With everything from memoirs and biographies of the most famous (and infamous) traders in history to the newest trading strategies, if there’s a trading lesson to be learnt, it’s here...
1. The Wolf of Wall Street
By: The wolf himself
They say: By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night, he spent it as fast as he could, on drugs, sex and international globe-trotting. Here, in his own inimitable words, is the story of the ill-fated genius they called The Wolf of Wall Street.
We say: Okay, we’re kicking off with an obvious one here, but the oft-neglected books behind the blockbusters are always worth a read and this is no exception. Notoriously ruthless trader Jordan Belfort has become the poster child for the dark side of modern capitalism. His memoir is candid and brutally honest, and no less full of drama than its Hollywood counterpart. And if that’s not enough greed, power and excess for you, there’s a sequel to get your teeth into next (no wolf pun intended, honest). Buy it now.
2. Money and Power
By: William D. Cohan
They say: A revelatory history of Goldman Sachs, the most dominant, feared, and controversial investment bank in the world.
We say: It’s not the only book about the infamous Goldman Sachs but if you want to get to know the person behind the persona, look no further. Money and Power is a comprehensive history with a balanced but undiluted view of the bank’s more contentious behaviours through Cohan’s frank analysis. It’s a long ‘un, but we promise it’s worth your time. Buy it now.
3. The Forex Playbook
By: Ed Ponsi
They say: A practical guide to trading the foreign exchange market.
We say: Reading books on trading strategies is all well and good but let’s face it, they’re not always the most riveting of reads. Ponsi does something clever here, adopting the role of ‘coach’ and using sports analogies to lead you to victory on the Forex playing field. If you’re after something a bit different, this is it - and not only is the approach different, there’s some valuable new strategies and concepts in here, too. Buy it now.
4. Stung: The Incredible Obsession of Brian Molony
By: Gary Ross
They say: He was one of the brightest stars at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, a brilliant young banker on his way to the top. But Brian Molony had a secret obsession: he loved to gamble.
We say: It’s time for some light relief from all those trading strategies - if you can call it that. This is the story of another “rogue trader” whose compulsive gambling would see him embezzle over $10 million dollars and earn himself a place in the annals of criminal history. Sound familiar? Maybe you’ve seen Owning Mahowny - this is the real-life story that inspired the film. Buy it now.
5. Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
By: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
They say: In this brilliant book Nassim Nicholas Taleb distils his idiosyncratic wisdom to demolish our illusions, contrasting the classical values of courage, elegance and erudition against modern philistinism and phoniness. Only by accepting what we don't know, he shows, can we see the world as it really is.
We say: Okay, okay, we know - it’s not a trading book per se. It is, however, a must-read for any trader who doesn’t want to find himself caught out by an unpredictable and implausible event that blows his trading strategy out of the water. Buy it now.
6. The Handbook of Fixed Income Securities
By: Frank J. Fabozzi
They say: The most authoritative, widely read reference in the global fixed income marketplace.
We say: We’re not going to argue. Okay, this might not be one you’re going to read on the train or your morning commute or take on your summer holiday for a bit of light reading, but it absolutely has a place on your bookshelf. If you trade in the fixed returns market, you need it in your life. Consider it your trading ‘Bible’. Buy it now.
7. Liar’s Poker
By: Michael Lewis
They say: The time was the 1980s. The place was Wall Street. The game was called Liar’s Poker.
We say: Lewis’s knowing and hilarious insider’s account charts the early days of his career at Solomon Brothers in an era of greed, gluttony and outrageous fortune. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at a unique and turbulent time in American business with more than a little hilarious sarcasm and a touch of grudging respect. It’s well-written, eye-opening and definitely worth a read. Buy it now.
8. When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management
By: Roger Lowenstein
They say: In this business classic, Roger Lowenstein captures the gripping rollercoaster ride of Long-Term Capital Management.
We say: It’s a gripping journey from the dizzying heights of success to the dramatic demise of Long-Term Capital Management, who turned $1 billion into $4.5 billion in few years, then lost it all in a few months and almost brought the financial sector down with them. If only they’d read Black Swan, they might have seen it coming. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Buy it now.