Summer is a good time for generating reading lists, so I thought I would make some recommendations. These suggestions aren’t oriented toward surefire money making schemes. Instead, these recommendations are geared toward investing wisdom and money management insights for the long haul.
The classics are always worth reading. Among my favorites are “Manias, Panics and Crashes,” by Charles Kindleberger; “The Intelligent Investor,” by Benjamin Graham; “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator,” by Edwin Lefèvre; and “Where Are the Customers’ Yachts?” by Fred Schwed. A more recent entry is “Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk,” by the late Peter L. Bernstein. It is a delightful exploration into the history of the financial markets and our still evolving knowledge of probability and uncertainty.
When I got my first real job in journalism in the early 1980s, I was hired to cover the financial markets for Business Times, a pioneering cable television business show that aired on ESPN (yes, that ESPN). Since I knew little about the markets I reached out to an economist friend for a suggestion to get up to speed. He recommended “A Random Walk Down Wall Street,” by Burton Malkiel. Now in its 11th edition, Malkiel brings alive the richness of financial history, explores the investment insights generated by Ivory Tower scholars and highlights the wisdom of investing in low-cost broad-based index funds.
Malkiel wrote a short and accessible distillation of his approach to investing and managing money in “The Random Walk Guide to Investing.” I’ve always thought this book should be required reading for young adults with their first 401(k) or 403(b).
Good money management isn’t complicated. University of Chicago social scientist Harold Pollack remarked several years ago that you only needed a 4-by-6 index card to impart the best investment advice. Challenged to make good on his observation, Pollack wrote down his suggestions (which became an internet sensation). Pollack and journalist Helaine Olen combined their talents and wrote “Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to be Complicated.”
Zvi Bodie, a leading finance professor at Boston University and Rachelle Taqqu, a certified financial analyst, wrote “Risk Less and Prosper: Your Guide to Safer Investing.” They take seriously the idea that your savings strategy should be shaped by what it is you want out of life — your goals, your desires, your values, your lifestyle. Happy reading!
Chris Farrell is senior economics contributor, “Marketplace,” commentator, Minnesota Public Radio.