The Best Investing Books to Read and Share This Year

Editor's Note: Bill has given his Private Briefing readers more than 257 winning trades - including 192 double- and triple-digit peak gains. Now, normally his ideas go out to paid-up subscribers, but we wanted to bend the rules a bit to make sure you saw this in time for Black Friday - before you hit the malls. Here's Bill...

As a pretty typical American male of a certain age, I avoid the mall - even on Wednesday nights, when it's a ghost town.

So you know I'm not leaving the house today, of all days, as hordes of bargain-seekers descend upon the malls and big-box stores in search of discounted Apple Watches and Xboxes.

Instead, tonight, after the young ones are in bed and the kitchen is clean, I'll start making my list.

You know the one I mean; the "first draft" of this year's Christmas gift-buying plan.

You probably have a similar list - and if you have more than one kid, I bet that list is a lot more like a complex spread sheet.

books-books-booksAnd if you're anything like me, I bet that list is filled with books.

A graphic novel for nephew Matthew, a mystery for Aunt Sarah, a rock star's memoir for cousin Charles... and so on down the line.

But I'll share my passion for investing with some of the folks on my list, too. After all, everyone wants to build a fortune - or at least keep the bill collectors at bay.

These will do the job nicely...

My Favorite Investing Classics for Everyone on Your List

I've got 12 classics for you. I don't want to spoil it, but I'll tell you they're all as entertaining as they are informative, and there really is "something for everyone."

Take a look - and let me know if there's an investing favorite of yours that I might have missed.

Michael Lewis: "Liar's Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage of Wall Street"

With its focus on the junk-bond pollution of the 1980s, this book is about an earlier era, to be sure. But substitute in "Goldman Sachs" for "Salomon Bros.," "credit-default swaps" in for "junk bonds," and "housing bubble" for "leveraged buyouts," and you'll see that nothing ever changes on Wall Street. Plus, the book is flat-out hilarious.

Paul Vigna & Mike Casey: "The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order"

Thanks to our Apple Pay and digital payments plays, Private Briefing subscribers have cashed in big. But those recommendations are merely the "leading edge" of a huge new disruptive wave in payments and cryptocurrencies. And understanding Bitcoin, a payments technology on the vanguard of this new wave, will be a key to your understanding future profit plays. This book, written by two Wall Street Journal reporters, will prepare you for what's to come. I heard these two gents speak during a guest appearance on the late-night radio show "Coast to Coast AM," which I sometimes tune into during my late-night drives home. I was so impressed with what they had to say that I immediately ordered the book. It's an interesting read.

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Bryan Burrough & John Helyar: "Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco"

This classic book on a classic deal offers the most detailed inside view of a big-time buyout that you'll ever find. (And it later became a very good made-for-TV flick, starring the late James Garner.)

Michael Lewis: "The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine"

I think Lewis is a true talent, and his second runaway hit proves it. Just as "Liar's Poker" chronicled the Gordon Gekko "Greed Is Good" 1980s, "The Big Short" captures the absurdity and unavoidable wreckage of the credit-default-swap era. Indeed, this disturbing-but-informative view of the financial crisis shows us how Wall Street transformed the American Dream of home ownership into a full-blown nightmare.

Roger Lowenstein: "Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist"

This deep and thorough look at the "Oracle of Omaha" is still my favorite Warren Buffett biography. It's not only a great investment book, it also gives you a look at the private Buffett that none of us ever gets to see. Superior to most of the later Buffett books that came along.

Edwin Lefèvre: "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator"

This is a barely fictionalized account of the life of Jesse Livermore, a legendary speculator of the early 1900s. If you're going to trade stocks, you have to read this book. I'm not the only one who's crazy about it. It's on numerous "Top Books" lists, like Fortune's, and it's a favorite of market heavyweights everywhere.

Charles Kindleberger: "Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises"

There's not much I can say that the title doesn't. A fantastic book, and the execution is perfect.

John Kenneth Galbraith: "The Great Crash, 1929"

The lessons are profound and worth learning... because it can happen again.

Gregory J. Millman: "The Vandals' Crown: How Rebel Currency Traders Overthrew the World's Central Banks"

An accessible and entertaining introduction to currency trading, a part of the market that retail investors too often know little about. This one is engrossing, complete with terrific anecdotes that illustrate the power currency traders really have. (This one is great in its audio version.)

Robert Beckman: "Crashes: Why They Happen - What to Do"

I ran across this breezy little gem while researching my own book, "Contrarian Investing." A fast, entertaining, and instructive read that's perfect for poolside perusing - when the weather warms up, of course.

Ron Chernow: "Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr."

This account of the life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. - history's first billionaire and the founder of America's first true money "dynasty" - is one of the most powerful. Rockefeller's true nature eluded three generations of historians, but Ron Chernow nailed it. Part of what makes this biography so powerful is that the tale of Rockefeller is also the story of the start of the global energy industry. That industry got its start as Standard Oil Co., the monopoly that muckrakers referred to as "the Octopus."

Bethany McLean & Peter Elkind: "The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron"

This is one of the most incisive "autopsies" of the infamous Enron Corp. debacle. And it will leave you shaking your head (and likely your fist) over the corporate hubris, insatiable greed, bottomless contempt, and regulatory incompetence that allowed this to happen.

Jim Rogers: "Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets"

Anything by Singapore-based Jim Rogers is worth reading. The man co-founded the Quantum Fund with George Soros, and his investing acumen is second to none. His first book, "Investment Biker: Around the World with Jim Rogers," rightly became a classic, and this one is destined to do the same. It can make you rich along the way.

Andrew Ross Sorkin: "Too Big to Fail"

OK... so this isn't a book. This superbly executed HBO docudrama was based on the best-selling book of the same title penned by Andrew Ross Sorkin. I've recommended this to countless colleagues - telling them it was an entertaining and enlightening way to understand a financial crisis. It's so great, in fact, that a few years back I bought nearly a dozen copies and gave them as prizes in a drawing for my Private Briefing readers. This film will serve as a nice change of pace from reading all these other books. And the disc will be easy to pack in your suitcase as you leave for vacation.

I hope you and yours find these books as profitable and entertaining I have. I'll see you soon... just not at the mall.

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Now This Wall Street Legend Is Showing Us a $57 Trillion Opportunity

As good as "The Art of the Deal" was, I didn't include it in my list because Donald Trump has something even bigger for us. You see, out on the campaign trail, he's spoken about "fixing roads and bridges." But Trump is putting his money where his mouth is. He's actually already amassed a million-dollar stake in a Silicon Valley firm that we believe could spearhead a coming $57 trillion infrastructure upgrade for America. Our research estimates this company's stock will run up by 208% in the short term - and spike much higher as this rollout goes on. Everything you need to know is right here.

About the Author

Before he moved into the investment-research business in 2005, William (Bill) Patalon III spent 22 years as an award-winning financial reporter, columnist, and editor. Today he is the Executive Editor and Senior Research Analyst for Money Morning at Money Map Press.

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