Warren Buffett has a reputation as a voracious reader, and he reportedly spends as much as 80 percent of his day buried in books, newspapers, and reports of various kinds.
1. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing
Vanguard Group founder John C. Bogle's book has been called the bible of investing, and by all accounts it deserves the praise. Buffett himself explains that the author has done more to guide American investors than any other individual, and he acknowledges that Bogle "has the satisfaction of knowing that he helped millions of investors realize far better returns on their savings than they otherwise would have earned. He is a hero to them and to me."
2. The Intelligent Investor
Only Buffett's words will do The Intelligent Investor justice. In the Preface to the fourth edition, he writes, "I read the first edition of this book early in 1950, when I was nineteen. I thought then that it was by far the best book about investing ever written. I still think it is." He goes on to point out that sound investment requires no more than the proper intellectual framework for decision-making, and he concludes that The Intelligent Investor "precisely and clearly prescribes the proper framework."
3. The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation
Another of Bogle's successes makes Buffet's list, this one detailing the rise of a speculative investment culture built around short-term gains that have overtaken the long-term value-adding culture. The book includes 10 actionable steps for investors from all walks of life. Bogle acknowledges that his guidance "may not be the best strategy ever devised. But the number of strategies that are worse is infinite."
4. Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises
Few authors are more qualified to write about the world of finance than former treasury secretary Timothy Geithner. In his book, Geithner relives the days as America's financial system teetered on the brink of collapse, and he offers a candid glimpse at the controversial steps he took to save it.
5. The Most Important Thing
Howard Marks writes with the authority of one of the most successful investment management professionals in the business. With this book, the chairman and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management offers the insight contained in each of his client memos in a single volume, enabling anyone to learn from his time-tested philosophy.
6. Where Are the Customers' Yachts? Or a Good Hard Look at Wall Street
This book, originally published in 1940, offers an entertaining take on Wall Street that remains relevant today. Fred Schwed explains how Wall Street brokers and investment advisers essentially gamble with their clients' investments and then take a cut that ensures the financial professionals' profit no matter the result. Buffett explains that "its wisdom and humor are truly priceless."
7. Dream Big
Cristiane Correa's book tells the story of a trio of Brazilian businessmen who built an empire that eventually managed to acquire giant American brands like Budweiser, Burger King, and Heinz. The book comes with Buffett's unrestrained recommendation: "My friend -- and now partner -- Jorge Paulo and his team are among the best businessmen in the world. He is a fantastic person and his story should be an inspiration to everybody, as it is for me"
8. The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success
In Buffett's 2012 annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, The Outsiders took the top spot on his recommended reading list, and he called it "an outstanding book about CEOs who excelled at capital allocation."
9. Security Analysis
In his time at Columbia University, Buffett was fortunate enough to have Benjamin Graham and David Dodd as teachers. He wastes no time in acknowledging that "together, the book and the men changed my life." If that's not enough credit, he goes on to say, "They laid out a roadmap for investing that I have now been following for 57 years. There's been no reason to look for another."