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Reading List



The Most Important Thing Illuminated: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor, by Howard Marks

Howard Marks's  The Most Important Thing distilled the investing insight of his celebrated client memos into a single volume and, for the first time, made his time-tested philosophy available to general readers. In this edition, Marks's wisdom is joined by the comments, insights, and counterpoints of four renowned investors and investment educators: Christopher C. Davis (Davis Funds), Joel Greenblatt (Gotham Capital), Paul Johnson (Nicusa Capital), and Seth A. Klarman (Baupost Group).

These experts lend insight into such concepts as "second-level thinking," the price/value relationship, patient opportunism, and defensive investing. Marks also adds his own annotations, expanding on his book's original themes and issues. A new chapter addresses the importance of reasonable expectations, and a foreword by Bruce C. Greenwald, called "a guru to Wall Street's gurus" by the  New York Times, speaks on value investing, productivity, and the economics of information.


Security Analysis by Graham & Dodd

Security Analysis is the bible of fundamental analysis. Originally published in 1934, the tome systematically lays bare the science of security analysis. Written with the assistance of cowriter David Dodd, Benjamin Graham's intellectual tour de force has yet to be equaled in the annals of investing. Written only a few years after the devastating stock market crash of 1929, Graham had one objective--to make the investment process as safe as possible using knowledge of key factors about the business.



Intelligent Investor by Ben Graham (Chpt 8 and 20, Buffet Appendix)

Ben Graham is single-handedly responsible for the fact that investors even think about ratios like the price/earnings ratio, the current ratio or working capital-to-market capitalization. Coming out of the stock market's total implosion in 1929 and throughout the '30s, Graham knew that he needed to discover logical rules that any investor could use in order to attain safe, sustainable, market-beating results. He was so preoccupied with ensuring that anyone could duplicate his methods towards the end of his career that he often told his junior analysts at Graham-Newman like Albert Schloss or Warren Buffett that they could not involve themselves in complicated financial shenanigans to make money--it all had to be plain vanilla.



Investment Policy: How to win the Loser's Game, by Charles Ellis

Ellis presents a fresh approach to professional investment management that involves active client participation. This incisive, easy-to-understand guide distills the nature of institutional investing and offers basic principles for meeting long-term investment goals.




Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdon of Charles T. Munger, Expanded Third Edition, by Peter D. Kaufman (Editor), Ed Wexler (Illustrator, Warren E. Buffett (Forward), Charles T. Munger (Author)

EXPANDED THIRD EDITION includes Charlie's 2007 USC Law School Commencement address. Edited by Peter D. Kaufman.


Damodaran on Valuation : Security Analysis for Investment and Corporate Finance, by Aswath Damodaran

Valuation authority Damodaran (finance, NYU) offers an overview of the three basic valuation approaches for investment analysis: discounted cash flow, relative valuation, and contingent claim valuation. He shows how to apply the models within these classes by using case studies of actual firms, and also explains the purpose of each model, its pros and cons, the steps involved in applying it, and the types of firms to which it is most suited.



The Little Book of Valuation: How to Value a Company, Pick a Stock and Profit, by Aswath Damodaran

An accessible, and intuitive, guide to stock valuation

Valuation is at the heart of any investment decision, whether that decision is to buy, sell, or hold. In The Little Book of Valuation, expert Aswath Damodaran explains the techniques in language that any investors can understand, so you can make better investment decisions when reviewing stock research reports and engaging in independent efforts to value and pick stocks.



The Essays of Warren Buffett, by Lawrence Cunningham

From the author, "Anyone interested in corporate America will want to read and study this collection and have a copy available for handy reference."



Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

“[Taleb is] Wall Street’s principal dissident. . . . [Fooled By Randomness] is to conventional Wall Street wisdom approximately what Martin Luther’s ninety-nine theses were to the Catholic Church.”
Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker



There's Always Something to Do: The Peter Cundill Investment Approach, by Christopher Risso-Gill

Peter Cundill, a philanthropist and investor whose work has been praised by the likes of Warren Buffett, found his life changed forever when he discovered the value investment principles of Benjamin Graham and began to put them into action. There's Always Something to Do tells the story of Cundill's voyage of discovery, with all its ups and downs, as he developed his immensely successful investment strategies. In the context of recent financial upheavals and ongoing uncertainty, Peter Cundill's wise and frequently funny reflections are more important than ever. In a seamlessly assembled narrative drawn from interviews, speeches, and exclusive access to the daily journal Cundill kept for forty-five years, Christopher Risso-Gill outlines Cundill's investment approach and provides accounts of his investments and the analytical process that led to their selection. A book for everyday investors as much as professional investors and investment gurus, There's Always Something to Do offers a compelling perspective on global financial markets and on how we can avoid their worst pitfalls and grow our hard-earned capital.


 A Short History of Financial Euphoria, by John Kenneth Galbraith

The world-renowned economist offers "dourly irreverent analyses of financial debacle from the tulip craze of the seventeenth century to the recent plague of junk bonds."—The Atlantic.



Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds, by Charles Markay 

Why do otherwise intelligent individuals form seething masses of idiocy when they engage in collective action? Why do financially sensible people jump lemming-like into hare-brained speculative frenzies--only to jump broker-like out of windows when their fantasies dissolve? We may think that the Great Crash of 1929, junk bonds of the '80s, and over-valued high-tech stocks of the '90s are peculiarly 20th century aberrations, but Mackay's classic--first published in 1841--shows that the madness and confusion of crowds knows no limits, and has no temporal bounds. These are extraordinarily illuminating, and, unfortunately, entertaining tales of chicanery, greed and naivete.  Essential reading for any student of human nature or the transmission of ideas.



Fooling Some of the People all of the Time by David Einhorn

A revealing look at Wall Street, the financial media, and financial regulators by David Einhorn, the President of Greenlight Capital

Could 2008's credit crisis have been minimized or even avoided? In 2002, David Einhorn-one of the country's top investors-was asked at a charity investment conference to share his best investment advice. Short sell Allied Capital. At the time, Allied was a leader in the private financing industry. Einhorn claimed Allied was using questionable accounting practices to prop itself up. Sound familiar? At the time of the original version of Fooling Some of the People All of the Time: A Long Short Story the outcome of his advice was unknown. Now, the story is complete and we know Einhorn was right. In 2008, Einhorn advised the same conference to short sell Lehman Brothers. And had the market been more open to his warnings, yes, the market meltdown might have been avoided, or at least minimized.



Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Ivestor, by Seth A. Klarman



The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, by Alice Schroeder

Here is THE book recounting the life and times of one of the most respected men in the world, Warren Buffett. The legendary Omaha investor has never written a memoir, but now he has allowed one writer, Alice Schroeder, unprecedented access to explore directly with him and with those closest to him his work, opinions, struggles, triumphs, follies, and wisdom. The result is the personally revealing and complete biography of the man known everywhere as “The Oracle of Omaha.”



Berkshire Hathaway's "Prior Annual Reports"



Berkshire Hathaway's "Owners Manual"



Common Stocks & Uncommon Profits, by Philip A. Fisher

Fisher is widely acknowledged as one of the pioneers of modern investment theory, and his philosophies continue to be regarded as  gospel by today's investors. This lassic investment book, first published in 1958, fascinates investors because it enables them to discern the origins of some of today's most popular investment philosophies.



Beating the Street, by Peter Lynch 

Beating the Street was Peter Lynch's follow-up to his bestselling book, One Up on Wall Street. Although many have accused him of writing the same book twice, his second time at bat allows him to add even more clarity to his basic message. Lynch, for those unfamiliar with the pantheon of investment gods, managed Fidelity's flagship Magellan fund for more than 20 years, compounding one of the most fantastic performance records ever. Although Lynch did not invent the "growth at a reasonable price" (GARP) approach to buying stocks, his unique spin on it allowed him to become one of the most successful portfolio managers ever.



The Aggressive Conservative Investor, by Martin Whitman and Martin Shubik

Martin Whitman is a master value investor who has been successful for 3 decades, though recently becoming known to the masses through his Tird Avenue family of mutual funds. Anyone who has read some of his shareholder letters will recognize some of the concepts in the book, but they are presented in detail. This book teaches you to understand how "control" investors think, and to then learn how to evaluate annual and quarterly statements in a new light. Whitman is more than a value investor, of course, he is a vulture investor and proud of it.


The Warren Buffett Way : Investment Strategies of the World's Greatest Investor, by Robert Hagstrom

Buffett gets a lot of attention for what he preaches, but nobody has described what he practices better than Hagstrom. Here is the lowdown on every major stock he ever bought and why he bought it.  Fascinating.

Buffettology : The Previously Unexplained Techniques That Have Made Warren Buffett the World's Most Famous Investor, by Mary Buffett  

Buffettology examines Buffett's methods for valuing companies and selecting stocks--it even encourages you to buy a calculator and work through the valuation formulas that Buffett uses when researching companies to buy. The book not only serves as a useful guide to understanding how Buffett invests, it's an excellent primer to investing in stocks, whether you plan to become a Buffettologist or not.


Buffett:  The Making of an American Capitalist, by Roger Lowenstein  

This illuminating biography reveals a man whose conscientiousness, integrity, and good humor exist alongside an odd emotional isolation.  Buffett also masterfully traces his life: his enormously successful partnership; his early, inspired investments in American Express and Geico; his companionship and investment with Katharine Graham of the Washington Post; his role in the Capital Cities purchase of ABC; his unique relationship with his wife and mistress; and his rescue of the scandal-ridden Salomon Brothers.


Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond, by Bruce C.N. Greenwald, Judd Kahn, Paul D. Sonkin and Michael van Biema

Described by the New York Times as the "guru to Wall Street's gurus," Bruce Greenwald is a leading authority on value investing. His courses and seminars on the subject have drawn some of the savviest people in the investment world. Now, along with some colleagues, Greenwald reveals the fundamental principles that have made value investing one of the most consistently profitable investment techniques.