100 books like The Big Short

By Michael Lewis,

Here are 100 books that The Big Short fans have personally recommended if you like The Big Short. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

Mary Shanklin Author Of American Castle: One Hundred Years of Mar-a-Lago

From the list on nonfiction with fantastic storytelling.

Who am I?

As a lifelong journalist, I’m riveted by stories that dissect actual events. Nonfiction is my wheelhouse and I’m fortunate to have a related body of distinguished work. Over the decades, I’ve written for exceptional newspaper and magazine editors who taught me the craft of making reality not only engaging – but also meaningful. Instead of ignoring the not-so-convenient truths – details that might be swept away by a historical fiction writer – I hunt for them. My coverage of inequities, hurricanes, and real estate scams has taught me: show, don’t tell. Any author who can take a mountain of interviews, details, facts and color and transform it into a thought-provoking story, they have my attention. 

Mary's book list on nonfiction with fantastic storytelling

Why did Mary love this book?

Erik Larson lays out Chicago’s efforts to remake its seedy, 1880s image with a World’s Fair cast in all white. Sadly, a serial killer lurked. 

Devil in the White City kept me engaged by conjuring up that feeling of dread you have when you know something monumental is about to be undone. The scene-setting put me smack in the middle of the Fair preparation as organizers toil against pressing deadlines. So many young women coming to help launch the spectacle. I could feel my heartbeat quicken as the dueling storyline introduces yet another of Herman Mudgett’s 27 victims. 

Best yet for me – this was not historical fiction. This was real.

By Erik Larson,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked The Devil in the White City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Chicago World Fair was the greatest fair in American history. This is the story of the men and women whose lives it irrevocably changed and of two men in particular- an architect and a serial killer. The architect is Daniel Burnham, a man of great integrity and depth. It was his vision of the fair that attracted the best minds and talents of the day. The killer is Henry H. Holmes. Intelligent as well as handsome and charming, Holmes opened a boarding house which he advertised as 'The World's Fair Hotel' Here in the neighbourhood where he was once…

Book cover of The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Robert Kerbeck Author Of RUSE: Lying the American Dream from Hollywood to Wall Street

From the list on cons and scams.

Who am I?

Growing up in the automobile business (my great-grandfather sold horse carriages before cars were invented!), I’ve always been fascinated by salesmen and con artists, and the very thin line that often separates the two. What is a sales pitch, for example, and what is an outright lie? Where does the truth live anymore? Media? Politics? Business? None of the above? It has never been more important to learn the truth, and never has it been harder to find it. And it’s this very issue that is dividing the world. We think the other side has been conned. They think we’ve been conned. One thing’s for sure—someone’s getting conned. And that’s why I love con books! 

Robert's book list on cons and scams

Why did Robert love this book?

Whereas I spent my time extracting secret information from corporations to potentially cause their demise, John Perkins was flying around the world trying to do the same thing to developing nations. A sobering tale of bad policies and bad leaders pushed on unsuspecting populations, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is a nail-biting expose of what America is willing to do regardless of the collateral damage to other countries. 

By John Perkins,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


False economics. Threats, bribes, extortion. Debt, deception, coups, assassinations and unbridled military power. These are the tools used by the 'corporatocracy' - a vast network of corporations, banks, colluding governments and rich and powerful individuals - to ensure that they retain and expand their wealth and influence, growing richer and richer as the poor become poorer.

In his original, post 9/11 book, John Perkins revealed how he was recruited as an economic hit man in the 1970s, and exposed the corrupt methods American corporations use to spread…

Liar's Poker

By Michael Lewis,

Book cover of Liar's Poker

Amy Myers Jaffe Author Of Oil, Dollars, Debt, and Crises: The Global Curse of Black Gold

From the list on why oil and global banking crises happen at the same time.

Who am I?

I began my career as a business journalist writing about Arab finance and oil at a time when few women were in that industry. Rather improbably, perhaps, I became well-known for correctly predicting trends – geopolitical and geo-economical. In my thirties, I shifted to the academy, becoming a director of energy research at Rice University in Houston and subsequently a sought-after advisor to government, corporations, and financial institutions. I wrote my first paper on oil crises while in high school (winning third prize in a state term paper contest) and have never left the subject. Now more than ever, the public needs to understand the real facts behind oil and financial crises. 

