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Learn to Invest - recommended content
All the personal finance and investing content you need to go from beginner to master
WTM’s regular weekly investment brief along with the Curious Investor will be released on Tuesday 2/16 due to the holiday. In the meantime, check out this list of books and content to aid you in your financial journey!
No one’s financial journey begins in the same place, we’ve put together a list of books, videos, articles and courses that will help you on your financial journey. The categories and content within them are organized in an order to take you from total beginner to sophisticated investor but feel free to jump around depending on where you are in your journey.
Before diving into the world of investing, you’ve got to get your house in order, that starts with your finances.
Rich Dad Poor Dad - Robert Kiyosaki. Your financial journey starts here. RDPD focuses on money myths and the mindset and perspective needed to build wealth and financial freedom.
The Way to Wealth - Benjamin Franklin. Often, people don’t realize how simple financial behaviors can make the difference and that they are not some super secret ideas known only to the insiders. In 52 pages, Benjamin Franklin lays out the principles of personal money management and behaviors that set you on the path to wealth. It’s been around for hundreds of years and ole Ben gives it to you in 52 pages, why wouldn’t you read it?
The Richest Man in Babylon - George S. Clason. An inspiring Babylonian parable on the subject of thrift, financial planning, and personal wealth. A fun and informative story detailing one man’s journey from rags to riches, his thoughts, transactions, and simple concepts that will help set you on the right path. This book provides the foundation for money management.
The Millionaire Next Door - Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. Becoming a millionaire is not a crazy goal for those with inheritances or inside access. There are many millionaires walking in your neighborhood. The Millionaire Next Door provides insight into a study conducted on America’s millionaires, their habits and methods. You’ll find their is no crazy secret to being wealthy, its not about luck but rather living below your means and living for yourself.
Mastering your finances means understanding your taxes. Most people think finances is only managing your spending vs. saving, but the 3rd element is taxes. Understand the basics to maximize your earnings and investment gains.
Income Taxes in 100 Pages or Less - Mike Piper. Regardless of your knowledge of income taxes, this book is an easy place to start whether its a refresh or your first intro to taxes. Big font, good diagrams, and it’s less than 100 pages. You’ll be through it in an hour with an exponentially better understanding of income taxes. Be sure to keep up with changes to our tax system as well (e.g., search 20xx tax changes every year).
Outsmarting the System - Anthony C. Campidonica. Lets take your tax knowledge to the next level. Written by a former IRS Tax Agent, Outsmarting the System will help you assess your own income and financial plans to begin building out your tax strategies. Caveat, this book was published in 2014 and many of the tax figures may have changed. Nonetheless, the ideas are still valid.
Financial Independence, Retire Early (FiRE)
FiRE is a lifestyle movement with the goal of gaining financial independence and retiring early (like…super early 20’s-30’s). There are many variations of FiRE money management practices, and some take on extreme financial behaviors to maximize savings and plan for a work-free life. It’s doable, it’s possible, but it’s not everyone. That being said, everyone should be exposed to the ideas of FiRE in making your financial and life plan.
The Four Hour Work Week - Tim Ferriss. Was this the book that started it all? Quite possibly, while some of the ideas Ferriss used to achieve financial freedom may be outdated, the ideas, strategies and principles are still incredibly relevant. As you think about your finances, you must also think about the type of life you want to live. This book will show you what’s possible, you decide what you want. An absolute must read!
Early Retirement Extreme - Jacob Lund Fisker. Jacob Lund aptly named his book and his financial and lifestyle choices are certainly not for everyone but it will expose you to the thinking behind financial and lifestyle planning to help you craft your own plan. It teaches how a shift in focus from consuming to producing can help people escape the consumer trap. Whether you want to simply manage your finances better, plan for extended travel, a career change, a sabbatical, or retire, expose yourself to the ideas behind the FiRE movement.
Investing for Beginners:
Investing is 80% psychology, mindset, and emotions. These books will help you identify the type of investor you want to be, and understand the behaviors and principles of successful and unsuccessful investors.
A Random Walk Down Wall Street - Burton Malkiel. Next to Graham and Fisher’s books, Malkiel’s book is probably a top 3 recommended book for novice investors. The author will teach you the history of markets, jargon and theory in a rational manner that will give you the tools to begin building your portfolio. A deep dive into investing strategies and common beginners mistakes. A true must-read.
The Intelligent Investor - Benjamin Graham. The very core of value investing. Graham, one of Warren Buffet’s mentors, and known as the father of value investing, may be one of the most influential people in present-day finance. Although a bit outdated, you’ll quickly find every other investing book is pulling from The Intelligent Investor. Consider yourself a graduate of beginner investing when you finish this classic.
