FocusInvestor.com: Recommended Reading

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Charlie Munger Book Recommendations

This list includes all of the books that have been recommended by Mr. Charles T. Munger. The books he recommends are ones that will make you think and I'm certainly you'll learn many news ideas while reading books from this list. Please note that this Internet site has a revenue sharing agreement with Amazon.com and thus receives a small commission on most of the books purchased through the links posted below.

Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger
(Edited by Peter D. Kaufman)
480 pages

A Focused Must Read!

This is the book that all of us that us who love the wit and wisdom of Mr. Munger have been waiting for. It's an absolutely first class production that contains biographical information on Mr. Munger and, most importantly, finally allows all of us to read and study Mr. Munger's works in one volume. As an added bonus Chapter 10 includes new material written by Mr. Munger especially for this book. I strongly recommend that you read and study this book!


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
(Robert B. Cialdini)
336 pages
2006 (Revised Edition)
A Focused Must Read!

Kindle Edition

Do you ever wonder why you always seem to be buying products that you don't really want or need? Do you always buy whatever a telemarketer is making a pitch to sell? Do you simply have trouble saying no to salesman? This fantastic book delves into why people continually fall for high pressure sales techniques and how you can avoid falling for them yourself. These lessons can also be applied to investing. For example, when everyone is proclaiming that Internet stocks are the companies to be investing in, you can say no to their sales pitch. You will have a much better understanding of how humans interact and respond to others after reading this book.


A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing
(Lawrence M. Krauss)
230 pages, 2013

Kindle Edition

Mr. Munger recommended this book at the 2013 Daily Journal Corp annual meeting.


The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success
(William Thorndike)
251 pages, 2012

Kindle Edition

Warren mentioned this book in his 2012 Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letter where he stated: "The Outsiders, by William Thorndike, Jr., is an outstanding book about CEOs who excelled at capital allocation. It has an insightful chapter on our director, Tom Murphy, overall the best business manager I've ever met."


The Greatest Trade Ever
(Gregory Zuckerman)
304 pages, 2009

Kindle Edition

The stated at the 2010 Wesco meeting that this book "...was particularly interesting."


The Quants
(Scott Patterson)
352 pages, 2010

Kindle Edition

The bookstore at the 2010 Berkshire Hathaway advised that this book was Charlie's recommendation.


Outliers
(Malcolm Gladwell)
309 pages, 2008

Kindle Edition

Charlie Munger recommended at the 2009 Wesco Annual Meeting.


Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive
(Steve J. Martin )
272 pages, 2009

Kindle Edition

Charlie Munger recommended at the 2008 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.


Einstein: His Life and Universe
(Walter Isaacson)
675 pages, 2008

Kindle Edition

Charlie Munger recommended at the 2007 Wesco Annual Meeting.


Martians of Science
(Istv-¡n Hargittai)
368 pages, 2008

Kindle Edition

Charlie Munger recommended at the 2007 Wesco Annual Meeting.


Seeking Wisdom
(Peter Bevelin)
328 pages, 2007

Charlie Munger recommended at the 2007 Wesco Annual Meeting.


Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story
(Kurt Eichenwald)
768 pages, 2005

Kindle Edition

"... that Enron book is really worth reading because the evil is so extreme. You see people getting sucked in by the evil around them. You just learn so much." Charlie Munger, 2007 Wesco Annual Meeting.


Fortune's Formula
(William Poundstone)
400 pages, 2006

Kindle Edition

Charlie Munger recommended at the 2006 Wesco Annual Meeting.


The Path to Power (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 1)
(Robert Caro)
960 pages

"I loved Caro s book I thought it was very well done. I think reading his biography on LBJ is very important for anyone who wants a view into the human condition. LBJ never told the truth when a lie would be better. This is the way he went through life. He had a high intellect and extraordinary energy and did a lot of good along with the bad. I m not sure he didn t do more good than bad. But I think it s an appalling life to lie as much as LBJ. What I said at Berkshire meeting about the robber barons applies here: When he s talking, he s lying, and when he s quiet, he s stealing. Charlie Munger, 2004 Wesco Annual Meeting.


