The Ultimate Reading List: Warren Buffett's Top Book Recommendations

Reading Recommendation

9/13/20237 min read

Warren Buffett, often hailed as the Oracle of Omaha, is not only one of the world's most successful investors but also an avid reader and a strong advocate for the power of knowledge. Over the years, he has consistently recommended a selection of books that have played a significant role in shaping his investment philosophy and overall worldview. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into Warren Buffett's top book recommendations, exploring the wisdom and insights they offer.

Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger

Edited by Peter D. Kaufman

This literary gem offers readers a treasure trove of financial wisdom through speeches and essays authored by Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett's longtime business partner and vice president of Berkshire Hathaway. If you're a fan of Buffett's unique sense of humor, wit, and insights, you're bound to enjoy "Poor Charlie Almanack." A standout piece within this book is "The Psychology of Human Misjudgment," an essay in which Munger dissects the cognitive traps that investors often fall into. In his characteristic humorous style, Buffett once quipped in his 2010 shareholder letter, "Just buy a copy and carry it around; it will make you look urbane and erudite."

The Intelligent Investor

By Benjamin Graham

Warren Buffett has consistently praised "The Intelligent Investor" by Benjamin Graham, often referred to as the father of value investing. In his 2011 letter, Buffett confessed, "In my early days, I, too, rejoiced when the market rose. Then I read chapter eight of Ben Graham's 'The Intelligent Investor,' the chapter dealing with how investors should view fluctuations in stock prices." He credits this book as a pivotal moment in his investment journey, emphasizing how it transformed his perspective on market fluctuations. Graham's lucid and logical explanations, devoid of complex formulas, make this book an essential read for anyone looking to navigate the world of investing.

Mitek: A Global Success Story, 1981-2011

By Jim Healy

This less-known but highly insightful book sheds light on the remarkable success story of MiTek Industries Inc., a supplier of engineered products for construction and a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. "Mitek: A Global Success Story" narrates how MiTek, once a small Midwestern firm, teetered on the brink of financial collapse before becoming a dominant industry player. Buffett himself expressed his interest in the company in his 2011 letter, highlighting its impressive track record of 33 successful acquisitions since Berkshire's acquisition in 2001. This book offers valuable insights into the world of successful business transformations.

A Few Lessons for Investors and Managers From Warren Buffett

Edited by Peter Bevelin

For those seeking a concise yet invaluable resource on Warren Buffett's wisdom, "A Few Lessons for Investors and Managers" is a must-read. This compact book, spanning roughly 81 pages, provides a distilled version of Buffett's teachings on essential topics such as business valuation, the attributes of good and bad businesses, acquisition strategies, risk reduction, corporate governance, and the paramount importance of trust. As Buffett himself put it in 2011, this book essentially encapsulates the core messages he and Charlie Munger have been conveying in their annual reports and meetings for years.

Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything

By Carol J. Loomis

Carol Loomis, a former editor-at-large at Fortune magazine and a close collaborator of Warren Buffett, authored "Tap Dancing to Work." This book offers readers a comprehensive insight into Buffett's investment strategies, as well as his wisdom on management, philanthropy, public policy, and even parenting. Notably, it includes a 1996 essay by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, describing his early impressions of Buffett and their enduring friendship. Buffett's endorsement of Loomis as an invaluable editor of his letters underscores the significance of this book in understanding the Oracle of Omaha's multifaceted approach to life and investment.

The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success

By William N. Thorndike

In "The Outsiders," author William N. Thorndike examines the extraordinary success of eight unconventional CEOs who embraced radically different approaches to corporate management. Although these CEOs may not be household names, their companies, including Berkshire Hathaway, General Cinema, Ralston Purina, General Dynamics, and Capital Cities Broadcasting, have left an indelible mark on the business world. Buffett himself praised the book in 2012, emphasizing its valuable insights into capital allocation, particularly highlighting its informative chapter on Berkshire Hathaway director Tom Murphy, whom he regards as the best business manager he's ever encountered.

The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation

By John C. Bogle

John C. Bogle, the founder of The Vanguard Group and creator of the first index fund, authored "The Clash of the Cultures." In this thought-provoking book, Bogle delves into the changing culture within the mutual fund industry and the encroachment of speculation into the national retirement system. He advocates for a federal standard of fiduciary duty and imparts ten simple rules of "Common Sense Investing." Bogle's timeless advice, as underscored by Buffett in his 2012 letter, remains relevant for investors seeking a rational and disciplined approach to managing their investments.

