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Investing Specialists

7 Great Investing Books for Beginners

Want to get smarter about investing? Check out some of these books.

Learning about financial concepts can feel intimidating. Even finding a starting spot can prove challenging. If you search for an investment term on the Internet, you often end up with an alphabet soup of complex financial terms.

A better entry point can be picking up a book by an expert who thoughtfully and sequentially presents and explains financial concepts and investing topics. Resources like these can help you realize that investing doesn’t have to be intimidating or complicated. Here are the best investing books for beginners that are great places to get started. (Prefer podcasts? This list has you covered.)

1. The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing, by Benjamin Graham Benjamin Graham is known as the father of value investing. He taught Warren Buffett, a modern investing icon. His book lays a framework for evaluating a business' worth based on financial value, not short-term trading techniques. In his book, Graham defined many important investing concepts such as "margin of safety," which is an important input in the Morningstar Rating for stocks.

The revised edition includes commentary from The Wall Street Journal's personal-finance columnist Jason Zweig that contextualizes and modernizes the text. With Zweig's commentary on every chapter, the book is north of 500 pages, which is a lot; however, it's a thorough introduction to investing. If getting through means skimming a few chapters, no judgment here.

2. A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing, by Burton Malkiel If Graham teaches you how to evaluate a business, Burton Malkiel explains why that might not help you. The Princeton economist argues that markets demonstrate efficiency because people are analyzing a company's value. (Efficiency means a company's share price reflects its current worth, and its price will change when new information alters a business' worth.) Malkiel recommends earning the market's return instead of beating it, which he compellingly argues is good enough.

The book was first published in 1973, but updated editions have added contemporary topics. These include exchange-traded funds and investment techniques like smart beta (which Morningstar prefers to call "strategic beta," but I digress).

3. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns, by John Bogle Investing icon John Bogle died on Jan. 16, 2019, but he left behind an impressive legacy: He revolutionized the mutual fund industry and was a tireless advocate for investors. He pioneered the index fund, which allowed investors to gain diversified exposure to the stock market at a very low cost, helping them keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets. His book explains why low fees significantly affect returns. It also addresses topics like mean-reversion and tax costs.

The text is accessible and shorter than many other investing books, and it includes quotes from many prominent financial figures who support Bogle's claims.

4. Morningstar's 30-Minute Money Solutions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Your Finances, by Christine Benz Even if you understand investing basics, you might struggle to incorporate them into your personal finances. Executing them in manageable steps can prove even more challenging.

That's the beauty of this book. Christine Benz, Morningstar's director of personal finance, breaks financial planning down into bite-size chunks that anyone can handle. You start with basics like assessing your net worth and creating an organization system, and you progressively conquer more advanced topics including retirement investing, college savings, and estate planning.

If you want to meld investment basics with tangible advice, this book is a great option.

5. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, by Warren Buffett Many consider Warren Buffett to be the best modern investor. He has risen to fame as Berkshire Hathaway's CEO, a position he's held for over 50 years. Berkshire Hathaway invests in high-quality businesses with strong growth potential. But Buffett only buys such companies when they're selling at an attractive margin of safety (hat tip to his mentor, Benjamin Graham). This makes Buffett an extreme stock-picker. Under his reign, Berkshire Hathaway's growth has far surpassed that of the S&P 500, a testament to the success of his approach.

Each year, Buffett writes an annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, and all of them are published on the company's website, so anyone can read them. Buffett writes in a straightforward style that is accessible to investors of all skill levels, and he's often very funny to boot. "The Essays of Warren Buffett" weaves together Buffett's essays into a sequential, cohesive book.

6. The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing, by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer, and Michael LeBoeuf The advice of The Vanguard Group founder John Bogle is echoed in this comprehensive guide for investors of all experience levels. Packaged into 23 short, light-hearted chapters, this book contains practical advice and explores many aspects of investing, from how to choose the financial lifestyle that fits you to how to balance your emotions to truly master your investments. This guide also provides external resources and other information for readers who want to dive deeper into any of the topics that the longtime Bogleheads cover. A second edition of the book was released in 2014 and includes updated chapters on tax law changes, 401(k) and 403(b) retirement plans, and backdoor Roth IRAs.

The Bogleheads are investing enthusiasts who honor Bogle and his advice, living by a philosophy to "emphasize starting early, living below one's means, regular saving, broad diversification, simplicity, and sticking to one's investment plan regardless of market conditions." Members actively discuss financial news and theory in a forum.