Amy's book list on why oil and global banking crises happen at the same time

Why did Amy love this book?

The one thing I don’t like about most economics books is that they are overly antiseptic and highly divorced from the machismo gambling culture that drives speculative behavior in the first place and leads to the kinds of conditions that eventually create financial catastrophes.

My writing on economics is highly colored by the fact that I worked on Wall Street as a financial journalist at the height of the high-rolling, cocaine-rich, Salomon Brothers 1980s. But pick any subsequent bubble – Enron, Scion, FTX, the tech founder clients of SVB – it ultimately follows the same betting and bluffing storyline.

If you want to understand commodity markets, start by understanding the people who drive them. For that, there’s no better writer than Michael Lewis and no better book than his semi-autobiographical original effort, Liar’s Poker. The reason I prefer Liar’s Poker the most is not only because it covers the period…

By Michael Lewis,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Liar's Poker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Michael Lewis was fresh out of Princeton and the London School of Economics when he landed a job at Salomon Brothers, one of Wall Street's premier investment firms. During the next three years, Lewis rose from callow trainee to bond salesman, raking in millions for the firm and cashing in on a modern-day gold rush. Liar's Poker is the culmination of those heady, frenzied years-a behind-the-scenes look at a unique and turbulent time in American business. From the frat-boy camaraderie of the forty-first-floor trading room to the killer instinct that made ambitious young men gamble everything on a high-stakes game…

When Genius Failed

By Roger Lowenstein,

Book cover of When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management

Alex Shahidi Author Of Risk Parity: How to Invest for All Market Environments

From the list on commonly overlooked investing core principles.

Who am I?

As a student of the markets and investing for 3 decades and a professional investment advisor overseeing billions of dollars for over 2 decades, I have discovered that most investment books and information lack real insight. Much of what I read and see is not thoughtful or deeply researched and merely a regurgitation of what everyone else is saying. I’ve learned that most of what is thought to be conventional thinking is remarkably poorly supported by independent, unbiased research. The books on my recommended list go beyond what you’d read in the average investment book to uncover truly insightful knowledge that I believe can help readers take their investment understanding to the next level. 

Alex's book list on commonly overlooked investing core principles

Why did Alex love this book?

A successful investor over the long run should always be worried about what can go wrong.

One of the greatest contributors to catastrophic loss is overconfidence and the belief that you can’t lose. This book offers a real-life story about some of the smartest, most resourced investors losing everything.

Hopefully it will instill the appreciation that it isn’t just about being a market genius but about recognizing that far too often unforeseen market events actually happen without warning. 

By Roger Lowenstein,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked When Genius Failed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Picking up where Liar's Poker left off (literally, in the bond dealer's desks of Salomon Brothers) the story of Long-Term Capital Management is of a group of elite investors who believed they could beat the market and, like alchemists, create limitless wealth for themselves and their partners.

Founded by John Meriweather, a notoriously confident bond dealer, along with two Nobel prize winners and a floor of Wall Street's brightest and best, Long-Term Captial Management was from the beginning hailed as a new gold standard in investing. It was to be the hedge fund to end all other hedge funds: a…

More Money Than God

By Sebastian Mallaby,

Book cover of More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite

Robin Wigglesworth Author Of Trillions: How a Band of Wall Street Renegades Invented the Index Fund and Changed Finance Forever

From the list on financial history that are genuinely gripping.

Who am I?

I ended up in financial journalism by happenstance (it was pretty much the only corner of the media world that was still hiring when I graduated in the early 2000s). But I fell in love with it. To understand the world, you have to understand money. Whether you like it or not, it is the hidden wiring that binds us all together. I’ve found that reading history books on finance and economics has helped me better understand what is going on today, so I hope the books on this list will help you do the same. 

Robin's book list on financial history that are genuinely gripping

Why did Robin love this book?

A history of hedge funds might seem like a weird recommendation by someone who has written a paean to passive investing.

But my favourite books use a subject to tell a much broader story, and Mallaby’s definitive book on the hedge industry manages to show how even the most illustrious investing careers can fizzle out as market regimes ebb and flow.  

