I’ve completed William Bernstein’s recommended reading from his eBook, If You Can.
The reading humbled me. With a 1st Class degree in Econ / Finance, and 20 years experience in international investing, I was left feeling intellectually arrogant and ignorant. Each of these books challenged my beliefs while explaining financial history.
I’d recommend making these books compulsory reading for your advisers and key family members.
Good people can be found in the field of finance. I appreciate the significant time that each of the authors spent to educate willing readers.
The Millionaire Next Door – introduces the key concepts of wealth, saving, investment and taxes
Your Money & Your Brain – a solid summary of the latest on behavioral psychology as it relates to finance and investment – why I will always fool myself
The Great Depression: A Diary – an inside look at what it is like for a conservative, professional family to live through a depression – 2008-2010 was easy compared to the 1930s – could your family survive on minimal income for multiple years?
All About Asset Allocation – the early chapters were the most useful – simple explanations of the role that volatility plays within a portfolio – reading this book, you’ll be tempted to seek the perfect portfolio mix – my decision has been to keep it simple
Common Sense About Mutual Funds – a wealth of information – Bogle picks apart the industry by making his case for simple and low-cost investing – the book makes one wonder how brokers and financial advisers can sleep at night – readers will learn about the industry structure that silently fleeces its customers
Side Note: if you worked in finance from 1980 to 2000 be sure to adjust your brilliance for volatility and leverage using Bogle’s updated charts. We had one heck of a tailwind. Humbling!
How A Second Grader Beats Wall Street – don’t be fooled by the child-like title – this book will save your family tens of thousands of dollars in fees and taxes
Devil Take the Hindmost – a history of financial speculation – hedge funds in the 1860s & derivatives in the 1600s (!) – as Taleb says, we’re never going to get rid of greed, the challenge is to build the system so the greedy don’t inflict suffering on the good
To Bernstein’s list, I’ll add Estate & Trust Administration for Dummies – a good primer to get you thinking outside of your own self interest.
If you are in an advisory, or trustee, relationship then tick off one book per meeting with your professional team.
Read a book, take notes and discuss how the book impacts your family (or your firm).
Challenge yourself with exposure to the best ideas available.
Studying new approaches can be painful but we all benefit from a bit of cognitive dissonance.