What to Read to Be a Better Investor?

Investing entails continuous learning and one of the best ways to learn is to read. Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, perhaps the most famous duo in the investing community, are well-known voracious readers.

But, this raises the question: What exactly, should we be reading about to become a better investor?

The most logical place to start is books on investing. Some of the classics include The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham (who was the mentor of Buffett), One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch, and Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Philip Fisher. These books can impart an ocean of investing skills to their readers.

But, Graham also once said that  “Investing is most intelligent when it is most business-like.” What he really meant to say is that an investor can improve if he or she starts thinking more like a businessman.

As such, would it be more valuable to focus our time on reading business-related books – so as to help us understand how great businesses are created and how they can continue being great –  rather than learning things like how to conduct a discounted cash flow analysis or calculate a discount rate?

There’s no right or wrong answer to the question above. But, I hope my own personal experience might help you save some time in figuring out what kind of books you should be reading to “level-up” your skills in the game of investing as quickly as possible.

My own journey

When I first started investing, I was reading every single investing book I could get my hands on. After tearing through a number of them, I started to realize that most of them are saying similar things:

  • Buy businesses with good long-term prospects
  • Make sure the management team is honest and candid
  • Ensure the businesses you invest in are financially strong
  • Invest only if you can have a high margin of safety in place

I think when you reach the point, like I did, where you find that different investing books start feeling repetitive, then it may be time to start transitioning to business books instead.

Business books are generally more dynamic and talk about the challenges businesses would face and how great business (like for instance Toyota, Starbucks and Google) came to be. You can also learn about the story of entrepreneurs and great business leaders (people like Steve Jobs) and find out what makes them so special. These knowledge can then be used to analyse and find the next big winning business and business-leaders of tomorrow.

Foolish Summary

To me, business books are a key ingredient in making myself a better investor. But it is also important that the basic foundation is there.

So, reading investing books at the start of your investing journey is a vital step you have to take. Once you feel that the foundation’s strong, you can then move on to learn more about the world of business.


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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore writer Stanley Lim does not own any companies mentioned above.