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Apprenticed Investor: Reading Is Fundamental

Investing is such a competitive arena that no matter how good you think you are, it is important that you constantly develop new skills and improve your knowledge base. You cannot afford to simply stand still.

How can you do this? By learning as much as possible about how the markets operate, what makes the economy work, about new trading concepts and various schools of investing thought.

Don't think of this as light reading. While digesting any investing-related material, you must do so actively, with a keenly skeptical eye. At the same time, you need to have an open mind. Doing both at once ain't easy.

As part of my ongoing education regimen, I try to read 10 to 20 market/economic/trading-related books per year. This is on top of my regular research and media diet. If out of that list, I find three books that are truly worthwhile, it's been a good year (this year was excellent). After 15 years of this, I've found quite a few books that are truly terrific, and should be of interest to any investor thirsty to learn.

Think of what follows as a course offering for those who want to improve their knowledge and skills. These were chosen for their readability, their wisdom, and their timelessness.

If this were graduate school, you would cover this reading in a year or two. But since you probably have a day job, family and other obligations, I suggest reading a book per month. Take notes -- I jot down extensive notes in the margins -- then a year later, go back and reread your annotations.

This is by no means a complete reading list. Many books were left off -- some were simply too advanced, others obscure, rather inaccessible. And that's not counting the pile of books I have queued up and haven't yet read. In order to keep any bias out of the list, I purposefully excluded books written by my colleagues at TheStreet.com. The writers here have a broad body of excellent work -- and none of it is included. So don't take this list as the absolute gospel.

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