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Best Finance Books

The word “finance book” conjures images of pages riddled with math, charts and dry verbiage, right? Wait, though. The best finance books are still powerful teaching tools, and there are hundreds of the “can’t-put-it-down” variety just a click away. We’ll prove it.

Quick Look: The Best Finance Books To Read Right Now

  1. A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel

  2. Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

  3. Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar

  4. The Money Game by Adam Smith

  5. Dark Pools by Scott Patterson

  6. I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

What do good finance books have in common?

Good stories are the critical components of any finance book. A few of the books on this list are even full-fledged narratives. Great finance writing should be:

  • Engaging: Good books keep you turning the pages, not looking at your phone or TV.
  • Thought-provoking: You should learn new ideas or at least get a different perspective on some commonly-held ones.
  • Offer a proper mix of anecdotes and evidence: Every story needs some evidence to back it up. A good mix of captivating anecdotes supported by empirical evidence helps the reader fully understand the concepts involved.

Our top-voted finance books

Here are six books Benzinga recommends if you’re just graduating from college or beginning to save for retirement. 

1. A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel

A Random Walk Down Wall Street
by Burton G. Malkiel

One of the original investing and money management guides from a veteran economist who spent nearly 30 years with The Vanguard Group. Malkiel’s novel is an all-encompassing review of the world of the finance filled with timeless advice. You’ll revisit the South Sea and Tulip Bulb bubbles, two events that showed how emotions can turn our common urges into unhinged outbursts. Some heavy topics are covered, but the author’s storytelling and personal financial wisdom keep you from putting it down. Oh, that and the jokes. There’s a reason it’s been in print for more than 40 years.

Get it on Amazon

Kindle edition: $11.98
Also available in paperback and hardcover

2. Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Fooled by Randomness
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Speaking of storytelling, there’s no greater teller of tales than the human brain. We’re trained to look for patterns in everything: stock charts, health habits, even the cards we’re dealt in a poker game. But what our brain struggles to comprehend is the concept of randomness. Why do we search so hard for meaning from arbitrary events? One of the seminal works to contemplate how chance influences our lives and how often we’re mystified when we do everything right and still get unlucky.

Get it on Amazon

Kindle edition: $15.49
Also available in paperback and hardcover

3. Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco
by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar

Ross Johnson, CEO of Nabisco, and the excessive greed of the 1980s led him in a high-stakes battle for his own company after he declared he’d take the firm private. Investment manager Henry Kravis then organized one of the largest leveraged buyout offers in history and went to war with Johnson for control of Nabisco.

As the offers intensified, some major Wall Street players entered the fight. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and Salomon Brothers all played a part in this battle, and we won’t give away the ending. You’ll have to find that out for yourself.

Get it on Amazon

Kindle edition: $15.29
Also available in paperback and hardcover

4. The Money Game by Adam Smith

The Money Game
by Adam Smith

This book was actually written by George Goodman, an outspoken critic of economists, who he claims often make unjustified assumptions.

His first non-fiction book is The Money Game, one of the first publications to break down financial markets by looking at the players involved (and their incentives).

The market is a game, and the scariest moment comes when the players realize that they might not even know the rules of the ever-changing game.

Get it on Amazon

Kindle edition: $9.99
Also available in paperback and hardcover

5. Dark Pools by Scott Patterson

Dark Pools
by Scott Patterson

Technology has reshaped markets around the globe, and Dark Pools tells the story of the prophets who changed them forever. Thanks to a few sophisticated math geniuses, automation, and AI began creeping into the world of finance.

Follow the life of computer wizard Josh Levine as he builds more and more advanced trading systems. As the tech increases, so does the speed. Soon, trades are being made in fractions of a second with huge sums of money chasing the tiniest spreads and arbitrage opportunities. Patterson explores the rise of high-frequency trading, automated trading systems, and whether we have the proper tools to control an increasingly AI-infused world.

Get it on Amazon

Kindle edition: $9.99
Also available in paperback and hardcover

6. I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

I Will Teach You To Be Rich
by Ramit Sethi

When he wrote his common sense book, Ramit Sethi was a young professional trying to get through life on a budget. But the lessons in this book are something every college student or young graduate needs to hear.

You’ll get actionable advice not just on budgeting and saving, but how to communicate with your bank and brokerage in order to get better deals. Want to learn a method to get your credit card provider to lower your interest rate? Or maybe you’d like to get your bank to waive overdraft fees? Sethi explains how to automate your money and take control of your finances without complex theories. This book is guaranteed to simplify your financial life, entertaining you all the way.

Get it on Amazon

Kindle edition: $1.99
Also available in paperback and hardcover

Honorable mentions

There are too many great reads on the market, but we can’t cover them all. Here are a few extras to pad our list:

  • Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis: Lewis takes a look at Wall Street during the expansion of mortgage-backed securities. It’s the prequel to The Big Short.
  • Irrational Exuberance by Robert Shiller: A Nobel-winning economist explains the madness of crowds. Published a month before the dot-com bubble collapsed, Dr. Shiller turns Alan Greenspan’s most famous quote into a warning for overzealous investors.
  • Thinking In Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All of the Facts by Annie Duke: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll cost himself a championship with a pass play call at the goal line in Super Bowl 49… or did he? This book shows how we grade decisions based on results and why that’s a terrible way to think.
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki: Pay yourself first. It’s a simple rule that rich parents teach their kids, so why doesn’t everyone heed the advice? Rich people teach their children different money lessons than the middle class and Kiyosaki learned this difference from his two “fathers.”
  • Where Are The Customers’ Yachts? by Fred Schwed: Ever notice how the money manager drives a fancier car than any of his clients? A hilarious look inside the Wall Street promotion machine and some advice to keep the charlatans off your back.

Final thoughts

Good finance reads like these don’t require an MBA. Next time you’re preparing for a relaxing vacation or even just a quiet evening at home, pick up one of these books. Chances are, you’ll end up improving your financial habits, and you’ll be entertained, too.

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