MILLBURN, N.J. (TheStreet) -- Two years ago, I presented an article called "20 Essentials for Achieving Financial Literacy," in which I offered a list of subjects and books that any student of finance or economics should study and read. With teachers and students getting back into the swing of a new school year, I thought I'd revisit that list and suggest some additional readings

I hope that this list of textbooks and literature from my own bookshelves will help augment your knowledge and appreciation of the world of finance and economics.

Corporate Financial Distress and Bankruptcy by Edward I. Altman and Edith HotchkissI had the honor of taking a class with Altman when I was enrolled in the MBA program at NYU. This is the most up-to-date version of his groundbreaking work on bankruptcy, in which he introduced the concept of the Z-Score, a predictive measure of bankruptcy. In this edition of his book, the Z-Score is discussed in Chapter 11: "Corporate Credit Scoring --Insolvency Risk Models." The Z-Score was instrumental in predicting the bankruptcy of several companies, including General Motors, Sharper Image, Circuit City and Six Flags. Anyone interested in utilizing the Z-Score can do so with this calculator I developed.

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations by Adam SmithThis lengthy treatise, written by the Scottish philosopher and founder of the classical school of economic thought, was published in 1776 at the time of the American Revolution. Smith espouses the pursuit of self-interest and discusses the concept of the "invisible hand," which guides the production of products for the benefit of personal gain.

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes This work is the basis for the Keynesian school of modern economic thought: Aggregate demand, which is the sum of consumption and investment, is the driving force of economic activity for a nation. For many decades, the Keynesian model of macroeconomics was the fundamental driver of economic policy. While Keynesian economics has lost favor over the last few decades, the recent global financial crisis and resultant recession has given it a new life. With an understanding of Keynes and his work, you can better understand how the massive federal stimulus plan has helped the economy as a whole or an individual company such as Wal-Mart .

Irrational Exuberance by Robert Shiller Shiller is another former professor of mine, this time during my undergraduate years at the Wharton School of Business. This book, named for Alan Greenspan's "irrational exuberance" quote, presented arguments warning of the stock market/technology bubble that was created in the late 1990s and burst in the early part of this century. Later on, and included in the second edition of this book, Shiller also used similar arguments to warn of the housing bubble. Shiller's book sheds light on such things as why Time Warner's investment in America Online is a fraction of its original purchase price or how Beazer Homes went from a moneymaker to money-loser.

Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer This is the one piece of fiction in this year's reading list. Originally published in 1979, Kane and Able is the story of a William Kane, an American from a wealthy family, and Abel Rosnovski, a poor immigrant from Poland. The story details the rags-to-riches story of Abel and the capitalistic twists and turns as the two characters cross paths. It is definitely an entertaining page-turner.

Now I've made my recommendations for the year. If you have any favorites of your own, please let me know, and I will try to pick up a copy for myself.

-- Written by Scott Rothbort in Millburn, N.J.

At the time of publication, Rothbort had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions can change at any time.

Scott Rothbort has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. In 2002, Rothbort founded LakeView Asset Management, LLC, a registered investment advisor based in Millburn, N.J., which offers customized individually managed separate accounts, including proprietary long/short strategies to its high net worth clientele. He also is the founder and manager of the social networking educational Web site


Immediately prior to that, Rothbort worked at Merrill Lynch for 10 years, where he was instrumental in building the global equity derivative business and managed the global equity swap business from its inception. Rothbort previously held international assignments in Tokyo, Hong Kong and London while working for Morgan Stanley and County NatWest Securities.

Rothbort holds an MBA in finance and international business from the Stern School of Business of New York University and a BS in economics and accounting from the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Term Professor of Finance and the Chief Market Strategist for the Stillman School of Business of Seton Hall University.

For more information about Scott Rothbort and LakeView Asset Management, LLC, visit the company's Web site at

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