The Little Book of Common Sense Investing
(John Bogle)
216 pages
2007 John Wiley
A Focused Must Read!

Kindle Edition

"John Bogle is living a useful life, and this book is a useful contribution to his fellow citizens. It is dangerous for investors to believe a bunch of nonsense, and the nonsense destroyers are particularly helpful when, like Bogle, they never tire in their animosity toward folly." Charles T. Munger.


Les Schwab Pride in Performance: Keep It Going
(Les Schwab)

"If you want to read one book, read the autobiography of Les Schwab. He ran tire shops in the Midwest and made a fortune by being shrewd in a tough business by having good systems &He made hundreds of millions selling tires" Charlie Munger, 2004 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.


Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
(Walter Isaacson)
608 pages, 2004, Simon & Schuster

Kindle Edition

"The Isaacson book on Franklin was terrific. He had a terrific subject it s hard to write a bad book on such an interesting subject." Charlie Munger, 2004 Wesco Annual Meeting.


Deep Simplicity: Bringing Order to Chaos and Complexity
(John Gribbin)
304 pages, 2005, Random House

"Not everyone will like Deep Simplicity. It s pretty hard to understand everything, but if you can t understand it, you can always give it to a more intelligent friend." Charlie Munger, 2004 Wesco Annual Meeting.


A Matter of Degrees
(Gino Serge)
304 pages, 2003, Penguin

A Focused Must Read!

"A Matter of Degrees, by physicist named Segre, is a perfectly marvelous book. Not a book you can go through at 90 mph, but if you parse through it slowly, you'll get a lot out of it. You'll get a lot of hours per dollar if you use it right." Charlie Munger, 2003 Wesco Annual Meeting.


Fiasco: The Inside Story of a Wall Street Trader
(Frank Partnoy)
288 pages, 1999

A Focused Must Read!

Mr. Munger mentioned this book in a 2003 USBC speech.


Darwin's Blind Spot: Evolution Beyond Natural Selection
(Frank Ryan)
310 pages, 2002

Mr. Munger recommended (per May 2003 Omaha World Herald article) this book at the 2003 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting.


Ice Age
(John & Mary Gribbin)
Hardcover - 112 pages (2001) Publisher: Allen Lane The Penguin Press

What Mr. Munger had to say about this book at the 2002 Wesco Annual Meeting: "Ice Age is one of the best books I've ever read. I've spent thousands of dollars buying copies for my friends. If you don't like Ice Age, then you have some limitations."


How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It.
(Arthur Herman)
Hardcover: 288 pages (2001)

Kindle Edition

Mr. Munger comments on this book: "I also recommend How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It. It's amazing how one million poor people with a lousy climate and no resources had such a large and constructive influence on the world. I tried to figure it out and couldn't. This professor did that. It's a wonderful book."


Models of My Life
(Herbert A. Simon)
Paperback: 416 pages (1996)
Publisher: MIT Press

Review Pending


Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
(Jared Diamond)
480 pages, 1999

Kindle Edition

Have you ever wondered why certain countries have become cultural centers and military superpowers? Why have several leading civilizations experienced declines when contacted by other civilizations? This book provides an interesting explanation for why the world has developed the way it has. I found it thought provoking and extremely interesting.


Titan : The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
(Ron Chernow)
774 pages, 1999

Kindle Edition

I must confess that I am a hopeless lover of biographies and autobiographies. With that caveat in mind I found this book on the life of Mr. Rockefeller intriguing. The life he lived, the company he created, and his management style are all worth studying. I also found it an interesting case study on monopolies and I found myself contrasting the situations of Standard Oil and Microsoft often.


