As an entrepreneurial boy who sold newspapers, used golfballs and marked up bottles of Coke, Warren Buffett knew that he wanted to make a lot of money. He rise to the billionaire's club, and onward to one of the wealthiest people in the world, started with his habitual daily reading. Even today he admits that he reads for the majority of the day. Add to the fact that he has an amazing memory, almost photographic, and you have an ever growing force of business that will down into history.
So what books would he tell you to read to set you up for success?
We have the list here.
I had to do some homework on this legend of finance before I could write this. I was struck by three things:
- The man often looks like a mess. From what people say in documentaries, he's always been that way. Outwardly shabby, but mentally chic (or sharp, smart or whatever else you want to say, but I play with words my way, ok :) That goes together with the fact that he is a very down to earth person. Even after he was worth multiple millions, he remained in the same decent house with a study room, no outside office location.
- The man has a terrible diet. Three Cherry Cokes a day, and eats mostly bad veggies like corn and potatoes. It was so bad, that once on an extended business trip to China, all he ate was McDonald's burgers. And he outlived his wife with that diet!
- The man collects information through books and reports at a very impressive rate. He see's job as collecting the right information and then acting if the info calls for action.
I have not had the opportunity to personally read these books yet. I have included book descriptions from Amazon.com to give you an idea of what you will find.
The Intelligent Investorby Benjamin Graham
"This classic text is annotated to update Graham's timeless wisdom for today's market conditions...
The greatest investment advisor of the twentieth century, Benjamin Graham, taught and inspired people worldwide. Graham's philosophy of "value investing" -- which shields investors from substantial error and teaches them to develop long-term strategies -- has made The Intelligent Investor the stock market bible ever since its original publication in 1949.
Over the years, market developments have proven the wisdom of Graham's strategies. While preserving the integrity of Graham's original text, this revised edition includes updated commentary by noted financial journalist Jason Zweig, whose perspective incorporates the realities of today's market, draws parallels between Graham's examples and today's financial headlines, and gives readers a more thorough understanding of how to apply Graham's principles.
Vital and indispensable, this HarperBusiness Essentials edition of The Intelligent Investor is the most important book you will ever read on how to reach your financial goals."
Security Analysisby Benjamin Graham
"A road map for investing that I have now been following for 57 years."
--From the Foreword by Warren E. Buffett
First published in 1934, Security Analysis is one of the most influential financial books ever written. Selling more than one million copies through five editions, it has provided generations of investors with the timeless value investing philosophy and techniques of Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd.
As relevant today as when they first appeared nearly 75 years ago, the teachings of Benjamin Graham, “the father of value investing,” have withstood the test of time across a wide diversity of market conditions, countries, and asset classes.
This new sixth edition, based on the classic 1940 version, is enhanced with 200 additional pages of commentary from some of today’s leading Wall Street money managers. These masters of value investing explain why the principles and techniques of Graham and Dodd are still highly relevant even in today’s vastly different markets. The contributor list includes:
- Seth A. Klarman, president of The Baupost Group, L.L.C. and author of Margin of Safety
- James Grant, founder of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, general partner of Nippon Partners
- Jeffrey M. Laderman, twenty-five year veteran of BusinessWeek
- Roger Lowenstein, author of Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist and When America Aged and Outside Director, Sequoia Fund
- Howard S. Marks, CFA, Chairman and Co-Founder, Oaktree Capital Management L.P.
- J. Ezra Merkin, Managing Partner, Gabriel Capital Group .
- Bruce Berkowitz, Founder, Fairholme Capital Management.
- Glenn H. Greenberg, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Chieftain Capital Management
- Bruce Greenwald, Robert Heilbrunn Professor of Finance and Asset Management, Columbia Business School
- David Abrams, Managing Member, Abrams Capital
Featuring a foreword by Warren E. Buffett (in which he reveals that he has read the 1940 masterwork “at least four times”), this new edition of Security Analysis will reacquaint you with the foundations of value investing—more relevant than ever in the tumultuous 21st century markets.
The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America
By Warren E. Buffet
- By arranging Buffett's lengthy writings thematically, Cunningham's classic clarifies all the principles of Buffett's philosophy of business and investing.
- Cunningham's new book, Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values, takes deep dives with Berkshire executives inside their businesses to glimpse the future by a study of the past.
Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits
by Philip Fisher
Widely respected and admired, Philip Fisher is among the most influential investors of all time. His investment philosophies, introduced almost forty years ago, are not only studied and applied by today's financiers and investors, but are also regarded by many as gospel. This book is invaluable reading and has been since it was first published in 1958. The updated paperback retains the investment wisdom of the original edition and includes the perspectives of the author's son Ken Fisher, an investment guru in his own right in an expanded preface and introduction "I sought out Phil Fisher after reading his Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits...A thorough understanding of the business, obtained by using Phil's techniques...enables one to make intelligent investment commitments." Warren Buffet
Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises
by Tim Geithner
As president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and then as President Barack Obama’s secretary of the Treasury, Timothy F. Geithner helped the United States navigate the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, from boom to bust to rescue to recovery. In a candid, riveting, and historically illuminating memoir, he takes readers behind the scenes of the crisis, explaining the hard choices and politically unpalatable decisions he made to repair a broken financial system and prevent the collapse of the Main Street economy. This is the inside story of how a small group of policy makers—in a thick fog of uncertainty, with unimaginably high stakes—helped avoid a second depression but lost the American people doing it. Stress Test is also a valuable guide to how governments can better manage financial crises, because this one won’t be the last.
