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7 Investment Books Every Advisor Should Read

A financial advisor reading an investment book.

Knowledge is a powerful asset and one that requires ongoing cultivation as an advisor. Devoting time to reading books about investing is one way to expand your expertise so that you can better serve your clients while becoming a savvier investor yourself. With so many books to choose from (and so little time in your busy schedule) it helps to know which ones are most deserving of a spot on your reading list.

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7 Greatest Investment Books of All Time for Financial Advisors

Investment books can cover a lot of ground, with some offering a broad take on how to become a better investor and others diving into a particular niche topic. Reading widely allows you to gain different perspectives on investing, some of which might resonate more than others.

Annotating books as you read can be an effective way to reinforce what you’re learning or give you a starting point for conducting further research. We’ve curated a list of seven impactful investment books for financial advisors, but you can also ask other advisors you know for their recommendations on what to read next.

1. “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham

“The Intelligent Investor” wasn’t written with financial advisors specifically in mind, but it contains some highly prized nuggets of wisdom for those who offer investment advice. Since its publication in 1949, the book has been regarded as a must-read guide to value investing.

Graham distinguishes between the speculator and the investor, arguing that proper planning is critical in creating a line of defense against emotion-driven behavior. The book has been updated several times to reflect the changing market landscape. However, its advice still rings true for investors who are focused on developing long-term strategies to build wealth.

2. “A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing” by Burton G. Malkiel

If you’re looking for a timeless read on portfolio-building, you might want to pick up a copy of “A Random Walk Down Wall Street.” This best-selling book offers a life-cycle guide to investing and financial planning, something you might find valuable as an advisor if you have clients moving through changing life stages.

You’ll also find a narrative history of the markets with an emphasis on how investor behavior drives trends. That’s noteworthy for advisors who are interested in understanding behavioral finance and the connection between emotions and action. The underlying theme of the book emphasizes a slow-and-steady approach to investing and wealth-building in the markets.

3. “The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street” by Justin Fox

In “The Myth of the Rational Market,” author Justin Fox covers the rise and fall of the efficient market theory or hypothesis. The book, which was notably a New York Times bestseller, examines the question of whether the market is rational and how investors came to believe that the markets are always supposed to be “right.”

Fox’s witty take was published on the heels of the 2008-09 financial crisis and touches on some of the behind-the-scenes mechanics behind it. The book remains a highly relevant read for advisors who are interested in diving into how economic theories are created and propagated, and what that means for market behavior.

4. “The Misbehavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Financial Turbulence” by Benoit Mandelbrot

Benoit Mandelbrot is perhaps best known as the inventor of fractal geometry, and he applies that concept to understanding market behavior in “The Misbehavior of Markets.” Specifically, Mandelbrot and his co-author Richard L. Hudson take aim at established ideas of what fuels market movements.

The book challenges accepted theories surrounding volatility and financial systems through a mathematical lens, touching on the most recent financial crisis as an example of when the theories get it wrong. While the book’s ideas are based on the fractal framework, it’s written in a way that’s readable and accessible for both investors and advisors alike.

5. “Stocks for the Long Run: The Definitive Guide to Financial Market Returns & Long-Term Investment Strategies, Sixth Edition” by Jeremy Siegel

“Stocks for the Long Run” is an in-depth guide to stock trading and is one of the most widely read books on the subject. It’s been updated several times to keep up with changing markets and covers everything from value investing to what investors need to know about the impact of black swan events.

Siegel also attempts to answer more existential questions, such as how climate change may impact financial markets on a global level. The advice is both timely and timeless, making it a classic read for understanding where the market has been and behaved in the past, and where it might be going next.

6. “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns (Little Books, Big Profits)” by John C. Bogle

John C. Bogle has a simple strategy for making money in the market: invest in low-cost index funds. In “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing,” he sheds light on why this approach works and how investors can implement it effectively.

The book advocates building a diversified portfolio using index funds while tuning out what’s trending in the markets. It dives into the relationship between market expectations and realities, and how that affects investor returns over the long run. You may want to give it a read if you prefer straightforward advice on building wealth efficiently.

7. “Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings” by Philip A. Fisher

“Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits” includes advice for investors on how to find the hidden opportunities that often go overlooked. Fisher, whose ideas have influenced Warren Buffett, outlines a core set of ideas for achieving long-term success as an investor.

The book encourages investors to ask themselves what others are doing that they are not in order to realize portfolio gains. Originally published in 1958, it’s since been refreshed and updated to reflect the continual evolution of the markets, but its central tenets still ring true for many investors.

Bottom Line

A financial advisor reading a book about investment strategies.

Reading investment books can be well worth your time if it opens your mind to innovative ideas or strategies that you may not have considered previously. The books included here have endured, some of them for decades, though they’re not the only ones you might consider leafing through if you’re ready to boost your investment knowledge.

Tips for Growing Your Advisory Business

  • Creating a digital footprint is essential if you’re hoping to scale and attract new clients. Investors are increasingly relying on internet searches to connect with financial advisors. Using an online lead generation tool can give you an instant visibility boost, which may be helpful if you’re still building out your advisor website or growing your social media following. With SmartAdvisor, you can get leads sent to you and get access to the tools you need to follow up on them quickly.
  • Books aren’t the only way to enhance your knowledge as an advisor. You may consider tuning into financial planning podcasts, reading investment blogs or following popular ‘finfluencers’ on social media. YouTube can also be a great resource for learning, and for connecting with your target audience if you’re creating financial planning content for a channel of your own.

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