By Sebastian Mallaby,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked More Money Than God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book of its kind: a fascinating and entertaining examination of hedge funds today Shortlisted for the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award 'An enormously satisfying book: a gripping chronicle of the cutting edge of the financial markets and a fascinating perspective on what was going on in these shadowy institutions as the crash hit' Observer Wealthy, powerful, and potentially dangerous, hedge-find managers have emerged as the stars of twenty-first century capitalism. Based on unprecedented access to the industry, More Money Than God provides the first authoritative history of hedge funds. This is the inside story…

What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars

By Jim Paul, Brendan Moynihan,

Book cover of What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars

Kevin J. Davey Author Of Entry and Exit Confessions of a Champion Trader: 52 Ways A Professional Speculator Gets In And Out Of The Stock, Futures And Forex Markets

From the list on that help to become a champion trader.

Who am I?

I have been trading for over 30 years now, and I was lucky to be one of the part-time “hobby” traders to be successful enough to trade full time. Along the way, I was a 3-time trophy winner in the world’s premier real time, real money futures trading contest. My passion is trading, both for my personal accounts and in assisting my students with their trading. While I always say “trading is the hardest way to make easy money” this field is my lifelong passion.

Kevin's book list on that help to become a champion trader

Why did Kevin love this book?

It is a shame the author of this book died in the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attack because I always wanted to hear more from him. As with most of the books on this list, for me the details of what he did (did he enter with moving averages? How did he apply stochastics to his entry signals? Etc.) are not nearly as important as his mental state of mind. What did he feel like losing $1 million? How did he recover mentally? For me, being a good trader involves dealing with losses, and this book does a superb job of detailing how one trader did just that.

By Jim Paul, Brendan Moynihan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jim Paul's meteoric rise took him from a small town in Northern Kentucky to governor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, yet he lost it all-his fortune, his reputation, and his job-in one fatal attack of excessive economic hubris. In this honest, frank analysis, Paul and Brendan Moynihan revisit the events that led to Paul's disastrous decision and examine the psychological factors behind bad financial practices in several economic sectors. This book-winner of a 2014 Axiom Business Book award gold medal-begins with the unbroken string of successes that helped Paul achieve a jet-setting lifestyle and land a key spot with the…

A Random Walk Down Wall Street

By Burton G. Malkiel,

Book cover of A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing

Stephen R. Foerster Author Of In Pursuit of the Perfect Portfolio: The Stories, Voices, and Key Insights of the Pioneers Who Shaped the Way We Invest

From the list on developing your investment philosophy.

Who am I?

I’ve been interested in investing for over four decades since I started as a finance PhD student at Wharton. Since then my research has focused on understanding the stock market. Early on, I tried applying my research to my investing. For example, I was convinced that a recently listed stock called Google was way overvalued—was I ever wrong! That got me to reflect on my investment philosophy—what did I truly believe about how markets really behaved? That brought me back to understanding and appreciating the contributors to Modern Portfolio Theory, which led to a fun decade-long book project. Currently I enjoy writing about investing through my blog.

Stephen's book list on developing your investment philosophy

Why did Stephen love this book?

This was one of the first investment books I read, and it has become a classic.

At the time I was a PhD student learning about concepts such as Modern Portfolio Theory and the Capital Asset Pricing Model. Malkiel explains in plain English what these concepts mean for investors. Before it was fashionable, he promoted index or passive investing versus actively selecting securities. Malkiel presents a practical life-cycle approach to investing.

By Burton G. Malkiel,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked A Random Walk Down Wall Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Today's stock market is not for the faint hearted. At a time of frightening volatility, the answer is to turn to Burton G. Malkiel's advice in his reassuring, authoritative, gimmick-free and perennially best-selling guide to investing. Long established as the first book to purchase before starting a portfolio, A Random Walk Down Wall Street now features new material on "tax-loss harvesting"; the current bitcoin bubble and automated investment advisers; as well as a brand-new chapter on factor investing and risk parity. And as always, Malkiel's core insights-on stocks and bonds, as well as investment trusts, home ownership and tangible assets…

Book cover of Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism

Dennis W. Johnson Author Of American Public Policy: Federal Domestic Policy Achievements and Failures, 1901 to 2022

From the list on understanding public policy challenges and failures.

Who am I?

