The best investment management books

5 authors have picked their favorite books about investment management and why they recommend each book.

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Unconventional Success

By David F. Swensen,

Book cover of Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment

As head of the Yale University endowment fund, the late David Swensen was one of the foremost innovators and most successful practitioners of institutional investing. Remarkably, he also wrote one of the best books ever for individual investors. Unconventional Success shows why on average, mutual fund investors significantly underperform the funds they own: They trade excessively, buying at the highs and selling at the lows, creating tax inefficiencies in the process. Swensen also valuably details hazards to avoid in fund selection. 


Who am I?

I’m a money manager for high-net-worth individuals. During my Wall Street years, I was ranked number one in my category in the Institutional Investor All America Research Survey for nine consecutive years. The CFA Society New York presented me its Ben Graham Award in 2017. I’ve served as a governor of the CFA Institute and consultant to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. My writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, the Financial Times, and various scholarly journals. I live in New York City with my wife, musicologist Elaine Sisman. We have two children and five grandchildren.


I wrote...

Investment Illusions: A Savvy Wall Street Pro Explores Popular Misconceptions About the Markets

By Martin S. Fridson,

Book cover of Investment Illusions: A Savvy Wall Street Pro Explores Popular Misconceptions About the Markets

What is my book about?

I set out to help investors succeed by separating illusion from reality. Investment Illusions exposes the fallacies of reflexive contrarianism, putting faith in “hot” stock pickers, and trying to beat the market by predicting the economy’s direction. The book also alerts readers to a variety of scams, some of which operate legally and in plain sight without being widely recognized as flimflams.

In addition, I highlight certain shortcomings of corporate communications with investors, audited financial statements, mutual fund performance rankings, financial journalism—and books about investing. Along the way, Investment Illusions explains why market curmudgeons’ favorite story of out-of-control speculation, the Tulipmania incident, is almost universally misunderstood. When it comes to financial markets, avoiding avoidable mistakes can pay off more richly than obtaining unique insights.

Trade Like a Stock Market Wizard

By Mark Minervini,

Book cover of Trade Like a Stock Market Wizard: How to Achieve Superperformance in Stocks in Any Market

Mark Minervini is undoubtedly one of the greatest traders to ever live. This book is an absolute gem, building on what O’Neil wrote in his book. Minervini has gotten his trading down to absolute precision, from when to buy, when to sell, and how to screen for stocks. It’s all in here. A must-read for anyone looking to learn about trading.


Who am I?

The stock market has been a passion of mine for over 15 years. These books have helped me learn how to spot trends and manage my risk while trading in stocks and cryptocurrencies through bull and bear markets. 


I wrote...

Swing Into It: A Simple System For Trading Pullbacks to the 50-Day Moving Average

By T. Livingston,

Book cover of Swing Into It: A Simple System For Trading Pullbacks to the 50-Day Moving Average

What is my book about?

Packed with over thirty-five charts, Swing Into It: A Simple System For Trading Pullbacks to the 50-Day Moving Average, lays out an easy-to-follow yet effective strategy for successful swing trading. Detailing the technical indicators and money management strategies that have worked best for him, T. Livingston breaks down what every savvy trader needs to profit in today’s stock market. Topics discussed include how to analyze the general market, which stocks to trade, when to buy, position-sizing, profit targets, and selling rules.

Swing Into It provides a variety of different examples so that the reader will be prepared for various market scenarios. Detailed sample trades are included so that the reader can see how Livingston thinks throughout each phase of his trades. If you’re looking to get started in swing trading or seeking to refine your trading system, Swing Into It belongs in your library.

The Most Important Thing

By Howard Marks,

Book cover of The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor

Forget bromides such as buying a stock because your experience with the company’s product has been good. The hugely successful money manager Howard Marks makes the essential point that the goal is not to find good companies but to make good purchases. “It’s not what you buy,” he says, “it’s what you pay for it.”  Investors who are interested in good outcomes rather than thrills will find many more sound principles in this book.


Who am I?

