8 Investing Books That Could Change How You Think About Money, Markets

Looking to make sense of markets and money? Trading and investing pros from TD Ameritrade weigh in on their favorite financial books.

https://tickertapecdn.tdameritrade.com/assets/images/pages/md/Two books, cup of coffee, and glasses: Classic investing books to add to your reading list for better trading
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Key Takeaways

  • There are thousands of books out there on trading and investing, so it’s important to narrow the list

  • Books are only one component of financial education—learn how to access alternatives

Media consumption in 2021: There’s nothing quite like it, and every platform has a purpose. Social media keeps you in touch with friends—share a laugh, post a meme, and, if you must, argue about politics. You can even learn how to bake a cake by watching one of those 30-second how-to videos.

But if you want to learn about money and investing, consider kicking back old school and cracking open a book. The problem is, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of investing books to choose from. With help from a few of the trading and investing pros at TD Ameritrade, we’ve narrowed down the list.

We’ll start with JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist. But before we get started, here’s an options trading book by Kinahan himself: Essential Option Strategies. The first 120 pages consist of general market info for anyone new to the market. From that point, it’s all about getting started with options strategies—from the basics on up—in no-nonsense, simple-to-understand language.

Ready for more?

JJ Kinahan, Chief Market Strategist

The Psychology of Money - Morgan Housel

Through the book’s 19 short stories, Housel helps readers understand that money decisions and personal money management aren’t so much about what you know but how you behave.

“I gave the book to my children for Christmas,” said Kinahan.

Connie Hill and Barb Armstrong, Education Coaches

Hill and Armstrong each recommended two books, and they happened to be the same two (brilliant minds?). Together, these two books form the foundation of technical analysis—the mix of art and science that seeks predictive power in prices and chart patterns.

Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets - John J. Murphy

Japanese Candlestick Charting Techniques - Steve Nison

Murphy’s book is seen as a one-stop shop that includes everything a beginning chartist might need to understand about the philosophy of technical analysis, Dow Theory, chart patterns, indicators, volume, and more.

And then there’s Nison’s book, which introduced Western audiences to the ancient art of candlestick charting. Did you know that candlesticks were used in the 1600s and 1700s by Japanese rice traders?

For active investors looking to take charting a step further, the book offers a complete overview of the unique insights that candlestick charts can offer over bar and line charts. Nison lays it all out in rich detail with lots of pictures. Learn and see the impact of doji stars, bullish engulfing candles, hammer bottoms, shooting stars, and dozens more patterns.

Viraj Desai, Senior Manager, Portfolio Construction, TD Ameritrade Investment Management, LLC

Principles - Ray Dalio

This book offers a first-person account from one of the greatest investors and entrepreneurs of our time—Bridgewater Associates’ founder Ray Dalio. He lays out the principles of his investing philosophy that he developed over his 40-year career.

“A great primer to develop the right mindset for creating, socializing, and challenging your ideas—as an investor, manager, and as an individual,” Desai explained.

Ken Rose, Education Coach

Warren Buffett and the Interpretation of Financial Statements - David Clark and Mary Buffett

Buffett, the so-called “Oracle of Omaha,” is regarded as one of the most successful investors of all time, and this easy-to-read book lays out the key metrics he uses to determine value.

“You do NOT need a business background to understand the book. It’s short, sweet, and simple,” said Rose.  

John McNichol, Education Coach

Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk  - Peter L. Bernstein

This 1996 book came out in the midst of another long bull-market stretch—one that culminated in the dot-com bubble that burst a few years later. The overarching message is timeless: Assessment of probability and risk are (or should be) inherent in all decision making. As a Washington Post review said in 1998, “It’s a comprehensive history of man’s efforts to understand risk and probability, from ancient gamblers in Greece to modern chaos theory.”

Pat Mullaly, Education Coach

The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor - Howard Marks

For our final book suggestion, we’ve chosen one that, in the words of Mullaly, “is less frequently among the top-pick lists, but well worth the read.” It’s written by Oaktree Capital chairman and co-founder Howard Marks. Like Buffett and Dalio, Marks became known for his client notes, which frequently delved into his investing philosophy and insight. 

The book takes a deep dive into his client memos and spins them into a series of essays on things such as risk, opportunity, contrarian investing, and so-called “second-level thinking.” 

The Bottom Line on Trading and Investing Books

This list is far from exhaustive. Again, there are thousands of investing books out there. Honorable mentions—and perennial favorites among the trader set—include Market Wizards by Jack Schwager (a collection of stories about trading legends), Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (an overview of behavioral economics), and Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre (loosely based on the life of legendary speculator Jesse Livermore).

But books are only one component of a well-rounded financial education. Regardless of your investing interests or objectives, there’s something for everyone—articles, videos, webcasts, immersive curricula, and more—freely available to TD Ameritrade clients. 

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Key Takeaways

  • There are thousands of books out there on trading and investing, so it’s important to narrow the list

  • Books are only one component of financial education—learn how to access alternatives

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