Rich Dad Poor Dad’s Guide to Investing - Robert Kiyosaki: This is where you start before you begin investing. 80% of investing is psychology, and 20% picking investments. This book won’t teach you anything about picking stocks or investments but it will get you thinking about the type of investor you want to be. Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing will help you start answering questions about your investment approach (e.g., passive, active, engaged, hybrid) and what kind of risks you are willing to take, and how to create passive income. This is where your investment strategy, approach and plan begin. Once that’s defined, we can talk about investment vehicles.
What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars - Jim Paul and Brendan Moynihan. A WTM favorite - this contrarian investing book is an absolute must read! As you dive into the world of investing, you’ll find that there are 1,000+ ways to make money, even the team at WTM utilizes completely different schools of investing thought. What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars, focuses on the opposite, how investors lose money. While there are a myriad of ways to make money, we all lose money in the same 5 ways.
The Warren Buffet Way - Robert G. Hagstrom. The Warren Buffet Way is a short read that provides clear insight into the principles that guide Warren Buffet and his investment / business strategies. The biography bits may be a bit dull, don’t be afraid to skim this book for the goods. The principles outlined here in and in other Buffet readings are still core to WTMs own methodology. In fact, we regularly use a checklist comprised from principles covered in the Warren Buffet Way.
Economics, Making sense of the world around us:
Understanding the forces that move the markets enables an investor to identify where to focus their investments and identify areas for growth. That starts with economics.
How the Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio. We’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve watched this video. Hands down the best explanation of the modern (macro)economy in a short 30 minutes. The video breaks down economic concepts like credit, deficits and interest rates, allowing viewers to learn the basic driving forces behind the economy, how economic policies work and why economic cycles occur.
The Undercover Economist - Tim Harford. The best book to spike your interest in economics. The author makes economic principles rational, applicable and interesting. A brilliant read for beginners that requires no academic background.
Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy - Thomas Sowell. As the name may imply, this is a handbook for the average person focused on the guiding principles of economic systems. A clear, math-free approach to understanding the underpinnings of an economy.
Economics in One Lesson - Henry Hazlitt. An outstandingly complete summary of the field of economics, in a single lesson. A crash course on the subject, made practical in an entertaining fashion. Great read for those curious about the subject.
A Little History of Economics - Naill Kishtainy. The ultimate economics starter book, it’s a long read but well worth it. Kishtainy walks through the development of economic thought from Aristotle to modern economics while illustrating how each school of thought built on the previous and why. You’ll finish this book understanding what causes poverty, an opinion on government interventionism, and economic crises.
Microeconomics Made Simple: Basic Microeconomic Principles Explained in 100 pages or less - Austin Frakt and Mike Piper. Macroeconomics will help you understand market movements, but microeconomics will enable you to determine whether an individual company will be successful. Microeconomics focuses on the behaviors of individuals and how we make decisions. Complex concepts broken down in a simple and easy 100 pages. Get after it!
Hidden Secrets of Money Episodes 1 - 6 -Mike Maloney. An entertaining walk through the rise and fall of great civilizations with a focus on their economic system and how our current economy is mapping to historical trends. Full discloser, Maloney is a gold/silver trader and will pitch some doomsday scenarios, if you put that aside - there’s a lot to learn about economics in this series.
Intermediate Investing (Business Analysis):
Once you’ve got the fundamentals down, it’s time to become a bit more sophisticated in your investment approach. At the end of the day, picking the right investment or stock is a question of business analysis. These books will provide some frameworks for understanding various business models.
Note: we have intentionally left a number of books off this list because as is the nature of business books they can become outdated. Our general recommendation is to keep up with business books focusing on current and future trends in business models.
Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits - Philip Fisher. If you only ever read two books on investing ever, it’s the Intelligent Investor and Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits. If Graham is the father of value investing, Fisher is the father of growth investing and modern portfolio management. Section 3 on Developing an Investment Philosophy holds eternal value on to how to approach and understand risk-taking. The book is filled with brilliant nuggets of wisdom and advice. Fisher also heavily influenced Warren Buffet who describes himself as 85% Graham 15% Fisher.
Scaling Edges by John Hagel III & John Seely Brown or The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen. These two publications focus on the same analysis, Scaling Edges is more high level (32 pages) while Christensen dives deep with rigorous statistical analysis. The authors focus on how company’s thrive amidst disruptors and continue to innovate. Critical in understanding why certain companies remain successful for the long term.
Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You - Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall Alystyne, and Sangeet Choudary. Network effects have become table stakes for many of today’s business models. Platform Revolution is your guide to understanding networked markets and how to evaluate businesses utilizing this model (e.g., Uber, Amazon, Airbnb, Apple, PayPal, Facebook)
Unbundling the Corporation - John Hagel III. This short HBR read by Hagel heavily influenced WTM’s investment thesis. Hagel provides a top of the funnel framework for evaluating business models and understanding their economics, and success drivers. A must read.
