At Five Books we take a sceptical attitude to financial advisers, in line with academic research that, with a few notable exceptions, most professionals are unable to outsmart the market. With the right tools, people can take on responsibility for their own investments, eliminating management costs, while buying and holding will keep down transaction costs.
We have interviewed a number of experts on how to get started. Burton Malkiel, who wrote the bestselling A Random Walk Down Wall Street, recommends his best books on investing. British economist John Kay makes Malkiel’s book the first choice of his best investing books for beginners. He also recommends The Snowball: Warren Buffet and the business of life by Alice Schroeder as a good read for a beginner. Buffet has never tried to be a Wall Street insider and is the most successful investor in history. The book also tells you what Buffet looks for when picking stocks.
Jason Zweig, author of the Little Book of Safe Money and columnist on the Wall Street Journal, chooses his best books on personal finance. He chooses Common Sense on Mutual Funds by John C Bogle, which argues for the merits of index investing as well as Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes by Gary Belsky & Thomas Gilovich, which explains the common pitfalls of investing. The fund manager and market commentator, Marc Faber offers his best books on investment. He argues that an understanding of financial history is important for making good investment decisions. He chooses Booms and Depressions by Irving Fisher as one of his choices and Manias, Panics and Crashes: A history of Financial Crises by Charles Kindleberger, as well as A History of Interest Rates by Sidney Homer and Richard Sylla, which covers the past few thousand years of interest rate cycles.
Financial literacy is an essential life skill, but it is not routinely taught at school and not everybody has good role models to look to for financial behaviour. Reading can certainly help. Finance teacher Darren Collins recommends his top books for teens and young adults to learn the fundamentals for making sound personal finance decisions in life.
Investing can seem scary if you’ve never done it before but it is, in fact, fairly straightforward. Economist John Kay recommends some investing books for beginners.
Burton Malkiel, a professor of economics (emeritus) at Princeton University and author of the bestselling A Random Walk Down Wall Street, recommends his top picks of books to read on investing.
The author and Wall Street Journal personal finance columnist, Jason Zweig, explains why there’s truth in the old adage that investors get the returns they deserve, and recommends books that might help you avoid being taken for a ride.
Former UNESCO Professor of Maths and Economics at Columbia University selects five intriguing books on catastophic risks, making statistical decisions and reasoned gambling
Marc Faber, the infamous investor known as “Dr Doom”, discusses books he considers indispensable for those interested in investment. He stresses the importance for investors to be historically aware, and holds that Irving Fisher is one of the best economists of the 20th century.