Much of my academic work has been focused on American domestic public policy. Previously, I wrote a ground-breaking book called The Laws that Shaped America, which focused on 15 key laws in American history. My latest book, American Public Policy: Federal Domestic Policy Achievements and Failures, 1901 to 2022, focuses on what we have accomplished, but even more importantly on what we have failed to do. And, boy, do we have work to do: inequality, climate change, immigration, racial injustice, gun violence, drug addiction, and more. I’m passionate about what good government can accomplish, and, like so many, sadden by what we have failed to accomplish.

Dennis' book list on understanding public policy challenges and failures

Why did Dennis love this book?

This is a sobering account of what has happened to far too many blue-collar, non-college-educated workers in America.

Wracked with economic uncertainty, shunted aside, feeling left out and powerless, many have turned to alcohol, drugs, and suicide. The greed of the opioid industry—the doctors, the pharmacies, the corporate pushers—has led to an extraordinary increase in deaths among white blue-collar workers.
For working men and women, once the backbone of American economic vibrancy, capitalism, and globalization has not worked, but has crushed families and prospects for a better life.

A powerful indictment, but one we need to hear and comprehend.

By Anne Case, Angus Deaton,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Bestseller
A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book of 2020
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Shortlisted for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year
A New Statesman Book to Read

From economist Anne Case and Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton, a groundbreaking account of how the flaws in capitalism are fatal for America's working class

Life expectancy in the United States has recently fallen for three years in a row-a reversal not seen since 1918 or in any other wealthy nation in modern times. In the…

Book cover of Showdown at Gucci Gulch: Lawmakers, Lobbyists, and the Unlikely Triumph of Tax Reform

Charles Wheelan Author Of Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science

From the list on economics and public policy.

Who am I?

I’m passionate about economics and public policy because they are the tools we can use to improve our lives—everything from fighting a pandemic to preventing the next financial crisis. I’m interested in politics, too, because that is how policies get made in a democracy. We’re living through a time with serious social challenges and a political system paralyzed by partisanship. We have to do better.

Charles' book list on economics and public policy

Why did Charles love this book?

Who knew that a book on tax reform could be so interesting? Showdown at Gucci Gulch, which tells the story of the 1986 federal tax reform, remains the best in depth look at how a bill really becomes a law, including a cast of interesting characters, from Ronald Reagan to Dan Rostenkowski. The book is also a good primer on what a good tax system ought to look like and how myriad special interests invariably oppose such a system. Murray and Birnbaum were reporters for the Wall Street Journal who covered the 1986 tax reform and write with a reporter’s eye for detail. Really, this is an entertaining book.

By Alan Murray,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Showdown at Gucci Gulch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 was the single most sweeping change in the history of America's income tax. It was also the best political and economic story of its time. Here, in the anecdotal style of The Making of the President, two Wall Street Journal reporters provide the first complete picture of how this tax revolution went from an improbable dream to a widely hailed reality.

The Righteous Mind

By Jonathan Haidt,

Book cover of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

Zachary Elwood Author Of Defusing American Anger: A Guide to Understanding Our Fellow Citizens and Reducing Us-vs-Them Polarization

From the list on healing the political divides in America.

Who am I?

For my psychology podcast, I’ve interviewed many political and psychology experts on the subject of political polarization and conflict resolution. That led to me writing my book Defusing American Anger. I believe extreme us-vs-them polarization is humanity’s biggest problem: I see it as an existential threat not just to specific nations, including America, but to humanity as a whole, especially as our weapons and technologies get more powerful. And I think we need more people working on reducing our seemingly natural tendency to always be fighting with each other. 

Zachary's book list on healing the political divides in America

Why did Zachary love this book?

For anyone looking to understand our divides, or wanting to reduce those divides, I think reading Haidt's book is necessary.

Haidt examines the values that we typically associate with politically 'conservative' and 'liberal' points of view, and shows the underlying values there. And these values can be much more complex than we tend to think. This examination is especially helpful for American Democrats, who often perceive conservative stances through an excessively pessimistic and contemptuous lens. 

By Jonathan Haidt,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Righteous Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A landmark contribution to humanity's understanding of itself' The New York Times

Why can it sometimes feel as though half the population is living in a different moral universe? Why do ideas such as 'fairness' and 'freedom' mean such different things to different people? Why is it so hard to see things from another viewpoint? Why do we come to blows over politics and religion?

Jonathan Haidt reveals that we often find it hard to get along because our minds are hardwired to be moralistic, judgemental and self-righteous. He explores how morality evolved to enable us to form communities, and…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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