Investing Between the Lines: How to Make Smarter Decisions by Decoding CEO Communications

By L.J. Rittenhouse

In "Investing Between the Lines," L.J. Rittenhouse, a trust and valuation expert, draws from over a decade of research to unveil a system for measuring organizational trustworthiness as a predictor of investment potential. Buffett himself recommended this title in his 2012 shareholder letter, emphasizing the importance of analyzing not just companies but also the individuals leading them. This book provides a unique perspective on the role of leadership and communication in evaluating investment opportunities.

Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders

Edited by Max Olson

For those interested in delving into the history of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett's annual letters to shareholders dating back to 1965, "Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders" is an invaluable compilation. Buffett praised this edition for its useful index, which categorizes page numbers by individuals, companies, and subject matter. While reading several decades' worth of annual letters may seem daunting, having this collection on your bookshelf provides an opportunity to witness the evolution of Berkshire Hathaway and the investment philosophy of its legendary chairman.

40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World

By Howard G. Buffett and Howard W. Buffett

In 2006, Warren Buffett challenged his son, Howard G. Buffett, to make a significant impact on the world through philanthropy. "40 Chances" chronicles Howard's journey to allocate over $3 billion towards this noble goal over a span of 40 years. The book imparts valuable principles, such as the importance of planning goals at the root level, embracing calculated risks, and learning from mistakes. Buffett's endorsement of this book underscores its inspirational and practical value, extending beyond the realm of finance to life's broader challenges.

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns

*By John C. Bogle*

John C. Bogle's influence on Warren Buffett's investment philosophy is evident in Buffett's recommendation of "The Little Book of Common Sense Investing." In his 2014 letter, Buffett highlighted the importance of not succumbing to the siren songs of investment managers but instead opting for a rational and low-cost approach. Bogle's book advocates for passive investing through index funds, offering a strategy that has resonated with both seasoned and novice investors alike. This book serves as a foundational guide for those seeking to secure their fair share of stock market returns.

Where Are the Customers' Yachts? Or a Good Hard Look at Wall Street

By Fred Schwed

Warren Buffett's endorsement of "Where Are the Customers' Yachts?" as the "funniest book ever written about investing" speaks volumes about its unique charm. Author Fred Schwed exposes the hypocrisy of Wall Street by narrating the tale of a visitor to New York who admires the yachts of bankers and brokers, only to discover that customers don't have yachts. This book offers a humorous yet incisive critique of the financial industry, and Buffett's long-standing praise of it reaffirms its enduring relevance and entertainment value.

Limping On Water

By Phil Beuth and K.C. Schulberg

In "Limping on Water," Phil Beuth provides a firsthand account of his broadcasting career at Capital Cities/ABC-TV, a prominent player in the media industry. This book offers readers insights into the leadership styles of Tom Murphy and Dan Burke, whom Buffett regards as the best managerial duo he has ever witnessed. Buffett's endorsement emphasizes the significance of admiring and learning from exceptional leaders, making this book a valuable resource for those aspiring to excel in their careers.

Warren Buffett's Ground Rules: Words of Wisdom from the Partnership Letters of the World's Greatest Investor

By Jeremy C. Miller

Drawing from Warren Buffett's partnership letters written between 1956 and 1970, Jeremy C. Miller dissects the billionaire's ground rules for investing. Buffett praised Miller's research and the book's ability to shed light on the evolution of Berkshire Hathaway's culture from its partnership origins. "Warren Buffett's Ground Rules" provides an in-depth look at Buffett's early investment strategies and principles, offering readers valuable lessons from the formative years of his legendary career.

Shoe Dog

By Phil Knight

Warren Buffett hailed "Shoe Dog" as the best book he read in a given year. Authored by Phil Knight, co-founder and chairman emeritus of Nike, Inc., this memoir provides readers with an intimate look behind the scenes of Nike's rise from a small startup to a global powerhouse. Knight's storytelling prowess and candid accounts of the challenges and triumphs in building Nike make "Shoe Dog" an inspiring read for entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts. Buffett's endorsement underscores the book's universal appeal and its capacity to impart valuable lessons on perseverance, innovation, and leadership.

In conclusion, Warren Buffett's book recommendations offer a diverse and enriching reading list for individuals seeking to enhance their knowledge, not only in the realm of finance and investing but also in life and leadership. These books, handpicked by one of the most successful investors in history, provide valuable insights, timeless wisdom, and a glimpse into the mind of the Oracle of Omaha. Whether you are an aspiring investor or simply a lifelong learner, these recommendations serve as a roadmap to intellectual growth and personal development. So, embark on this literary journey, and discover the wealth of knowledge that has shaped Warren Buffett's remarkable success.

The Ultimate Reading List: Warren Buffett's Top Book Recommendations