CFA CFA General What are the best Finance books for keeping your skills sharp

What are the best Finance books for keeping your skills sharp

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    • WesMantooth
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      Now that I don’t have to study anymore and since I don’t work in a pure finance role yet, I’m looking for the best casual reads to keep my finance knowledge up. Any suggestions???  

    • LeChiffre
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      The Intelligent Investor’ by Ben Graham, anything by him, really.

    • rsparks
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      To be honest, I reread some CFA readings, but mainly focus on Youtube a lot. Recently looked at hedonic pricing models, kelly’s criterion for efficient capital allocation and brownian motion. 

      IF you want a book to hold, the intelligent investor I cannot agree with more. You could also look at common stocks and uncommon profits and another one, not quite sure if i can remember the title, “irrational exuberance” by shiller. I did economics at uni and the author was pretty entertaining. 

      I’m tending to read a bit of the top management books if you wanted to look there as well like Good to Great. They don’t drain your brain like some of the finance books and easy to read on public transport.

      just my 2cents

    • christine
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      We’ve just published an article on this, focusing on some casual but educational books: The Essential CFA Candidate Reading List

    • ensenmason
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      I thought everybody had the opposite problem – too much on the reading wish list and not enough time.  Investing and finance probably the most written about subject.   There is so much good stuff out there. My favorite author is Jack Schwager.  He has several book where he interviews the best in various roles and he’s a very competent finance guy himself, so he explains concepts where necessary.

    • hairyfairy
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      A bit out of topic, but I just wanted to share my favourite passage from one of the more entertaining finance-related books, Liar’s Poker:

      I
      want to be an investment banker. Lehman Brothers is the best. I want to be
      rich.
      On the appointed day, at the appointed hour, I rubbed two sweaty palms
      together outside the interview chamber and tried to think only pure thoughts
      (half-truths), such as these. I did a quick equipment check, like an astronaut
      preparing for lift-off. My strengths: I was an overachiever, a team player, and
      a people person, whatever that meant. My weaknesses: I worked too hard and
      tended to move too fast for the organizations I joined.

      My
      name was called. Lehman interviewed in pairs. I wasn’t sure I stood much of a
      chance against one of these people, much less two.

      Good
      news. Lehman had sent to Princeton one man and one woman. I didn’t know the
      man. But the woman was a Princeton graduate, an old friend I hadn’t expected to
      see. Perhaps I would survive.

      Bad
      news. As I walked into the cubicle, she didn’t smile or otherwise indicate that
      she knew me. She later told me that such behavior is unprofessional. We shook
      hands, and she was about as chummy as a boxer before a fight. She then retired
      to her corner of the room, as if waiting for the bell to ring. She sat silently
      in her blue suit and little bow tie. Her accomplice, a square-shouldered young
      man of perhaps twenty-two, held a copy of my resume.

      Between
      the two of them they had two years of investment banking experience. The
      greatest absurdity of the college investment banking interview was the people
      the investment banks sent to conduct them. Many of them hadn’t worked on Wall
      Street for more than a year, but they had acquired Wall Street personas. One of
      their favorite words was professional. Sitting stiffly, shaking firmly,
      speaking crisply, and sipping a glass of ice water were professional. Laughing
      and scratching your armpits were not. My friend and her accomplice were exhibit
      number one in the case against becoming a professional. One year on Wall Street
      and they had been transmogrified. Seven months earlier my friend could be seen
      on campus wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt that said dumb things. She drank
      more beer than was healthy for her. She had been, in other words, a fairly
      typical student. Now she was a bit player in my Orwellian nightmare.

      The
      young man took the seat behind the cold metal desk and began to fire questions
      at me. Perhaps the best way to describe our encounter is to recount, as best as
      memory will allow, what passed for our conversation:

      SQUARE
      YOUNG MAN: Why don’t you explain to me the difference between commercial
      banking and investment banking?
      ME
      (making my first mistake by neglecting to seize the chance to praise investment
      bankers and heap ridicule on the short work hours and Lilliputian ambition of
      commercial bankers): Investment bankers underwrite securities. You know, stocks
      and bonds. Commercial bankers just make loans.

      SQUARE
      YOUNG MAN: I see you majored in art history. Why? Aren’t you worried about
      getting a job?
      ME
      (clinging to the party line of the Princeton art history department): Well, art
      history interested me most, and the department here is superb. Since Princeton
      doesn’t offer any vocational training, I don’t believe that my choice of
      concentration will make much difference in finding a job.

      SQUARE
      YOUNG MAN: Do you know the size of U.S. GNP?

      ME:
      I’m not sure. Isn’t it about five hundred billion dollars?

      SQUARE
      YOUNG MAN (casts a meaningful glance at the woman who I thought was my friend):
      More like three trillion. You know we interview hundreds of people for each
      position. You’re up against a lot of economics majors who know their stuff. Why
      do you want to be an investment banker?

      ME
      (obviously, the honest answer was that I didn’t know. That was unacceptable.
      After a waffle or two, I gave him what I figured he wanted to hear): Well, really,
      when you get right down to it, I want to make money.
      SQUARE
      YOUNG MAN: That’s not a good reason. You work long hours in this job, and you
      have to be motivated by more than just money. It’s true, our compensation is in
      line with our contribution. But frankly, we try to discourage people from our
      business who are too interested in money. That’s all.

      That’s
      all?
      The words ring in my ears. Before I could stop it from happening, I was
      standing outside the cubicle in a cold sweat listening to the next candidate
      being grilled. Never for a moment did I doubt the acceptability to an
      investment banker of a professed love of money. I had thought that investment
      bankers made money for a living, the way Ford made cars. Even if analysts were
      not paid as well as the older investment bankers, I had thought they were meant
      to be at least a tiny bit greedy. Why did the square young man from Lehman take
      offense at the suggestion? A friend who eventually won a job with Lehman
      Brothers later explained. “It’s taboo,” he said. “When they ask
      you why you want to be an investment banker, you’re supposed to talk about the
      challenges, and the thrill of doing deals, and the excitement of working with
      such high-caliber people, but never, ever mention money.”

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