Financial advisors and money professionals can choose from a range of books to supercharge their professional development, advice-giving strategies and money-management skills.
Many workers in finance know how deep the rabbit hole of information goes. There seems to be an endless depth to the well of knowledge available to financial professionals. Sometimes, you know what you’re after when you dip your bucket into its pools. At other times, it’s nice to have a recommendation to guide you.
This list highlights 15 great finance books. It includes behavioral finance books and tomes on understanding how money really works. It lists books by investors and by financial advisors.
This list of the best books for financial advisors won’t let you go thirsty for knowledge.
“The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve” by G. Edward Griffin
While the title may sound better suited to a Halloween reading list than a list of the best finance books, make no mistake, this “creature” is one financial professionals should know about. Anyone who deals in finance had better understand money and the Federal Reserve. And no one explains it better — or more engagingly — than Griffin does.
It’s written like a detective story, and Griffin pulls back the curtain to reveal “the magician’s secrets” that “create the grand illusion called money.”
“An Economist Walks Into a Brothel: And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk” by Allison Schrager
It’s hard to resist a book with a title like the start of a bad joke, which is good because Schrager’s book should not be resisted. It should be devoured. At only 240 pages, it won’t take long to do. In fact, you might wish it took a little longer.
An economist and award-winning journalist who has devoted her career to studying how people manage risk in all areas of their lives, Schrager is uniquely suited to help readers do the same.
As financial advisors know, risk cannot be avoided. Instead, the question is how to measure risk to maximize your chance of getting what you’re after. In her book, Schrager teaches the five principles of dealing with risk. They may just change how you look at investment risk going forward.
“Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness” by Richard H. Thaler
Written by the recipient of a Nobel Prize in economics, “Nudge” is a must-read for financial professionals, says Pete Clemson, senior vice president of digital solutions at Advisor Group.
“While not specifically about finance, it talks about how to change behaviors to be financially successful,” he says. “It’s even kind of humorous.”
“Nudge” looks at how we make choices, which we often do poorly, in life and finance. And it explores how to make better decisions. What’s more, if you know how people think, you can help “nudge” them to make better choices, a superpower many financial professionals would be glad to have.
“The Quants” by Scott Patterson
In his New York Times’ bestseller, financial journalist Scott Patterson takes readers into the world of the quants, who are “technocrats who make billions not with gut calls or fundamental analysis but with formulas and high-speed computers.” Patterson takes readers inside the heads of these math whizzes without forgetting that his readers may not live and breathe formulas.
“This rollicking romp through the history of quantitative finance traces the decadeslong development of quant models along with the colorful characters who developed them,” says Steve Sanduski, a certified financial planner and co-founder of ROL Advisor. “(It’s) a great primer on how quants dominate the market, written in a highly engaging narrative that is hard to put down.”
“The Score Takes Care of Itself” by Bill Walsh
Not all financial books have to be boring — or directly related to personal money management. Take “The Score Takes Care of Itself” by Bill Walsh, for instance. While it’s technically a football book, there’s plenty in it for financial advisors to learn, Sanduski says.
In the book, Hall of Fame football coach Walsh shares his philosophy of leadership and the 17 values and beliefs that guided how he turned the San Francisco 49ers from one of the all-time worst professional sports teams into three-time Super Bowl champions during his 10 years as head coach, Sanduski says.
“(Walsh’s) attention to detail, systems and process is exactly what top advisors need to do when scaling a world-class organization,” he says.
“Advice That Sticks: How to Give Financial Advice That People Will Follow” by Moira Somers
Giving advice is easy, but getting your clients to follow your advice is less simple.
Financial psychologist and executive coach Somers knows how frustrating financial nonadherence can be. She also knows, from her clinical and consulting experience and research into positive psychology, behavioral economics and neuroscience, how to increase the chances that it won’t happen to you and your clients.
Her book looks at the five main factors that contribute to whether a client will follow through with your advice. It’s a thought-provoking, practical and sometimes humorous resource for any advice-giver.
“Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts” by Annie Duke
Whether it’s working for you or against you, luck plays a role in every situation, according to former World Series of Poker champion Annie Duke. The trick is to let go of your need for certainty and instead focus on assessing what you know and what you don’t, so you can embrace uncertainty to become a better decision-maker.
“The Alchemy of Finance” by George Soros
Soros is often hailed as one of the most profitable money managers in the world. In his book, he shares the strategies that earned him the title.
A philosopher at heart, Soros has treated the financial markets as his laboratory to astounding success. If you turn the last page of this great finance book holding the same perspective on financial markets you had upon opening the front cover, you probably read it wrong.
