Recommend a good guide to investing book

Looking for a good book that provides an overview of investing that I can gift to some people that are smart but not financially savvy. Essentially I want something that lays the groundwork for getting them excited about and interested in simply putting money in an index fund - would be great if it can also give them perspective about stocks vs real estate vs cash.

I’ve been in the game so long that it’s hard to know where to start. A lot of the “classics” like One Up on Wall Street, Intelligent Investor, etc tend to focus on individual stock analysis (if I remember correctly), which might be good background material, but might not help with the goal of getting these people in index funds.

I started skimming the bogleheads book and it starts off with a bunch of fawning over how great their forum is … major turnoff. Any other suggestions?

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Random Walk Down Wall Street, or whatever they’ve updated it to.


Random Walk Down Wall Street

After taking a quick scan of the table of contents on Amazon … this looks like a possibly good 2nd round recommendation if their appetites have been whetted… but probably an overly long teardown of “beating the market” for people who are not even in the market to begin with. I’m just trying to get people who don’t think about ROI/compound interest/etc in the game.

The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins

You can check out his blog as the book is a compilation of that material (the stock series) also.

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The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy, by Thomas J. Stanley

There is a lot of bad data analysis and interpretation in this book. That said, I think it is more inspirational than books about stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement plans, insurance…


David Swenson, pioneering portfolio management, or his other one that’s directed to retail investors,

+1 to JL Collins. Similar to Swenson but an easier read directed to a novice.

If they don’t understand compound interest, all of these titles may not be basic enough.

It’s been a while, but IIRC, Tony Robbins book “Money, Master the Game” provided good information and was written very well.

Maybe they don’t need a book then, just a demonstration of compound interest and some rosy historical averages of the US market returns.


Quick review of the Tony Robbins book. He does a good job inspiring and showing possibilities I think. Covers a lot of the important topics, although some times assumes knowledge he shouldn’t, such as what a mutual fund even is, why diversification is valuable, etc. Also has a bit of snake oil and innumeracy mixed in. Overall a decent starting point for this complex topic, definitely going to recommend it to a few people. On to the next one …

Bob knows a whole lot more about this than I do:

The Brinker bookshelf