My mother was an avid reader. I write "was" because she has lost her ability to read at age 88. Today she listens to books on CDs, as her desire to know and learn is still going strong. That desire is the same desire any trader needs to improve his or her knowledge base regarding the world of Wall Street.
As I began to compile my list of must-read books, I was surprised, realizing how long this list was growing. But I cannot accept an incomplete list. Leaving off just one of these works is unacceptable because I know how valuable the knowledge to be gained from each one of them still is. If there is a silver thread in the list, I suppose that it revolves around socioeconomic history as it relates to stock market.
1. "The Life and Legend of E.H. Harriman" by Maury Klein. It's an incredible story about an amazing life of the man who made the Union Pacific railroad. what it is today.
2. "Dark Genius of Wall Street" by Edward Renehan, Jr.. The bio of my favorite trader of all time, the incomparable Jay Gould. If Gould were trading today, his hedge fund would rule Wall Street.
3. "The A B C of Stock Speculation" by S.A. Nelson. This is a must-own that I re-read at least once a year. Published in 1903, the book proves that human nature is constant as per trading.
4. "Baruch: My Own Story" by Bernard Baruch. It's the ultimate autobiography of one of the great stock market investors of all time.
5. "The Great Crash of 1929" by John Kenneth Galbraith. Read it and never forget it.
6. "The Day the Bubble Burst" by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts. The social history of the debacle of 1929 and its aftermath.
7. "Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk" by Peter Bernstein. The history of risk management from its beginnings to today.
8. "The Age of Gold" by H.W. Brands. The story of the California Gold Rush and its effect on the development of our country. Heck, just read any history book by Brands.
9. "Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr." by Ron Chernow. The man behind the genesis of the world of the oil business.
10. "The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power" by Daniel Yergin. Start your oil business study with this classic.
11. "Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country" by William Greider. Begin your study of trying to understand Uncle Ben and his predecessors by reading this now-22-year-old classic.
12. "One Up on Wall Street" by Peter Lynch. Read it and then go kick some tires.
13. "The Money Game" by "Adam Smith." A must-read classic of the 1960s go-go years.
14. "Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets" by John Murphy. A must-own and must-read on TA.
15. "Options as a Strategic Investment" by Larry McMillan. The ultimate must-read for all options traders.
I know this list is extensive, and it could have been much longer. When reading Gould and Harriman, you come away with the sense and knowledge that the railroads of the late 1800s parallel that of the Internet today.
Galbraith and Thomas/Witts paint the picture of the original bubble of all time, which allows for you to understand how the regulators of the market blew it only a half-decade ago when allowing for naked shorting.
Thomas/Witts portray the atmosphere of the crash and the aftermath of the crash rather vividly. Bernstein on the history of risk is just phenomenal. Yergin nails oil, as does the Chernow's bio of J.D. Rockefeller. Brands book on the gold rush is the best work that I have read on that subject.
The "Temple" still holds up well today, especially with the Fed in the news almost daily. "Adam Smith" is both hilarious as well as cynically brilliant as he describes the "nifty 50" era, replete with their own stock market fiascos.
Finally, McMillan's options books are biblical in reference to your options knowledge and education. I read his first book on options 30 years ago. The book is as relevant today as then. Hopefully you will read, learn and enjoy them as I have.
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