Boring money books? No way. Nine of the best finance titles for Christmas

Theres a title for everyone in our list of books, handpicked by staff at Money Observer, interactive investor and Moneywise, for a financially healthy, wealthy and wise new year.

Feline cold? Why not spend a winters afternoon by the fire (OK, probably radiator) engrossed in a book. Whether you are an absolute beginner, seasoned investor, or looking for a gift, we have something for you. Theres even a novel...

Recommended reads

How to Own the World: a plain English guide to thinking globally and investing wisely
By Andrew Craig
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015

I met Andy Craig a couple of years back and was introduced to his book. It is indeed a page-turner – informative, well-written and perfectly understandable. It is aimed at the many who believe they know nothing about finance and investment, who will realise they probably know more than they realise. It is also full of nuggets, just one example of which is “It is realistic for you to target making more money from your money than from your job. This is the money secret understood by virtually every rich person in history.”
Richard Hunter, head of markets, interactive investor

Your Retirement Salary: how to use your lifetime of pension savings to pay yourself an income in your retirement
By Richard Craig and Richard Evans
Harriman House, 2019

Anyone who has what Steve Webb refers to as a “pot of money” pension - a retirement fund from which they plan to magic a sustainable income in retirement - should read this book. Written by two of the most respected mainstream investment journalists in the UK, it is a step-by step guide from first principles to the next generation – from getting your pots in order, to constructing and maintaining a robust income portfolio and generating a sustainable cash flow from it, dealing with all the tax-related questions that may arise in retirement, and avoiding the big bad pension booboos that could so easily leave you high and dry down the line. If you’re game to manage your own pension, this is the handbook you need.
Faith Glasgow, editor, Money Observer

Yummi Yoghurt: a first taste of stock market investment
By John Lee

Grosvenor House Publishing, 2019

This Christmas I’m going to force-feed my daughters and nephews Yummi Yoghurt: a first taste of stock market investment. It’s a short and easy-to-read book by Britain’s first Isa millionaire Lord John Lee of Trafford, that’s designed to give young children a flavour of the world of investing. The story follows the journey of a fictional yoghurt business called Yummi Yoghurt to flotation. It offers bite-sized lessons on why a growing business may consider becoming a publicly quoted company and how share prices rise and fall.
Moira O’ Neill, head of personal finance, interactive investor

Invest in the Best: applying the principles of Warren Buffett for long-term investing success
by Keith Ashworth-Lord
Harriman House, 2016

If you want to buy shares yourself, as opposed to outsourcing the decision-making to a fund manager or simply buying the market through a low-cost tracker fund, it really pays to swot up on how the investment legends made their fortunes, and on that front Warren Buffett is the most famous of all. There have been countless books written about “the sage of Omaha”, but this book is written by a man who has successfully put Buffett’s investment principles into practice. Keith Ashworth-Lord runs the CFP SDL UK Buffettology fund, which follows the Buffett mantra of buying shares in good businesses for less than the business is intrinsically worth and then investing for the long term. Invest in the Best details how to find great businesses that should stand the test of time and it is a title that will suit those who have already built up a certain amount of investment knowledge and would like to develop their understanding further. Alternatively, all of Buffett’s annual shareholder letters over the past four decades, which contain plenty of tips on how to invest successfully, can be read for free online at Also explore Money Observer’s 10 golden rules of investing.
Kyle Caldwell, deputy editor, Money Observer

The Mandibles: a family, 2029-2047
By Lionel Shriver

The Borough Press, 2016

What would happen if the US defaulted on its massive debt pile? It’s one thing to read economic theory to make sense of the world in which we live. I would argue that sometimes fiction has even more power, to play out an idea and imagine how it might affect people’s lives. The Mandibles: a family, 2029-2047 is a dystopian novel by Lionel Shriver. It jumps forward to decades ahead, to a time when the US defaults and can no longer borrow, inflation escalates, everyone’s gold is nationalised, and the whole world order starts to rotate. This is all seen through the lives of a multi-generational family, who live, work and love through these changes.
Rachel Rickard Straus, editor, Moneywise

Money: the unauthorised biography
By Felix Martin

Vintage, 2014

Felix Martin shows among other things how, in his view, the traditional kinship-based economic relations of the Greek Dark Ages, with its notions of social value rooted in shared male sacrificial ritual held within it a concept of universal social value; and how the contact of these societies with the literacy and accountancy of the highly centralised Mesopotamian state in the East led to the emergence of coinage and money as we understand it today. That is, a social technology combining a concept of universal value with the ability to transfer money obligations from one person to another in a decentralised fashion. From those roots, Martin takes us on a stimulating journey through economic time – from the feudal Spanish Empire’s mountain of silver in South America that “eats men”, to how pubs replaced banks in Ireland in 1970. This is just some of the fascinating history uncovered by Martin in his stimulating discourse, even if the prescriptions for stopping a recurrence of the credit crunch and economic crisis seen in 2008-09 are a little fuzzy.
Gary McFarlane is production editor at Money Observer, and cryptocurrency analyst at interactive investor

Spare Change: how to save more, budget and be happy with your finances
By Iona Bain
Hardie Grant Books, 2016

Money management makes for exciting reading, said no young person ever, yet financial writers who crank up the fun factor are surely more likely to capture the attention of younger people and help them achieve a secure financial future. So, when a colleague told me that Spare Change, by Oxford-educated musician, singer, journalist, and Young Money blogger Iona Bain, features an illustration of country music star Dolly Parton, I added it to my towering to-read pile. It is a title that I hope will both educate and entertain me while I'm commuting for my 9 to 5 (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
Nina Kelly, web editor at Money Observer

Your Complete Guide to Factor-Based Investing: the way smart money invests today
By Andrew L. Berkin and Larry E. Swedroe
Buckingham, 2016
Over the past few years there has been an explosion of so-called factors - shared characteristics of stocks that provide market outperformance. But many factors, critics say, are the result of “data mining” and won’t provide any alpha. Some have dismissed what they call a “zoo of factors”. With such criticisms in mind, the authors have produced a useful guide for investors to assess the validity of proposed factors. To do so, they offer six criteria, which they explain through methodically applying them to popular and widely accepted factors, such as size. As a result, the book gives investors the tools to critically assess newly proposed factors, as well as providing a deeper understanding of how and why factors such as size, value, and momentum can provide outperformance.
Tom Bailey, staff writer, Money Observer

The Little Book of Behavioral Investing: how not to be your own worst enemy
By James Montier
John Wiley & Sons, 2010

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers when it comes to investing, but there are psychological forces that can have a profound influence on investors’ decisions. This is the premise behind this book, which piggybacks off Ben Graham, the father of value investing, famed for saying “The investor’s chief problem - and even his worst enemy – is likely himself”, to offer a cogent and insightful exploration of how cognitive bias and fear can affect an investor’s bottom line.
Myron Jobson, personal finance campaigner, interactive investor


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Christmas Books

The little book of common sense investing by John C. Bogle should be on this list, right at the top!

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