to pay attention to what’s around you, finding the right companies to invest in and investing at the right time.

Take a look at the Table of Contents:

  • Part One: Preparing to Invest
    • Chapter One: The Making of a Stockpicker
    • Chapter Two: The Wall Street Oxymoron
    • Chapter Three: Is this Gambling, or What?
    • Chapter Four: Passing the Mirror Test
    • Chapter Five: Is this a Good Market? Please Don’t Ask
  • Part Two: Picking Winners
    • Chapter Six: Stalking the Tenbagger
    • Chapter Seven: I’ve Got It, I’ve Got It – What is It?
    • Chapter Eight: The Perfect Stock, What a Deal!
    • Chapter Nine: Stocks I’d Avoid
    • Chapter Ten: Earnings, Earnings, Earnings
    • Chapter Eleven: The Two Minute Drill
    • Chapter Twelve: Getting the Facts
    • Chapter Thirteen: Some Famous Numbers
    • Chapter Fourteen: Rechecking the Story
    • Chapter Fifteen: The Final Checklist
  • Part Three: The Long-Term View
    • Chapter Sixteen: Designing a Portfolio
    • Chapter Seventeen: The Best Time to Buy and Sell
    • Chapter Eighteen: The Twelve Silliest (and Most Dangerous) Things People Say About Stock Prices
    • Chapter Nineteen: Options, Future and Shorts
    • Chapter 20: 50,000 Frenchmen Can Be Wrong

Is One Up On Wall Street the investment book you’ve been looking for?

  • It teaches how to identify the right companies to invest in
  • It explains how to analyze a stock’s prospects and monitor it
  • Clearly details how value investors make money investing
  • Takes a common sense approach to explain investing
  • Uses real-life experience to demonstrate economic and financial principles

The main criticisms of the text are:

  • More of an autobiography and not a detailed “how to”
  • Some areas are vague and not detailed
  • May give the illusion that choosing stocks is easy

About the Author: Peter Lynch is an American mutual fund manager, investor and author. He has co-authored several books which are centered around investing and modern investing strategies. John Rothchild is a financial writer who was a former editor of the Washington Monthly and columnist for Time and Fortune. Other titles co-authored by Lynch and Rothchild include Learn to Earn and Beating the Street.

10. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing – John Bogle

It’s listed as the number one best seller in mutual funds books on Amazon. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing uses a smart and simple approach to investing. Even Warren Buffett thinks it’s wonderful. It teaches that the best investment strategy is to buy and hold publicly traded businesses at a low cost.

Here is the Table of Contents:

  • Chapter One: A Parable
  • Chapter Two: Rational Exuberance
  • Chapter Three: Cast Your Lot with Business
  • Chapter Four: How Most Investors Turn a Winner’s Game into a Loser’s Game
  • Chapter Five: The Grand Illusion
  • Chapter Six: Taxes Are Costs, Too
  • Chapter Seven: When the Good Time No longer Roll
  • Chapter Eight: Selecting Long-Term Winners
  • Chapter Nine: Yesterday’s Winners, Tomorrow’s Losers
  • Chapter Ten: Seeking Advice to Select Funds?
  • Chapter Eleven: Focus on the Lowest-Cost Funds
  • Chapter Twelve: Profit from the Majesty of Simplicity
  • Chapter Thirteen: Bod Funds and Money Market Funds
  • Chapter Fourteen: Index Funds That Promise to Beat the Market
  • Chapter Fifteen: The Exchange Traded Fund
  • Chapter Sixteen: What Would Benjamin Graham Have Thought About Investing?
  • Chapter Seventeen: “The Relentless Rules of Humble Arithmetic”
  • Chapter Eighteen: What Should I Do Now?

The Little Book of Common Sense Book of Investing is a powerful read and one of the best investment books for beginners because:

  • Gives an excellent and very clear introduction to index investing
  • Best suited for beginners who are interested in passive investing
  • Advocates investors to focus on long term investments
  • Focuses on the behaviours required to succeed in investing
  • Acknowledges that institutional fees can severely impact one’s earnings

Here are a few things about this book that you might not like:

  • Might appear to be skewed towards index funds only
  • Lacks in depth analysis to support some assertions
  • Some content is repetitive and redundant

About the Author: John Bogle is the Founder of the Vanguard, one of the largest mutual fund companies in the world. Mr. Bogle studied Economics at Princeton University and he was named as one of the most powerful and influential people in 2004.

Final Words About the Best Investment Books for Beginners

I’ll admit that this was a difficult review to put together simply because of the thousands of investing books on the market. And even though I focused on the beginners and newbies, I still found lots of books on this topic. If you think I missed a book that should have been included in this list of best investment books for beginners, let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

Disclaimer: Odd Cents is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and we get a commission on purchases made through our links.

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