Best Books to Read for Amateurs in Finance and Consulting

first-year college student trying to find books to find potential interest in these areas and maybe prepare for clubs related to them.

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Comments (33)

Apr 27, 2021 - 1:40pm

I really enjoyed this book because it has a wide range of short stories about different aspects of the business world.…

Some stories are very entertaining and educational.

I learned that oil investors pay almost no income tax because of a term called "percentage depletion allowance". This is because you can avoid taxes by depreciating an oil well indefinitely many times over its lifetime. Effectively removing any income tax. The book uses an example of someone who made $14 million in income that year from his well and paid only $80k in income taxes.  

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Apr 28, 2021 - 2:59pm


Thank you, what else do you think a college student could do to learn more about the finance world? any shows or youtube channels or news to follow?

Bloomberg TV 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 27, 2021 - 4:58pm

Barbarians at the Gate is the best written book about an M&A deal - great place to start. Monkey Business (the inspo for this website) is the defacto memoir on life as a junior banker but I will say that Discussion Materials made me feel vertigo because of how true to life it is, plus it is based in 2015 instead of 1992. The best senior banker memoir is Jonathan Knee's "The Accidental Investment Banker". Schwartzman's was...let's say pretty good, but it gets off the deal-focus fairly quickly. 

Consulting: I really enjoyed "Consulting Demons", which may be harder to find, but it is a well-written memoir that really digs into the work. I liked it better than "House of Lies" which is super negative. 

Currently reading the brand new : Caesar's Palace Coup

May 4, 2021 - 4:46am

100 pages through Caesar's Palace Coup at the moment, someone from work recommended it to me. I'm really enjoying it, it has a sort of Barbarian's at the Gate feel to it. Do you find the book quite technical at times? I feel like you need to have a good grasp of finance to fully understand what is going!

Apr 27, 2021 - 10:23pm

Investment Banking by Rosenbaum - this is a great starter book. All you need is basic accounting knowledge and the book walks you through valuation. Valuation by McKinsey is the pro-level book. Other great books, Intelligent Investor by Graham, Security Analysis by Graham, Competitive Advantage by Porter, Irrational Exuberance by Schiller, Stocks for the long haul by Siegel, Market Wizards, Big Money thinks small by Tilinghast. 

Apr 28, 2021 - 11:05am

A random walk down wall street is mostly about the different investing techniques. You can easily understand all of the books that I mentioned except Valuation by McKinsey and Security Analysis by Graham. Security analysis is probably still fairly accessible. Investment Banking by Rosenbaum is probably best after you've taken one finance and one accounting course. Market Wizards is just a series of interviews with Hedge Funders and the others are mostly about fundamental investing/history of stock and bond markets as told by business school/economic professors. I read most of those with no finance background early in college. 

Apr 28, 2021 - 11:06am

Yes. Try just the intro maybe or even just David Abrams intros to one of the chapters in the middle or towards the end. I don't remember which one. He also has great stuff. Maybe even try some of Buffets Letters or Market Masters. So many good books to choose from. Wherever you want to start is great

Apr 28, 2021 - 3:04pm

Den of Thieves, Predator's Ball, Market Wizards, New Market Wizards (Jack has a new book out too), When Genius Failed (LTCM), Smartest Guys in the Room (Enron)

There are some old threads with lots of book recommendations.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

May 1, 2021 - 8:54am

Good input so far. I've found the valuation book from Damadoran a great read. While a bit academic (practitioners may not always agree or take short cuts), it gives you a good overview on valuing almost any asset. If it is more about war-stories I agree with barbarians to be the best book ever on a deal, but in between that deal is some generations ago.

To someone entering into this field, I would warn you of taking on very indepth textbooks (Hull etc.), Unless you are a math genius. Rather focus on getting to love this (very wide) industry, understand it's drivers and challenges and find some amusement on stories. The rest (technicals) will come in due time. Paramount is, as a wise mentor once told me "understand the business first"... By that is meant the business the trade you are in and the security. Anything that helps you develop this view on how businesses work and the financial side of it will be of great value professionally (as a consultant, banker, investor etc.)

May 1, 2021 - 8:20pm

Discussion Materials by Bill Keenan is a great book on the life of an MBA associate and juniors in IB as a whole, Straight to Hell by John Lefevre is great too. Both aren't very technical but hit on the important points for a college kid and are entertaining to read, also much more current and applicable then the old classics. Monkey business is still a worthy read but has many outdated parts.

King of Capital is equal parts the story of Blackstone and a history of Private Equity / LBOs while also touching on the morality of the LBO process. The man who solved the Market by Gregory Zuckman is about arguably the greatest performing hedge fund ever while also covering the history of quant hedge funds.

Scott Galloway's Algebra of Happiness isn't finance-related but he was an analyst at MS and covers it briefly, also a good book in general and an interesting look at what he's done after IB and his reflection on his life.

I read all 6 of these books between accepting my SA offer and that summer and all of them made a big impact on how I work now and how I'm thinking about my career, I'd recommend reading them all if you were interested in banking.

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