7. I Will Teach You to Be Rich, by Ramit Sethi Advisor and The New York Times best-selling author Ramit Sethi outlines a six-week program for 20- to 35-year-olds to learn the four pillars of personal finance--banking, saving, budgeting, and investing. Sethi shares his strategies for eliminating student loans and debt; finding a balance with saving and spending every month; and preparing to purchase a house or car. In the newest edition, he includes stories from readers and insights on the psychology of investing. Sethi strives to demonstrate to investors how to make investments that grow with them and their goals, and how they can spend their money on the things they want without feeling guilty.

Our Favorite Best Investing Books

Still have room on your shelf? Check out these titles.

Why Moats Matter: The Morningstar Approach to Stock Investing, by Heather Brilliant and Elizabeth Collins

If you’re looking for a breakdown on the legendary Warren Buffett’s economic moat concept, this is the book for you. With this guide, you will learn how to find great companies at equally great prices, gain a better understanding of Morningstar’s approach, and more.

Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman

This book looks at financial planning and decision-making from a psychological standpoint. How do our biases and faults influence our financial plans and judgment of the stock market? To find the answer, psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman explores how two systems work together. “System 1″ is fast, instinctive, and emotional, while “System 2″ is slow, deliberative, and logical.

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

This is another book that addresses how our emotions and past experiences affect how we make decisions, specifically financial ones, in our lives. Nassim Nicholas Taleb also focuses on randomness. He believes that humans look for or come up with explanations when there aren’t any, emphasizing that sometimes things just simply happen. Seeking these explanations then affects our financial decisions and can form certain habits.

The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor, by Howard Marks

Chairman and cofounder of Oaktree Capital Management Howard Marks shares his journey in investment management and uses his experiences to shine a light on what is going on in the stock market today. Marks challenges readers to resist following the crowd and instead invest with a more critical, contrarian approach.

The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham, Jason Zweig (Contributor), Warren Buffett (Contributor)

Benjamin Graham, known as the “Father of Value Investing,” writes about his strategies and thoughts on value investing and offers advice on how to achieve financial goals. His investment approach inspired one of today’s most renown investors, Warren Buffett. This is considered one of the most important books on value investing, and Graham reminds readers to not get caught up in every twist and turn in the stock market.

If You Can: How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly, by William Bernstein

In this particularly short, 50-page read, financial theorist and neurologist William Bernstein keeps finance simple. He teaches the very basics to help get young individuals off on the right foot with their investments and retirement plans.

Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties, by Beth Kobliner

If your financial to-dos include paying down debt, boosting your credit score, steering clear of financial missteps, and figuring out the world of personal finance in general, then this is the book for you. Beth Kobliner’s goal is to help investors in their twenties and thirties get their financial lives in order. In her words, “It’s time to get a financial life.”

The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness, by Morgan Housel

Money defines a lot in our financial lives, including what you can invest in and when you can retire, It also defines our behavior. In this collection of stories, Morgan Housel explores how money affects the way we make financial decisions from a psychological perspective.

Investing Success, by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox

The best thing about this former Long View Podcast guest’s book? Her advice is simple, straightforward, and works in any financial environment. No matter how familiar—or unfamiliar—you are with investing, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox will help you take the right steps to building a solid financial life.

Bonus: The Long View Podcast from Morningstar

Even after you make it through our list of the best investing books, you can still expand your investing horizons and look to the long term. Join hosts Christine Benz and Jeff Ptak each week on The Long View for in-depth conversations with leaders in investing and personal finance. All episodes are available on Morningstar.com and wherever you listen to podcasts.


This is an updated version of an article that originally published on May 14, 2020.

About Morningstar, Inc. Morningstar, Inc. is a leading provider of independent investment research in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The Company offers an extensive line of products and services for individual investors, financial advisors, asset managers and owners, retirement plan providers and sponsors, and institutional investors in the debt and private capital markets. Morningstar provides data and research insights on a wide range of investment offerings, including managed investment products, publicly listed companies, private capital markets, debt securities, and real-time global market data. Morningstar also offers investment management services through its investment advisory subsidiaries, with approximately $251 billion in assets under advisement and management as of June 30, 2021. The Company has operations in 29 countries. For more information, visit www.morningstar.com/company. Follow Morningstar on Twitter @MorningstarInc.