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12 Best Investment Books Recommended By Larry Swedroe

A list of the best investment books recommended by Larry Swedroe.

Q3 hedge fund letters, conference, scoops etc

Capital Ideas by Peter Bernstein

Capital Ideas traces the origins of modern Wall Street, from the pioneering work of early scholars and the development of new theories in risk, valuation, and investment returns, to the actual implementation of these theories in the real world of investment management. Bernstein brings to life a variety of brilliant academics who have contributed to modern investment theory over the years: Louis Bachelier, Harry Markowitz, William Sharpe, Fischer Black, Myron Scholes, Robert Merton, Franco Modigliani, and Merton Miller. Filled with in-depth insights and timeless advice, Capital Ideas reveals how the unique contributions of these talented individuals profoundly changed the practice of investment management as we know it today.

Against the Gods by Peter Bernstein

In this unique exploration of the role of risk in our society, Peter Bernstein argues that the notion of bringing risk under control is one of the central ideas that distinguishes modern times from the distant past. Against the Gods chronicles the remarkable intellectual adventure that liberated humanity from oracles and soothsayers by means of the powerful tools of risk management that are available to us today.

Investment Management by Peter Bernstein and Aswath Damodaran

Investment Management provides a powerful package of systematic principles and cutting-edge applications for intelligent-and profitable-investing in the new world of finance. Its authoritative approach to the investment process is indispensable for coming to grips with today’s rapidly changing investment environment-an environment that bombards the investor with an oversupply of information, with novel and complex strategies, with a globalized trading arena in a constant state of flux, and with radical innovations in the development of new financial instruments. Traditional investment methods no longer suffice for investors managing their own funds or for professionals entrusted with the wealth of individual and fiduciary institutions.

The Four Pillars of Investing by William Bernstein

“With relatively little effort, you can design and assemble an investment portfolio that, because of its wide diversification and minimal expenses, will prove superior to the most professionally managed accounts. Great intelligence and good luck are not required.”

William Bernstein’s commonsense approach to portfolio construction has served investors well during the past turbulent decade―and it’s what made The Four Pillars of Investing an instant classic when it was first published nearly a decade ago.

This down-to-earth book lays out in easy-to-understand prose the four essential topics that every investor must master: the relationship of risk and reward, the history of the market, the psychology of the investor and the market, and the folly of taking financial advice from investment salespeople.

Bernstein pulls back the curtain to reveal what really goes on in today’s financial industry as he outlines a simple program for building wealth while controlling risk. Straightforward in its presentation and generous in its real-life examples, The Four Pillars of Investing presents a no-nonsense discussion of:

  • The art and science of mixing different asset classes into an effective blend
  • The dangers of actively picking stocks, as opposed to investing in the whole market
  • Behavioral finance and how state of mind can adversely affect decision making
  • Reasons the mutual fund and brokerage industries, rather than your partners, are often your most direct competitors
  • Strategies for managing all of your assets―savings, 401(k)s, home equity―as one portfolio

Investing is not a destination. It is a journey, and along the way are stockbrokers, journalists, and mutual fund companies whose interests are diametrically opposed to yours.

More relevant today than ever, The Four Pillars of Investing shows you how to determine your own financial direction and assemble an investment program with the sole goal of building long-term wealth for you and your family.

Strategic Asset Allocation by John Campbell and Luis Viceira

Academic finance has had a remarkable impact on many financial services. Yet long-term investors have received curiously little guidance from academic financial economists.

Mean-variance analysis, developed almost fifty years ago, has provided a basic paradigm for portfolio choice. This approach usefully emphasizes the ability of diversification to reduce risk, but it ignores several critically important factors. Most notably, the analysis is static; it assumes that investors care only about risks to wealth one period ahead. However, many investors—-both individuals and institutions such as charitable foundations or universities—-seek to finance a stream of
consumption over a long lifetime. In addition, mean-variance analysis treats financial wealth in isolation from income. Long-term investors typically receive a stream of income and use it, along with financial wealth, to support their consumption.

At the theoretical level, it is well understood that the solution to a long-term portfolio choice problem can be very different from the solution to a short-term problem. Long-term investors care about intertemporal shocks to investment opportunities and labor income as well as shocks to wealth itself, and they may use financial assets to hedge their intertemporal risks. This should be important in practice because there is a great deal of empirical evidence that investment opportunities—-both
interest rates and risk premia on bonds and stocks—-vary through time. Yet this insight has had little influence on investment practice because it is hard to solve for optimal portfolios in intertemporal models.

