The best stock market books

7 authors have picked their favorite books about stock market and why they recommend each book.

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The 12% Solution

By David Alan Carter,

Book cover of The 12% Solution: Earn a 12% Average Annual Return on your Money

This monthly approach uses three-month momentum to select two funds from a pool of four stock funds and two bond funds. The stock indexes are the S&P 500, S&P MidCap 400, Russell 2000, and Nasdaq, i.e. US large caps, mid caps, small caps, and tech. It’s not a revolutionary idea but provides a good introduction to major asset class switching, which runs circles around pundit guessing games. If you do nothing but swear off gut-guessing in favor of price reaction, you’ll beat almost everybody—including the supposed pros.


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.

Master the Markets

By Tom Williams,

Book cover of Master the Markets

In financial markets, knowing what the large trader is doing is vital. In his book, Tom Williams, who was a syndicated trader, taught us the main signs that allow us to identify the participation of the large traders on the chart, which allows us to make judicious analyses about where the price is most likely to go.


Who am I?

I am Rubén Villahermosa, independent trader and author. My logical and rational mind led me to question the why of market movements, which allowed me to learn the principles of the Wyckoff method. I have deepened in the study of the interaction between supply and demand through high-level Technical Analysis tools such as Wyckoff, VSA, Price Action, Volume Profile, and Order Flow; knowledge that I share through my books from principles of honesty, transparency, and responsibility.


I wrote...

The Wyckoff Methodology in Depth

By Rubén Villahermosa,

Book cover of The Wyckoff Methodology in Depth

What is my book about?

Are you tired of losing money in the stock market? Have you tried countless trading methods and none of them work? Get rid of everything that didn't work for you and learn a professional approach: The Wyckoff Method.

Ruben Villahermosa, Amazon bestseller and independent trader, has refined and improved some of the most powerful concepts of stock market trading and makes them available to you in this book so that you too can benefit.

How Markets Work

By Israel M Kirzner,

Book cover of How Markets Work: Disequilibrium, Entrepreneurship and Discovery

At New York University, I attended the Austrian Colloquium every week. I learned more about economics listening to Dr. Kirzner talk for 5 minutes than I did in any 2-hour class. Austrian economics is about human action – not unlike what you’ll find in The Economic Way of Thinking. The US stock market today seems to be drifting further and further away from Kirzner’s definition of a market: “Disequilibrium prices generate direct disappointment of plans… Such disappointment can be expected to alert entrepreneurs to the true temper of the market” and result in price discovery. Market makers and short sellers disrupt this process by altering the appearance of supply and demand for the shares of companies. This reason alone should call into question the stock exchange as a “marketplace.”


Who am I?

My entire career has been spent in finance. From life insurance to central banks, from stock exchanges to post-trade clearing and settlement, this is all I’ve ever done. My college degrees include BSBA in Business/Marketing, MBA in Management, and PhD in Economics. In addition to knowing what a lot of people know about finance, I also worked inside the “black box” of the Federal Reserve System and depository trust and clearing corporations (in 4 cities, on 2 continents). Therefore, I know more about the plumbing of stock market infrastructure than most people who have careers (and education) as long as mine.


I wrote...

Lessons Not Learned: 10 Steps to Stable Financial Markets

By Susanne Trimbath,

Book cover of Lessons Not Learned: 10 Steps to Stable Financial Markets

What is my book about?

This book shows that the theoretical framework for regulating financial systems available since at least 2001 could have prevented the systemic failure in the United States that led to the collapse of global credit markets in 2008. Step by step the book guides you through what could have been done to prevent the crisis and what investors can do to protect themselves from the next one. It concludes with a key idea for making financial services businesses stand out from the crowd, ensuring future success. For each step, the reader will find: legislative and regulatory background on existing rules; academic research on the theory behind each step; and the facts and data connecting each missing step to the financial crisis of 2008.

