With that in mind, here is part one of my planned two-part introductory course in markets and investing -- perfect for the Apprenticed Investor:
Introduction to Investing
Any one of these books will give you insight into investing and the markets. All three will make an essential base for future studies:
Market Wizards: Interviews with Top Traders by Jack D. Schwager
Schwager interviewed market legends at the height of their success. What makes the book so worthwhile are the consistent themes that evolve from currency traders, mutual fund managers, commodities traders, hedge fund managers. Regardless of what is being traded, there are related motifs that run throughout. What results is not a "How to trade" book; instead, it is a book about "How to think about trading." This has become a seminal book on trading and investing. I actually re-read Market Wizards every five years -- it is that good. Wizards was so well received by the financial community that the same author put out The New Market Wizards. Whether you read one or both of these books, you will have knowledge of the market from both the trader's and the investor's perspectives.
The Investor's Anthology: Original Ideas from the Industry's Greatest Minds by Charles D. Ellis
Instead of interviewing famed investors, Ellis gathered their best writings into one collection. He ends up with a series of short chapters by luminaries of days gone by. There is something worthwhile on just about every page. This is another favorite worth rereading every few years.
Bull!: A History of the Boom, 1982-1999: What drove the Breakneck Market -- and What Every Investor Needs to Know About Financial Cycles by Maggie Mahar
The best book about the past 20 years of the market, bar none. Mahar does a terrific job weaving the long tale of how things eventually reached their penultimate top in 2000. She spares no one -- the government, the Fed, Wall Street, her colleagues in the financial press -- all are subject to a scathing critique for their complicity in inflating the bubble. Bull! reads like a historical work, despite the recentness of its subject. There are a surprising number of lessons buried in these pages that will reward the careful reader. I found it both fascinating and informative.