This book seeks to develop the intertemporal approach into an empirical paradigm that can compete with the standard mean-variance analysis. The book shows that long-term inflation-indexed bonds are the riskless asset for long-term investors, it explains the conditions under which stocks are safer assets for long-term than for short-term investors, and it shows how labor income influences portfolio choice. These results shed new light on the rules of thumb used by financial planners. The book explains recent advances in both analytical and numerical methods, and shows how they can be used to understand the portfolio choice problems of long-term investors.

Quantitative Value by Wesley Gray and Tobias Carlisle

Legendary investment gurus Warren Buffett and Ed Thorp represent different ends of the investing spectrum: one a value investor, the other a quant. While Buffett and Thorp have conflicting philosophical approaches, they agree that the market is beatable. In Quantitative Value, Wesley Gray and Tobias Carlisle take the best aspects from the disciplines of value investing and quantitative investing and apply them to a completely unique and winning approach to stock selection. As the authors explain, the quantitative value strategy offers a superior way to invest: capture the benefits of a value investing philosophy without the behavioral errors associated with “stock picking.” To demystify their innovative approach, Gray and Carlisle outline the framework for quantitative value investing, including the four key elements the investment process:

1) How to avoid stocks that can cause a permanent loss of capital: Learn how to uncover financial statement manipulation, fraud, and financial distress.

2) How to find stocks with the highest quality: Learn how to find strong economic franchises, and robust financial strength. Gray and Carlisle look at long term returns on capital and assets, free cash flow, and a variety of metrics related to margins and general financial strength.

3) The secret to finding deeply undervalued stocks: Does the price-to-earnings ratio find undervalued stocks better than free cash flow? Gray and Carlisle examine the historical data on over 50 valuation ratios, including some unusual metrics, rare multi-year averages, and uncommon combinations.

4) The five signals sent by smart money: The book uncovers the signals sent by insiders, short sellers, shareholder activists and institutional investment managers.

After detailing the quantitative value investment process, Gray and Carlisle conduct a historical test of the resulting quantitative value model. Their conclusions are surprising and counter-intuitive.

The book includes a companion website that offers a monthly-updated screening tool to find stocks using the model outlined in the book, an updated back-testing tool, and a blog about recent developments in quantitative value investing. For any investor who wants to make the most of their time in today’s complex marketplace, they should look no further than Quantitative Value.

Quantitative Momentum by Wesley Gray and Jack Vogel

Quantitative Momentum brings momentum investing out of Wall Street and into the hands of individual investors. In his last book, Quantitative Value, author Wes Gray brought systematic value strategy from the hedge funds to the masses; in this book, he does the same for momentum investing, the system that has been shown to beat the market and regularly enriches the coffers of Wall Street’s most sophisticated investors. First, you’ll learn what momentum investing is not: it’s not ‘growth’ investing, nor is it an esoteric academic concept. You may have seen it used for asset allocation, but this book details the ways in which momentum stands on its own as a stock selection strategy, and gives you the expert insight you need to make it work for you. You’ll dig into its behavioral psychology roots, and discover the key tactics that are bringing both institutional and individual investors flocking into the momentum fold.

Systematic investment strategies always seem to look good on paper, but many fall down in practice. Momentum investing is one of the few systematic strategies with legs, withstanding the test of time and the rigor of academic investigation. This book provides invaluable guidance on constructing your own momentum strategy from the ground up.

  • Learn what momentum is and is not
  • Discover how momentum can beat the market
  • Take momentum beyond asset allocation into stock selection
  • Access the tools that ease DIY implementation

The large Wall Street hedge funds tend to portray themselves as the sophisticated elite, but momentum investing allows you to ‘borrow’ one of their top strategies to enrich your own portfolio. Quantitative Momentum is the individual investor’s guide to boosting market success with a robust momentum strategy.

Expected Returns by Antti Ilmanen

This comprehensive reference delivers a toolkit for harvesting market rewards from a wide range of investments. Written by a world-renowned industry expert, the reference discusses how to forecast returns under different parameters. Expected returns of major asset classes, investment strategies, and the effects of underlying risk factors such as growth, inflation, liquidity, and different risk perspectives, are also explained. Judging expected returns requires balancing historical returns with both theoretical considerations and current market conditions. Expected Returns provides extensive empirical evidence, surveys of risk-based and behavioral theories, and practical insights.

