Today, we’ll be diving into 20 Warren Buffett recommended books to expand your reading list. For someone who is as successful as he is, you would not expect Warren Buffett to have a lot of time to catch up on his reading. An increasingly well-known fact about the Oracle of Omaha is that he would read 600, 750, or even 1,000 pages a day when he began his career as an investor.
There’s a reason why he’s always been ahead of everybody. The son of a U.S. congressman, Buffett bought his first stock at the age of 11 and first filed taxes at age 13.
Even now, the world’s most successful investor has a habit of spending 80% of his day reading.
He once said in an interview, “Look, my job is essentially just corralling more and more and more facts and information, and occasionally seeing whether that leads to some action.”
What could be a better way to get into the mind of the most successful investor of our time than doing what he does with most of his time? You can learn a lot about various investment vehicles by reading what he does.
We’re going to take a look at a comprehensive list of books this prolific reader recommends that everybody should read – stay tuned for 20 Warren Buffett recommended books.
Buffett’s Obsession with Reading
Before we get to the Warren Buffett recommended books, I wanted to dive a little into his mindset. According to the man himself, anybody can achieve success using one simple strategy:
Going to bed a little smarter each day.
It sounds pretty simple, and it is.
He once talked about the Buffett formula working in the same way that compound interest does. It begins to yield results within a few years. He said, “That’s how knowledge builds up. Like compound interest.”
Reading books is a common habit among some of the most successful people in the world right now. The likes of Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, and Elon Musk are among the few who dedicate a significant part of their days reading.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at Warren Buffett’s recommended books we think you should consider.
20 Books Warren Buffett Recommended Books
1. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
Warren Buffett was 19 when he picked up a copy of Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor, a book highlighting the basics of value investing and written by the most notable value investor of all time. It’s one of the best books on this list.
He regards it as one of the luckiest moments of his life since it helped him develop the intellectual framework he has for his approach to investing. The words of the legendary Wall Streeter struck him deeply in this investment book and shaped his investing career. There’s no better way to describe the book than in the words of Buffett himself.
“To invest successfully over a lifetime does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights, or insider information. What’s needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding that framework. The book precisely and clearly prescribes the proper framework. You must provide the emotional discipline.”
2. Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd
Warren Buffett considers himself fortunate to have both Benjamin Graham and David Dodd as his teachers back when he was at Columbia University. He highly recommends the investing book co-authored by these two geniuses. He said that this book provided him with “a roadmap for investing that I have been following for 57 years.”
The core insight of this book is that if your analysis is well thought out, you can understand the value of a company and whether the market realizes the same thing. Buffett regards Graham as the second-most influential figure in his life after his father.
He further talked about the roadmap laid out by the book, saying, “There’s been no reason to look for another.”
3. Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger edited by Peter D. Kaufman
Poor Charlie’s Almanack is a collection of advice from the great Charlie Munger. He is the vice-chairman of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett talked about this book edited by Peter D. Kaufman in his 2004 letter to shareholders.
He said, “Scholars have for too long debated whether Charlie is the reincarnation of Ben Franklin. This book should settle the question.”
Poor Charlie’s Almanack encapsulates information about the life of Charlie Munger as well as his sought after philosophical views regarding investing and the conversations Munger had at Berkshire Hathaway meetings. It is an insightful look into one of the geniuses in the world of stock market investing and a book that Warren Buffett reads himself.
4. MiTek: A Global Success Story by Jim Healey
This is another one of the books recommended by Buffett and is one you might not find easily. It is not available on Amazon. You can buy a copy of it on The Bookworm if you want to read it. The Bookworm is an independent bookstore based in Warren Buffett’s hometown, Omaha.
The book talks about MiTek Industries Inc., a supplier of engineered products in the construction sector. MiTek Industries is one of the most successful subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway. It consists of the story of how the company began as a small-time firm in 1955, almost became bankrupt, and eventually became a dominant presence in the industry.
It is one of the books Warren Buffett reads. He said, “You’ll learn how my interest in the company was originally piqued by my receiving in the mail a hunk of ugly metal whose purpose I couldn’t fathom. Since we bought MiTek in 2001, it has made 33 ‘tuck-in’ acquisitions, almost all successful.”
5. A Few Lessons for Investors and Managers from Warren Buffett edited by Peter Bevelin
If you are short on time to spare, here is a more concise book that Warren Buffett recommends. This 81-page book edited by Peter Bevelin is an easy must-read for investors and managers who want to learn from the wisdom of the Oracle of Omaha.
