FocusInvestor.com: Recommended Reading

Quick links to the book recommendation sections:
Classic Investment Books
Charlie Munger Book Recommendations
Books & Videos about Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway
Modern Investment Books

Warren Buffett Book Recommendations
This list includes all the books that I know Mr. Buffett has recommended. A careful examination of these books will certainly help you achieve your goal of becoming a better investor. Please note that this Internet site has a revenue sharing agreement with Amazon.com and thus receives a small commission on the majority of books purchased through the links posted below.

The Intelligent Investor
(Benjamin Graham)
340 pages, 1974 Harper & Row
A Focused Must Read!

Kindle Edition

Mr. Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway has called The Intelligent Investor "By far the best book on investing ever written." Mr. Graham wrote this book to be more comprehensible to the average investor than Security Analysis. I consider this book to be a required read for anyone interested in investing, it provides a great framework for thinking about investing. Special attention should be paid to Chapter 8 (The Investor and Market Fluctuations) and Chapter 20 ("Margin of Safety" as the Central Concept of Investments). A through understanding of these two chapters is vital to successful investing. I would also strongly recommend reading Appendix 1: The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville, this essay proves how successful the approach taught by Mr. Graham can be in practice.



Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger, Expanded Third Edition
(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!


Damn Right: Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger


(Janet Lowe)
294 pages
2000 John Wiley
A Focused Must Read!

Kindle Edition

Mr. Charlie Munger, Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, is the partner/sidekick of Mr. Warren Buffett and is considered the man behind the scenes at Berkshire Hathaway. Charlie is a very entertaining guy, and this book shows why Warren Buffett calls him "one of a kind." Janet Lowe provides readers with an in-depth look at the full and interesting life of Mr. Munger. Many useful lessons on life and investing can be uncovered by a thorough reading of this excellent book.

The book also includes two excellent speeches by Mr. Munger in the appendix: Multidisciplinary Skills: Educational Implications and Practical Thought about Practical Thought?


Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012
(Carol Loomis)
368 pages, 2012

Kindle Edition

Warren mentioned this book in his 2012 Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letter and in a series of television interviews in 2012.


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."  I also thoroughly enjoyed the book and you can see my review of the book in the Blog section of this site.


The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation
(Jack Bogle)
384 pages, 2012

Kindle Edition

Warren mentioned this book in his 2012 Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letter."


Investing Between the Lines: How to Make Smarter Decisions by Decoding CEO Communications
(L.J. Rittenhouse)
291 pages, 2013

Kindle Edition

Warren mentioned this book in his 2012 Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letter and also provided the following blurb for the front cover of the book: "Rittenhouse is still on the side of the angels."


How to Really Ruin Your Financial Life and Portfolio
(Ben Stein)
138 pages, 2012

Kindle Edition

"A wise man once said, 'All I want to know is where I'm going to die so I'll never go there.' Ben Stein has applied this instruction to the investment world with his special brand of humor and insights. Pay attention!" Warren Buffett.


A Few Lessons for Investors and Managers From Warren Buffett
(Peter Bevelin)
2012

"I think you'll also like a short book that Peter Bevelin has put together explaining Berkshire's investment and operating principles. It sums up what Charlie and I have been saying over the years in annual reports and at annual meetings." Warren Buffett, 2011 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Letter.


Giving it all Away: The Doris Buffett Story
(Michael Zitz)
224 pages, 2010

Kindle Edition

A 2010 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting Recommendation.


Life is What You Make It
(Peter Buffett)
272 pages, 2010

Kindle Edition

A 2010 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting Recommendation.


FRAGILE: The Human Condition
(Howard Buffett)
320 pages, 2009

A 2010 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting Recommendation.


Showing Up for Life
(William H. Gates)
208 pages, 2010

Kindle Edition

"Bill Senior is as wise as his son is brilliant. I' ve learned a lot from both of them and believe everyone can benefit from the insights Bill Senior shares in this book." Warren Buffett


The Essays of Warren Buffett (2013 Edition)
(Lawrence A. Cunningham)
320 pages, 2013, 3rd Edition
A Focused Must Read!

Kindle Edition

This book is a great, well organized compilation of Mr. Buffett's famous "Letters to Shareholders" which appear in the annual reports of Berkshire Hathaway. It has been recently updated to include the letters to shareholders written since the book was first released in 1996, a new introduction has been written, and a new, tougher, blue cover has been added.

Mr. Buffett advised shareholders at the 1999 & 2000 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting if he had to pick a single book describing his methods, this would be the one. It is a great tool to use when trying to compile Mr. Buffett's comments on a particular subject since it is organized by subjects he has discussed in his letters over the years. Trying to find all of his comments on a particular subject throughout the annual reports is a time consuming task when you have to look through many years of annual reports. Mr. Cunningham has made this task much simpler with this book.


Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits
(Philip Fisher)

256 pages, 1958 Harper
A Focused Must Read!

This book is an investment classic because it's one of two books Mr. Buffett credited with helping in framing his investment thinking. Mr. Buffett once said that he was "15 percent (Philip) Fisher and 85 percent Benjamin Graham.". The key concepts of this book is Mr. Fisher explaining why investors should concentrate their investments and why they should hold their positions for the long term. Fisher's thorough examination of the fifteen qualities of an excellent business is just one reason to purchase this superb work.


Paths to Wealth Through Common Stocks
(Philip Fisher)


213 pages, 2007 Reprint
A Focused Must Read!

Kindle Edition

"I'd also recommend the first two books that Phil Fisher wrote back around 1960 - Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and his second one - Paths to Wealth Through Common Stocks. Those are very good books." Warren Buffett at the 1996 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting (p. 39, August 6, 1996, OID)


 

Supermoney
(Adam Smith)

298 pages, 2006 Wiley

Kindle Edition

"In this book, Adam Smith says I like baseball metaphors. He's right. So I will just describe this book as the equivalent of the performance of Don Larsen on October 8, 1956. For the uninitiated, that was the day he pitched the only perfect game in World Series history." Warren Buffett

 


 

The Ten Commandments for Business Success
(Donald Keough)

190 pages, 2008

Kindle Edition

"He is on my board at Berkshire Hathaway because he is one of the very few guys I feel I can hand the keys over to." Warren Buffett from the foreword he wrote for the book.

 


Speculative Contagion
(Frank Martin)
316 pages, 2005

"For many years I've enjoyed reading Frank Martin's letters. This collection contains much investment wisdom and, just as important, sets a standard for the advisor-client relationship." Warren Buffett


The Smartest Guys in the Room
(Bethany McLean)
464 pages, 2004

A 2004 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting Recommendation.


Nuclear Terrorism
(Graham T. Allison)
288 pages, 2005

Kindle Edition

A 2005 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting Recommendation.


In an Uncertain World
(Robert Rubin)
448 pages, 2004

Kindle Edition

"As Secretary of the Treasury, Bob Rubin ranked with the best. This drama-packed account of his years on the job should be read by all who are interested in what happens when politics and economics intersect." Warren Buffett

A 2004 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting Recommendation.


Bull!: A History of the Boom and Bust
(Maggie Mahar)
528 pages, 2004

Kindle Edition

"Well-reported and well-written, Bull! is a book that investors can learn much from." Warren Buffett. A 2004 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting Recommendation.


The Money Masters
(John Train)
301 pages
1980 Harper & Row

"...I think John Train's The Money Masters is an interesting book." 1996 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting (p. 38, August 8, 1996 OID)


The Warren Buffett CEO
(Robert P. Miles)
308 pages
2001 John Wiley & Sons
A Focused Must Read!

Kindle Edition

I have always had a strong passion for reading biographies. I think what attracts me to them is the lessons that the reader can take away and apply to their own lives.

I found the book to be an extremely enjoyable read. It provides a richness of detail and previously unavailable insight on the mangers that make the subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway such a remarkable group of exceptional performers. It was also refreshing to see Mr. Buffett receive credit for being the outstanding manager he truly is. Almost all of the attention he receives focuses on his investment prowess and disregards completely his abilities as a manager. As this book will show you he is simply a tremendous manager who is able to inspire his mangers to continue working to produce results that will make him, and Berkshire shareholders, proud. He is able to achieve this even when the majority of the managers certainly no longer have a financial need to continue working.

Mr. Miles has provided us all with an excellent tool that provides many insights into what it takes to be a good manager, the dedication and drive it takes to succeed, and what to focus on when trying to create, and grow, an enduring customer centered business.

Here is a link to a Q&A session with Mr. Miles on the Motley Fool site.


Common Sense on Mutual Funds: Updated 10th Anniversary Edition
(John Bogle)
622 pages
2009 John Wiley
A Focused Must Read!

Kindle Edition

"Cogent, honest and hard-hitting -- a must read for every investor." is what Mr. Warren Buffett has to say about this book.

It provides us all with a great look at how expensive most mutual funds really are. It also makes us take a long, hard look at mutual fund performance and how expenses can dramatically alter their performance. Mr. Bogle makes a persuasive argument on why the majority of investors would be better off investing solely in index funds.


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

Kindle Edition

"A low-cost index fund is the most sensible equity investment for the great majority of investors. My Mentor, Ben Graham, took this position many years ago, and everything I have seen since convinces me of its truth. In this book, Jack Bogle tells you why." Warren Buffett.