Approaching Disruption - John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, and WTM’s own, Max Gerekht: A detailed analysis of businesses that have stood the test of time throughout an ever changing landscape. This report highlights the approach a business must take to survive and thrive amongst disruptors. As an investor, this research provides a method to evaluate how incumbents will handle technological, regulatory, and economical changes and whether disruptors will be successful.
Warren Buffett and the Interpretation of Financial Statements - Mary Buffett & David Clark. A simple guide to reading and understanding financial statements. Well-written and newcomer-friendly, a great starting point for people venturing into understanding companies and discovering what gives a company a strong fundamental, competitive advantage.
Valuation 101: A highly informative series on valuation techniques
Advanced Investing Strategies:
The books in this section go beyond simply picking stocks and good businesses. These books utilize riskier investing strategies (e.g., margin trading, options, and financial engineering scenarios). These are not recommended for the average investor or the passive investor.
You Can be a Stock Market Genius: Uncover the Secret Hiding Places of Stock Market Profits - Joel Greenblatt. A deep dive on how to capitalize on financial engineering in the marketplace. Greenblatt shows you how to evaluate and profit on spin-offs, restructurings, merger securities, rights offerings, recapitalizations, bankruptcies, and risk arbitrage.
One Up on Wall Street - Peter Lynch. An investment classic. One Up on Wall Street provides a blueprint for investors to understand the complexities behind investment management decisions
Superstocks - Kenneth Fisher. A brilliant walkthrough of how to identify high potential growth stocks. This is as close as it comes to a guideline on how to get rich fast in the stock market without getting lucky. The best no-bullshit book on finance. Hands down, one of our favorite trading books.
100 Baggers - Chris Mayer. More of a mindset book than anything else. It helps readers understand the rationale behind exceptional stock-picking and is clear (albeit sometimes repetitive) about exemplifying what he is looking for and what he learnt along the way. Similar in nature to Fisher’s Superstocks but with more focus on what makes a company great.
Technical Trading / Day & Swing Trading:
Buying and holding just isn’t satisfying you is it? You’re not alone, whether you’re looking to better time long term entries, day trade, swing trade (~3 month plays), or anything in between the content below will help get you set up with everything you need to know to start charting and trading.
Phil Akone Course 1 - Part 1: How to customize and set up BitFinex - Crypto markets don’t close like equity markets which make them an incredible learning ground for technical analysis. Trends play out faster, enabling traders to test their analysis in shorter cycles. Phil Akone is a day trader with loads of free & paid material often streaming his own analysis and trades live. This is the first course of a 24 part tutorial that was removed to be sold.
Phil Akone’s Deleted 24 Part Trading Tutorial: Akone’s 24 part trading tutorial will arm you with everything you need to know to start day trading with over 35 hours of content (throw it on 1.5-2x)
Phil Akone YouTube Channel: Akone’s YouTube channel often offers live streams and recorded trading strategies for free.
Elliot Wave Principle: Key to Market Behavior - Robert R. Prechter Jr. and AJ Frost. A comprehensive guide to understanding and applying Wave Principle. Used by many traders to identify trading cycles. Considered an advanced trading indicator.
These books do not focus directly on investment tips or financial education but there is a lot to be learned from understanding some of the greats and it can be fun to explore the stories of Wall Street and investing.
Buffet: The Making of an American Capitalist - Roger Lowenstein. Warren Buffet is a walking contradiction to everything Wall Street preaches. This is the inside account of his life, investments, deals, and relationships. A book that will help you filter through the noise of Wall Street and Instagram day traders trying to rile you up with FOMO.
Predator’s Ball - Bruck. For those into financial literature, if you can call it that, this book may not be the best written one, but it sure is entertaining. Bruck narrates the history of junk bonds and the boom in LBOs in the 80s.
Barbarians at the Gate - Helyar. A classic in financial literature. In line with Predator’s Ball, this book focuses on the LBO of RJR Nabisco. This book, recommended to me by various MDs at investment banks, has been made into a movie by HBO. Definitely a good read for those getting into finance.
Liar’s Poker - Lewis. This is probably one of the funniest books written about the intricacies of the financial world. Lewis provides an insider look into Salomon Brother’s during the late 80s. Lewis is also author of The Big Short. Although it may be a bit outdated now with the likes of Wolf of Wall Street out, it was a true gem back in the day.
When Genius Failed - Lowenstein. A subtle reminder to always be mindful of risk and groupthink. The rise and fall of hedge funds. Quite a fun read in the context of the recent Reddit short squeeze crusade.