Book Reviews

This page contains a comprehensive list of my book reviews organized by category. The books are listed in order of my preference.

In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell highlights the “10,000 Hour Rule”. He claims that to become a virtuoso in any field it requires 10,000 hours of dedicated practice. Noted economist Dr. Gary North goes even further and states, “you need 1,000 hours of experience to become a journeyman. You need 5,000 hours and basic skills to become a master. You need 10,000 hours and natural gifts to become a virtuoso.” In the case of investing, I think it’s fair to assume that 5,000 hours of practice relates to not only conducting research but the act of reading and writing. The purpose of the book reviews posted below is to document my journey in becoming a better investor and hopefully to help others along, who have the same goal. I expect the lists to be dynamic as I read new books and reassess my original reviews based on my own investing experience.

If you’re new to investing, I would recommend that you start with a specific category and then begin reading each book in the order it’s listed.

Go to Equity Investing

Go to Crisis Investing

Go to Quantitative Investing

Go to Accounting

Go to Economics

Equity Investing

1. Active Value Investing: Making Money in Range-Bound Markets (Wiley Finance)

Vitaliy Katsenelson succinctly makes his case that we are not witnessing the beginning of a new bull market in the US. He provides ample evidence that range bound markets naturally follow bull markets and that investors in the US stock market will pay dearly for the overvaluation achieved during the tech bubble. Fortunately, Active Value Investing also lays out his investment methodology for not only surviving but also thriving in a range-bound market.

Read the full review here.

2. Probable Outcomes

Ed Easterling provides a definitive overview of secular stock market cycles and the reasons why they occur. More importantly, he provides you with a framework to determine your own long-term outlook for the US equity market, based on your own assumptions. I think any investor would be well served by reading this book to come to a better understanding of why the US equity market currently remains in a secular bear market that began in 2000.

Read the full review here.

3. The Art of Value Investing: How the World’s Best Investors Beat the Market (Wiley Finance)

John Heins and Whitney Tilson have developed a unique book on value investing by taking quotes from famous value investors on a wide range of contentious topics. The book is an excellent for both professionals and novices alike. If you’re a professional, you’ll be forced to either defend or refine your current investment philosophy after reading the book. For the novice, the book will help you better understand the various types of value investing methodologies being practiced by professionals. Ultimately, my biggest take-away was that there really isn’t “one” right way to invest.

Read the full review here.

4. Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond (Wiley Finance)

Anyone who has studied value investing has most likely read The Intelligent Investor and Security Analysis, which is now in its 6th edition. Although less known, Bruce Greenwald’s Value Investing is no less important than the seminal books written by Benjamin Graham.  Greenwald systematically lays out the methodology that can best be described as modern value investing.

Read the full review here.

5. The Little Book That Builds Wealth: The Knockout Formula for Finding Great Investments (Little Books. Big Profits)

Pat Dorsey, who heads up Equity Research at Morningstar, has written an excellent book focusing on identifying companies with durable competitive advantages. The book is unique due to its subject matter and should be required reading for any investor interested in improving their performance.

Read the full review here.

6. Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies, 5th Edition (Wiley Finance)

The ultimate guide to discounted cash flow valuation brought to you by McKinsey & Company, the famed management consultancy. If I had to teach a course on valuation, this would be the textbook that I would use. If you’re a corporate finance professional, this book is a great reference source for thorny valuation issues. If you’re a novice investor, you probably won’t get much practical value out of this book due to its focus on valuation theory. However, if you take the time and effort to read this book you will know more about discounted cash flow valuation than 99% of retail investors and possibly some institutional investors.

Read the full review here.

7. The Investor’s Guide to Active Asset Allocation: Using Technical Analysis and ETFs to Trade the Markets

Martin Pring discusses how correctly identifying the current stage of the business cycle can assist in the asset allocation process. Business cycles continue to be a part of all modern capitalistic economies. All business cycles follow a set sequence of events, which can be identified through the use of technical, monetary and economic indicators. I would recommend this book for any investor or portfolio manager interested in improving their asset allocation process.

Read the full review here.

8. The Craft of Investing: Growth and Value Stocks • Emerging Markets • Funds • Retirement and Estate Planning

An excellent overview of the basic tenets of value investing written in an engaging and entertaining manner. If you’re beginning your journey in investing, this is a good book to understand the philosophical underpinnings of why value investing will help you become a successful investor.

Read the full review here.

9. Value Returns: Wise Investing for the Next Decade and Beyond

A good introduction to basic value investing concepts and how to adjust your investing methodology in a secular bear market. If you’re a professional investor or have read a few books on value investing, I would recommend Vitaliy Katsenelson’s Active Value Investing for a more detailed discussion on investing in secular bear markets.

Read the full review here.

Back to Top

Crisis Investing

1. Endgame: The End of the Debt Supercycle and How It Changes Everything

John Mauldin provides a succinct and accurate picture of the outlook for the developed world as the debt supercycle comes to an end. The book is unique in that it not only makes its case using historical examples but also logically describes the likely outcomes for the US, Eurozone, Eastern Europe, Japan, Australia and the UK.

Read the full review here.

Back to Top

Quantitative Investing

1. Quantitative Value, + Web Site: A Practitioner’s Guide to Automating Intelligent Investment and Eliminating Behavioral Errors (Wiley Finance)

Wesley Gray and Tobias Carlisle have successfully created a quantitative investment strategy that incorporates the teachings of Graham, Buffett and Greenblatt. Quantitative Value has much in common with other books on value investing. Despite following a quantitative investment process, the investment methodology in the book focuses on the timeless value investing principles of purchasing shares in high quality businesses at cheap valuation levels. The brilliance of their approach is that it removes emotions from the investment decision making process.

Read the full review here.

Back to Top

Accounting

Back to Top

Economics

1. The Growth Map: Economic Opportunity in the BRICs and Beyond

Jim O’Neill (ex-Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management), who originally created the term BRIC in a 2001 research paper, reflects on his original predictions after a decade has passed. O’Neill makes the convincing case that the emerging markets have emerged and that the growth story is far from over.

Read the full review here.

Back to Top