The library room of a mansion in Canada. (Photographer: Ben Nelms/Bloomberg)

The Books Market Gurus Swear By

Market analysts are usually consulted for their views on stocks, bourses and the economy. What if they had to recommend good reads?

That’s what BloombergQuint asked them to do.

We reached out to Aswath Damodaran, professor, Stern School of Business; Saurabh Mukherjea, founder, Marcellus Investment Managers; Vishal Khandelwal, founder, Safal Niveshak; Neelkanth Mishra, chief India economist, Credit Suisse; and Sanjoy Bhattacharya, managing partner at Fortuna Capital; to list their favourite reads.

Here’s a list of their top picks to help you start 2019 on a bookish note.

Aswath Damodaran

1. Efficiently Inefficient: How Smart Money Invests and Market Prices Are Determined, By Lasse Pedersen

This book describes the key trading strategies used by hedge funds and demystifies the secret world of active investing. The book combines the latest research with real-world examples and interviews with top hedge fund managers to show how certain trading strategies make money and why they sometimes don’t.

Source: BloombergQuint

2. Stay the Course: The Story Of Vanguard And The Index Revolution, By John C Bogle

This engrossing book tells the story of the Vanguard Group as told by its founder, the legendary investor John C Bogle. It also traces the history of Vanguard—the largest mutual fund organisation.

3. Thinking Fast and Slow, By Dan Kahneman

The author takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that determine how we think, where we can and cannot trust our intuition and how we can tap the benefits of slow thinking.

He offers practical insights into how our choices are made in our personal and professional lives, and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that get us into trouble.

Source: BloombergQuint

Sanjoy Bhattacharya

1. Investing For The Long Term, By Francisco García Paramés

The renowned investor Francisco García Paramés shares advice and tips on making smart investments in this must-have book for those looking to make smarter choices for their portfolio.

2. Seeking Wisdom: Thoughts On Value Investing, By Thomas MacPherson

Thomas Macpherson helps investors think about the meaning of value investing and how to apply it.

3. The Geometry of Wealth, By Brian Portnoy

Portnoy, a behavioural finance expert, builds on the critical distinction between being rich and being wealthy and delivers an inspired answer.

4. Modern Value Investing, By Sven Carlin

This book traces the development of a strong investing mindset and skillset to enable the reader in making better investment decisions.

5. Mastering The Market Cycle, By Howard Marks

The legendary investor shows how to identify and master the cycles that govern the markets.

Vishal Khandelwal

1. Meditations, By Marcus Aurelius

This book, according to Khandelwal, was one among the two that was the “hardest, but also offered the most rewarding experience in his personal growth”, the other being the Bhagawad Gita. “With a profound understanding of human behaviour, Marcus provides insights, wisdom and practical guidance on everything from living in the world to coping with adversity to interacting with others,” he said.

One of his favourite thoughts from the book is: “Stop talking about what the good man is like, and just be one.”

2. Poor Charlie’s Almanack-The Wit and Wisdom Of Charles T Munger, By Peter Kaufman

This book isn’t a ready reckoner on how to become a successful investor. It’s a book on how to live a happy, sensible and rich life and in the process become a better thinker and investor.

The book’s third chapter is one of my favourites that captures “Mungerisms”, where Munger gives hundreds of ideas on subjects ranging from life, investing, academia, financial engineering, accounting, money management business and management.

Here is a "Mungerism" on getting rich:

“Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Discharge your duties faithfully and well. Step by step you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. But you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts. Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day. At the end of the day – if you live long enough – most people get what they deserve.”

And here’s one on envy:

“Envy is a really stupid sin because it’s the only one you could never possibly have any fun at. There’s a lot of pain and no fun. Why would you want to get on that trolley?”

Source: BloombergQuint

3. All I Want To Know Is Where I'm Going To Die So I'll Never Go There (Peter Bevelin)

This is one of the best books on thinking and behaviour that I’ve come across.

The beauty of this book is it’s structure–as conversations full of quotations from Buffett and Munger, and from other—both known and unknown—people. These conversations cover not just business and investing, but also decision making in general.

Source: BloombergQuint

Saurabh Mukherjea

1. Competition Demystified, By Bruce Greenwald And Judd Kahn

This is the best book ever written on how competition plays out in the real world, how a few companies build awe-inspiring franchises while most fail to generate a return on capital above their cost. Packed with real-world examples and clever thinking, this is a super book from a great mind.

2. Inside the Investments of Warren Buffett: 20 Cases, By Yefei Lu

This book is much more than a tribute to the master. By showing how Buffett’s thinking evolved as America changed, by using 40-50-year-old financial statements to show us the mass of data Buffett would have seen real-time when he made his big bets, Lu helps us understand how clarity of thought is central to successful investing.

3. Deep Work, By Cal Newport

Finally, someone has written a lucid book on how all of us can cut ourselves from social media, improve our concentration and our focus levels and perform at the peak of our mental powers. A succinct, blunt book, it’s in equal parts an indictment of the way we live as it’s a self-help manual.

Source: BloombergQuint

Neelkanth Mishra

1. Energy And Civilization, By Vaclav Smil

This book provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society throughout history, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today’s fossil fuel–driven civilisation.

2. Seeing Like A State, By James C Scott

James Scott analyses failed cases of large-scale authoritarian plans in a variety of fields. The author builds a persuasive case against “development theory” and imperialistic state planning that disregards the values, desires and objections of its subjects.

3. The Grid, By Gretchen Bakke

Cultural anthropologist Gretchen Bakke unveils the many facets of America’s energy infrastructure, its most dynamic moments and its most stable ones, and its essential role in personal and national life. The Grid tells—entertainingly, perceptively—the story of what has been called “the largest machine in the world” and its fascinating history, problematic present, and potential role in a brighter, cleaner future.