Our Keeper’s favourite books

| Jun 28, 2024

The Library of Mistakes

As a library, we’re obsessed with books – and always looking for the good ones! Below, our Keeper, Russell Napier, outlines a few of his favourite books– they are available if you come to visit us. We hope to see you soon.

  • Triumph of the Optimists (Dimson, Marsh and Staunton) – It’s a history of financial market returns but not as dry as you might think. It’s important to know what is possible to calibrate what might be possible. It’s out of print but we have a copy in our collection.
  • The Money Game (Adam Smith) – Adam Smith was the pen name of a US journalist called George Goodman. This purports to be a work of fiction but is actually about real events in the US stock market in the nineteen sixties. As good a book about the difference between the reality of financial markets and the theory as has ever been written.
  • Money of The Mind (James Grant) – it’s really interesting how we focus on equities, sometimes property but ignore debt. The debt markets are much bigger than these other markets and much more economically important. James Grant is the great expert on debt markets and has been covering them for 40 years. This book is now old but it covers the ‘socialisation’ of credit which is a crucially important trend to understand in how economics has changed. He is also a great writer.
  • Monetary History of the United States (Friedman and Schwarz) – not one for the faint hearted and very few practitioners have made it through it. I have read it three times and now I think I finally get it! If debt is largely ignored in finance then money is even more so. If you can read and understand this book you will be miles ahead of whoever you are studying with in the next few years. It’s worth persevering with.
  • Classics I and Classics II – a collection of the best writing on investment put together by the CFA Society. We have them in the collection and they are really worth reading.
  • One Up on Wall Street (Peter Lynch) – much easier going than Benjamin Graham but with some timeless lessons along the same lines.
  • War & Gold (Kwasi Kwarteng) – It’s a real romp through a lot of financial history and deals with the intersection of debt and government.
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