 


Memos From The Chairman
(Alan C. Greenberg)
156 pages, 1996

Kindle Edition

Mr. Greenberg's wisdom is revealed in this humorous look at how to manage a business to which Mr. Buffett wrote the foreword to this book. In the foreword he says, "Haimchinkel (His designated Oracle on earth is Ace) is my kind of guy-cheap, smart, opinionated.... I now slavishly follow and preach his principles". I must confess that I want to be defined as a PSD (Poor, Smart with a Deep Desire to Become Rich).


Only the Paranoid Survive
(Andrew Grove)
560 pages, 2004

Kindle Edition

Mr. Buffett recommended this book in the August 8, 1997 edition of OID (Outstanding Investor Digest).


Take on the Street
(Arthur Levitt)
560 pages, 2004

Kindle Edition

"..The details of this sordid affair are related in Levitt's excellent book, Take on the Street." Warren Buffett quote from the 2002 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report.


A Short History of Nearly Everything
(Bill Bryson)
560 pages, 2004

Kindle Edition

A 2004 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting Recommendation.


Sam Walton: Made in America
(Sam Walton)
156 pages, 1996

"It's a story about entrepreneurship, and risk, and hard work, and knowing where you want to go and being willing to do what it takes to get there. And it's a story about believing in your idea even when maybe some other folks don't, and about sticking to your guns."
Sam Walton.

Mr. Buffett has recommended this book at a student Q & A session he hosted according to a Bloomberg News article, dated April 03, 2003.


Personal History
(Katherine Graham)
688 pages, 1998 Reprint

Mr. Buffett has recommended this book numerous times at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.


Value Investing Made Easy
(Janet Lowe)
224 pages, 1997

"One of the luckiest events in my life was when I met Ben Graham.. and anyone with an interest in investments will relish this book." Warren Buffett (quote on the front cover of one of the editions)


Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond
Bruce C. N. Greenwald
Judd Kahn
Paul D. Sonkin
Michael van Biema
320 pages, 2004

Kindle Edition

Inside Flap Copy:


"Described by the New York Times as the "guru to Wall Street s gurus," Bruce Greenwald is a leading authority on value investing. His courses and seminars on the subject have drawn some of the savviest people in the investment world. Now, along with some colleagues, Greenwald reveals the fundamental principles that have made value investing one of the most consistently profitable investment techniques."


"In an investment world frequently blinded by excessive optimism, short-term speculation, and other practices ranging from unsound to downright shady, value investing remains a reliable discipline even as it moves into a new century. Built on the works of Benjamin Graham, the father of security analysis, value investing is based on the premise that the underlying value of a financial security is measurable and stable, even though the market price fluctuates widely. The core of value investing is to buy securities when their market prices are significantly below their intrinsic values. Graham called the gap between price and value the "margin of safety." A large margin of safety both increases the potential return and reduces the risk of loss."


"In Value Investing, the authors enrich the discipline by exploring its history, explaining its underlying principles, and setting guidelines for its successful application. The book covers such indispensable issues as:

1. Where to look for underpriced securities

2. How to determine the intrinsic value of a stock


3. Alternative methods for constructing a portfolio that control risk without restricting investment returns


"After discussing the basis of value investing, the book describes the proven techniques of some of the greatest value investors in history, including Warren Buffett, Walter Schloss, Mario Gabelli, and Michael Price."


"By adapting Graham s strategies to accommodate new investment climates, each has contributed a distinctive thread to make the discipline of value investing stronger and more flexible. "


Quality Financial Reporting
(Paul B. W. Miller, Paul R. Bahnson)
304 pages, 2002

Kindle Edition

I believe all of us would agree that GAAP in its current form has many problems accurately reporting the truth regarding a company's financial picture to the users of financial statements. An excellent book entitled "Quality Financial Reporting" should be required reading for all focus investors as it provides an impressive overview of what is wrong with GAAP, why FASB has been unable to function properly, and suggests possible solutions.

The authors are straight shooters and as such I think they will find no friends among the accounting "establishment" but they certainly point out the flaws in GAAP thereby helping focus investors better understand the financial statements they are examining.


"Accounting is the language of business. This book is a step toward restoring its usefulness. " Warren Buffett


The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
(John Maynard Keynes)
336 pages, 2009 Reprint

A Focused Must Read!

Kindle Edition

Mr. Buffett recommended reading Chapter 12 of this book at the 1994 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting and I certainly concur! (June 23, 1994, OID)


The People Versus Clarence Darrow
(Geoffrey Cowan)
Times Books
Reprint edition

"It's a fascinating book." - Warren Buffett, 1994 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.