The 5 Best Stocks and Shares Books for Beginners

Last updated: 14 November 2020.

Welcome to the definitive guide to the best stocks and shares books available in 2020. You might be looking for a book about stocks and shares to:

I've ranked my top 5 stocks and shares books below which will cover these topics and much, much more.

This is a beginner-friendly list of books, although some titles will also have plenty to offer for intermediate investors with 1 - 10 years of experience. With prices ranging from £5 - £23, grabbing a few of the best stocks and shares books is actually much cheaper than an investing course but could contain a similar amount of knowledge. Of course, if you rely on stocks and shares books alone for your investing education, you'll be the only one to blame if your studying isn't successful!

As mentioned in the box below, all the books below can actually be read for free with Amazon's Kindle Unlimited free trial if you're in a particularly frugal phase!

Click on any book cover or link 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!

Download all these stocks and shares books for free with Kindle Unlimited

You DON'T even need a Kindle device to download books

Here's a useful tip that will save you £100+ on stocks and shares books. Sign-up to Amazon's Kindle Unlimited free trial, which offers access to all titles for free for 30 days.

  • There's no obligation to continue with a paid subscription.
  • You don't even need a Kindle to enjoy - any device will do.

If you're cost-savvy, you'll already be calculating the savings you could unlock and the knowledge you could gain by downloading 5 books over the next 30 days.


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Classic books about the stock market - the best of all time

These classic stock market titles were authored 10+ years ago and have sold over 100,000 copies

Stocks and shares books for beginners

The best places to start before you invest

Stocks and shares books for experienced investors

Comprehensive guides from the leading UK publisher of investing titles. 

The best of the rest:

They didn't make my top 10, but they still have plenty to offer

My Top 5 Stocks and Shares Books for 2020

Click covers to see latest reviews and prices



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"The most damaging half truth for savers is “performance matters more than expenses”. Read this book carefully and the financial services industry will have one fewer easy victim, but you will have a sound base for a lifetime of successful investment.'

Martin White, Chair of UK Shareholders Association

This is one of those great big books to buy and then tuck away for constant reference. It's a tour through everything from managing a portfolio to establishing a fair intrinsic value for a share. If it moves in the world of investing, it’s probably here.'

David Stevenson, 'Adventurous Investor' in the Financial Times

‘Informative and easy to read, Glen Arnold has produced arguably the most comprehensive book there is today on stock market investing and one that unquestionably will give an edge to any retail investor. This is a must read for anyone serious about investing.'

Simon Thompson, Companies Editor, Investors Chronicle

Who this investing book is for:

What can I say about this book - other than the fact it outsells any other stocks and shares book on this page by a healthy margin.

This is a serious guide for those who want to master every facet of the stock market.

The Financial Times: Investing guide is designed for beginners, meaning that it explains terms and acronyms in a way that won't leave newbies behind. 

But that's not to say this book is just about the basics. Glen Arnold writes in a fantastic way that allows him to convey a information of great depth on each page.

Certainly my personal favourite out of all the stocks and shares books on the market today. 



2. Investing for Dummies - Tony Levene (UK edition)



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"Think investing is only for the super-rich? Think again! Packed with tons of expert advice, Investing For Dummies UK 4th edition shows you step-by-step how to make sound, sensible investment choices—whatever your budget.

All the major investment categories are covered for the smart beginner, while more advanced and alternative investments are presented for the more adventurous and experienced. Wherever you fall on the investing spectrum, there's something for you!

This new UK edition of Investing For Dummies has been updated with the latest financial information, including all the new trends and developments that have affected the world of investment, with an emphasis on the new pensions legislations and changes to Individual Savings Accounts."

Who this investing book is for:

Investing for Dummies is an under-appreciated title on the investing shelf. But to give it the recognition that this title (and author Tony Levene) deserves, I've featured it at number #2 on this ranking of stocks and shares books. 

The strength of this book is in how many little niches and topics it covers. Instead of pigeon holing its readers into the minutae of technical knowledge, it begins at the right level to begin with (the highest of levels) before gently dipping into lots of areas. 

As a reader, the effect is that you're left feeling very educated about stocks and shares, and the wider stock market, whilst also being curious to learn more about what you've just read. Perfect. 



3. How to Own The World - Andrew Craig



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"It is entirely realistic for you to control your wealth, make a lot of money, and become financially free as a result.

HOW TO OWN THE WORLD shows you how. With just a little knowledge you can turn your financial fortunes around and change your life.

