The best books for novices to learn about investing

John M. Jennings Author Of The Uncertainty Solution: How to Invest with Confidence in the Face of the Unknown
By John M. Jennings

Who am I?

I’ve long been fascinated by money and wealth and people’s relationship to them. I started my career as an estate planning attorney and then broadened my expertise to investing. I know that investing can seem scary due to the complexity of the financial markets and the overwhelming amount of investment products and strategies. But successful investing doesn’t have to be hard or scary. With the proper guidance, anyone can embark on a strategy of creating wealth through investing. Reading the right book is a good first step in the right direction.

I wrote...

The Uncertainty Solution: How to Invest with Confidence in the Face of the Unknown

By John M. Jennings,

Book cover of The Uncertainty Solution: How to Invest with Confidence in the Face of the Unknown

What is my book about?

The Uncertainty Solution is not a typical investment book. It is an experiential guide on cultivating the mindset and behavior necessary to weather inherently uncertain and unpredictable markets. It doesn’t just tell you how to invest, but how to think better about investing. Referencing studies on psychology, decision-making, and investment behavior, the book provides a no-nonsense analysis of the financial markets and a roadmap to navigating its inevitable twists and turns.

An engaging dive into investing philosophy and best practices, The Uncertainty Solution is an authoritative, accessible guide for both lay investors and professionals inundated with financial news and data. Read this book to improve your thinking about investing, practice better investment behavior, and ultimately, have more money.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Think, Act, and Invest Like Warren Buffett: The Winning Strategy to Help You Achieve Your Financial and Life Goals

Why did I love this book?

Warren Buffett, considered the greatest investor of all time, manages a portfolio worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

However, Swedroe's teachings show that his core investment strategies can be replicated by any investor. In his book, Swedroe offers insights into Buffett's philosophy and practical guidance on building a diversified portfolio, managing risk, and making sound investment decisions.

The book is written in a clear and concise manner, with complex topics simplified, making it a great recommendation for novice investors.

By Larry Swedroe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Think, Act, and Invest Like Warren Buffett as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bedrock Investing Principles for Profiting in Today's Shaky Markets

If you wanted to create the next earth-shattering consumer product, Steve Jobs would be an ideal role model to follow. If you planned to become a great golfer, you might look to Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus.

So, if your goals are to outperform other investors and achieve your life's financial goals, what should you do?

Think, act, and invest like the best investor out there: Warren Buffett. While you can't invest exactly like he does, Think, Act, and Invest Like WarrenBuffett provides a solid, sensible investing approach based on Buffett's…

Book cover of Winning the Loser's Game: Timeless Strategies for Successful Investing

Why did I love this book?

This is one of the first books I read after becoming a wealth manager, and it had a huge influence on how I view the investment world. 

The title refers to the difference between amateur tennis – a loser’s game – where the winner is the player who makes the least mistakes and professional tennis – a winner’s game – where the winner is the player who makes the best shots.

Ellis argues that most investors are like amateur tennis players, playing a loser’s game where winning means limiting mistakes. Thus, for most investors, the best strategy is to avoid making money-losing mistakes and focus on strategies that improve the odds of winning: adopting a long-term, low-cost, and diversified investment approach.

By Charles Ellis,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Winning the Loser's Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The definitive guide to long-term investing success-fully updated to address the realities of today's markets

Technology, information overload, and increasing market dominance by expert investors and computers make it harder than ever to produce investing results that overcome operating costs and fees. Winning the Loser's Game reveals everything you need to know to reduce costs, fees, and taxes, and focus on long-term policies that are right for you.

Candid, short, and super easy to read, Winning the Loser's Game walks you through the process of developing and implementing a powerful investing strategy that generates solid profits year after year. In…

Book cover of The Little Book of Behavioral Investing: How not to be your own worst enemy

Why did I love this book?

Practicing good behavior is the most important ingredient of successful investing.

And understanding the ingrained biases and heuristics that negatively impact our behavior is essential to good investment behavior.

I’ve read dozens of books on behavioral biases, and I think this book is among the best and a perfect introduction to the topic. Written in a light and humorous manner, Montier explains common cognitive biases, how they lead to irrational investment decisions, strategies for overcoming them, and how to practice better investment behavior.

By James Montier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Little Book of Behavioral Investing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A detailed guide to overcoming the most frequently encountered psychological pitfalls of investing

Bias, emotion, and overconfidence are just three of the many behavioral traits that can lead investors to lose money or achieve lower returns. Behavioral finance, which recognizes that there is a psychological element to all investor decision-making, can help you overcome this obstacle.

In The Little Book of Behavioral Investing, expert James Montier takes you through some of the most important behavioral challenges faced by investors. Montier reveals the most common psychological barriers, clearly showing how emotion, overconfidence, and a multitude of other behavioral traits, can affect…

Book cover of The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing

Why did I love this book?

The Success Equation is my favorite investment book.

In it, Mauboussin tackles a significant question in investing: to what extent can investment results be attributed to skill versus luck? Mauboussin introduces the skill-luck continuum to explain this, with competitions like chess and running races being at the skill end and games like roulette and slot machines being at the luck end.

Sports such as football and basketball are closer to the skill side, while investing is closer to the luck side. Using this model, Mauboussin provides useful tools for evaluating investment opportunities while considering skill and luck. 

By Michael J. Mauboussin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Success Equation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Much of what we experience in life results from a combination of skill and luck." -- From the Introduction The trick, of course, is figuring out just how many of our successes (and failures) can be attributed to each--and how we can learn to tell the difference ahead of time. In most domains of life, skill and luck seem hopelessly entangled. Different levels of skill and varying degrees of good and bad luck are the realities that shape our lives--yet few of us are adept at accurately distinguishing between the two. Imagine what we could accomplish if we were able…

The Black Swan

By Nassim Nicholas Taleb,

Book cover of The Black Swan

Why did I love this book?

Reading The Black Swan changed the way I perceive the world.

The book explores the impact of rare and unpredictable events on our lives and the limitations of our ability to predict and comprehend them. The author, Taleb, argues that humans often rely too heavily on past experiences or patterns to anticipate the future and fail to account for unexpected occurrences.

These unexpected events are called "Black Swans" and are defined by three characteristics: (1) it is unpredictable, (2) it has a massive impact, and (3) it is explainable in retrospect. I’ve read The Black Swan three times and I think about the lessons I learned from it nearly every day.

By Nassim Nicholas Taleb,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Black Swan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most influential book of the past seventy-five years: a groundbreaking exploration of everything we know about what we don’t know, now with a new section called “On Robustness and Fragility.”

A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions…

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