Here are 10 gift ideas for an investor, or someone who likes to invest. Gifts for investors are often inexpensive and all investors can use more knowledge. Below, is an updated version of last year’s list of books that would be suitable as gifts, for a range of investors from beginners, stock investors, real estate investors, etc. Please note that the books are in no particular order. Some books that were mentioned last year do not appear on the list of 10 this year but are still great choices.
1. The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel
Benjamin Graham (Author), Jason Zweig (Author), Warren E. Buffett (Collaborator)
The classic text by Warren Buffett’s mentor at Columbia University, Benjamin Graham, is still relevant today as it was decades ago. It details the underlying principles and fundamentals that Warren Buffett and other successful classmates use (Walter J Schloss, Tweedy Browne, Bill Ruane, etc). It is one of the books that Buffett on many occasions, explicitly state investors should read and re-read. Graham was an American economist, professional investor, and university professor, who is considered the father of Value Investing.
Benjamin Graham gives the investor an understanding of investment risk, investor psychology, the difference between price & value, intrinsic value, margin of safety, effect of inflation, defensive vs active investors, bonds vs stocks, and the importance of economic history. It is not very technical and is a very easy read. But it contains very important information, and is regarded as one of the best investment books ever written. Although it mainly discusses issues pertaining to stock investing, the principles can be applied to other investments and businesses (including real estate). This book is not an all encompassing one, but helps an investor to build a solid foundation where they could start learning more. It was an integral part of my own development as an investor. If there was one book that improved my investor aptitude, this would have been it.
2. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life
Alice Schroeder (Author)
The book details the life of Warren Buffett from childhood to the present day. Many would argue that the book talks too much about his personal life and not enough about his specific investment holdings. However, I found that because his personal life is discussed, it provides insight to many of the decisions and experiences that led to his investments. It reveals his thoughts & feelings behind his investments & businesses, showing how they shaped one of the greatest investors of all time. Schroeder also discusses his relationships with other people and how they affected him.
This is a priceless book for investors and businessmen, who not only want to know about his investments, but the reasons behind why he decided to make them! It became my favorite investment book of all time, that has allowed me to make more Buffett minded investment decisions. When I ask myself “what would Buffett do in such a situation”, I would be able to come up with a likely answer! The biography has been endorsed and recommended by Buffett.
3. The Warren Buffett Way
Robert G. Hagstrom (Author), Ken Fisher (Introduction), Bill Miller (Foreword)
Hagstorm does a good job in laying out the general methodology (strategies & techniques) used by Buffett to select and evaluate investments. He uses many of Buffett’s famous investments such as Coca-Cola, as examples to illustrate the ease and success of his method. In a simple and descriptive manner, he details the major influencing philosophies of Benjamin Graham and Philip Fisher. This is also one of the few books Buffett endorses.
4. Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul
Howard Schultz (Author), Joanne Gordon (Author)
Eight years after Howard Schultz stepped down from the CEO position to become president & chairman, he decided to return as the CEO to save the company from falling prey to intense competition during the financial crisis of 2008.
The book candidly details his personal take on how Starbucks regained its competitive edge, profitability, and fought off , without losing sight of its identity. Schultz gives a very humble and honest account of how the company struggled, the conflicts that rose, problems of over-expansion, and his difficulties, failures, and limitations. The book is a great for investors and businessmen with plenty of invaluable lessons.
5. Steve Jobs
Walter Isaacson (Author)
This biography is one of the most popular business and bio books of 2011. I have not personally read the book yet, but from its description, author Walter Isaacson covers Jobs’ youth, focus and vision for his products, to his present day success. Steve Jobs is undoubtedly one of the world’s most famous business icons who has transformed an industry. Although many feel the book is inadequate or incomplete, I would not discount it and still consider that it may be a very valuable business read.
6. American Economic History (8th Edition) (Pearson Series in Economics)
Jonathan Hughes (Author), Louis Cain (Author)
The importance of being knowledgeable about economic history was one Benjamin Graham’s lessons in the Intelligent Investor. It allows the investor to understand the cause & effect of different fiscal policies & financial decisions in various economic, political, and societal conditions. Understanding and being aware of economic history is absolutely priceless in helping to understand the present economy, as well as being able to capitalize on & prepare for the future.
Any book like this one will do, but this series is continually updated and the authors have done a good job with the coverage and detail, of the different economic eras and the impact conditions of those times had.
7. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Second Edition
Warren E. Buffett (Author), Lawrence A. Cunningham (Author, Editor)
This book contains a collection of letters, written by Warren Buffett to his Berkshire Hathaway shareholders over the past couple of decades. Buffett uses the letters to disseminate business & investment wisdom, which eventually became his main teaching platform. The letters are written in laymen terms, which can be easily understood by the majority of people without any formal education in business or finance.
A wide range of topics that would be useful to investors, businesses, and individuals are discussed. Topics include the economy, fiscal & monetary policy, various industries, trade, management, investor behaviour, and sound investment & business principles. His lessons have been timeless and remain relevant even today, making this a priceless collection!
8. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings (Wiley Investment Classics)
Philip A. Fisher (Author), Ken Fisher (Introduction)
This book contains the investment philosophies of Philip Fisher, one of the most influential investors of all time and a pioneer in growth investing. Fisher’s 15 point criteria for common stocks focus on management qualities & business characteristics, and includes discussion on management integrity, accounting, long-term outlook, openness to change, personnel policies, growth orientation, profit margins, return on capital, industry position, and proprietary products & services. The classic writings in this book have also been updated with a preface and introduction from Kenneth Fisher.
Philip Fisher has influenced many successful & famous investors, including Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett. Buffett had said that “he is 85% Graham and 15% Fisher”, although over time, Fisher’s influence has become significantly more pronounced. His principles are nothing spectacular, but have been studied, refined, and organized, in a manner that clearly defines successful companies. He also gives details and reasoning of the criteria and other principles. These principles are normally overlooked by most investors, but have been made recognizable by Fisher. I recommend both Benjamin Graham’s Intelligent Investor, and Fisher’s Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings together, to provide a solid foundation to investing.
9. Investing in Real Estate
Gary W. Eldred (Author)
This is a good practical guide on realistic opportunities in today’s market. It provides good coverage, with clear & detailed explanations, without much of the hype and glamour of other real estate books. The author describes different approaches & strategies to real estate, property improvements, financing, taxes, recognizing pitfalls & scams, etc.
It is not the last book you’ll read (as with most books) on the topic, but it is a solid book to get investors started with real estate. It is also a handy reference for more seasoned investors. Even though the book is geared towards the US market, the principles are still very relevant to real estate investing in Canada. Many Canadian books are not as detailed.
This book gives a general overview of real estate investing, with a Canadian perspective. The author gives practical steps (how-to) in an easy to follow manner. Topics covered include finding a property, assessments of investment potential, financing, the Canadian tax system and legal issues, managing property, as well as avoiding common pitfalls and scams.
It is a suitable book for novice investors as well as for those that have a bit more experience. Gray has compiled a solid book covering the fundamentals, and includes relevant Canadian issues. The information is also presented without the glamour and hype. Although it is not all encompassing, it is a good Canadian companion to more detailed American texts, such as Investing In Real Estate by Gary Eldred. For Canadians, I suggest purchasing an American book like the one by Eldred for more step by step details, together with this one for the Canadian content.
Two additional books, although not for investors, is for people who are beginners and are interested in personal finances & investing.
The Strangest Secret
Earl Nightengale (Author)
This is motivational reading, that helps to shape an investor’s mind. It isn’t geared specifically for investors, and can be useful for anyone. The secret that is discussed is not only wise, but transformational, once it is realized to be true! I highly recommend this life changing book to everyone!
Napoleon Hill (Author)
Think and Grow Rich is a personal development and self improvement book, that is often called a landmark book. The author has studied some of the most successful people of the industrial era including Rockefeller, Edison, Ford, and past presidents of the United States to find common characteristics and principles that lead to success.
Hill teaches you how to achieve success in both life and work, by shaping your attitude & mindset. He uses positive motivation, goal setting, as well as easy to understand steps, to progressively guide the reader to achieve success. This book is not only a recommended read for investors and business people, but to anyone who wants to become successful!
Robert T. Kiyosaki (Author), Sharon L. Lechter (Contributor)
This is the very first general investing and personal finance book I ever read, and it is one that initially changed my life. It is actually more of a personal finance book, that directs the reader towards investing. Kiyosaki discusses the real need for becoming an investor & businessman. The book provided the motivation and made me want to be come a serious investor, rather than one who simply dabbles in investments. After reading the book I embarked upon this path, and haven’t looked back.
Many people mock this book and the author, because he doesn’t discuss how to evaluate investments or select them. But he discusses something much more critical, which is how to become a successful investor. He lays out the characteristics, attitude, and mindset needed to become successful. Without establishing the mindset and attitude first, I would have never decided to take investing this far. Anyone who says the book useless and a waste of time, is likely not a very successful investor, as they are missing those very characteristics.
The book stresses the need for financial knowledge, and gives an overview of the importance of personal finance and budgeting, as first steps to investing. The author generally discusses different investments vehicles (including stocks and real estate), use of debt, and the concept of cash flow. It is important to note that the author does make investing in real estate, sound much easier and straightforward than it may be for some people (depending on individual situation, local market, etc). The author does not go into much details of other specific investments either. Investors should refer to other books written on specific investment vehicles (real estate, stocks, businesses, etc), for detailed techniques, approaches, methodologies, etc, related to those investments & businesses. However, it is a good book for people who know nothing about personal finances or investing.
DISCLOSURE: I will receive some referral commission for any books that are purchased from following my posted links. If you do decide to purchase some books, it would be greatly appreciated if it was done through following my product links.
Thanks & Happy Investing! — The Investment Blogger © 2011