I’m a money manager for high-net-worth individuals. During my Wall Street years, I was ranked number one in my category in the Institutional Investor All America Research Survey for nine consecutive years. The CFA Society New York presented me its Ben Graham Award in 2017. I’ve served as a governor of the CFA Institute and consultant to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. My writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, the Financial Times, and various scholarly journals. I live in New York City with my wife, musicologist Elaine Sisman. We have two children and five grandchildren.


I wrote...

Investment Illusions: A Savvy Wall Street Pro Explores Popular Misconceptions About the Markets

By Martin S. Fridson,

Book cover of Investment Illusions: A Savvy Wall Street Pro Explores Popular Misconceptions About the Markets

What is my book about?

I set out to help investors succeed by separating illusion from reality. Investment Illusions exposes the fallacies of reflexive contrarianism, putting faith in “hot” stock pickers, and trying to beat the market by predicting the economy’s direction. The book also alerts readers to a variety of scams, some of which operate legally and in plain sight without being widely recognized as flimflams.

In addition, I highlight certain shortcomings of corporate communications with investors, audited financial statements, mutual fund performance rankings, financial journalism—and books about investing. Along the way, Investment Illusions explains why market curmudgeons’ favorite story of out-of-control speculation, the Tulipmania incident, is almost universally misunderstood. When it comes to financial markets, avoiding avoidable mistakes can pay off more richly than obtaining unique insights.

The World's Simplest Stock Picking Strategy

By Edward W. Ryan,

Book cover of The World's Simplest Stock Picking Strategy: How to make money investing in the companies in your life

I liked this book enough to write a blurb for it, as follows: “Any plan that would have led investors to Amazon, Apple, and Google is fine by me—and this one would have. Edward Ryan has created a systematic framework for owning what you know, a tried-and-true tactic.” No less a luminary than Peter Lynch endorses the idea, and in this book you’ll learn five steps to systematize it: list your life activities, extract stock ideas from them, rank those stocks, invest, and manage the portfolio. The second step is the most interesting to me; it’s where you consider which products and services in your life are most likely to keep a stock moving higher.


Who am I?

I am the author of The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing and The 3% Signal, among other financial books, and editor of The Kelly Letter. Despite having been ranked by CXO Advisory as one of the best stock-market forecasters, I gave up the practice in favor of price reaction. I realized that nobody knows where stocks are headed, myself included, and set out to find ways to beat the market without forecasting—and succeeded. My readers and I are now much happier and wealthier.


I wrote...

The 3% Signal: The Investing Technique That Will Change Your Life

By Jason Kelly,

Book cover of The 3% Signal: The Investing Technique That Will Change Your Life

What is my book about?

More than half of all stock-market forecasts are wrong, according to a CXO Advisory study. Even when a forecaster claims victory, it’s usually a coin-toss coincidence. What to do? Ignore forecasts in favor of rational price reaction. Instead of guessing the future, make your moves based on price change in relation to a growth target.

By targeting three percent quarterly growth and adjusting allocations to meet that goal, you can level the financial playing field and ensure a secure retirement free from the stress of noisy advice that doesn’t work. The plan’s simple technique cuts through the folly of human emotion by automatically buying low and selling high.

Quantitative Equity Portfolio Management

By Ludwig B. Chincarini, Daehwan Kim,

Book cover of Quantitative Equity Portfolio Management: An Active Approach to Portfolio Construction and Management

Ready to roll up your sleeves? This book takes work but is worth the mental energy. It’s a departure from most rules-based material in that it advocates applying objective odds when making subjective judgments. I prefer an all-algorithmic approach, but tip my hat to this hybrid strategy—far preferable to mainstream financial-media dart-tossing. Established patterns exist and are exploitable. Big-picture tactics trump lucky breaks. How much better the world would be if more people understood that bonds are less volatile than stocks. This book confirms that tweaking essential portfolio management factors to eke out a slight advantage runs circles around the casino mindset.


Who am I?