'For anyone who wants to understand how to best use the tools available in the modern world to learn about becoming a successful investor' Metro

'If you want just one book on investment from the cacophony, you couldn't do much better' Michael Mainelli, Economics Professor"

Who this investing book is for:

This topical and fresh title was penned by  Andrew Craig, a former speech writer. 

As you would expect, it's an expertly written tome in which Andrew takes beginners through his person thesis of how an investor can own the world. 

This title covers not only the stock market, but commodities trading too. 



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"The Little Book of Common Sense Investing is the classic guide to getting smart about the market. Legendary mutual fund pioneer John C. Bogle reveals his key to getting more out of investing: low-cost index funds.

Bogle describes the simplest and most effective investment strategy for building wealth over the long term: buy and hold, at very low cost, a mutual fund that tracks a broad stock market Index such as the S&P 500.

While the stock market has tumbled and then soared since the first edition of Little Book of Common Sense was published in April 2007, Bogle’s investment principles have endured and served investors well."

Who this investing book is for:

If you're looking for a book about stocks and shares which is written by an author with unbeatable experience, then you can't go wrong with The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John Bogle. 

John Bogle is the outspoken leader of Vanguard - a world leader of passive investments such as exchange traded funds which invest in stocks and shares with minimal expense. 

This short and accessible book sets out John's viewpoint on investment strategies, and why he firmly believes that passive investments like index trackers can out perform active management and day trading



5. The New Trading for a Living - Dr. Alexander Elder



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"This classic guide teaches a calm and disciplined approach to the markets. It emphasizes risk management along with self-management and provides clear rules for both.

The New Trading for a Living includes templates for rating stock picks, creating trade plans, and rating your own readiness to trade. It provides the knowledge, perspective, and tools for developing your own effective trading system.

All charts in this book are new and in full color, with clear comments on rules and techniques. The clarity of this book's language, its practical illustrations and generous sharing of the essential skills have made it a model for the industry—often imitated but never duplicated. Both new and experienced traders will appreciate its insights and the calm, systematic approach to modern markets."

Who this investing book is for:

A recent addition to this ranking; I was only introduced to The New Trading for a Living in the past year. 

Available in hardback, this title gives incredible insights that reviewers on Amazon have rewarded with 81% five star reviews. 

Those reviews collectively will probably be more valuable than my take, but for what it's worth, I particularly enjoyed:

- A detailed introduction to technical analysis

- Tips for staying ahead of the psychological game of trading stocks and shares

- How to treat your trading like a business. 



Download all these stocks and shares books for free with Kindle Unlimited

You DON'T even need a Kindle device to download books

Here's a useful tip that will save you £100+ on stocks and shares books. Sign-up to Amazon's Kindle Unlimited free trial, which offers access to all titles for free for 30 days.

  • There's no obligation to continue with a paid subscription.
  • You don't even need a Kindle to enjoy - any device will do.

If you're cost-savvy, you'll already be calculating the savings you could unlock and the knowledge you could gain by downloading 5 books over the next 30 days.


Get free access

The Financial Expert™ Best Stocks and Shares Book Challenge


Best investing books

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


The Financial Expert™ Best Stocks and Shares 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 Stocks and Shares 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 stocks and shares 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!



Even the best stocks and shares books offer a single perspective


Investing books offer only one perspective
"Spoon feeding, in the long run, teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon."
E M Forster

In this section of our stocks and shares books guide, I wanted to emphasise the importance of reading from a wide variety of sources. 

The stock market is a place where a million different opinions about companies converge, through the medium of share prices. 

It's nature that when we look at what authors write about in books about the stock market, we see a similar disparate set of opinions. 

It can be alarming to see stock market gurus disagree with each other on paper, after all, if two opinions diverge - mustn't one be wrong? 

Not always. As you'll often find, different investing styles are ideal for different phases in the business cycle economies and of course; personal circumstances.

It's for this reason that you shouldn't stick to a single doctrine from a single book about stocks and shares, no matter how hallowed the author. 

Read widely, understand every side of the main academic arguments about financial markets, such as:

  • Are prices efficient - do share prices reflect all available information?
  • Should reducing costs or enhancing returns take priority? 
  • Is active trading more profitable than passive investing?

After you've read 5 - 10 books about stocks and shares, you'll be in a good position to reach an informed opinion of your own on each of these questions, and tailor your own style accordingly.