What should I read if I am interested in private equity?

Welcome to the Wall Street Oasis Reading List for Private Equity. Please email [email protected] if you think we should add in additional publications to our Recommended Reading. Don't forget, after years in the making our private equity interview Prep Guide is now here!

The Easy Reads section contains books meant to give a general idea about a career or industry. Technical Reads are meant for people with some business experience or with some exposure to the industry, and it may include more technical writing. The Career Jump-Start section focuses on literature that will help you get a job, including: interviews guides, firm/recruiter lists, and/or compensation data.

Easy ReadsTechnical ReadsCareer Jump-Start
Barbarians at the Gateprivate equity casebookTechnical Interview Guide
King of CapitalLessons in PEFit Interview Guide
Masters of PEValuationA Look Behind the Wall
Internship Guide
PE & VC Guide

Easy Reads

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco

by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar

Two former reporters for The Wall Street Journal chronicle an epic transaction: the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco. The authors take you through the personalities of many of the men involved, as well as the process. Despite the detail, this is still a great read for novices. Spoiler Alert: KKR wins.
Military_PE_Guy (WSO <span class='keyword_link'><a href=//www.wallstreetoasis.com/certified-users>Certified User</a></span>):

Read Barbarians at the Gate if you haven't already.

The Today Show:

The fascinating inside story of the largest corporate takeover in American history. It reads like a novel.

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King of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone

by David Carrey and John Morris

This book is, essentially, a history of private equity with a focus on Schwarzman and The Blackstone Group. If you're at all interested in private equity, while this book can get a bit boring in parts, it's definitely one you should check out.
TheVanBurenBoyz (WSO User):

Good read. There's a great history of private equity, w/ entertaining and motivating profiles of personalities and war stories. It seems that all of the successful people in the book are inwardly-focused, but expressive. It sounds conflicting, but that's the best way I can describe it. Very confident in their intuition, and comfortable persuading others towards it, regardless of their normal social abilities (it appears that some are socially comfortable, while others are typically more introverted in non-business settings).

The New York Times' Dealbook:

The authors ... [take] us from the early days of the Blackstone Group, when the firm was just two guys and a secretary, to the buyout boom, when Mr. Schwarzman's conspicuous consumption became a symbol of the new Gilded Age. In between, the book dives deeply into the firm's signature deals -- Celanese! Nalco! Distressed cable bonds! -- that made Mr. Schwarzman and his partners so rich. It also delivers some fun details about many of the now-famous Wall Street players that did tours of duty at the firm.

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The Masters of Private Equity and Venture Capital

by Walter Finkel and David Greising

Co-authored by Founder and President of Chicago PE firm Prism Capital Robert Finkel, this collection of interviews with top private equity managers is sure to intrigue and excite anyone interested in the private equity space.
Ellen Carnahan (<span class='keyword_link'><a href=//www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/amazon>Amazon</a></span> Review):

I have been a partner in the Venture Capital business my entire career - over twenty years. I have kept a personal list of "lessons learned" from my investment experience; and, I have read many of the books in the category. By far, this is the very best book in all respects.

W Emmanuel (<span class='keyword_link'><a href=//www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/amazon>Amazon</a></span> Review):

The Masters of Private Equity and Venture Capital is a great book for anyone (student or professional) interested in the VC/PE industry. It was written by two individuals: a talented business journalist, skilled at explaining business ideas, and by a private equity master, who is known, proven, and well respected in the industry. The book offers insights, advice, and lessons directly from the proven leaders who run the PE/VC industry. I first read the book after graduating undergrad, using it as a reference tool when networking with industry execs. As a young professional, I often refer to the book, prior to business meetings with clients.

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Technical Reads:

Venture Capital and Private Equity: A Casebook

by Josh Lerner, Felda Hardymon, and Ann Leamon

Lerner's Casebook covers everything from how a private equity firm's funds are raised and structured to international deals to how the industry changes. Regardless of where you are in you PE or pre-PE career, this is a must-have reference resource for every prospective analyst or MD.
apprentice7697 (WSO User):

Definitely check out Josh Lerner's 'Venture Capital and Private Equity: a Casebook.' He's the legendary HBS professor in the space with knowledge out the ass. It's technical, offers real-life, international cases, goes into returns, raising and structuring funds, and different valuation strategies. The book is a painful tome you'll never get through, but it's nice to pick-and-choose ad hoc to get kernels of knowledge you want/need in real time.

John Dascher:

If you are somewhat knowledgeable about private equity then this is a "must read". If you are a beginner make sure you become familiar with the ins & outs of private equity/venture capital before reading or else you may miss a lot of the value of this book.

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Lessons from Private Equity Any Company Can Use (Memo to the CEO)

by Orit Gadiesh and Hugh Macarthur

Executive Chairwoman of Bain & Co offers solid advice in this "Memo to the CEO" installment. Short and sweet, this is a must-read for any senior-level exec looking to learn about private equity. It's also recommended for prospective PE applicants and entry-level PE analysts and associates to get an idea of how the deals they work on function at the upper levels.
numi (WSO <span class='keyword_link'><a href=//www.wallstreetoasis.com/certified-users>Certified User</a></span>):

I just started reading this a couple nights ago; it's a very quick read and is extremely practical. It obviously has its roots in the private equity investment criteria, but you can definitely see how the fundamental qualities stressed in the book are also important traits to assess in public companies. As someone who used to cover public companies but recently moved to private equity, I think it's very relevant and useful in helping someone become a "smarter investor" (as well as a better executor, for those of you that aspire to be C-level personnel sometime down the line).

