Recommended books – Asia
The Bubble Economy: The Japanese Economic Collapse by Christopher Wood
My former colleague, Chris Wood, has written the definitive account of the extraordinary rise of Japan in the 1980s and the bust which followed. There hasn’t been a larger economic downturn in the developed world in modern history.
Tomorrow’s Gold: Asia’s Age of Discovery by Marc Faber
Faber’s book on the rise of Asia proved prescient. The author provides penetrating insight into the rise and fall of nations as well as asset classes. A refreshing non-Anglospheric take on things (Mr Faber is Swiss but resides in Thailand).
Asian Godfathers by Joe Studwell
The deep and often corrupt connections between businesses and politicians are rarely examined in Asia, for obvious reasons. Studwell conducts the task with relish. Probably a little over-the-top but does a sound job of busting some myths on Asia’s leading businessmen.
The Party: The Secret World Of China’s Communist Party by Richard McGregor
A fascinating account of the world’s largest political party. Shows the breadth and depth of the party’s reach. Like many journalists though, he doesn’t give enough weight to the free-wheeling capitalism which exists in much of China.
Red Capitalism: The Fragile Foundation Of China’s Extraordinary Rise by Carl Walter and Fraser Howie
This book on the ponzi-like nature of China’s financial system was ahead of its time. Essential to any understanding of China’s current economic slowdoen.
Avoiding The Fall: China’s Economic Restructuring by Michael Pettis
Pettis is often dry and repetitive but provides many valid points on why China’s growth may slow more rapidly than most think.
Reimagining India: Unlocking The Potential Of Asia’s Next Superpower by McKinsey & Company
This book pulls together the thoughts of many leading thinkers on the opportunities and challenges for India.
In The Time Of Madness: Indonesia On The Edge Of Madness by Richard Parry
The Asian financial crisis made the 2008 downturn look a picnic. This book gives an overview of the extraordinary violence which enveloped Indonesia during and post the crisis. It’s a gripping read and makes you realise how far Indonesia has come since the late 1990s. The other must read on Indonesia is A Nation in Waiting by Adam Schwarz
The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyadev by Paul Handley
Many don’t realise that people who speak negatively of Thailand’s King can, and do, go to jail in that country. This book tries to provide an independent assessment of the King’s long reign.
Breakout Nations: In Pursuit Of The Next Economic Miracles by Ruchir Sharma
Sharma gives a good overview of many Asian nations and their potential to break through to become developed countries. He’s a gifted writer who skillfully weaves history, anecdotes and on-the-ground experiences as an investor in Asia.
The Little Book of Emerging Markets by Mark Mobius
Mobius is one of the most well-recognised emerging markets investors. His decades of experience in these markets always makes for a good read.
Uprising: Will Emerging Markets Shape Or Shake The World Economy by George Magnus
Magnus doesn’t think any emerging markets will break through to challenge the US as they lack things such as innovation and the institutions which let it flourish. It’s a very Western viewpoint which belies much of the history of superpowers. That said, I always find reading Magnus both stimulating and worthwhile.
Recommended books – investment
Capital Account: A Fund Manager Reports On A Turbulent Decade, 1993-2002 by Edward Chancellor
One of my favourite investment books. It’s a compilation of client letters from highly successful global equities manager, UK-based Marathon Asset Management. The capital cycle theory it espoused gave value investing a unique twist. For the sophisticated investor.
Warren Buffett’s Shareholder Letters
Essential reading for any investor. Don’t be fooled by the folksy hunour though, Buffett is a larger shark than any on Wall Street. He hasn’t been successful for nothing.
The Warren Buffett Way by Robert Hagstrom
The best book on Warren Buffett investment strategies. Invaluable on valuation techniques.
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
Warren Buffett learned his craft from Benjamin Graham. This book is rightly regarded as the bible on value investing. It’s the cliched “must read”.
Anatomy Of A Bear: Lessons From Wall Street’s Four Great Bottoms by Russell Napier
This book provides thoughtful analysis of the swings in US markets from undervaluation to overvaluation. Important pointers on valuation techniques, particularly at extreme highs and lows. This is certainly for the the sophisticated investor.
The Dhando Investor by Mohnish Pabrai
A nice introduction on ways to best think about investment purchases. Though inspired by Buffett, Pabrai has a unique perspective, gained from being a successful entrepreneur and now fund manager.
Hot Commodities by Jim Rogers
Rogers became bullish on commodities in 1998, when almost no-one else was. This book details how he thinks about the supply and demand drivers for a variety of commodities.
You Can Be A Stock Market Genius by Joel Greenblatt
Don’t be put off by the corny title, this is a fine book by a very smart and successful investor. Greenblatt shares some of the methods he’s used to make money.
Super Money by Adam Smith
Smith, aka George Goodman, was the Michael Lewis of his generation. But better. This book looks at the behavioural aspects of investing in an often entertaining way.
Manias, Panics, And Crashes: A History Of Financial Crises by Charles Kindleberger
If there’s one book to read on financial crises, this is it. It looks at the causes and consequences of a variety of crises over the past two-and-a-half centuries. Common threads are found between the different crises.
