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Weekend reading: The best investing books to buy for Christmas presents

Weekend reading

Plus some good reads from around the Web.

I still give books for Christmas, even if the rest of the world has decided it’s better to try to move all the tat in China here piecemeal via the medium of Beijing-factory-to-UK-landfill.

Surprisingly, I’ve found books about investing and money are presents that tend to be more remembered and mentioned again in the years to come.

Unlike most Christmas presents, financial books can make a positive impact on someone’s life. I’ve seen people changed through the judicious deployment of a money tome, like the old Motley Fool books or the curate’s egg that is Rich Dad.

And while they’re certainly not the sexiest present anyone will receive this Christmas, I’ve noticed people can be strangely gratified when given the right book – even before their financial makeover is underway.

I’d guess it’s because they think you’re taking them seriously in a way that a six-pack of Bart Simpson socks or a bit of sexy lingerie can’t really convey.

Great books for Christmas gifts

Here are some ideas if you want to bask in the kind of quixotic gratefulness that comes my way every December.

They’re not necessarily the very newest books – though none bar Merryn Somerset-Webb’s much-loved one for women is more than a couple of years old – but they’re all very good.

Note: With these various gender-based suggestions, I’m merely following the traditional schtick of Yuletide scribblers down the ages. Obviously anyone is free to read anything they like, and good luck to you.

Best for mothers

Love Is Not Enough: A Smart Woman’s Guide to Money

Best for fathers

The Long and the Short of it: A Guide for Normally Intelligent People

Best for grandparents

FT Guide to Pensions and Wealth in Retirement

Best for daughters

Mrs Moneypenny’s Careers Advice for Ambitious Women

Best for sons

You Say Tomayto: Contrarian Investing in Bitesize Pieces

Best for tiny kids

The Little Prince [An esoteric choice. Nothing to do with money… in theory]

Best for whiz kid 20-somethings

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

Best for passive investors

Smarter Investing: Simpler Decisions for Better Results

Best for value investors

The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor

Best for traders

The Naked Trader: How Anyone Can Make Money Trading Shares

Best for wannabee Warren Buffetts

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

Best for would-be entrepreneurs

How to Get Rich

Best for cash-strapped cousins

Your Money or Your Life: A Practical Guide

Best for cynics

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

What a treat it’d be to receive that little library for Christmas!

I think I’ll console myself by hitting the Kindle on my own behalf…

From the blogs

Making good use of the things that we find…

Passive investing

Active investing

Other articles

Product of the week: The Co-Operative Bank has added a 2.79% five-year fixed rate mortgage to its product range. ThisIsMoney says it’s a record low rate. You’ll need a 40% deposit and there’s a £999 fee.

Mainstream media money

Note: Some links are to Google search results – these enable you to click through to read without you being a paid subscriber of the site in question.

Passive investing

  • Swedroe: Zero expense ratio ETFs are inevitable – Index Universe
  • Swedroe: Excuses pile up for active managers’ failures – Moneywatch

Active investing

  • Recent big director buys – The Motley Fool
  • Greece’s stock market is beating China’s – The Atlantic
  • 10 new money purchases by canny stock pickers – Morningstar
  • How to invest in silver [Google result: Click the FT link]FT
  • Merryn: Never forget the elephants don’t gallop [Google result]FT

Other stuff worth reading

  • Learning to love volatility: Nassim Taleb – Wall Street Journal
  • 10 things you won’t hear mutual fund companies say – Marketwatch
  • Ferri: 3 keys to successful investing [Video]Morningstar
  • The risks of retail bonds – The Guardian
  • The population conundrum [Google results: Click FT link]FT

Book of the week: How about a good investing book to give at Christmas?

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{ 14 comments… add one }
  • 1 Mark November 24, 2012, 12:19 pm

    “The Richest Man in Babylon” an excellent book for friends!

  • 2 john November 24, 2012, 7:00 pm

    Flew through Tim Hale’s ‘Smarter Investing’.
    Taking a little bit longer with ‘The Long and The Short of It’.
    Got from the local library where ironically I’ve had a few extra financial lessons after being overdue!

  • 3 Curious-Sarah November 25, 2012, 12:15 pm

    I’ve only read one of these books. The (excellent) Tim Hale book (read via this website!) I’d like to think I could read the “whiz kids” selection but I feel today more like the “grandparents” choice (hangover!)

  • 4 Rob November 25, 2012, 1:42 pm

    Nate Silver, The Signal and the Noise, the Art of Prediction

  • 5 The Investor November 25, 2012, 5:03 pm

    @Rob — Good shout, been reading about how he predicted the US elections properly. Will try to check it out.

    @Sarah — So much fun ahead!

  • 6 Drew @ Objective Wealth November 25, 2012, 5:54 pm

    ‘Babylon’ is a great book to give as a gift, some years ago I bought it for myself and it plain shamed me into taking financial action.

  • 7 Surio November 26, 2012, 7:23 am

    From what I understand, Richest man in Babylon is now public domain and can be had for free 🙂 Yay!

    Merry Christmas.

  • 8 Mike November 26, 2012, 10:52 am

    I second ‘The Long and the Short of It’ – it pulls no punches and is quite a dense read, but it gets a lot clearer the second time around.
    I also quite liked ‘Rich Dad’ which is a different animal altogether but has an equally simple message at its core.

  • 9 Luke November 26, 2012, 11:11 am

    I don’t think that the book is public domain in the UK – where copyright extends to life of the author + 70 years (the legislation changed in the 90s). Due to the wonders of international treaties etc., this probably still applies, even though the author wasn’t British.

    At £3 or so for a copy, I’d argue that it’s well worth having a paper copy of this gem, regardless.

  • 10 ermine November 26, 2012, 12:11 pm

    @Surio thanks for the gift, Christmas came early this year 😉 I hadn’t read that, though I am sure my Dad told me a similar story many years ago.

  • 11 Mark November 26, 2012, 2:49 pm

    I have bought the “Richest Man In Babylon” three times for myself but keep giving it away after reading it again! 🙂

  • 12 Steve November 26, 2012, 5:03 pm

    I also agree that “The Richest Man in Babylon” is a great read, especially for those who haven’t yet dipped their toes in managing their own finances.
    Likewise, Tim Hale’s ‘Smarter Investing’ and John Kay’s ‘The Long and The Short of It’.
    May I suggest another book that I found not only easy reading but very useful?
    Richard Ferri: “All about Asset Allocation”. It was certainly an eye opener for me!


  • 13 DoktorMing November 26, 2012, 8:16 pm

    I enjoyed Tim Hale’s book but the most interesting investment book I’ve read is ‘The Intelligent Investor’ by Ben Graham.

  • 14 john November 30, 2012, 9:12 am

    Some reading you might like. What actually happened with equities and the bond markets in the 1980s and 1990s? http://econ.st/115lDzl

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