Hubert Shea (<span class='keyword_link'><a href=//www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/amazon>Amazon</a></span> Review):

Two business experts from Bain & Company believe that successful practices adopted by PE players can be applied to different industries around the world. After having abundant consulting experience of working with PE players, they maintain that there are at least six deceptively simple rules in which PE players set a concrete and inescapable benchmark for corporate performance.

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Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies, 5th Edition (Wiley Finance)

by Tim Koller, Marc Goedhart, David Wessels

Thoroughly revised and expanded to reflect business conditions in today's volatile global economy, Valuation, Fifth Edition provides up-to-date insights and practical advice on how to create, manage, and measure the value of an organization. Along with all new case studies that illustrate how valuation techniques and principles are applied in real-world situations, this comprehensive guide has been updated to reflect the events of the real estate bubble and its effect on stock markets, new developments in corporate finance, changes in accounting rules, and an enhanced global perspective.
Aaron Brown (<span class='keyword_link'><a href=//www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/amazon>Amazon</a></span> Review):

There is extensive and detailed instruction for a big team analyzing for a big project, whether it is capital budgeting, capital structure, merger, acquisition, restructuring, bankruptcy or any other valuation topic. It is comprehensive and clear. If you work on this kind of project, you need this book. If you don't work on this kind of project, it can still give you a tremendous amount of insight into the factors that contribute to shareholder value.

Benjamin C. Esty (Harvard Business School):

The best valuation book just got better. This edition's greater emphasis on what drives value and how to measure it will improve the way practitioners conduct financial analysis and, ultimately, make strategic decisions. It is required reading for all executives.

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Career Jump-Start

Technical Interview Guide

by Wall Street Oasis

This 80+ page guide, produced by WSO and written for WSO's users, is a compilation of the most common technical questions encountered in Wall Street interviews.
WSO User banker88:

Just got the new technical guide. By far much better than vault. Very detailed (80+ pages) with charts, graphs, etc. I'll be reading this at least once this summer in prepping for fall interviews.

<span class='keyword_link'><a href=//www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/goldman-sachs>Goldman Sachs</a></span> S&T VP:

The new Wall Street Oasis Technical Guide provides questions and easy to understand answers for all the questions I typically ask when interviewing a candidate. The additional questions expand the guide, and the new charts are an added bonus for easily remembering the crucial concepts. If a student really knows all the questions in this guide, they are sure to nail the technical section of their interview.

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Behavioral Interview Guide

by Wall Street Oasis

This 56 page guide, produced by WSO and written for WSO's users, is a compilation of over 100+ of the most common behavioral / fit questions encountered in Wall Street interviews with detailed advice and examples.
<span class='keyword_link'><a href=//www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/credit-suisse>Credit Suisse</a></span> M&A Analyst:

All I can say is I wish I had the Wall Street Oasis Behavioral Guide before I went into my banking interviews. I was well prepared for some of the fit questions that came my way, but others challenged me. With the extensive number of questions in this guide and the sample answers, I would have felt prepared to handle almost anything.

MIT Sloan MBA Student:

I didn't read Wall Street Oasis Technical and Behavioral Interview guides until after my first year in my MBA program, and frankly they contained everything I had spent the last year learning to get a job on the Street. I highly recommend them to anyone preparing for an interview, finance or other. It's a heck of a lot cheaper than an MBA (not to mention faster and more to the point).

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A Look Behind the Wall - An Overview of Six Wall Street Career Paths

by Wall Street Oasis

WallStreetOasis.com has collaborated with its most knowledgeable users to provide one of the most detailed, entertaining and insightful publications to hit Wall Street in years.

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Internship Guide

by Wall Street Oasis

This is a complete guide to getting through your summer internship in finance or consulting. Whether you're wondering what to wear, how to do your work, or how to manage your money, this 30-page guide has it all. Following this guide will make getting through the summer as painless as possible, so that you can have the exciting, rewarding experience you deserve.

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Breaking Into Private Equity and Venture Capital

by Wall Street Oasis

This guide can help you land your dream job in private equity or venture capital by demystifying the notoriously opaque private equity and venture capital recruiting process. The key to breaking into private equity is to plan ahead because private equity recruiting is both highly competitive and formulaic.
Jason Kanner (Managing Partner, BSD Associates):

Daniel Sheyner has written an extremely comprehensive, accurate, and informative synopsis of the private equity industry and getting in its iron doors. It's the best report of its kind that I have seen.

Natalie Matushevsky (Managing Consultant, <span class='keyword_link'><a href=//www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/michael-page>Michael Page</a></span> Int.):

The Wall Street Oasis private equity & venture capital guide is an excellent overview of how to land you dream job in private equity. In short, it summarizes what it takes to get your foot in the door.

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