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Essential Finance-Related Books

Updated: Aug 12, 2019

I have listed a number of books below that I strongly recommend to any aspiring finance professionals. These will help you to understand the world of finance, get you up to speed with how the financial industry has changed over time and, more importantly, give you a good reason to pick up a book again.

Barbarians at the Gates (1989): Recounts the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco (the largest ever LBO at the time), written by investigative journalists Bryan Burrough and John Helyar. The book is based upon a series of articles written by the authors for The Wall Street Journal. It is widely considered as one of the finest, most compelling accounts of what happened to corporate America and Wall Street in the 1980's, shaping the future for corporate raiders at the time and paving the way for acquisition-fuelled takeovers using high-yield debt. Provides an entertaining insight into the takeover process.

Tags: Corporate Raider, Private Equity, Investment Banking.

Liar's Poker (1989): A non-fiction, semi-autobiographical book by Michael Lewis describing the author's experiences as a bond salesman on Wall Street during the late 1980s. The book captures an important period in the history of Wall Street, with two important figures in that history featured prominently in the text: the head of Salomon Brothers' mortgage department Lewis Ranieri (pioneer of the mortgage-backed security) and the firm's CEO John Gutfreund. The book mainly focuses on the mortgage bond department whose fortune closely traced the speculative bubble in various mortgage backed securities in the 80s.

Tags: Bond Trading, Investment Banking.

Black Edge (2017): This book recounts the events of fund manager Steve Cohen at S.A.C. Capital and the allegations of trading on inside information against him by the SEC. Black Edge lays out the depth of corruption that prevails on Wall Street and the lucrative incentives to hedge funds in pursuing such illegal activities. It helps to understand what hedge funds really are and what they do, how they have changed over time and the level of risk entailed as part of their ongoing trading operations. The book was the inspiration behind the HBO series 'Billions'.

Tags: Hedge Funds, Sales & Trading, Financial Crime.

The Intelligent Investor (1949): The Godfather of all investing books written by Warren Buffet's teacher and mentor, the Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham offers a crash course on the fundamentals of 'value investing'. Praising long-term thinking, company analysis and calculated risk-taking while dispelling common misconceptions of financial markets and dismissing speculation, this book is a thorough guide to all investors. Introducing concepts such as portfolio diversification, compound interest and index investing presents the foundation of sensible and rational investing.

Tags: Investing, Trading, Financial Markets.