I am the author of The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing and The 3% Signal, among other financial books, and editor of The Kelly Letter. Despite having been ranked by CXO Advisory as one of the best stock-market forecasters, I gave up the practice in favor of price reaction. I realized that nobody knows where stocks are headed, myself included, and set out to find ways to beat the market without forecasting—and succeeded. My readers and I are now much happier and wealthier.


I wrote...

The 3% Signal: The Investing Technique That Will Change Your Life

By Jason Kelly,

Book cover of The 3% Signal: The Investing Technique That Will Change Your Life

What is my book about?

More than half of all stock-market forecasts are wrong, according to a CXO Advisory study. Even when a forecaster claims victory, it’s usually a coin-toss coincidence. What to do? Ignore forecasts in favor of rational price reaction. Instead of guessing the future, make your moves based on price change in relation to a growth target.

By targeting three percent quarterly growth and adjusting allocations to meet that goal, you can level the financial playing field and ensure a secure retirement free from the stress of noisy advice that doesn’t work. The plan’s simple technique cuts through the folly of human emotion by automatically buying low and selling high.

The Elements of Investing

By Burton G. Malkiel, Charles D. Ellis,

Book cover of The Elements of Investing: Easy Lessons for Every Investor

This is a slim, to-the-point, easily understood book based on the same principles as the well-known book on writing, The Elements of Style. With its five chapters, it is the opposite of the highly complex, bewildering, we-know-more-than-you communication put out on a daily basis by the investment industry. Its wisdom is timeless. It’s all that a first-time investor needs to know.


Who am I?

Investing in the share market appears to be a bewildering, constantly shifting, extremely noisy, and busy world – one best left to the experts. Fortunes can be made but, equally, fortunes can be lost – with devastating results for those on the receiving end. And yet there are a few, simple, timeless principles to investing in the market successfully – and, ironically, those principles – known collectively as index or passive investing – will be more successful than all the noisy, busy stuff put out by the industry. In writing our book, this is what we would like as many people as possible to know. It’s not about being smart.  


I wrote...

It's Not about How Smart You Can Be. It's about How Wealthy You Can Be.: Make the Most of the Market

By Mark Varder,

Book cover of It's Not about How Smart You Can Be. It's about How Wealthy You Can Be.: Make the Most of the Market

What is my book about?

This visually entertaining, one-hour read will convince you that low-cost, buy-and-hold index investing is not only the easiest way to participate in the stock market but also the way to make the most of it. 

Global Asset Allocation

By Mebane T. Faber,

Book cover of Global Asset Allocation: A Survey of the World's Top Asset Allocation Strategies

This book traverses the world to find asset allocation best practices, from master investors to lesser-known but equally helpful ones. The main takeaway is confirmation that basic asset classes are all you need, nothing exotic. All of the best systematic portfolios simply rearrange the basic asset classes in slightly different ways. The upshot for you? As long as you confine your portfolio management to these core building blocks, you probably won’t go wrong. It sure beats buying a penny stock everybody’s talking about.


Who am I?

I am the author of The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing and The 3% Signal, among other financial books, and editor of The Kelly Letter. Despite having been ranked by CXO Advisory as one of the best stock-market forecasters, I gave up the practice in favor of price reaction. I realized that nobody knows where stocks are headed, myself included, and set out to find ways to beat the market without forecasting—and succeeded. My readers and I are now much happier and wealthier.


I wrote...

The 3% Signal: The Investing Technique That Will Change Your Life

By Jason Kelly,

Book cover of The 3% Signal: The Investing Technique That Will Change Your Life

What is my book about?

More than half of all stock-market forecasts are wrong, according to a CXO Advisory study. Even when a forecaster claims victory, it’s usually a coin-toss coincidence. What to do? Ignore forecasts in favor of rational price reaction. Instead of guessing the future, make your moves based on price change in relation to a growth target.

By targeting three percent quarterly growth and adjusting allocations to meet that goal, you can level the financial playing field and ensure a secure retirement free from the stress of noisy advice that doesn’t work. The plan’s simple technique cuts through the folly of human emotion by automatically buying low and selling high.

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