The Little Book On Common Sense Investing by John Bogle
Bogle is an investment pioneer and always worth reading. His views on index investing have rightly become mainsteam.
The Four Pillars Of Investing by William Bernstein
Too few individual investors know enough about asset allocation. Bernstein lays it out in simple terms but with compelling evidence to support his theories.
Recommended books – economics
Economics In One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
If I had to recommend one economic book for a newbie, this would be it. Hazlitt brings a sometimes dry subject to life.
That Which Is Seen And That Which Is Not Seen by Frederic Bastiat
Bastiat looks at the hidden consequences of economic policies. His “broken windows” theory is still often mentioned today.
The Debt Deflation Theory Of Great Depressions by Irving Fisher
Fisher’s theories on deflation have influenced much of my thinking on the topic. All of Fisher’s books are worth reading.
The General Theory Of Employment, Interest, And Money by John Maynard Keynes
The most influential economist of the past century. Reading this book will make you realise that modern-day neo-Keynesiam is a far cry from Keynes own original ideas.
The Theory Of Money And Credit by Ludwig von Mises
Want to learn more about “Austrian” economics, then this is the place to start. Mises has seemingly become back in vogue.
Stabilizing An Unstable Economy by Hyman Minsky
Minsky’s theory that markets are crisis prone has gained credence post-2008. Much of this work is almost prophetic.
How You Can Profit From The Coming Devaluation by Harry Browne
Browne became famous for this 1970s book where he called the upcoming commodities boom. It gives a sound overview for the economic reasons behind his call.
Recommended news sites
The Financial Times - Asia Edition
The F.T. is now well ahead of The Wall Street Journal with the best hard-hitting news and analysis in Asia. The newspaper is also a source for what the region’s key policymakers are thinking.
The Wall Street Journal – Asia Edition
This newspaper used to have the best coverage of finance in Asia. Still informative in parts but the news/opinion has become less objective.
The New York Times
Still has some of the best journalism, but a pity that it’s a bit highbrow at times. I disagree with almost everything written by well-known columnists, Paul Krugman and Thomas Friedman.
Ingore the hyperbolic headlines, this website offers entertaining and often informative news and views on global markets.
Real Clear Markets
Market opinion aggregator. Mostly U.S. views but some global.
This is the world’s pre-eminent business magazine and it’s not hard to see why. Buy it for the writing alone, which takes often dry finance topics and makes them both highly readable and understandable. The only downside: a Keynesian ideology that can sometimes lead to debatable conclusions.
Recommended investment newsletters
Dow Theory Letters
Still going strong after 50 years, this newsletter offers unique insight not only into Dow Theory and technical analysis, but financial history and the importance of cycles. Richard Russell has seen it all and shares his vast experience.
The Aden Forecast
Around since 1982, this newsletter emphasises technical analysis, supported by well written and easily accessible views. Comprehensive coverage of commodities and a good track record with stock picking also.
The Gloom Boom & Doom Report
Marc Faber is always worth reading. This report is a paid publication but there are plenty of blogs which cover his media appearances and speeches. He’s a Thai resident and has plenty to say about Asia and Asian stocks.
Thoughts from the Frontline
John Mauldin’s free weekly newsletter does a good job of simplifying complex global economic issues. More for the institutional investor.
The Daily Reckoning
Bill Bonner is a superb writer who isn’t afraid to take contrarian views. His free daily newsletter, covering a wide variety of investment topics, is highly entertaining and often thought-provoking.
An investor site that gives non-mainstream investment views. A hard money advocate. It’s free and highly accessible to individual investors.
Recommended investor blogs/commentators
Magnus is a former UBS chief economist, now independent consultant and renowned emerging markets expert. Thoughtful analysis combined with extensive experience. Don’t agree with all of his views but always stimulating.
Former Asia chief economist at Morgan Stanley and now independent economist, Xie writes regularly on China for Caixin. Has strong views on China, many bearish.
Humble Student Of The Market
Global market insights from Canadian fund manager, Cam Hui. He knows his stuff and it shows. All the while, Hui writes the blog in a very accessible way.
If you want to know what’s happening in the world of currencies, this is the best place to start. Chuck Butler makes fx entertaining to read – no small feat.
The Big Picture
Barry Ritholtz’ blog provides punchy news analysis and views on the day’s important investment issues. Accessible to both institutional and individual investors.
Good insights into daily financial issues. More developed market focused and primarily for institutional investors.
The largest aggregator of financial content from blogs, asset managers and investment newsletters. Takes some time to sift through to get the best content, but well worth it.
Of Two Minds
Charles Hugh Smith offers an often brilliant and always different take on US and global markets. I’ve become an avid reader.
Vince Foster @Minyinville
I’ve become an real fan as Foster has an almost innate pulse for the markets and what’s really driving them (and it’s always multi-layered and different from what you hear from TV talking heads). Not an easy read and is therefore recommended for the more sophisticated investor.
Recommended precious metals websites
This is my go-to for daily news on gold. Relevant and succinct.
Ashamedly I only discovered this website in 2011. Bob Moriarty is a straight-talker and has an keen eye for potential multi-bagger gold mining investments. Great read.
Gold quotes, technical analysis and views from informed observers.