Authentic Vs Unauthentic Investment Books – What an Investor Should Select and Read?

Post by Sherin Dev of Money Hacker; Follow me in Twitter or Facebook

I have collected and read considerable number of investment books and yes, it is my best time pass too. Lots of them I own and some of them through online. However, I always feel better whenever I get and read an investment guide that is authentic. You may think why I used the word ‘Authentic’ to investment books. The word ‘authentic’ means original in all means. An authentic investment guide thus means it is original from the experience of an original investor than written by someone on someone else. Do we have such books available in the market to buy? If yes, what are those and what is the big difference between authentic investment books with other investment books available in the market or library? Here is the difference…

Authentic books best known as the books have reached to the market directly from an investor turned author who has proved his success through life and business. Best example for the same is Benjamin Graham. Graham, who known as the father of value investing and author of multiple best selling investment books that still investors around the globe considered as investment bible in their personal library!

An example for ‘unauthentic’ book is, ‘The Warren Buffett Way’ by Robert G. Hagstrom, explaining the methods Warren ‘may’ used to reach to the height of success. Such books are very good read and providing excellent information to investors to get success with investments, but still subjects inside such books have no authenticity. We never know whether Warren have read this book or not. We have also not known anything Warren said as positive or negative about this book. It means, we have an option to just trust the author and believe Warren done all those things what the author have written in this guide.

In the other side, great investment guides, ‘Intelligent Investor’ and ‘Security Analysis’ (not limited to only two books), both from great value investor Benjamin Graham to the public years back. Investors and readers have solid reason to buy and read such books because it covers the ideas and lessons that have used by Benjamin Graham to his success.

There are many books comes under Authentic Label. As said earlier, ‘Security Analysis’, ‘Intelligent Investor’, ‘Interpretations of Financial Statements’ are the authentic books directly from Benjamin Graham. ‘One upon Wall Street’, ‘Beating the Street’ are another two authentic guides from legend investor Peter Lynch. Another most admired investment books are from another legend investor Philip Fisher’s ‘Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings’ and ‘Paths to Wealth through Common Stocks’. Successful investors like George Soros have even authored various books. One of his great work is ‘The Alchemy of Finance’ included to Wiley investment classic group.

Above mentioned books can be considered as ‘Authentic’ in all means as it have written by the people who have tremendous investment success and have shared those secrets to public by writing these books as their own. Of course, these books should have their own place in investors personal library as each of it gives valuable advices to create personal intellectual frameworks for making successful investments.

However, some of the must read books which cannot come with authentic label automatically, but has limited authenticity. For an example, ‘The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America’ by Lawrence A. Cunningham is a collection of Buffett’s letters to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway written over the past few decades that together furnish an enormously valuable informal education. This book came to market in the name of Lawrence A. Cunningham as Author and Editor, but the contents in the books originally by Warren Buffett. This nature gives an authenticity to this guide. We can still consider this book is the only one authentic writing available to the public from Legend investor Warren Buffett. Another example of these type is ‘Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist’ by Roger Lowenstein is something we can say is an Autobiography of Warren Buffett..

There are many investment guides including national best sellers, available in the markets from various writers. Most of them covers the practices of legend investors like Warren Buffett, Benjamin Graham etc.. But failed to prove with any solid reason to include them under the label of ‘Authentic’. Some of these guides are terrific reads by it contents which providing excellent information to investors to become successful investors, but it is impossible to believe whether the given information, tips and practices in those books have originally used by the person on whom the book narrated. Such doubt always put these books under the label of ‘Unauthentic’.

Some of the books I have read and admired including ‘The Warren Buffett Way’ by Robert G. Hagstrom and series of books by Mary Buffett and David Clark named ‘Buffettology collections’ and ‘Tao of Warren Buffett’ are excellent reads with its given rich information. In these books, its authors claims the methods and lessons mentioned are the practices of Warren Buffett, but there is no authenticity to prove whether these claims are right or wrong. Readers are still in dark side with unavailability of information on whether these are the real practices for Warren Buffett or not. Such uncertainty put such books with an ‘Unauthentic’ label. There are huge numbers of books in this category presently available in the market. Most of them focused to a or more legend investor/s, but no authenticity on what it really covers.

What should an investor do with such books which fall to ‘Unauthentic’ category?

If you have books like ‘The Warren Buffett Way’ or ‘Buffetology’ you would certainly enjoy reading it. I am reading the ‘Buffettology’ 6th time at present when I am writing this article. They are rich with information that investors required. Reading such books always gives you better idea on good investment practices. As long as the personality, on whom the book authored, have admired, a reader should not consider it as a practice of the person. For an example, as long as Warren Buffett read and admired the book ‘Buffettology’ or ‘The Warren Buffett Way’ covered all his practices, reader shouldn’t consider this as the practices of Warren Buffett but should consider it as a good guide to lead you to have best investment practices.

Are there any books available in the market that is not in any of this category?

If you are looking for a book that is not from any of the above categoris, you still have options. When I have found and read the extra ordinary classi book ‘What I Learned Before I Sold to Warren Buffett: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Developing a Highly Successful Company’ by Barnett C. Helzberg Jr is one in that kind. It still explain the practices of Warren Buffett, but from the real world experience of the Author with the legend investor. This is certainly a fantastic read for any investor and manager who have admired Warren Buffet and his investment and management style.


1. Authenticity comes to a book when it comes directly from an author who have practiced and succeeded with the ideas mentioned in it. 2. Authenticity still available to some books which have edited by the current author, but the real author is the person on whom the book has published. 3. Readers shouldn’t consider the practices mentioned on any ‘Unauthentic’ guide as the practices of the personality mentioned in it as long as he have admired it. However, readers can read and take the best from such books.4. It is better to avoid books that not able to claim any ‘authenticity’ in contents.