Before he developed his acclaimed method for investing in growth stocks, IBD founder William J. O’Neil voraciously studied and researched the work of legendary traders early in his career to understand the foundations of their success. In fact, one of O’Neil’s biggest pieces of advice is to read and learn from those at the top of their game. To help investors of all levels further their study of the stock market, IBD has compiled 11 of the best investing books of all time for growth investors. These include books by O’Neil’s biggest trading influences and titles frequently referenced by IBD staff.
Best Investing Books: The Classics
Whether you’re a seasoned trader or a stock market newbie, these are the best investing books you’ll turn to again and again.
“How to Make Money in Stocks” by William J. O’Neil
In this 1988 investing classic, O’Neil gives the average investor everything they need to know about the CAN SLIM investing system. The bestselling investing book also includes chapters explaining how to spot common chart patterns, as well as hundreds of chart examples for personal study. Now in its fourth edition, “How To Make Money in Stocks” has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide since its publication.
“Market Wizards” by Jack D. Schwager
Schwager’s highly acclaimed financial book is considered to be one of the best investing books for traders. In this national bestseller, readers can gain wisdom from top stock market pros in their own words. Schwager includes interviews from Wall Street legends such as O’Neil, Richard Dennis and Bruce Kovner.
He’s since released an updated version of the book, and other works from Schwager include titles such as “Hedge Fund Market Wizards,” “The New Market Wizards” and “Unknown Market Wizards.”
“Reminiscences of a Stock Operator” by Edwin Lefevre
The fictional account of a stockbroker based on Jesse Livermore is considered to be one of the best investing books for understanding market cycles and psychology. O’Neil called this 1923 work “a must-read classic for all investors.”
Biggest William O’Neil Influences
O’Neil has often cited the works of these successful inves tors as some of the best investing books on the market. These books heavily influenced the IBD founder as a young stockbroker. They also served as inspiration for his landmark study of winning stocks. This research formed the basis of the CAN SLIM investing system.
“How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market” by Nicolas Darvas
From the stage to the trading floor, Darvas was one of the most unlikely success stories on Wall Street. The self-taught investor was one of O’Neil’s early heroes. He exemplified that the average investor could win in the market if they had a consistent rules-based approach. In Darvas’ 1939 classic, the former dancer gives readers a look into how he was able to amass a fortune using what is called the “Darvas box method” and how he learned from his successes and mistakes.
“The Battle for Investment Survival” by Gerald Loeb
O’Neil considered Gerald Loeb one of his earliest mentors and a major influence in his early career. In Loeb’s first book released in 1935, the renowned investment banker maps out what it takes for investors to win in the stock market.
“How to Trade in Stocks” by Jesse Livermore
No one understood the ups and downs of the market more than Jesse Livermore. One of the pioneers of technical analysis, Livermore built – and lost – huge fortunes during the Roaring 20s and into the 1929 crash that induced The Great Depression. In “How To Trade Stocks,” Livermore writes about his experiences trading stocks and commodities. He also outlines how to read the market and identify different patterns of stock behavior.
Best Investing Books: Lessons From Top Traders
These best investing books from top traders provide accessible insights for the everyday investor.
“Pit Bull: Lessons from Wall Street’s Champion Day Trader” by Martin Schwartz
Legendary Wall Street trader Schwartz gives readers an inside look at how he became a “Champion Trader” and reveals the lessons that helped him make millions in this investing book classic from 1999.
“One Up on Wall Street” by Peter Lynch
Famed money manager Peter Lynch delves into his investing psychology in this foundational work published in 2000. Much like O’Neil’s philosophy of investing in what you know, Lynch outlines how individual investors can gain the advantage on the pros in the stock market.
“Horse Sense. Street Smarts” by Don W. Hodges
Dallas businessman and asset manager Don Hodges released this beautifully illustrated anthology of business quotations in 2012. The collection, which is culled from more than 40 years of Hodges’ personal library, includes words of wisdom from such luminaries as Bill Gates, Jerry Garcia and Ronald Reagan.
More Books By William J. O’Neil
The William O’Neil & Co. founder also wrote these must-haves for growth investors.
“24 Essential Lessons for Investment Success” by William J. O’Neil
In his follow-up work to “How To Make Money in Stocks,” O’Neil offers lessons and techniques for the individual investor to achieve big profits and financial security. He examines long-held investing truisms such as “buy low, sell high” and why indicators like low P-E ratios aren’t always the best way to spot winning stocks.
“The Successful Investor” by William J. O’Neil
O’Neil’s 2003 work looks at the collapse of the 1990s tech bubble and uses that moment to teach investors how to spot market tops and avoid devastating losses. “The Successful Investor” not only tells readers how to find winning stocks, but how to manage risk in volatile market cycles.
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