Reblog: 9 books about financial markets you really should read

Earlier this week I wrote (again) about the importance of understanding financial market history. This prompted a few people to ask for some of my favourite books on the topic. Here goes:

Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation

If I had to pick just one book to read on the topic, this would be the one. Edward Chancellor weaves history, psychology, and economics beautifully in what is also one of the better-named finance books I’ve come across.

The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned From the Market’s Perfect Storm

The story behind the banking crisis most people probably aren’t familiar with. This book shows how primitive the financial markets were before banking regulations and the Fed came around.

The Great Depression: A Diary

This first-person account of what life was like during the Great Depression is not only a lesson in financial market history but also how difficult that period in history was for those living through it. I can’t recommend this one enough.

Stocks for the Long Run: The Definitive Guide to Financial Market Returns & Long-Term Investment Strategies

I’m always a little sceptical about how much faith we can put into market data from the late-1800s or early-1900s, but this book does a masterful job of going way, way back to show how the various markets have performed over the really long haul.

More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite

A book about the history of hedge funds, but it plays out over the decades and gives some great background on what it was like to invest in various market environments over the years and how things have evolved for investors.

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

The definitive book about the Great Financial Crisis and subprime mortgage meltdown and one of the best non-fiction books of the past decade. “Liar’s Poker” by Michael Lewis is also a great account of what Wall Street was like in the 1980s.

A Short History of Financial Euphoria

Howard Marks recommended this one. John Kenneth Galbraith is really good and it’s a quick read on the history of bubbles.

Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk

In the conversation for best investment books ever written.

Bull: A History of Boom and Bust, 1982-2004

One of the best investment books I’ve read in some time about one of the biggest stock market booms ever.

Dow 36,000…ok just kidding.

I asked a few friends — Michael Batnick, Dan Egan, Meb Faber and Tadas Viskanta — for their list and while we overlapped on many choices, here are some I missed:

The Go-Go Years

When Genius Failed

The Money Game

Where Are the Customers’ Yachts?

The Great Crash

The Snowball

An Engine, Not a Camera

Debt, the First 5,000 Years

The Myth of the Rational Market

Birth of Plenty

Financial Market History

The History of the United States in Five Crashes

Triumph of the Optimists

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

The original post appears on and is authored by Ben Carlson, the author of the blog “A Wealth of Common Sense”. It is available here.

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