Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalistby Roger Lowenstein
This is a biography of Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway who’s widely recognized as the greatest investor of our time. One dollar invested with Buffett when he began his career back in 1956 is now worth $47,317—while a $1,000 investment over this same time frame would be worth a mind-boggling $47 million today. He amassed an enormous fortune on this simple premise—if you can’t explain a stock idea to a 6-year-old, move on. The book gives readers an appreciation for Buffett’s investment philosophy and genius and, along the way, provides an up close and personal look at a one-of-a-kind life.
A Random Walk Down Wall Streetby Burton G. Malkiel
Malkiel describes why the stock market is efficient—explaining how all the good or bad news related to a company is reflected in its stock price. So, no one really has a leg up. Anyone can become a good investor by putting his or her mind to it and doing the necessary homework. If you are looking to get a better handle on the basics, A Random Walk provides a terrific foundation.
One Up on Wall Streetby Peter Lynch
Like Buffett, Lynch also follows a simple philosophy—invest in what you know. He looked for everyday products and services used in any economic environment.
Moneyballby Michael Lewis
At first blush, this book appears to be about baseball, but really, it’s about value investing. Moneyball chronicles the career of Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland A’s, who assembled consistently winning teams on a bare-bones budget by looking at stats instead of star power. Value investors analyze companies in much the same way that Beane sought out baseball players, looking for strong fundamentals and returns that can stand the test of time.
The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Usby Christopher Chabris & Daniel Simons
The title of this fascinating and broadly applicable book comes from a famous, provocative experiment Chabris and Simons ran to sharply challenge prevailing notions of human beings' observational abilities. This book studies six everyday illusions that "make us think that our mental abilities and capacities are greater than they actually are" because "we confuse how easily our minds can do something with how well they are doing it". The six everyday illusions The Invisible Gorilla identifies are the illusions of attention, memory, confidence, knowledge, cause and potential. After this quick read, you might find yourself far more comfortable with the limitations you and others have.
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our DecisionsBy Dan Ariely
Contrary to common belief, smart people make irrational decisions every day. Dan Ariely believes such choices follow a foreseeable process and addresses these illogical “hidden forces shaping our decisions” in Predictably Irrational. His witty and original perspective on human’s economic behavior and thinking hammers home real-life examples. For instance, why do we often pay too much when we pay nothing? Why does dealing with cash make us more honest? Why is everything relative—when it shouldn’t be? Ariely’s book alerts people to their irrational tendencies, in hopes of improving their understanding of their own behavior and paving a path for them to make better decisions in the future.
Barron's, December 31, 2011
It's easier to talk contrarian than to be contrarian.
The examples of average investment returns contained in this article are illustrative only and are not indicative of any specific return you may receive from a particular investment.