December 20, 2013

Bogle’s 6 Best Books for Investors

What do investing gurus read when they need some guidance?

Vanguard founder John Bogle (Photo: Bloomberg) Vanguard founder John Bogle (Photo: Bloomberg)

When we started wondering about which books the top investors recommend, we naturally turned first to Warren Buffett.

Now we take a look at what Vanguard founder, index fund evangelist and éminence grise Jack Bogle lists as his must-read tomes on investing. (There's a new book by/on Bogle himself, The Man in the Arena, edited by Knut Rostad.)

The six books he favors, according to a list he shared with Business Insider, lean heavily to the strategy and philosophy of investing. We’ve included a look at what Amazon.com readers are saying.

Check out Bogle’s 6 Best Books for Investors:

"The Intelligent Investor" by Benjamin Graham

1. “The Intelligent Investor”

The Tale: Bogle and Buffett both cited Benjamin Graham’s 1949 book, focused on his strategy of loss minimization over profit maximization. Buffett wrote a preface and appendix to the 2006 edition.

Amazon Rating: 271 of 418 give it 5 stars, 10 give it 1

Cogent Customer Quote: “This is a book about investment philosophy (not [a] ‘how to make million’ book, not [a] ‘how to analyze stock’ book, not [a] 'how to pick stock' book)." – Larry Vu

"A Random Walk Down Wall Street" by Burton G. Malkiel

2. “A Random Walk Down Wall Street”

The Tale: Princeton alumnus Bogle likes to playfully denigrate Yale and Harvard while promoting Princeton and its thinkers. But even Ivy League competitors would have a hard time arguing with Bogle's second pick, in which Princeton economist Burton Malkiel argues that Wall Street prices are random. Bogle says that helps “solidify the intellectual basis for my personal favorite investment, the index fund.”

Amazon Rating: 182 of 287 give it 5 stars, 25 give it 1

Cogent Customer Quote: “The book explodes the belief one can find the system that will make us all rich. It doesn't exist. The author gives good advice about not trying to figure out a system, just buy whole market index funds.” – Richard H. Elferste

"Unconventional Success" by David Swensen

3. Unconventional Success

The Tale: David Swensen laid out his influential roadmap for leading the Yale University endowment fund. Bogle says the lessons can apply to individual investors as well.

Amazon Rating: 58 of 113 give it 5 stars, 5 give it 1

Cogent Customer Quote: "I read this book before I was an investment advisor, have reread it since, and recommend it to my clients who want to understand how the stock market, and how investors, work." – Elizabeth Potts Weinstein

"The Four Pillars of Investing" by William Bernstein

4. “The Four Pillars of Investing”

The Tale: William Bernstein offers an approach to investing based on common sense.

Amazon Rating: 81 of 122 give it 5 stars, 4 give it 1

Cogent Customer Quote: “I never thought I would say that I had a hard time putting down a book on finance, but I am mesmerized by this one…. this book clearly states a lot of cold, hard truths about the market that the average person may have a hard time believing.” – A Customer

Extrordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay

5. “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”

The Tale: Charles Mackay’s look at “fashionable fantasies,” published in 1841, deconstructed delusions including bubbles like the Dutch tulip mania and that of the South Sea Co.

Amazon Rating: 13 of 21 give 5 stars; zero give it 1

Cogent Customer Quote: “If you have ever wondered about the madness of crowds and how boom and busts keep happening time and time again, then read this.” ­ Colin Myles

"The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing," by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBoeuf

6. “The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing”

The Tale: Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBoeuf authored this book that explains the investors who have embraced Bogle’s approach.

Amazon Rating: 103 of 125 give it 5 stars, 1 gives it 1 star

Cogent Customer Quote: “It's an excellent book for new investors, longtime investors who want to invest with more confidence, and young adults just heading out into the world. I wish I'd had been given the advice in this book years ago.” – K.A. Mills

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