The 10 Best Emerging Markets Investment Books

Last updated: 1 January 2021. This page contains both my top 5 ranking of the best emerging markets investing books, and several shortlists of companion titles and specialist books which I think you'll find helpful. 

Most of the titles sit in a price range of £8  With prices ranging from £5 - £25, meaning that grabbing a few of the best emergng markets books can deliver the same value as an expensive seminar for only a fraction of the cost. They can even be read for free with Amazon's Kindle Unlimited free trial.

Click on any title below to see the latest price from Amazon, you'll be shocked at how affordable the most popular titles are. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases which helps to support this site. This does not impact how I compile the list. Happy reading!

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The best introductions to emerging markets

Broad overviews of emerging markets from an investment, finance and economic perspective

The best books about investing in emerging markets

How to extract the best returns from this high-risk asset class

Emerging market books about specific regions

Become an expert of an individual high-growth country or continent

Emerging market books about international finance

Technical books for finance professionals

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Guides to doing business in emerging markets

How to make a success in new, challenging markets

My Top 5 Emerging Markets Investment Books for 2020

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Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"The world is upside down.  The emerging market countries are more important than many investors realise.  They have been catching up with the West over the past few decades.  Greater market freedom has spread since the end of the Cold War, and with it institutional changes which have further assisted emerging economies in becoming more productive, flexible, and resilient. 

The Western financial crisis from 2008 has quickened the pace of the relative rise of emerging markets - their relative economic power, and with it political power, but also their financial power as savers, investors and creditors.

Aimed at institutional and retail investors as well as economics, finance, business and international relations students, Emerging Markets in an Upside Down World covers many complex ideas, but is written to be accessible to the non-expert."

Who this book is for:

My number one rated emerging markets investment book is Emerging Markets in an Upside Down World by Jerome Booth. 

Having personally owned a copy of this book, I can attest to the excellent introduction it provides into emerging market investing in the modern era. 

Emerging Markets in an Upside Down World is ranked 4.1/5.0 on Amazon with 14 reviews. (As a bit of added context: as emerging markets is a niche topic - no books in this industry have a large number of reviews.)

I love the detailed insights and technical detail in this book, which comes without the price tag of a textbook. 



2. Guide to Emerging Markets - The Economist



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"The growth that companies can achieve from their operations in home and developed world markets has for many years been modest, with the real opportunities to take a business to a higher level existing in identifying and exploiting emerging market opportunities.

Using the expertise built up over the years by The Economist Corporate Network team and the experiences of the hundreds of companies they have worked with, there is no more useful guide to getting to grips with the opportunities that emerging markets offer and how to take advantage of them."

Who this book is for:

The Economist Corporate Network has for many years now been one of the leading authorities advising firms on how to make the most of the opportunities that emerging markets present and avoid the mistakes that so many companies make with disastrous results.

This book comes in two halves:

- Part one examines new approaches to business in emerging market: what you need to think about, the various risks and how to get your approach right

- Part two is aimed at helping firms prioritise emerging markets by giving a review of the different markets from the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, india and China) to the emerging economies of Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa



3. Dance of the Trillions - David Lubin



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"In Dance of the Trillions, David Lubin tells the story of what makes money flow from high-income countries to lower-income ones; what makes it flow out again; and how developing countries have sought protection against the volatility of international capital flows. The book traces an arc from the 1970s, when developing countries first gained access to international financial markets, to the present day.

Underlying this story is a discussion of how the relationship between developing countries and global finance appears to be moving from one governed by the "Washington Consensus" to one more likely to be shaped by Beijing."

Who this book is for:

Dance of the Trillions by David Lubin is a well-reviewed title about emerging markets in the world of international finance.

It's currently rated 5.0/5.0 stars on Amazon.

 

 



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"Sub-Saharan Africa is now one of the world's most talked about regions in terms of emerging investment opportunities and sources of new growth. Its economies represent a quintessential frontier market and they are set to develop into an area of long-term investment interest.

Africa; The Ultimate Frontier Market is an investor's guide to the transformations that have occurred in the African business landscape in the last 60 years and the key areas of interest for the future. This book provides a detailed but lucid look at the changing trends in social life, government and business since the 1960s.

It explains the background to consumer market developments and why they have occurred, the enablers that have been laid down within Africa that ready it for business expansion, and the sectors where there is opportunity for investment and growth."

Who this book is for:

Africa's business environment is diligently broken down into seven areas by David Mataen:

  • Agriculture
  • Real estate
  • Consumer retail
  • Financial services
  • Telecoms
  • Transport and logistics
  • Manufacturing and processing

Each of these chapters describes the major themes in the area and identifies the specific consumer sectors anticipated to experience the biggest growth in the years to come.

By following the long-term developments described by David Mataen, you will understand the pace of change in Africa in the past and gain an appreciation for how its business and economy will progress in the future. At this time of great opportunity, this book is an essential addition to your investment library.





Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"Winning in Emerging Markets is quickly becoming the go-to book for mapping a strategy for entering new markets—and then quickly gaining a competitive edge in those high growth regions.

