Lauded as the most successful business investor in the world, many people are striving to become like Warren Buffett. And, while there isn’t really a single thing that can necessarily be attributed to his success, one common theme that the Oracle of Omaha constantly advocates is reading.
In fact, Buffett reportedly reads every single day. The Week even wrote that he spends as much of 80% of his day reading, and that he averages around 500 pages a day. It might seem like a lot, but gaining knowledge is never easy.
“My job is essentially just corralling more and more and more facts and information, and occasionally seeing whether that leads to some action,” Buffett said.
So, what does he read? Anything and everything. While the list of books that Buffett has read in his more than 80 years is probably too long to list out, here are some top picks that the great man himself recommends to anyone looking to get started on learning about business and investment:
1. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
This classic text was written in 1949 and is focused on “value investing” which helps up-and-coming investors develop long term strategies.
Warren Buffett first read this book when he was 19, and he has often said that it was what gave him the framework which led him to become one of the top investors in the world.
2. Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street by John Brooks
This book explores several stories iconic companies and their defining moments in time, as well as delving into business and financial history with things like the market crash in 1962 and the attempt to save the British pound.
This is reportedly one of Buffett’s favorite books, and when his friend Bill Gates asked him for a book recommendation, he suggested this book without hesitation. The book is a New York Times bestseller.
3. Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd
This book is designed to help businessmen and investors learn how to evaluate the value of a company, see if anyone else has done the same, and make smart decisions with money.
This book has several different editions, although the sixth edition features a foreword from Warren Buffett himself. First published in 1934, this is renowned as one of the most influential financial books ever written, and it is continually enhanced and updated with investor anecdotes and information.
4. The Essays of Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett & Lawrence A. Cunningham
In this book, Warren Buffett outlines not only his thoughts on investing, but also gives information on Berkshire Hathaway’s no-dividend practice and provides plenty of anecdotes and autobiographical information as well.
People are constantly trying to understand Warren Buffett’s process, thoughts, and investments—what better way than to read it from the great man himself?
5. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Philip Fisher
This popular book features information on what to look for in companies before investing, and how to make profits on innovative companies.
Buffett frequently has endorsed this book, saying that he actually sought out the author after reading it, and that the methods inside help make intelligent investments.
6. Where Are the Customers’ Yachts? by Fred Schwed
One of the more lighthearted financial books on the list, this humorous novel features colorful anecdotes about Wall Street and plenty of great information about investing and financial advice.
In his 2006 shareholder letter, Bufftt praised the book as “The funniest book ever written about investing,” and said that it “lightly delivers many truly important messages on the subject.”
7. Essays in Persuasion by John Maynard Keynes
Originally published in 1931, this book is required reading in many business courses and features information on the political economy of its time, including various issues of the day. It is regarded as one of the 100 best books ever written.
Buffett has lauded this book, and once said, “Reading Keynes will make you smarter about securities and markets. I’m not sure reading most economists would do the same.”
8. Warren Buffett’s Ground Rules by Jeremy C. Miller
This book is basically a compilation of Buffett’s letters sent to partners from 1956 – 1970 while he managed Buffett Partnership Limited. These letters give readers a glimpse into how Buffett designed his investing strategy from Graham’s Security Analysis.
Buffett has praised this book as a great way to learn about investment theory and practice.
9. Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch & John A. Byrne
This New York Times bestseller is an autobiographical look at the CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, which looks at not only his life but also his business strategies.
Buffett recommended this book in his 2001 shareholder letter, saying that Jack Welch was a terrific manager and that everyone could learn something from reading this book.
10. The Outsiders by William Thorndike Jr
This book outlines the performance of various companies as a direct result of the enigmatic and unusual CEOs at the helms.
Buffett listed this as the #1 book to read in his 2012 shareholder letter, and called it “An outstanding book about CEOs who excelled at capital allocation.”
11. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by Jack Bogle
This book features advice and thoughts on using common sense strategies to make investing work.
“Rather than listen to the siren songs [of salesmen], investors – large and small – should instead read Jack Bogle’s The Little Book of Common Sense Investing,” Buffett said in his 2014 shareholder letter.
12. Poor Charlie’s Almanack edited by Peter Kaufman
Featuring advice and biographical information, this novel focuses on Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.
Buffett, a longtime friend of Munger, attributes much of the company’s success to Charlie. “You will never find a book with more useful ideas,” Buffett said.
13. The Most Important Thing Illuminated by Howard Marks & Paul Johnson
Written by the chairman of Oak Tree Capital, this book features thoughtful information for investors based on the personal success and mistakes of Howard Marks.
Warren Buffett reportedly called this book “a rarity, a useful book” and even wrote a dust jacket blurb for the first edition.
14. Take on the Street by Arthur Levitt
This book is designed to help small investors navigate the complex and often intentionally confusing ways of Wall Street.
Buffett called this book excellent, and said it would help businessmen understand the erosion of accounting standards and the downfall of Arthur Andersen accounting, resulting in a better understanding of the business.