100 to 1 in the Stock Market

By Thomas William Phelps,

Book cover of 100 to 1 in the Stock Market: A Distinguished Security Analyst Tells How to Make More of Your Investment Opportunities

The classic from 1972 is the book that inspired me to write 100 Baggers. Phelps studied all the stocks that returned at least 100 to 1 from 1932 to 1971. You’ll learn where to look for 100 to 1 stocks and what key traits to focus on. Phelps writes in a folksy and quotable manner as he expounds on his philosophy of buying right and holding on. He writes, “When I was a boy a carpenter working for my father made this sage observation: ‘A lot of shavings don’t make a good workman.’” Let Phelps show you the power of patient, long-term investing.


Who am I?

I have been investing in markets for nearly 30 years. I remember first being interested in the stock market after the 1987 crash. I read everything I could about Warren Buffett. And went on to study finance in college finishing magna cum laude (and later earned my MBA). I started my professional career as a commercial banker in the early 1990s. Then, I started my own investment newsletter in 2004 and compiled a strong track record over the next 12 years, wrote four books, and traveled all over the world in search of great investment ideas. I’ve appeared as a guest on TV and radio shows, as well as numerous podcasts. In 2019, I co-founded Woodlock House Family Capital where I currently manage a portfolio of global investments.


I wrote...

100 Baggers: Stocks That Return 100-to-1 and How To Find Them

By Christopher W. Mayer,

Book cover of 100 Baggers: Stocks That Return 100-to-1 and How To Find Them

What is my book about?

When I studied 100-baggers of the past, definite patterns emerged. In this book, you will learn the key characteristics of 100-baggers and why anybody can do this. It is truly an everyman's approach. You don't need an MBA or a finance degree. Some basic financial concepts are all you need along with a number of crutches or techniques that can help you get more out of your stocks and investing. The emphasis is always on the practical, so there are many stories and anecdotes to help illustrate important points. You should read this book if you want to get more out of your stocks. Even if you never get a 100-bagger, this book will help you turn up big winners and keep you away from losers and sleepy stocks that go nowhere.

Wiped Out. How I Lost a Fortune in the Stock Market While the Averages Were Making New Highs

By Anonymous,

Book cover of Wiped Out. How I Lost a Fortune in the Stock Market While the Averages Were Making New Highs

This is one of my favorite books because rather than observing the follies of others, this author details his own. Reading it is like watching a tragedy when you already know the well-meaning protagonist is going to die.

The author chose to remain anonymous for obvious reasons: He thought he was a rare fool. But getting wiped out happens all the time, to many people. If you want to experience vicariously a dangerous thrill ride that you may or may not already have taken, this is your ticket. The book is out of print and hard to find.


Who am I?

I have produced twenty books/DVDs and three academic papers on finance and social-mood theory. I also write a monthly publication on markets titled The Elliott Wave Theorist. For a bio, visit robertprechter.com. My recommended titles convey financial markets’ nonrational nature in a visceral way. If you understand that feature, if you feel it, you will have a fighting chance to succeed at investing.


I wrote...

The Socionomic Theory of Finance

By Robert R. Prechter Jr.,

Book cover of The Socionomic Theory of Finance

What is my book about?

This book replaces economic theories of financial market behavior, with their core reliance upon the mechanistic stimulus-and-response model borrowed from physics, and replaces them with the hypothesis that financial markets reflect changes in optimism and pessimism deriving from naturally occurring waves of social mood.

The Economic Way of Thinking

By Paul Heyne, Peter Boettke, David Prychitko

Book cover of The Economic Way of Thinking

This was required reading in my MBA program at Golden Gate University. In fact, the economics teacher, Joe Fuhrig, inspired me to go on for my PhD in Economics at New York University. The book explains how economics isn’t just about mathematical models: it is about how people think and behave. Once you learn to think like an economist, you will find investing (and even grocery shopping!) a completely different experience.


Who am I?

My entire career has been spent in finance. From life insurance to central banks, from stock exchanges to post-trade clearing and settlement, this is all I’ve ever done. My college degrees include BSBA in Business/Marketing, MBA in Management, and PhD in Economics. In addition to knowing what a lot of people know about finance, I also worked inside the “black box” of the Federal Reserve System and depository trust and clearing corporations (in 4 cities, on 2 continents). Therefore, I know more about the plumbing of stock market infrastructure than most people who have careers (and education) as long as mine.


