When people find out I work in the world of stocks, I often get
asked "what's a good book on stocks for my college age son?" or
"what book should I read if I want to learn about investing?"
Throughout the years, there have been thousands of books written on
stock investing. Books on stocks became especially popular in the
late 1990s with the dot-com boom as everyone raced to be "in" the
Investing books are different from those on personal finance or
trading. Personal finance books are like those by Suzy Orman which
tell you how to get out of debt or best sellers like
The Millionaire Next Door
. The popular trading books cover more than just stocks and deal
with the speculative side of the trade. Those are books like
. Books on stock investing cover only the art of picking stocks.
I know what my own personal favorites are but I also took an
informal poll in the office to find out what investment books
influenced the great minds here at Zacks.
Some of my colleagues' answers surprised me.
The Top 5 Investment Books Of All Time
1. The Intelligent Investor, The Definitive Book On Value
Investing, Revised Edition, by Benjamin Graham, Jason Zweig and
This was the most read book in the office. It's considered a
Originally written by famed value investor Benjamin Graham in the
1930s, it was updated in 2003 and 2009 by Zweig and Buffett. The
revised edition now includes more up to date examples on stock
While the book is jammed with practical information, many new
investors might find it dry and intimidating. It's 640 pages long!
2. One Up On Wall Street: How to use what you already know
to make money in the market by Peter Lynch
Does anyone remember Peter Lynch?
Peter Lynch is the former manager of Fidelity's Magellan mutual
fund who rose to fame in the bull market rally of the 1980s. In the
1980s and 1990s he was one of the best known mutual fund managers
in America but has since faded from view as hedge fund managers
became the new golden boys.
One Up On Wall Street was his first book. The original edition came
out in 1989 but the second edition was revised for the dot-com boom
It incorporates his popular investment philosophy: "buy what you
3. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate
America, Second Edition by Warren Buffett and Lawrence
This book contains Buffett's letters to Berkshire Hathaway
shareholders over the last several decades through 2008. The
letters are filled with more than just updates about the company as
Buffett also shares investing tidbits and insight into his
This may sound like a snooze, but Buffett's folksy writing style
makes it seem like he's talking directly to you.
4. The Future for Investors: Why the Tried and the True
Triumph Over the Bold and the New by Jeremy Siegel
Published in 2005, the book shatters the myth that investors have
to be in the latest "in" growth stock or hot IPO to be successful
For instance, he compares the historical returns of Exxon and IBM.
IBM was the Microsoft or Apple of its time in the 1940s and 1950s.
Exxon was the boring big oil company. Even though IBM was growing
earnings at a faster pace, Exxon had a lower P/E and paid a larger
dividend. Readers might be surprised at which company was the
better long term investment.
Siegel explains why dividends matter for long term investors and
how a company that makes candy triumphed over all of those with the
latest hot product.
5. Rule #1: The Simple Strategy For Successful Investing in
Only 15 Minutes a Week! by Phil Town
This book didn't gain much traction in the investing world because
it was released in 2007 just before the financial crisis hit. But
many here at Zacks found it especially helpful for novice investors
because it lays out an investing plan.
Town's strategy is to find and invest in wonderful businesses,
including those with moats and other margins of safety. It
incorporates both value investing principals espoused by Graham and
Buffett with some technical analysis.
These Books Are Just A Start
I know many of you will have different choices than these 5 books.
It's important to remember that there isn't just one book which
will give you all the answers or a winning investment plan. The key
is that they each offer basic information in which to learn how to
invest in stocks.
The learning never ends. I've read some of the books listed above
more than once and continue to reference back to them and to my
favorite web sites like Zacks.com on a daily basis.
But if stock investing is your goal in 2013, these 5 books are a
good place to start.
Want More of Our Best Recommendations?
Zacks' Executive VP, Steve Reitmeister, knows when key trades are
about to be triggered and which of our experts has the hottest
hand. Then each week he hand-selects the most compelling trades and
serves them up to you in a new program called
Tracey Ryniec is the Value Stock Strategist for
. She is also the Editor of the Turnaround Trader and Value
Investor services. You can follow her on twitter at
INTL BUS MACH (IBM): Free Stock Analysis Report
EXXON MOBIL CRP (XOM): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.