I have read books by Daniel Solin (really liked his), Phil Town and like 3 or 4 others. I am Currently finishing the book Jackass Investing.
I would recommend, “The Investment Answer,” by Daniel C. Goldie and Gordon S. Murray. This book can serve as a reference book as well a guide for investors. Their focus on fees, investor decision making, and diversification is the essence of what an investor needs to know. They also speak to an advisor’s alignment of interest with the investor, and spell out what a fiduciary is. I wish this book would have been available when I first became involved as a Trustee for a pension fund the early 80’s.
There is a review in the NY Times that you could look up, which gives some background on the book, “A Dying Banker’s Last Instructions,” New York Times, Your Money, November 26, 2010.
The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham is the definitive book on investing. yes it's long, but it is blueprint that all investors should follow.
Matthew, Most of the books my fellow advisors have recommended are great books. However, once you begin reading a few of them, you will quickly notice they are providing conflicting advice. For example, Graham's Intelligent Investor will teach you his approach to achieving investment success by investing in "undervalued" stocks. Other books like A Random Walk Down Wall Street will provide reasons why you should not waste your time doing all the work required to invest like Ben Graham because few investors consistently outperform an index like the S&P 500. So, it's author recommends investing in index mutual funds. The more books you read, the more confused you will likely become. In an effort to save you time and perhaps money, I'll tell you that at the end of the day, you will realize that you can invest successfully with most of the investment strategies recommended in these books... as long as you implement them consistently and are able to keep your emotions in check. The one book I suggest you read is Nick Murray's Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth. And I will tell you upfront that Murray strongly recommends that you work with a financial advisor and that his or her job will be to keep you from making the emotional and behavioral errors that cause most investors to lose money in the financial markets. Murray believes that the key factor in how well or how poorly you do as an investor is your behavior, NOT what investments you own or how well you time the market. The hardest part of investing is not finding good investments, it's keeping your emotions in check and overcoming your natural, human instinct to buy near market tops and sell everything near market bottoms. Murray also expresses his strong belief that most investors (including retirees) should have a majority of their portfolio in stocks. He believes that the biggest risk investors, especially retirees, face is the risk of outliving their money, not the risk of losing money. Read Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth and then find a good financial advisor to help you implement the investment strategy that's most appropriate for your individual needs, objectives and comfort level. And by the way... I'm located in Woodland HIlls, CA and work with clients throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties. Feel free to contact me if you have further questions.
Some of my favorite books on investing are Jack Schwager's "Market Wizards" series. Each book is a compilation of interviews with investors that have generated consistently strong returns managing money. The books are so valuable because they showcase the opinions and mindset of top practitioners as opposed to academics or others with little experience actually managing money. I love that the books demonstrate that there are a lot of different approaches to investing, but there are common threads among these top managers. The Market Wizards series is a great way to familiarize yourself with the investment philosophy of great investors and compare the things that they say to what your advisor preaches.
Anything by Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard. He is the champion of individual investors, a hero of mine, and probably the person who has changed the investment business more than anyone in the last 50 years.
I'm going to take you a completely different direction than my colleagues! I think looking for a good book on investing is jumping the gun. I think where you need to start is with basics on markets and securities issuance. There is a great book written over forty years ago called "How to Buy Stocks'" by Louis Engel. This is the best beginners book on investing ever written. It starts with the basic building blocks of why a company issues stock or bonds. It covers the simple principals of financing a business via the usage of outside capital.
I have a library of over 500 books on investing and markets, and this is where I counsel everyone to start. Understand the basics of capital finance first, then move on to strategy.
Best of luck!