The Best Books on Investing (Part 2 — the Armchair Investor)

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A few months ago, I published the first part of this two part series on my favourite books on finance and investing on this website.

But now (and here for your reading pleasure) are another four years of reading and learning summarised for you in a few short paragraphs. I’m ready to unleash another knowledge bomb in short-book-review form.

Full disclosure — I’ve read, or listened to, all of these books. There’s no shilling or plugging friends’ books or the titles that earn me a big fat commission. The point of this post is to point you towards quality information that will transform how you see money and investments.

Why the ‘armchair investor’ in the title? That’s easy. I’m the armchair investor — the committed but happy amateur sitting at home and making investment decisions without money managers or stock brokers to guide me.

It can be a wild ride, but it’s the only way I know.

It’s also how I taught myself ‘money’. Not in online courses or in college but by reading, doing and learning from my mistakes.

But that’s enough about me, let’s hear about some good books that you should now go out and buy.

One Up On Wall Street: How To Use What You Already Know To Make Money In The Market

How’s that for a long title? But the subject matter is anything but boring. Although some of the examples are quite dated (Blockbuster and Radioshack anyone?), this book has a number of techniques you could use to decide which company is a future winner and which is a dud. That’s useful if you’re planning to give them some money.

One of the lessons I like is this — look for investment opportunities in fields that you understand. Do you work in education? Look at which companies are innovating or growing in that space. Involved in engineering? What companies do you notice in your day to day life.

Those are the companies that you should be looking at for possible investments.

I’ve done this investing in IPOs and Startups — looking for brands that I already know about and believe in.

You can buy it on Amazon here.

The Behavioural Investor — Daniel Crosby

Here’s a book that I did buy (in part) because of the cover. But also because of the subject matter.

Here’s the subject: Have you ever wondered how much influence your cognitive biases and preconceptions have on how you invest? If you have, this is the book for you. Crosby looks at investing and investor behaviour through the lens of behavioural psychology.

If you read (or listen to) this book, you’ll come away with a deeper understanding of why you make certain decision and not others. And it might just stop you making a big mistake in the world’s largest casino — the stock market.

The Complete Guide to Property Investing — Rob Dix

If you’ve ever thought about getting into property investing but don’t know where to start, I feel your pain. I’ve been there too and spent a lot of time plotting and scheming about how I could get together enough cash to enter into the property investment market.

But once you’ve gathered that money together, then what?

That’s where Rob Dix’s book The Complete Guide to Property Investing came into its own. It’s filled with great advice to take your from a standing start to owning and managing your own property portfolio.

I was listening to this non stop around the time I made my first property investment and I’d recommend it for anyone thinking about a move into real estate. One caveat is that this is mainly focused on the UK market so the examples are UK based. But a lot of the information would work into other countries and cultures.

I listened to and enjoyed the audio book which you can get for free when you sign up for a trial with Audible. Check it out here.

The Barefoot Investor — Scott Pape

If you like books with cheesy covers (bit of a theme here eh?) then you’re in luck with this beauty: The dog, the farm, the soft focus idyllic family wandering in the background… Thankfully it’s got some really solid advice on personal finance and getting back on your feet financially, based on the author’s lived experience.

One stand out piece of advice is ‘How to get your mojo back’ which involves building up a cash cushion. The self assurance that that brings should put the spring back in your step.

Another standout thing I got from this book was about spending your money on things that matter. And no, I’m not talking about round-the-world travel. I’m talking something closer to home (and more important).

Bedding.

That’s right. Think about it — you spend (or you should spend) at least a third of your life in bed. So why skimp and save on your mattress and bed covers?

After reading this book, I resolved to buy the best mattress and duvet we could afford and I have not regretted it. For. One. Night.

You can learn more about good pillows and your money mojo here.

If you buy one of those super duper memory foam mattresses, you won’t regret it.

How to Speak Money — John Lanchester

As you start to get into armchair investing, you may find your TV remote drifting towards one of the business news services. I like Bloomberg mainly for Taylor Riggs (her journalism, what did you think I meant?).

But as you watch more money TV, and begin to read more widely, you’ll come across words you don’t know the meaning of.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a book that gave you easy, simple and sometimes funny definitions to financial words and jargon.

Well now there is and it’s called How to Speak Money by John Lanchester. While there is some long form text, most of this book is a lexicon of money terms which will help you cut through the insider speak and terminology.

I loved this book so much that I bought the paperback version and the audio version. I regularly refer to the former whenever I need a money reference guide.

The Financial Times Guide to Investing by Glenn Arnold

If you are looking for a comprehensive text book on all things relating to investing theory, practice, history and mechanics, then:

BOY!

Do I have a treat for you.

This weighty (592 pages) tome is an excellent reference guide for the armchair investor. A new copy on Amazon is around £20 (link) but I got my copy in a second hand bookshop for a few quid.

If you’re sad and have time like me, you could read it through from start to finish. But it also works well as a reference guide to dip in and out of whenever you come across something you don’t understand all that well.

I used it when I was looking to invest in my first IPO and also to brush up on what share options are. But it does cover every topic you could imagine on the subject.

Reading Can Save You Money

If you bought and read all of these books would you be a better or worse investor at the end of it?

Would you understand money and the murky world of ‘Wall Street’ better or worse?

The truth is that with a handful of books (many of which you can pick up second hand), you can learn a huge amount.

Knowledge that will save you money in the long run.

None of this is investment advice and you shouldn’t be taking investment advice from a random guy on the internet that sometimes writes about growing vegetables or weight lifting anyway.

Some of the links in this post are referral links and I may earn a small commission if you click on them.