In this book, you will read in the words of Warren Buffett how to think about crucial topics surrounding your business like traits of good and bad businesses, business valuation, how to reduce risk, corporate governance, the importance of trust, and acquisitions and their traps.
He said that the book, “sums up what Charlie and I have been saying over the years in annual reports and at annual meetings.”
6. Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything edited by Carol J. Loomis
Tap Dancing to Work is another book that contains words of wisdom by Warren Buffett himself. Edited by Carol J. Loomis, a former editor at Fortune magazine, this book offers insights to readers into Buffett’s investment strategies, his views on public policy, philanthropy, management, and even parenting.
One of the chapters includes an essay written by Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, from 1996 that describes his early impressions of Buffett as they became wonderful friends.
Warren Buffett spoke of Carol Loomis in his 2012 letter,” She has been invaluable to me in editing this letter since 1977.”
This book offers you a comprehensive insight into the mind of Warren Buffett regarding a wide array of subjects.
7. Investing Between the Lines: How to Make Smarter Decisions by Decoding CEO Communications by L. J. Rittenhouse
Warren Buffett recommended reading this book in his 2012 annual shareholder letter.
In this book, L. J. Rittenhouse uses more than a decade of research to define a system that measures the trustworthiness of organizations as a predictor of its potential for investment.
Several books have been authored on how to analyze a business to help investors determine whether or not they should consider investing in the company. There are not many written about how to interpret the persons behind those businesses to make a more well-informed decision. This is the book that steps in to solve that problem for investors who really want to invest between the lines.
8. Where Are The Customers’ Yachts? Or a Good Hard Look at Wall Street by Fred Schwed
In his 2014 shareholder letter, Warren Buffett recommends reading this book by Fred Schwed. Of course, this is not the first time he praised this book. Back in 2006, Warren Buffett said, “This is the funniest book ever written about investing. It delivers many truly important messages on the subject.”
Fred Schwed uses this book to uncover the hypocritical nature of Wall Street. He talks about the story of a visitor to New York who admires the yachts owned by brokers and bankers. He then ponders where the yachts of all their customers went. After all, they did follow the advice of their bankers and brokers. They should be able to afford them, right?
It is an invigorating and engaging read from start to finish that Warren Buffett recommends.
9. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Philip Fisher
Philip Fisher is another significant name in the world of stock market investing. He specializes in investing in innovative companies. He is also someone who does not share the same high opinion of Buffett as Graham used to. Still, Buffett regards Philip Fisher as someone whose work he reads,
Buffett regards this as one of the books that changed his life, saying, “I am an eager reader of whatever Phil has to say, and I recommend him to you.
In this book, Fisher insists that fixating yourself on financial statements when it comes to making your stock picks is not enough. There is also a need to evaluate the management of a company.
10. Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises by Tim Geithner
This book, written by the former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, is another one of the books Warren Buffett reads. He considers this a must-read text for any manager, and especially during a financial crisis.
Several books talk about the subject of managing an organization when the going is tough. Almost none of them provide the essential firsthand account of how to manage a section of the government through such a time.
Geithner writes, “This wasn’t just a little problem on the fringes of the U.S. mortgage market. I had a sick feeling in my stomach. I knew what financial crises felt like, and they felt like this.”
It is an invigorating read recommended by the man behind Berkshire Hathaway.
11. The Outsiders by William Thorndike Jr.
In his shareholder letter from 2012, Warren Buffett recommended several books that he thinks everybody should read. Another one of his recommendations is this book written by William Thorndike Jr.
He had high praise for the book, saying, “The Outsiders is an outstanding book about CEOs who excelled at capital allocation.”
Berkshire Hathaway has a significant part to play in the book. There is a chapter in the book on the firm’s director Tom Murphy, who Buffett regards as “overall the best business manager I’ve ever met.”
The book brilliantly captures the successful patterns from executives at Ralston Purina, The Washington Post, and others. Forbes recommends this book as one of the most important business books in America.
12. Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street by John Brooks
Bill Gates asked Warren Buffett for his favorite book back in 1991.
Buffett sent his copy of Business Adventures to the co-founder of Microsoft as a response to his question. This book is a collection of New Yorker stories compiled and told by John Brooks.
For Bill Gates, the book is a reminder to him that the principles of building a winning business remain constant.
He wrote, “For one thing, there’s an essential human factor in every business endeavor. It doesn’t matter if you have a perfect product, production plan, and marketing pitch; you’ll still need the right people to lead and implement those plans.”
This book has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among billionaires.
13. Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch
A book recommended by Warren Buffett in his 2001 shareholder letter, Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch, is a business memoir of the GE executive. Warren Buffett thinks Jack Welch is a smart, energetic, and hands-on professional.
Welch has had a substantial impact on the modern business world. The personal history of Jack Welch offers all managers valuable lessons that they can apply in their lives.
Buffett recommended this book by simply saying, “Get a copy!”
14. Essays in Persuasion by John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes is another legendary economist. His wise words have long served as an integral part of literature since it was published almost 100 years ago. Buffett talks about this collection of writings as required reading for economists today.
He said in an interview he gave the Outstanding Investor Digest back in 1989, “Reading Keynes will make you smarter about securities and markets. I’m not sure reading most economists would do the same.”
This comprehensive collection also includes an essay by Keynes called “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren,” in which he predicted that the generation today will work only 15 hours a week.
15. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by Jack Bogle
Another one of Warren Buffett’s recommended books from his 2014 shareholder letter, this work by Jack Bogle, is a fantastic amalgamation of advice on index funds. Arguably, it’s the best book on the list of Warren Buffett recommended books.
Warren Buffett recommended reading this book instead of listening to the advice of most financial advisors you might come across. The book is based on the experience of Jack Bogle as he worked with Vanguard clients. The book attempts to help its readers use index investing to amass wealth and build your net worth.
The charts and stats in the book are balanced with advice on index fund investing and fun anecdotes, making it an interesting read.
16. The Most Important Thing Illuminated by Howard Marks
Another one of Buffett’s suggested books is written by Howard Marks, the chairman and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management. He was initially planning to wait until he retires before he published this book, according to his Barron review in 2011.
Buffett admired Marks’ client memos so much that he offered Marks’ that he will write a dust-jacket blurb for his book if he decides not to wait too long to publish this book. Warren Buffett really wanted people to read this book. He describes this as “a rarity, a useful book.”
In this book, Marks aims to help investors succeed by making well thought out decisions. He drew inspirations from his own mistakes and the lessons he learned from them so his readers can know better.
17. Dream Big by Cristiane Correa
Cristiane Correa tells readers the story of the three founders of 3G Capital from Brazil. It is a major investment firm that joined Warren Buffett in the acquisition of H.J. Heinz in 2013.
Warren Buffett recommended reading this book in his Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting back in 2014.
Correa highlighted in an interview with The New York Times that the main principles for 3G’s management style, their cost-cutting strategies, and meritocracy, created the path for their current success.
It is another astounding book recommended by Warren Buffett.
18. Take on the Street by Arthur Levitt
Buffett recommended this book by Arthur Levitt in his shareholder letter from the 2002 annual meeting. He talked about the downfall of Arthur Andersen accounting. He explained, “how accounting standards and audit quality have eroded in recent years.”
Buffett further wrote, “The details of this sordid affair are related in Levitt’s excellent book, Take on the Street.”
Levitt is a former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission. His book includes candid anecdotes and essential everyday advice for investors to help them insulate themselves from Wall Street.
19. Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe by Graham Allison
Graham Allison, founding dean of Harvard’s modern John F. Kennedy School of Government, said that the possibility of a nuclear attack on the U.S. is inevitable unless the country changes its political strategy.
He uses this book to argue that a new international security order should be created using “three No’s”
- No loose nukes
- No new nascent nukes
- And no new nuclear states
Buffett recommended reading this book in his 2004 shareholder letter for everybody who is concerned with the safety of America.
20. The Clash of Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation by John Bogle
The last of the Buffett book recommendations is one that he brought up in his 2012 shareholder letter and is authored by John Bogle, The Clash of the Cultures.
In the book, Bogle argued that short-term speculation is crowding out long-term investing. It is an insightful and interesting read with several practical tips for investors on how to build their investment strategy.
It offers ten complete and actionable steps that investors from all walks of life can take. He acknowledges in his book that his words “may not be the best strategy ever devised. But the number of strategies that are worse is infinite.”
It is a book worth reading and one that Warren Buffett reads himself.
Final Thoughts on Warren Buffett Recommended Books
Warren Buffett once said, “We don’t read other people’s opinions. We want to get facts and then think.”
As someone who reads hundreds of pages each day, it is no surprise that he’s in an excellent position to recommend books. Not to mention the fact that he is a billionaire investor. Have a crack at the reading list recommended by Warren Buffett himself and let me know what you think in the comments.
Perhaps it will help you understand the genius behind arguably the most successful investor of all time and emulate his successful mindset.