I wrote...

Lessons Not Learned: 10 Steps to Stable Financial Markets

By Susanne Trimbath,

Book cover of Lessons Not Learned: 10 Steps to Stable Financial Markets

What is my book about?

This book shows that the theoretical framework for regulating financial systems available since at least 2001 could have prevented the systemic failure in the United States that led to the collapse of global credit markets in 2008. Step by step the book guides you through what could have been done to prevent the crisis and what investors can do to protect themselves from the next one. It concludes with a key idea for making financial services businesses stand out from the crowd, ensuring future success. For each step, the reader will find: legislative and regulatory background on existing rules; academic research on the theory behind each step; and the facts and data connecting each missing step to the financial crisis of 2008.

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

This is the classic book that tells us we can’t beat the market, and explains why. That hasn’t stopped me from trying, of course (did I mention “human nature” up above?).  Even Malkiel hedged somewhat—look at Warren Buffett, look at a handful of other famed investors who’ve consistently beaten the market—describing himself as “a random walker with a crutch.” I.e., the market is largely efficient, just not entirely so.  


Who am I?

My dad gave me $5 when I turned five, $6 when I turned six... and, well, the rest is history. (Of the most minor sort.) I was treasurer of my high school class each year; treasurer of the Democratic Party for 18; and lucked into launching the first widely used personal finance software at more or less the dawn of personal computers. Money. What can I tell you? I like the stuff.


I wrote...

The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need

By Andrew Tobias,

Book cover of The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need

What is my book about?

“Lives up to its brash title.”Los Angeles Times 

“This is the only investment book I have read that truly made sense.”  — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing

By John C. Bogle,

Book cover of The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns

You probably know that Jack Bogle is the father of the index fund industry and here’s an opportunity to hear why he thinks index funds are the best way to invest in the market. I agree completely and like Bogle, I love to provide evidence that the market is so hard to beat, only a fraction of the active fund and investment managers do it consistently. So why take the chance? Read this and hear it from the master.


Who am I?

I’ve been a professional investment advisor for over 50 years and it took me that long to figure out the best way for individuals to retire with a decent size multi-million dollar fortune. The books I recommend speak to this topic from some fascinating and different points of view. But why did it take so long? I don’t know. I suppose the obvious answers aren’t so obvious at first, especially in a business as complex as the securities industry. But I think I finally figured it out and the solution is so elegantly simple. My professional life’s work!


I wrote...

The Pure Equity Plus Plan: Your Path to a Multi-Million Dollar Retirement

By Peter J. Tanous,

Book cover of The Pure Equity Plus Plan: Your Path to a Multi-Million Dollar Retirement

What is my book about?

After working on Wall Street and in the stock market for over 50 years, I finally found the closest thing to a surefire, history-tested way to retire with a fortune in the stock market. And the formula I explain in the book is blessedly simple! I’m not the only one. Warren Buffett has been advocating a similar approach for even more than 50 years, but is anybody listening? Now is the time!

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator

By Edwin Lefèvre,

Book cover of Reminiscences of a Stock Operator

This is the most famous book on trading, the story of Jesse Livermore. It shows how he watched the patterns on the ticker tape, developed his trading style, and became rich. It is the book that all traders read when they go through a period of uncertainty. It is an uplifting story.


Who am I?

As an aerospace mathematician, I transitioned into the futures markets and became fascinated by the ability to participate in “price discovery,” and to get instant gratification from a good trade. You are not dependent on anyone else. I then decided that the stock market offered another exciting venue. Once you learn to control risk and be patient, success will follow. All that from sitting at my desk.


I wrote...

Learn To Trade: Trade To Win With A Rule-Based Method

By Perry J. Kaufman,

Book cover of Learn To Trade: Trade To Win With A Rule-Based Method

What is my book about?

Learn To Trade will step you through chart reading, moving averages, breakouts, risk control, and portfolios – everything you need to be a successful trader. It will give you rules to follow, rules that make the difference between uncertainty and confidence.

While this book is intended for the serious beginner, all traders will benefit from the review and the added inside by renowned trader and analyst Perry Kaufman.

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.

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