“No Longer Awkward: Communicating With Clients Through the Toughest Times of Life” by Amy Florian
At its heart, financial planning isn’t about money; it’s about people. “No matter how skilled you are at managing money, you might have to help a client when they are dealing with grief,” says Misty Lynch, a certified financial planner and director of financial planning at Beck Bode in Boston. “Avoiding feelings is a mistake a lot of advisors make because it makes them feel uncomfortable.” But advisors can be a huge help to clients during emotional transitions.
Florian’s book will teach you how. “(It) gives practical tips on how to quit saying, ‘I’m sorry’ or go-to phrases and have a real, meaningful conversation about what your client is going through,” Lynch says. “And if you can ever hear (Florian) speak, do yourself a favor and sign up. She is brilliant.”
“Creating Money: Attracting Abundance” by Sanaya Roman
Roman’s book may lean more toward the spiritual side of money mindsets, but its potential impact can’t be overlooked. While unconventional compared to most finance books, it was incredibly helpful when Lynch started to examine her own thoughts about money, she says.
It’s broken into four parts, starting with a section that helps you think about how your thoughts and energy attract what you want. “This may sound a little woo for an investment advisor,” Lynch says, “but our thoughts drive our actions and our results.”
The second part discusses the limiting beliefs you may harbor and how you can move past them. “So much of what we think about money was handed down to us and never questioned,” Lynch says. “Even professionals have thoughts about money that can hold us back.”
Next, the book takes readers through a section where you define what you love to do and how you can align it with the ways you make money. “There are plenty of people in jobs they don’t even like for many reasons, and this chapter is a guide to get everyone thinking bigger,” Lynch says.
The final chapter focuses on having money, which may sound easy , but if your “normal” state is being broke, your brain may guide you in a self-fulfilling broke prophecy.
“Overall, this book is fantastic for anyone who is willing to do some mindset work and feel better about money,” Lynch says.
“The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor” by Howard Marks
In the words of Marks, “You can’t predict. You can prepare.” After decades as a professional investor, Marks compiled excerpts from memos he sent to his clients to create “The Most Important Thing.”
In it, Marks “explains his rules-based process, investment philosophy and thoughts on risk in a truly remarkable and effective manner,” says B. Brandon Mackie, a certified financial planner and managing associate at Felton & Peel Wealth Management in Georgia and New York. The result is not an investing manual or how-to book. It’s one man’s philosophy and words of wisdom from a lifetime of experience.
“It reads more like a novel than a finance book, and you’re learning from a professional — an expert that manages over $100 billion in assets and has been a professional investor for 50 years,” Mackie says. “Passing on the chance to absorb that wisdom is a mistake in any market.”
“The Behavioral Investor” by Daniel Crosby
Psychologist and behavioral finance expert Crosby is the man you want guiding you through investors’ heads. Trained as a clinical psychologist, Crosby has applied his behavioral insights to his work as an asset manager and bestselling author.
In “The Behavioral Investor,” Crosby “delivers what is arguably the most comprehensive guide to the psychology of asset management to date,” says Joy Lere, a psychologist and consultant specializing in behavioral finance. “Crosby educates readers about the ways in which an investor’s social milieu, psychology and neurobiology combine forces to impact behavior and decision-making.”
Advisors who want to create and maintain a competitive edge by integrating behavioral finance in their practices shouldn’t be without this book, she says. You’ll get that inside edge you need through Crosby’s practical, actionable strategies for successful wealth management.
“The modern-day investor’s portfolio is incomplete without a copy of this book,” Lere says.
“The Psychology of Money” by Morgan Housel
Housel’s book takes a narrative approach to revealing human relationships with money. Through 19 short stories, Housel brings to life the complex psychology of money.
The book covers the same personal finance concepts you’ve probably learned before, but Housel reframes them in a way that makes you rethink your unique relationship with money, says Travis Briggs, CEO of Robo Global U.S.
“The lessons in this book are life-altering,” and the “narrative captures the reality that it takes more than numbers to compute the complex calculus that is financial psychology,” Lere says. It reveals the “timeless truths about the human experience of money.”
“Women of The Street: Why Female Money Managers Generate Higher Returns (and How You Can Too)” by Meredith Jones
“If you want to have a fighting chance of winning the Wall Street World Series, then it will behoove you to throw like a girl,” Lere says. “While the finance industry remains a field dominated by male players, Jones hits it out of the park with this valuable playbook.”
Drawing from behavioral and biological investment research and interviews from top female money managers, her book shows why women make better investors.
“She helps readers understand the ways in which females in finance have a tendency to show up on the field in unique ways cognitively and behaviorally that ultimately yield a powerful edge and create outsized investment returns.”
“Security Analysis” by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd
Most financial advisors know about “The Intelligent Investor,” but how many have unearthed the great finance book that is “Security Analysis”?
First published in 1934, it laid the foundation of value investing before value investing was a thing. The latest edition includes 200 pages of commentary by leading Wall Street money managers, so you get to hear not only from “the Father of Value Investing” himself, but from modern practitioners of his philosophies as well.
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