Jack: Straight From The Gut
by Jack Welch
They called him Neutron Jack. They called him the world's toughest boss. And then Fortune called him "The Manager of the Century." In his twenty-year career at the helm of General Electric, Jack Welch defied conventional wisdom and turned an aging behemoth of a corporation into a lean, mean engine of growth and corporate innovation. In this remarkable autobiography-a classic business book and runaway New York Times bestseller now updated with a new afterword by the author-Jack Welch takes us on the rough-and-tumble ride that has been his remarkable life. From his working-class childhood to his early days in G.E. Plastics to his life at the top of the world's most successful company, Welch tells his intensely personal story with his well-known fire and candor. And although it chronicles billion-dollar deals and high-stakes corporate standoffs, Jack is ultimately a story about people-from a man who based his career on demanding only the best from others and from himself.
Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street
by John Brooks
What do the $350 million Ford Motor Company disaster known as the Edsel, the fast and incredible rise of Xerox, and the unbelievable scandals at General Electric and Texas Gulf Sulphur have in common? Each is an example of how an iconic company was defined by a particular moment of fame or notoriety; these notable and fascinating accounts are as relevant today to understanding the intricacies of corporate life as they were when the events happened.
Stories about Wall Street are infused with drama and adventure and reveal the machinations and volatile nature of the world of finance. John Brooks’s insightful reportage is so full of personality and critical detail that whether he is looking at the astounding market crash of 1962, the collapse of a well-known brokerage firm, or the bold attempt by American bankers to save the British pound, one gets the sense that history repeats itself.
The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success
by William Thorndike, Jr.
What makes a successful CEO? Most people call to mind a familiar definition: “a seasoned manager with deep industry expertise.” Others might point to the qualities of today’s so-called celebrity CEOs—charisma, virtuoso communication skills, and a confident management style. But what really matters when you run an organization? What is the hallmark of exceptional CEO performance? Quite simply, it is the returns for the shareholders of that company over the long term.
In this refreshing, counterintuitive book, author Will Thorndike brings to bear the analytical wisdom of a successful career in investing, closely evaluating the performance of companies and their leaders. You will meet eight individualistic CEOs whose firms’ average returns outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of twenty—in other words, an investment of $10,000 with each of these CEOs, on average, would have been worth over $1.5 million twenty-five years later. You may not know all their names, but you will recognize their companies: General Cinema, Ralston Purina, The Washington Post Company, Berkshire Hathaway, General Dynamics, Capital Cities Broadcasting, TCI, and Teledyne. In The Outsiders, you’ll learn the traits and methods—striking for their consistency and relentless rationality—that helped these unique leaders achieve such exceptional performance.
Humble, unassuming, and often frugal, these “outsiders” shunned Wall Street and the press, and shied away from the hottest new management trends. Instead, they shared specific traits that put them and the companies they led on winning trajectories: a laser-sharp focus on per share value as opposed to earnings or sales growth; an exceptional talent for allocating capital and human resources; and the belief that cash flow, not reported earnings, determines a company’s long-term value.
Drawing on years of research and experience, Thorndike tells eye-opening stories, extracting lessons and revealing a compelling alternative model for anyone interested in leading a company or investing in one—and reaping extraordinary returns.
The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation
By John C. Bogle
Over the course of his sixty-year career in the mutual fund industry, Vanguard Group founder John C. Bogle has witnessed a massive shift in the culture of the financial sector. The prudent, value-adding culture of long-term investment has been crowded out by an aggressive, value-destroying culture of short-term speculation. Mr. Bogle has not been merely an eye-witness to these changes, but one of the financial sector's most active participants. In The Clash of the Cultures, he urges a return to the common sense principles of long-term investing. Provocative and refreshingly candid, this book discusses Mr. Bogle's views on the changing culture in the mutual fund industry, how speculation has invaded our national retirement system, the failure of our institutional money managers to effectively participate in corporate governance, and the need for a federal standard of fiduciary duty. Mr. Bogle recounts the history of the index mutual fund, how he created it, and how exchange-traded index funds have altered its original concept of long-term investing. He also presents a first-hand history of Wellington Fund, a real-world case study on the success of investment and the failure of speculation. The book concludes with ten simple rules that will help investors meet their financial goals. Here, he presents a common sense strategy that "may not be the best strategy ever devised. But the number of strategies that are worse is infinite." The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation completes the trilogy of best-selling books, beginning with Bogle on Investing: The First 50 Years (2001) and Don't Count on It! (2011)
Have you personally read any of these? Have a favorite story about Warren Buffett to share? Tell us in the comments.
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