Best Investing Books of 2011

It's been a good year for the investing literature.  In my opinion, here's the cream of the crop of this year's investing books.  Black Friday is coming up, and soon the holiday season will be upon us.  If you're looking for gift ideas for yourself or others, read on.

1. The Quest For Alpha by Larry Swedroe.  The author of such investment classics as Investment Mistakes Even Smart Investors Make and Wise Investing Made Simple brings us another in his long series of books for the do it yourself investor.  This one examines the data and shows  just how hard it is to beat the market.


2. The Power of Passive Investing by Rick Ferri.  Ferri's contribution to the 2011 literature also demonstrates quite conclusively that index investing is the best way to invest.  I once had the opportunity to ask Rick why he keeps writing books with similar messages.  His response was that the finance industry keeps publishing falsehoods so “the good guys” have to keep publishing the real data to help investors see the truth.


3. What Investors Really Want by Meir Statman.  The latest behavioral finance book out by one of the pioneers in the field.  Every investor needs to read a book like this from time to time to remind him of the behavioral and cognitive errors that can lead to failure of his investment plan.


4. Don't Count On It  is the latest out by Jack Bogle, a near-deity in the investing field.  Known as St. Jack he has done more to reform the mutual fund industry than anyone else.   As usual he skewers Wall Street and teaches the investor to earn his share of the returns of American industry.  But also included are a number of his commencement speeches and a section at the end about twenty-nine of his heroes.  Well worth the price of admission.


5. Common Sense investing by Rick Van Ness.  I reviewed this one a little while back.  Probably the most concise explanation of the “Boglehead” investing philosophy, all for less than $9.  Order yours today. 

6. Understanding Peer to Peer Lending by Peter Renton.  Peter just updated this book in June.  He writes a blog called Social Lending Network and if you subscribe to the blog (free) you get this brief, but helpful explanation of peer to peer lending, both from the borrower side and the investor side.  Did I mention it's free?

7. Asset Protection for Physicians and High-Risk Business Owners by Robert J. Mintz.  I've been meaning to do an in-depth review on this one for quite some time, but haven't gotten around to it.  It is one of the best volumes on asset protection I've seen.  Of course, after reading it you'll be eyeing the crowds around you wondering who's lining up to sue you next.  But that paranoia goes away after a couple of weeks. Although I'd love for you to buy this book from one of the links on this page, I do feel obligated to tell you that it's available free

8. Can I Retire? by Mike Piper, AKA The Oblivious Investor. It's only 100 pages long, but covers the most important details of funding your retirement including asset allocation, asset location, and identifying the amount needed to “punch out” of your job.

9.  The Investment Answer by Daniel C. Goldie is another short book, Investing 101 if you will.  You won't find any get rich quick advice here.  It might be a bit basic for a regular financial blog reader, but makes for a great gift for family.  

10.  The Cheapskate Next Door by Jeff Yeager.  All right, I cheated a bit.  This one came out in 2010, but I picked it up the other day and have thoroughly enjoyed it.  I'll be reviewing it more completely shortly, but this book is great for two types of people.  The true cheapskate will laugh as the author describes why a cheapskate's mind works as it does and realizes there are lots of people even cheaper than he is.  A non-cheapskate will learn a few ways to change his thinking in order to be financially successfully without having to skimp on the things he really cares about.  If you liked the Millionaire Next Door and its message of frugality, you'll love this. 

There you have it.  Ten new books that will make holidays gifts for friends, family, and even yourself.