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Weekend reading: Christmas crackers

Weekend reading

Ten money and investing books I read (or re-read) in 2010, followed by the best of the Web.

When I was growing up, bank runs, financial meltdowns, and deep recessions were something you read about in old library books.

More recently, we’ve read (and written) about them as they’ve happened!

On that note, here are ten canapes-sized reviews of relevant books I read in 2010 (with Amazon UK links) that are worth adding to your Christmas stocking, especially if Santa has just given you socks again:

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
Michael Lewis’ tale is biased and simplified to glorify the hedge fund mavericks who bet against the US housing bubble, but it’s gripping and funny stuff.

Fool’s Gold: How Unrestrained Greed Corrupted a Dream
Former FT journalist Gillian Tett is strong on the relatively respectable origins of the structured products that blew up in the US sub-prime crisis.

Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies
A couple of years old now, but my Peak Oil pals tell me it’s still the best book to read on what I’ve started calling the ‘energy deleveraging’ to come.

More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the New Elite
Superbly readable history of the hedge fund industry and its leading lights. Barely touches on survivorship bias – but does show how different funds that find market inefficiencies can get superior returns for years.

The Warren Buffetts Next Door: The Greatest Investors You’ve Never Heard of
Ten profiles of the private investor equivalents of the hedgies in More Money Than God. Porn for share traders (but don’t tell The Accumulator you read it!)

The Zulu Principle: Making Extraordinary Profits from Ordinary Shares
The old but classic book for investors in British growth shares. Author Jim Slater’s son is the top fund manager of 2010 through following his dad’s principles (which could be a contrary indicator for 2011, of course).

How to Get Rich
Another oldie, I re-read Felix Dennis’ incomparably frank guide to being loaded after lending it to a friend who later said it changed his life. Persuaded me I don’t care enough about money to be filthy rich, but it’s still an eye-opening read.

Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment
This one is from 2005! Another re-read, I dusted down my copy after again buying one for a (different) friend and getting drawn in. Dry but persuasive stuff on passive investing from the brainy Ivy League fund manager.

How to Make Money Trading
Bought on a whim after watching the dull-as-dishwater Million Dollar Traders on BBC2 that it’s tied with. Contains nothing that will stop you thinking winning at short-term trading isn’t just luck. Good to know the enemy, but read the Buffett bio The Snowball if you’ve only got time for one active investor.

The Road
Not a financial book, but Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic classic makes you realise just how rich most of us Westerners are. Devour it before you die.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Right, I’m staying with my extended family in the countryside this Christmas – and I’m on turkey cooking duty – so I’ll just end by thanking you for reading Monevator in 2010, and wishing you a happy Christmas.

It’s a honest-to-goodness White Christmas here, after a lifetime of lying snow-strewn Christmas cards. Here’s to other pleasant surprises in 2011!

From the money blogs

On the Money Maven Network

From the mainstream financial media

  • The U-bend of happiness –The Economist
  • Return of the coupon clippers – The Economist
  • Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings – ONS
  • Laugh till I lachrymate – Motley Fool
  • What to do if you win the lottery – BBC
  • Beijing’s house price fury goes viral – FT
  • BoE in dilemma as prices gain – FT
  • Key investment themes for 2011 – FT
  • We’ll see 5% interest rates again – Telegraph
  • Peer-to-peer saving sites compared – Telegraph
  • FTSE 100 touches 6,000 for first time 30 months – Telegraph
  • Dire with-profits bonds return 1.7% p.a. – Telegraph
  • Ten property hot spots for 2011 – Independent
  • Britons save less than one year ago – Independent

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{ 5 comments… add one and remember nothing here is personal advice }
  • 1 Alex December 25, 2010, 11:35 am

    1. Can I claim the prize for the individual sad enough to post a response on Xmas Day?

    2. But isn’t Gillian Tett still very much at the ‘FT’? Its website currently describes her as: “US managing editor and an assistant editor of the ‘Financial Times’”.

  • 2 Marc December 25, 2010, 2:57 pm

    Have a great Christmas TA & TI!

    And all readers, naturally 😉

  • 3 Investor Junkie December 26, 2010, 1:34 am

    Hey thanks for the mention and Merry Xmas!
    .-= Investor Junkie on: 2011 Dividend Aristocrats =-.

  • 4 Financial Samurai December 26, 2010, 2:12 pm

    Merry Christmas! Will you be writing a review or goals for 2011? Cheers, Sam
    .-= Financial Samurai on: Financial Samurai 2010 Year In Review =-.

  • 5 The Investor December 26, 2010, 2:51 pm

    @Sam – Was wondering that today. I don’t do goals posts much, but I might make an exception this year.

    The trouble is most of my goals are more non-financial for 2011. Holidays, learning new skils — I think that’s what needs more work in my life. Money I have under control. 😉

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