Books on Finance and Accounting

Get the The Wall Street Journal Complete Money & Investing Guidebook if you’re looking for an introduction to the field that’s like white wine–dry and refined. Get the S&P Guide to Money and Investing if you’re looking for a fun, picture-book overview of the financial markets. The Financial Business Box is a colorful introduction to accounting, Excel, and financial math, in picture-book style. It’s the same guide that was given to the summer analyst class at J.P. Morgan.

Books on Interview Preparation


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Books on Finance and Accounting

Get the The Wall Street Journal Complete Money & Investing Guidebook if you’re looking for an introduction to the field that’s like white wine–dry and refined. Get the S&P Guide to Money and Investing if you’re looking for a fun, picture-book overview of the financial markets. The Financial Business Box is a colorful introduction to accounting, Excel, and financial math, in picture-book style. It’s the same guide that was given to the summer analyst class at J.P. Morgan.

Books on Interview Preparation

Get How to Ace the Brainteaser Interview if you’re looking to refine and master the art of answering brainteasers, guesstimates, and intimidating questions suavely and with style. I recommend Best Answers to 201 Most Frequently Asked Interview Questions if you’re looking to understand what’s behind the interview question and how to spin your story in different ways to get your most desired traits across to your interviewer. It’s a solid, basic guide.

I recommend 301 Best Questions to ASK On Your Interview if you really want to impress your interviewer. At the end of the interview, they’ll open it up for questions. That’s a golden opportunity. That’s when you blow them away with your well-prepared and well-researched questions and when you differentiate yourself from all the other candidates who didn’t have anything to ask.

Books on Job Preparation and Networking

There aren’t a lot of books written on job preparation and networking, but I found They Don’t Teach Corporate in College to be a handy, calming guide to the new workplace environment. The work-place does not revolve around sitting at your desk all day and cranking on a spreadsheet; it revolves around people. Read Never Eat Alone to learn how meaningful networking really is and how to get good at it.

Although getting an MBA is probably far away for most of us, I found How to Get into theTop MBA Programs to be an incredibly helpful text. It sheds a lot of light and insight on what business schools look for and what the most competitive, top-notch candidates are like.

Books on Investing

Investing books? But I want to do investment banking! Well, take a step back. What do investment bankers do? They provide financial products and services like mergers and aquisitions, initial public offerings, equity and debt financing, and advisory work. But what does it take to provide those services? What’s at the core of knowing how to engineer a merger, how to take a company public, or how much debt you need to raise? Valuation. You need to know what the company is worth! How do you value a company? There are many ways, but you typically make some kind of financial model.

Investors look for companies to put their money in. They have to know valuation. If you want to understand how to value a company, you’ll want to understand how to do so from a fundamental and technical perspective. I built my understanding of fundamental valuation by reading investing books written by the masters: Graham, Fisher, Lynch, and Greenblatt. I would highly suggest you do too.

Don’t know where to start? Go for The Warren Buffett Way or The Little Book that Beats the Market because they’re easy-to-read and process. Before you know it you’ll be moving on to the more nuanced Intelligent Investor and One Up on Wall Street!

Accounting, Finance, Money and Banking Textbooks

Accounting is the single most important foundation you need to build before going into finance. You can learn it on the job, but it’s going to save you a lot of pain and frustration if you master the art beforehand. You don’t need to be a CFA, but you need to understand what the financial statements are and how you’re going to use them to value a company. I learned accounting in class with the Financial Accounting textbook by doing all the practice problems.

If you want to understand financial instruments like stocks, bonds, and options, as well as investing theory (like CAPM and APT), then you’ll want to check out Investments. The Investments book is an introductory business school book that gets pretty technical and math-heavy. Again, do all the problems in the back of the book and build your in-depth, in-the-weeds understanding of how these financial instruments work. Before you know it, you’ll start trading them!

If you want to learn what a bank is, what its place is amongst other financial institutions, and how the whole financial ecosystem works, check out Economics of Money, Banking, and Financial Markets. The book is very soft, not a lot of technical or math work. Just a sweeping (and somewhat dry) introduction to how financial markets work and how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.

Advanced Investment Banking and Business Books

Looking for a more advanced treatment of higher-level finance concepts? You don’t have to buy these books to become proficient with these concepts. Most of them were too expensive for me, so I’d just steal away to the bookstore and read them off the shelves at the cafe. If you’re looking for a comprehensive list containing the best of the best, this is it. The Valuation book is pretty much the bible. It’s a bit dry and text-book-y, but it has everything.

If you want a shortcut, read The Wall Street MBA, which I found a lot easier to digest.  

Investment Banking is an overall excellent read. It’s the practical version of the valuation guides that keeps academic things to a minimum. Read Leveraged Finance if you’re looking to pursue an internship with a levfin group. If you’re looking for an in-depth treatment of M&A, read The Art of M & A, which is 1,000 pages long. It doesn’t get technical, but it tells you about all the pieces in the puzzle, and people’s incentives. The book is written in question and answer format so it flows very well. A great complement to that is the Harvard Business Review on Mergers and Acquisitions, which is a collection of articles from the magazine.

Personal Business Favorites

These books are all-time favorites because they’ve fundamentally changed the way I work and the way I view the world. If you’re looking for a total world-view makeover, check out the amusingly titled How to Win Friends and Influence People. The book was written in the 1920’s by Dale Carnegie, a super-successful, charismatic, and very well networked guy (not to be confused with Andrew Carnegie).

If you want to understand how to do business, how to really network, and how important people are in your day-to-day business life, the book is a must-read.

Check out the Hyperink summary of Four Hour Workweek if you’re looking for a way to become an always-vacationing, rich dudette without having to be an investment banker (or read the whole book). Read What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 and Rework if you’re looking to spice up the way you work and think with a little entrepreneurial seasoning.

And, of course, read How to Become CEO if you want to learn how to act and think like a future leader in the company. I loved How to Become CEO! It was short, sweet, and it definitely shows you how to separate yourself from the pack if you have huge long-term visions and want to be a leader.

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