Learn how to invest with these investing books for beginners.
When it comes to learning how to invest, the biggest hurdle can be figuring out where to begin. Finances and the stock market can be daunting in their complexity, but investing needn’t be hard or intimidating. In fact, as many of these great investment books will show, simple investing strategies are often better. If you’re ready to start investing and are looking for a guide, here are some of the best investing books for beginners.
“If You Can” by William J. Bernstein
No, this is not a Berenstain Bears picture book, but it’s almost as easy of a read and not much longer. Bernstein’s 16-page investment book for beginners breaks successful, long-term investing into a strategy “a 7-year-old could understand,” according to Bernstein. It’ll also “take you 15 minutes of work per year, outperform 90% of financial professionals in the long run and make you a millionaire over time.” A tall order for a small book, but Bernstein’s pamphlet may just be up for the task. As an added bonus, “If You Can” is available for free in Adobe Acrobat, Mobi and Kindle formats on Bernstein’s website, efficientfrontier.com.
“Broke Millennial Takes on Investing: A Beginner’s Guide to Leveling Up Your Money” by Erin Lowry
This is the second book in the Broke Millennial series, which also includes “Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together” and “Broke Millennial Talks Money: Scripts, Stories, and Advice to Navigate Awkward Financial Conversations.” While “Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together” is a great primer to help you get your ducks in a row before you start investing, “Broke Millennial Takes on Investing” is where Lowry really dives into the biggest challenges faced by millennial investors, such as how to invest when you’re carrying an elephant-sized student loan on your back and where to find investing advice online. Lowry keeps things conversational and steers clear of technical jargon, so it’s easy to follow along and explain what you learned to your friends or partner later, something Lowry would encourage you to do.
“The Simple Path to Wealth” by JL Collins
Beginning investors really need to read this one. What began as a series of letters from the author to his daughter has been transformed into one of the most loving financial guides anyone could read. There’s a reason it has 4.7 stars on Amazon from more than 8,100 reviews. As filmmaker, cartoonist, author and self-described ruffian Malachi Rempen puts it, “In the dark, bewildering, trap-infested jungle of misinformation and opaque riddles that is the world of investment, JL Collins is the fatherly wizard on the side of the path, offering a simple map, warm words of encouragement and the tools to forge your way through with confidence.”
“Smart Women Finish Rich” by David Bach
This book may be written by a man, but it has become one of the most beloved books on investing for women. With over 1 million copies sold since its first publication in 1998, the book was updated and republished in 2018 to meet the needs of 21st-century investors. It’s a great book for women at almost any stage of their investment life. Whether you’re just starting out or at a point when you need to decide if you want to do it yourself or get professional help, through eight actionable steps, you’ll learn how to go bravely forth in creating financial security and the future of your dreams.
“How to Buy Stocks” by Louis Engel
“This timeless classic on investing incorporates everything an investor would need to know to get started,” says Andrew Crowell, vice chairman of wealth management at D.A. Davidson & Co. Engel explains all basic investment types — not just stocks — and provides an overview of the financial markets. The book delves into the inner workings of the capitalist system and how investors can use it to grow their wealth. It’s “an excellent primer for all who want to begin investing or simply want to have a better understanding of how the system works,” Crowell says.
“The Behavioral Investor” by Daniel Crosby
To be a successful investor, you need to master not only investing, but also your emotions, something that’s easier said than done. The good news is there are people like Crosby, a psychologist and behavioral finance expert, who have done the research to understand why our money makes us tick so much. And best of all, Crosby shares his research in his book. “The Behavioral Investor” will walk you through identifying your behavioral blind spots and how to prevent them from derailing your investment goals.
“The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing” by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBoeuf
Bogleheads, not to be confused with bobbleheads, are investors who follow the investing strategy of Vanguard founder and the grandfather of index funds, John C. “Jack” Bogle. The book assumes you have no prior financial knowledge — the authors even advocate ignorance so there won’t be any false beliefs to unlearn — making it one of the best investing books for beginners. It’ll walk you through everything you need to know to put a Boglehead index fund strategy into action yourself. It even comes with a foreword written by the master himself.
“The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns” by John C. Bogle
If you want more than a foreword’s worth of Bogle’s writing, check out “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing.” It delves into Bogle’s low-cost index fund investing strategy and why, when you start investing, an index fund is your best friend. The 10th anniversary updated edition includes tips on how to build an index fund portfolio in the modern market. Most of all, this investing book teaches beginners why simplicity and low cost are more likely to beat complexity. For more of Bogle’s writing, check out “Common Sense on Mutual Funds” and “Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life.”
“The Coffeehouse Investor: How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street, and Get On with Your Life” by Bill Schultheis
As the subtitle suggests, this book on investing is perfect for those who don’t want managing their money to take over their lives. Schultheis, like many others on this list, found that simpler is better when facing investing decisions, and this easy read is here to prove it. Instead of giving ourselves a headache trying to pick the best stocks and beat the market, Schultheis advocates total stock market investing using index funds. Once you’ve finished his book, you’ll advocate for it, too.
“The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham
Graham’s book may very well be the investment book to rule them all. Even Warren Buffett has called it “the best book about investing ever written.” It hasn’t earned its reputation as a sacred text on investing by being a lightweight, however. At 640 pages, it’s the longest book on this list, but don’t let that deter you; it reads closer to Harry Potter than the Bible — if Harry Potter had been written pre-1950, that is. Graham covers how to analyze investments, different investment principles, comparisons of various investment options, and then some. In short, everything a beginning investor needs to know about investing.
Here are the 10 best investing books for beginners:
— “If You Can” by William J. Bernstein
— “Broke Millennial Takes on Investing: A Beginner’s Guide to Leveling Up Your Money” by Erin Lowry
— “The Simple Path to Wealth” by JL Collins
— “Smart Women Finish Rich” by David Bach
— “How to Buy Stocks” by Louis Engel
— “The Behavioral Investor” by Daniel Crosby
— “The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing” by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBoeuf
— “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns” by John C. Bogle
— “The Coffeehouse Investor: How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street, and Get On with Your Life” by Bill Schultheis
— “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham
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Update 06/16/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.