The Wealth and Poverty of Nations : Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor
(David S. Landes)
658 pages, 1999

Kindle Edition

This important book examines how wealth and culture intertwine over time and the effects both can have on nations. It provides a thoughtful, rational explanation of why various cultures that possess certain advantages never have become world powers. It also examines why certain countries have become so successful and why others have fallen. Everyone should study the reasons why certain countries have been successful and others have not so we can learn from those challenges and not be doomed to repeat the same mistakes.


Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters
(Matt Ridley)
352 pages, (2000) Harpercollins

Mr. Ridley provides us all with an interesting and clear look at what information genetic discoveries are shedding on the makeup of the human body and what implications your genes can have on your health. He spends a portion of every chapter on one of our chromosomes, and describes some useful discoveries and speculations regarding each.


The Language Instinct
(Steven Pinker)
576 pages, 2007

Recommended by Charlie Munger. OID, March 1998.


Getting It Done: How to Lead When You're Not in Charge
(Roger Fisher & Alan Sharp)
219 pages, Harper Business

I think this quote by Mr. Munger speaks for itself: "This book is must reading for those seeking to maximize their contribution to the constructive work of the world." The book provides a nice framework that the reader can apply in their everyday life with a profuse amount of helpful examples. The book attempts to make the reader a part of the solution in problems encountered and not a continuing part of the problem.


Living Within Limits : Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos
(Garrett Hardin)
352 pages, (1995) Oxford University Press

The argument this book advocates is simple: population must stop growing if human society wants to keep increasing its standard of living. Mr. Hardin believes population levels have reached catastrophic proportions and must be curtailed immediately. He proposes many unique solutions though I think the main stream public will find the majority of them to be acceptable solutions.


The Selfish Gene
(Richard Dawkins)
352 pages, 1990
A Focused Must Read!

Kindle Edition

The most innovative book on evolution since Darwin. I was pleasantly surprised by how readable and thought provoking this book is. Mr. Dawkins does a masterful job of explaining complex concepts so that everyone can understand them. The book is centered about the concept that the gene controls its environment so that it can reproduce itself. The book is brilliant and provides the reader with a whole new viewpoint on life and evolution.


Judgment in Managerial Decision Making
(Max Bazerman)
230 pages, 2008

Recommended by Charlie Munger at the 1995 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.


The Blind Watchmaker
(Richard Dawkins)
496 pages, 1996

Recommended by Charlie Munger. OID, August 1996.


The Third Chimpanzee
(Jared Diamond)
416 pages, (Reprint edition) (1993) Harperperennial Library

Review Pending


Three Scientists and their Gods
(Robert Wright)
324 pages, 1988 Times Books
(Out-of-Print)

The author focuses on presenting the viewpoint of digital physicist Edward Fredkin, sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson, and Kenneth Boulding. The author essentially lets the three subjects express their particular theories on three subjects, their concepts of information, purposes, and the 'meaning of life'. The book is sure to make the reader stop and think even if they don't accept the three scientists theories.

Charlie recommended this at the 2001 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.


Master of the Game
(Connie Bruck)
1995 Penguin USA
(Reprint Edition)

"I very much enjoyed Connie Bruck's biography - Master of the Game - about Steve Ross... She is a very insightful writer and its a very interesting story." - Charlie Munger, 1994 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.


Benjamin Franklin
(Carl Van Doren)
845 pages
1991 Penguin USA
(Reprint Edition)

"I'm rereading a book I really like - which is Van Doren's biography of Ben Franklin. I'd almost forgotten how good a book it was." - Charlie Munger, 1994 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.


Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire
(James Wallace and Jim Erickson)
426 pages
1993 Harper Paperbacks
(Reprint Edition)

"I think Bill Gates' biography, is a very useful book. You really get a feeling for what it took to write and sell software in the software revolution." Charlie Munger, 1993 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.


Barbarian's at the Gate
(Bryan Burrough & John Helyar)
592 pages, (Reprint Edition)

Kindle Edition

Recommended by Charlie Munger at the 1992 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.


Den of Thieves
(James Stewart)
587 pages
1992 Touchstone

Recommended by Charlie Munger at the 1992 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.