Looking through the business and finance section of a bookstore like Barnes & Noble or browsing the section on Amazon can be bewildering at times. The current best-seller list of investing books includes books about candlesticks, gold, trading strategies, forex, trend trading, options and futures.
All of these subjects probably do far more harm than good for the average investor, so it is time to offer up the Value Investor's Holiday Book List.
Ben Graham's "The Intelligent Investor"
If you have an investor on your list, including yourself, who has not read "The Intelligent Investor," then this is the ultimate gift of knowledge. Benjamin Graham's classic book lays out the case for value investing and explains how to define yourself as either a defensive or enterprising investor.
This title is the same one that Warren Buffett called the "best book ever written on investing." If you have any would-be or should-be value investors on your shopping list, this book is a must buy.
Any business school students on your holiday list should have their stockings stuffed with a copy in the hopes it offsets the silly theories they will learn in school about stocks and markets.
Martin Whitman's classic "The Aggressive Conservative Investor"
This title is another potentially life-changing book for investors. The book outlines the approach that Martin Whitman used to compile his extraordinary record at Third Avenue Funds. It outlines how to evaluate securities to find the type of safe and cheap opportunities that can build wealth over your lifetime with an emphasis on asset value rather than quarterly earnings.
Sam Zell said, “The updated version of 'The Aggressive Conservative Investor' is very much a value-added proposition.” It may be the least read great book on the stock market of all time and would be a fantastic gift for serious investors or those hoping to be serious, successful investors.
"Value Investing" by James Montier
Montier clearly explains why the value approach is the only sensible one for long term investors and shatters the myths they teach in most universities. Seth Klarman is one of the most successful investors in recent memory and he said of this book, “Buy this book for yourself, and for anyone you know who cares about their capital." Anyone on your list how wants to earn more money in the stock market is a candidate for this book as the best gift they will ever receive.
Victor Niederhoffer's "The Education of Speculator"
This title may not be a classic value investing book but it is an incredible read with valuable information about looking at the stock markets. He weaves a great tale involving gambling, board games, music and markets to tell his story. No matter how you approach the markets this is a great read that contains valuable information of use to even no speculative value types.
"The Net Current Asset Approach" by Victor Wendell
This book lays out the case for investing in stocks trading below net current asset value. He shows the returns, the pitfalls and mistakes one can make in this specialized endeavor. It is a valuable addition to the value investor's book shelf.
Howard Marks' "The Most Important Thing"
This book was an instant classic when it was released last year. Marks is one of the clearest thinkers about valuation, risk and markets of the last 50 years. Be sure to buy your investor the Illuminated version issued by Columbia Business School. It contains notes and commentaries throughout the book from investors like Joel Greenblatt, Seth Klarman and others that really enhance the readers understanding of the concepts and ideas expressed.
When a book's jacket contains high praise from Warren Buffett, Jeremy Grantham and John Bogle you know that it is worth reading and has application across wide range of investment approaches. This book will make you a better investor and alter your thinking about how markets work and how best to approach them in search of profits.
This holiday season instead of giving another tie or bottle of perfume that will never again see the light of day give the gift of knowledge that can actually improve the life of the recipient.
Instead of giving the recent graduate on your gift list a membership to the 'beer of the month' club this year give them the gift of a philosophy towards money and markets that can help them along the path to success in the financial markets.
Tim Melvin is a value investor, money manager and writer. He has spent the last 27 years in the financial services and investment industry as a broker, adviser and portfolio manager. He has also written and lectured extensively on the markets with his work appearing on RealMoney.com, DailySpeculation.Com as well as several print publication including Active Trader and the Wall Street Digest. Learn which 3 low risk, high yield stocks Tim owns for the trade of the decade.