The Best Stock Market & Investing Books

Created on 25 Jun 2020

Wraps up in 10 Min

Read by 21.3k people

Updated on 29 Nov 2022

Investing in the Stock Market was as simple as following the insights of a book, I would have bought myself an entire library. The Internet serves as a means to navigate through the plethora of information. However, those seeking a more significant historical perspective and a more detailed analysis should consider reading classic investment books.

It can be a daunting task to narrow down the best books on Stock Market, given the considerable number of books that have been authored on market behavior and the various aspects of investing.

An excellent read not only helps you brush up on your fundamentals on the stock market but also gives you the necessary insight on creating an investment strategy to suit your investment goals. We have compiled a list of books by both Indian as well as foreign authors providing their take on your stock market investments, as you understand how stocks work, how to avoid the most significant risks, and how to build a growing portfolio with your investment returns.

These books should find its place on every investor's bookshelf, irrespective if you are a veteran or a rookie. These reads can boost your investing IQ and help you reach your long-term investment goals.

The list compiled is in no particular order, but each book gives you a different dimension on the nitty-gritty of the stock market.

1. Investonomy: The Stock Market Guide 

For a novice starting off investing in the stock market, this book is a perfect choice as it a guide that explains the nuances of the stock market. Each theory is spelled out with examples that motivate the reader to venture fearlessly into the stock market. The author Pranjal Kamra's insights on his methods and concepts of investment are very well written and demonstrated with the graphics.

These illustrations and graphs hold the readers' attention and also aids in presenting the content. He also delves into the psychology of investing and draws a comparison between a naive investor and a smart investor. Though you would not refer to it as an ultimate guide to stock investing, one would surely brush up on the fundamentals of investing. The chapters reflect the author's acumen and experience of dealing in the market.

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2. Value Investing And Behavioral Finance:  Parag Parikh

The title is a giveaway on what the reader is going to delve into as he or she peruses through the pages. Parag very clearly elucidates on value investing, commodity, sector and index investing. He also decodes the behavioral aspects of the investor and how this influences his manner of investing. The case studies presented in the book add clarity to the concepts being conveyed. Some of his statements in a very subtle way express thoughts of great depth. I especially liked this quote in his book, "Sow a thought and you reap an act, sow an act, and you reap a habit, sow a habit, and you reap a character, sow a character, and you reap a destiny." Such a profound message conveyed in simple language to the reader.

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3. How to Avoid Loss and Earn Consistently in the Stock Market- Prasenjit Paul 

The alternative title to this book can be 101 for Dummies in the Stock Market. Prasenjit very simply demonstrates the dos and don'ts for investors in the stock market. The key components covered in the book are the practical tips offered, clarifying the misconceptions that many novices have when it comes to investing, making it a must-have book for traders and investors.

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4. The Intelligent Investor - The definitive book on Value Investing by Benjamin Graham 

This book is a masterpiece in its own right for those interested in stock market investing. The author has succeeded in presenting difficult concepts into simplified terms that could be understood and, more importantly, implemented by the average investor. What makes Intelligent Investor one of the best books on stock Market for beginners is that it details how one should focus on the long-term health of a company as a way to limit your risk.

The emphasis is on long-term wealth-building strategy and not chasing gains. Graham has classified investors into defensive and enterprising investors and suggests different stock selection criteria for each. The book puts special emphasis on explaining risk management through asset allocation and diversification. It also speaks of maximizing probabilities through valuations analysis and margin of safety. All this can happen with a disciplined approach that will prevent consequential errors to a portfolio. It provides one with the foundation to achieve financial independence. Graham’s arguments about value investing are persuasive and are backed by sound analysis and his personal experience of many decades in stock markets. This book was written by Benjamin Graham in 1934.

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 5. One Up On Wall Street - Written by Peter Lynch

Peter Lynch, one of the leading investors, has highlighted in his book a scintillating revelation in this book that amateur investors can do a better job than professionals when it comes to taking a pick on stocks. To earn in the market, all one needs to do is to step out of the rat race. The amateur investors need to learn how to identify the stocks that will generate wealth for the investors in the long term.

He has elaborated about his investment philosophy and stock picking approach in this book. He popularized the term "Multi Baggers" in this book. Peter has bifurcated the book into three distinct parts with a separate aspect of investing - Preparing to Invest, Picking Winners and the Long-Term View. It is a complete package that tells an investor about how she should approach the market, what to buy, when to buy, how much to buy and finally when to sell. 

Peter Lynch is one of the most successful stock market investors of all times. He, as the fund manager of Fidelity Magellan Fund from 1977 to 1990 was responsible for driving the fund to earn some incredible returns.

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6. 'The Little Book that Beats the Market' - Joel Greenblatt

On reading this book, one gets the feeling that the author is having a conversation with the reader as he gently walks them through the investment philosophy. The writing style is similar to that of a storytelling tone coupled with the book's brevity, makes this book an interesting read. His personification of the stock market as Mr Market throughout the book, at times, makes the reader wonder if it is a novel or a practical guide as turn over the pages of the book.

Greenblatt presents a strategy for identifying companies to invest in. The formula seems to be based on two stalwart pillars of value investing: Invest in companies with high returns, and make sure they're selling at a substantial discount. He explains this with an example of Jason's Gum Shops to illustrate different aspects of business and company evaluation, like earnings yield and return on invested capital. The instances used by the author to substantiate his facts makes it a very captivating read. His magic formula - Rinse and repeat is something he has adopted for the last twenty years. The formula can be used as an effective checklist for filtering out the stocks. One can delve deeper into the stocks suggested by the magic formula and build a more concentrated portfolio and will have greater chances of achieving a better return.