Adaptive Markets by Andrew Lo

Half of all Americans have money in the stock market, yet economists can’t agree on whether investors and markets are rational and efficient, as modern financial theory assumes, or irrational and inefficient, as behavioral economists believe―and as financial bubbles, crashes, and crises suggest. This is one of the biggest debates in economics and the value or futility of investment management and financial regulation hang on the outcome. In this groundbreaking book, Andrew Lo cuts through this debate with a new framework, the Adaptive Markets Hypothesis, in which rationality and irrationality coexist.

Drawing on psychology, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and other fields, Adaptive Markets shows that the theory of market efficiency isn’t wrong but merely incomplete. When markets are unstable, investors react instinctively, creating inefficiencies for others to exploit. Lo’s new paradigm explains how financial evolution shapes behavior and markets at the speed of thought―a fact revealed by swings between stability and crisis, profit and loss, and innovation and regulation.

A fascinating intellectual journey filled with compelling stories, Adaptive Markets starts with the origins of market efficiency and its failures, turns to the foundations of investor behavior, and concludes with practical implications―including how hedge funds have become the Galápagos Islands of finance, what really happened in the 2008 meltdown, and how we might avoid future crises.

An ambitious new answer to fundamental questions in economics, Adaptive Markets is essential reading for anyone who wants to know how markets really work.

Successful Investing Is a Process by Jacques Lussier

What do you pay for when you hire a portfolio manager? Is it his or her unique experience and expertise, a set of specialized analytical skills possessed by only a few? The truth, according to industry insider Jacques Lussier, is that, despite their often grandiose claims, most successful investment managers, themselves, can’t properly explain their successes. In this book Lussier argues convincingly that most of the gains achieved by professional portfolio managers can be accounted for not by special knowledge or arcane analytical methodologies, but proper portfolio management processes whether they are aware of this or not. More importantly, Lussier lays out a formal process-oriented approach proven to consistently garner most of the excess gains generated by traditional analysis-intensive approaches, but at a fraction of the cost since it could be fully implemented internally.

  • Profit from more than a half-century’s theoretical and empirical literature, as well as the author’s own experiences as a top investment strategist
  • Learn an approach, combining several formal management processes, that simplifies portfolio management and makes its underlying qualities more transparent, while lowering costs significantly
  • Discover proven methods for exploiting the inefficiencies of traditional benchmarks, as well as the behavioral biases of investors and corporate management, for consistently high returns
  • Learn to use highly-efficient portfolio management and rebalancing methodologies and an approach to diversification that yields returns far greater than traditional investment programs

The Success Equation by Michael Maubossin

The trick, of course, is figuring out just how many of our successes (and failures) can be attributed to each—and how we can learn to tell the difference ahead of time.

In most domains of life, skill and luck seem hopelessly entangled. Different levels of skill and varying degrees of good and bad luck are the realities that shape our lives—yet few of us are adept at accurately distinguishing between the two. Imagine what we could accomplish if we were able to tease out these two threads, examine them, and use the resulting knowledge to make better decisions.

In this provocative book, Michael Mauboussin helps to untangle these intricate strands to offer the structure needed to analyze the relative importance of skill and luck. He offers concrete suggestions for making these insights work to your advantage. Once we understand the extent to which skill and luck contribute to our achievements, we can learn to deal with them in making decisions.

The Success Equation helps us move toward this goal by:

  • Establishing a foundation so we better understand skill and luck, and can pinpoint where each is most relevant
  • Helping us develop the analytical tools necessary to understand skill and luck
  • Offering concrete suggestions about how to take these findings and put them to work

Showcasing Mauboussin’s trademark wit, insight, and analytical genius, The Success Equation is a must-read for anyone seeking to make better decisions—in business and in life.

The Physics of Wall Street by James Weatherall

After the economic meltdown of 2008, many pundits placed the blame on “complex financial instruments” and the physicists and mathematicians who dreamed them up. But how is it that physicists came to drive Wall Street? And were their ideas really the cause of the collapse?

In The Physics of Wall Street, the physicist James Weatherall answers both of these questions. He tells the story of how physicists first moved to finance, bringing science to bear on some of the thorniest problems in economics, from bubbles to options pricing. The problem isn’t simply that economic models have limitations and can break down under certain conditions, but that at the time of the meltdown those models were in the hands of people who either didn’t understand their purpose or didn’t care. It was a catastrophic misuse of science. However, Weatherall argues that the solution is not to give up on the models but to make them better. Both persuasive and accessible, The Physics of Wall Street is riveting history that will change how we think about our economic future.

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