Advancing the discussion about emerging markets themselves and how organizations can best leverage the potential of these regions, Tarun Khanna and Krishna Palepu – both well respected thinkers on the subject – argue there is more to sizing up these markets than just evaluating data points related to size, population, and growth potential. In fact, they say the possibility to expand a company’s progress in developing economies is to first asses the area’s lack of institutional infrastructure—and then to formulate strategies around what the authors call “institutional voids” to the firm’s advantage.

Khanna and Palepu say the primary exploitable characteristic of an emerging market are such voids, and though they create challenges, they also provide major opportunity both for multinationals and local contenders.

Winning in Emerging Markets serves as a playbook for measuring a market’s potential and for crafting a strategy to succeed there."

Who this book is for:

Winning in Emerging Markets, by Tarun Khanna has already cited by the Financial Times, Forbes.com, The Economic Times, WSJ/Mint and several other prominent global business publications.

It's the perfect title for understanding more about emerging markets, investing in, or doing business within them. 



The Financial Expert™ Best Emerging Market Investment Book Challenge


Best emerging market investment books

I challenge you to read one book per month and see if it revolutionises your investing style!


The Financial Expert™ Best Emerging Market Investment Book Challenge is a well-loved feature of this website.

This is a personal development challenge that you can start at any point of the year.

Don't wait for New Years Day! Don't deprive yourself of the benefits of this powerful habit change.

The rules of the challenge are simple:

I challenge you to read one investing book per month for the next year, and find your new favourite!

The purpose of the challenge is to crack open your own perspective on the stock market.

When we begin as investors, we tend to soak up lots of new information and we're hungry for more. But I have found that personally I began to 'close up' to new ideas, and became a creature of habit and superstition.

The Best Emerging Market Investment Book Challenge was originally a challenge I set myself to expose myself to new investing thoughts and strategies.

I loved some things I read, and really challenged other parts. But either way, I found that this engagement with the titles was stimulating a level of critical thinking which hadn't experienced since I began investing a decade ago. 

Some guidance

  • I found it helpful to stock up on books for the next few months, so that when a new month rolls around, my next book was my bed-side table asking to be opened!
  • Pick a variety of styles. This will keep the challenge fresh and increase the diversity of opinion. 
  • Pick at least one book that you don't think you would enjoy, this book might be the one that surprises you the most!
  • If you're time-starved, audio books are absolutely fine!

Where to begin?

My list of the 5 best emerging market books above is as good as any place to start, as I have consciously included a mix of different writing and investing styles to ensure that it caters to a wide audience.

Good luck!



What are emerging markets?


Best investing books for beginners UK

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

Alvin Toffler

Emerging markets are developing countries with high economic growth potential. One of the authoritative definitions comes from the most widely referenced index for emerging market stock markets: The MSCI Emerging Markets Index. 

MSCI lists the following 26 countries in its index:

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.

While this might look like an exhaustive list, remember that there are a total of 195 countries in the world. Therefore the selection of 26 countries above actually represents a very exclusive selection of markets.

If a particular country interests you, or perhaps you have family or cultural ties to a particular emerging market - why not buy an emerging market investment book which focuses on that locale?



How do investors access the emerging markets?


Investing books offer only one perspective
"Emerging markets are hugely important."
James Dyson

One of the primary challenges of investing in the emerging markets is simply finding a cost-effective, efficient and convenient route for your capital. Ideally, you are looking for an investment opportunity which is:

  • Diversified across different geographical markets
  • Liquid, i.e. can be sold at a market value within a short timeframe if required
  • Tax efficient - attracting few (if any) charges or taxes when entering or existing the investment
  • Subject to a high standard of corporate governance and accountability

Very few opportunities meet all of these criteria. 

One which appears to is investing in an emerging markets equities exchanged-traded fund. An exchange-traded fund, known as an ETF for short, is a listed investment vehicle which can be bought or sold much like any shares, through a stockbroker of your choice

An ETF will pool the money from investors and buy the publicly listed shares of a representative sample of companies in the key emerging markets stock exchanges. 

A headline benefit of investing in emerging markets via an ETF is that your money will be immediately diversified, in some cases across thousands of companies. Yet because you only needed to place one trade to buy the ETF, you'll saved hundreds or thousands of pounds in dealer commission. All while achieving the same level of diversification as a private investor who invested separately in each company. The best emerging markets investment books will refer to ETFs as a rather simple yet revolutionary idea which has opened up the equity markets of the East in particular, to retail investors. 



Picking the best emerging markets books

Emerging markets are the engines of economic growth. It is no surprise that investors from within and outside these markets consider investing money in emerging markets in the hope seeing higher returns.

I've brought together the best emerging market investment books on this page to help inspire you and provide tips and guidance if you're weighing up:

  • Whether investing in emerging markets is worth the risk
  • Which emerging market asset classes are the most accessible
  • How to invest in emerging markets

Whether you're a private investor or a finance industry professional; I've got you covered. The titles featured on this page cover economics, business and private investment in emerging markets.