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7. The Dhandho Investor: The Low-Risk Value Method to High Returns

The readers are introduced to important value investing concepts such as "Heads, I win! Tails, I don't lose that much!" "Few Bets, Big Bets, Infrequent Bets." Using these metaphors, Pabrai emphasizes that investing is a large-scale game of heads-or-tails. Even though the outcome of each investment is uncertain, you can always turn the odds in your favor by adopting a Dhandho mindset. In short, it's all about securing a substantial upside potential while minimizing downside risk. Using a light and entertaining style, Pabrai lays out the Dhandho framework in an easy-to-use format. An investor adopting this framework will be successful in getting better results and beat the market.  

The Dhandho framework highlights the following.

  1. Invest in the existing business as new businesses carry a higher risk.

  2. Invest in simple business with an ultra-slow rate of change.

  3. Invest in distressed business in distressed industries:

  4. Invest in Business with a durable moat or a competitive advantage.

  5. Bet heavily when the odds are in your favor, but it is always better to invest by taking a calculated risk.

  6. Focus on arbitrage.

  7. Margin of safety

  8. Invest in low risk and high certainty business. Calculate the risk and invest only in low-risk business.

  9. Invest in copycats instead of innovators, because copycats have a low risk.

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The illustration of the Patels, the different probability scenarios, DCF analyses and a lot of stolidity, Pabrai puts forth his strategy. An extremely recommendable book, which convincingly challenges traditional thinking regarding the relationship between risk and reward.

Mohnish Pabrai is the Managing Partner of Pabrai Investment Funds and an investing guru.

8. How to Make Money in Stocks - William J. O'Neil

 This book is an education for those wanting to venture into  growth investing. Through every type of market, this investment bestseller has shown over 2 million investors the secrets to building wealth. This is a perfect book that will teach you step by step about fundamental analysis and find great growth stocks. O'Neil advocates a powerful CAN SLIM(R) Investing System. This is a proven 7-step process for minimizing risk and maximizing gains which has influenced generations of investors. The book encapsulates proven techniques on finding winning stocks before they make big price gains. 

As the mindset of this book is more for investing in super growth stocks. Therefore, the methods adopted and the technical analysis are geared towards identifying stocks for the long term. If you are interested in trading, then this book does not really help. This is a book of a "market wizard" who has made it big in the stock market. The contents are pearls of wisdom that one would find all over the book. He has featured in the original "Market Wizards" book by Jack Schwager.

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9. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Phil Fisher

It is one of the finest books engulfing the practical aspects of stock market investments. As the title suggests,  Phil has laid  out the principles he has followed in his very successful and lengthy investment career in using common stocks to multiply the wealth. He further elucidates 'what to buy' for high-quality stocks, which he terms as  'Scuttlebutt'. These are common stocks that have gone through the rigors of a detailed analysis to find out about the company's future prospect. Another aspect where he tries to bring in some clarity is  'What to buy' where he gives pointers on what to look for in a common stock'.

The book attempts to demonstrate to the investor what and when to buy and also when to sell for those who are desiring to earn abnormal returns on their investments. His investment philosophies introduced 4 decades ago are still applied by today's financiers and investors. Overall, this is a good read to understand the fundamentals of growth investing and would definitely recommend reading this book.The book 'Common stocks and uncommon profits' is an evergreen classic and was originally published in 1958.

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10.  Bulls, Bears and Other Beasts: A Story of the Indian Stock Market by Santosh Nair

This is a delightful read on the stock markets, providing a glimpse into the history of the stock markets in India. It revolves around the period of 1988 with a story of Dalal Street and spans a fascinating time frame in the markets. Santhosh uses a storyline of one Lalchand Gupta or Lala and his entry into the market and the unfolding of events as seen through the eyes of a market player.

Lala's narrative of events spins around some interesting and well marked events in the Indian Stock Market history. Dalal Street has witnessed major scams like the  Harshad Mehta and the Ketan Parekh. The evolution of Sebi as a regulator. He further describes the arrival of the big Financial Institutional Investors and their increasing influence in the market, the emergence of algorithmic trading, the speculation is all weaved into the narration. 

The best part about the book is that even as it takes us through all the incidents and events, at no point does it get technical. A comprehensive account of the changes in the  stock market with the onset of technology is also covered in detail. Screen-based trading brought in a new dimension and transparency in the markets. The emergence of algorithmic trading has made the old trader and broker redundant. Those who could afford to invest in the expensive programming launched themselves with this unique trading. One can imagine how addictive the markets must be for the participants, given that even reading about it is addictive. Santosh Nair is a veteran journalist and is a part of the financial sector. He brings his vast experience and insights as a journalist and his expertise as a storyteller to this book. 

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Final thoughts

The above books on stock market have few concepts in common. Each of them stresses the vitality of value investing, patience, and discipline for wealth creation from Indian stock markets. All the authors of these books mentioned above have beaten the many challenges posed by stock markets and emerged successfully, not just once but repeatedly. This makes these books a must-read for every serious investor who aspires to replicate their success.

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An MBA Finance graduate, having worked in the Telecom and Banking sector as a Risk and Compliance Manager. An avid blogger with a penchant for traveling

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