By Darren Wurz
Similar to lawyers, financial advisors go through years of education and training to earn the certifications that qualify them to help others. However, the learning didn’t stop for me once I earned my degrees and certifications. I want to share these books with you because they’ve helped me develop how I invest and even laid some of the groundwork for who I am today.
1. The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
This book is a collection of daily readings from Stoic philosophers. Stoicism is all about realizing what is in your control and what is out of your control. The discipline of stoicism is then learning to accept the things that are out of your control and choosing not to be worried or emotionally affected by them. This is a great book for anyone, but especially helpful for investors because after all—what the stock market does is out of our control. And investing can be very emotional at times.
2. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
This is a book my dad gave me when I was first starting out in the business. Coming from the world of education and not knowing the first thing about starting a business or finding customers, I needed confidence and inspiration. This book is great for that.
3. A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel
This book, which I read in my master’s program, argues that stocks follow a random walk and their direction cannot be predicted; therefore, stock picking is a fool’s errand. Instead, as the book argues, it is better to hold a diversified mix of stocks—preferably by owning the entire market through a total stock market fund.
4. Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
This book is a deep dive into the relationship between uncertainty and risk-taking as it relates to everyday life and especially markets. The book argues that many events which are credited to skill are actually the result of random chance. Many of the world’s greatest investors who “made it big,” did so as a result more from random chance than skill. This book also provides great insight into the importance of managing risk and having an appropriate perspective on life and markets.
5. Beast on Wall Street by Robert A. Haugen
A fascinating exploration of the nature of stock market volatility, this book argues that most of the stock market’s volatility is price-driven rather than event-driven. That is, stock markets create their own volatility, which can be a source of economic problems, rather than simply a symptom. This book caused me to question the validity of the Efficient Market Hypothesis and Modern Portfolio Theory because it demonstrates there are times when prices are wildly out of line with fundamental value for no reason at all.
6. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
This book, which I also read in my master’s program, is all about how and why we make decisions—especially bad ones. It dives into the human psychology behind bad decision-making and relates that to investor behavior. Investors often make very poor decisions due to our inherent psychological biases as human beings. To be a great investor, it is important to understand these tendencies.
7. The (Mis)Behaviour of Markets by Benoit B. Mandelbrot
Bringing geometry to the world of investing, this fascinating book demonstrates that even “chaos” has “order.” The author uses fractal geometry to show that patterns can be found in systems that are thought to be “chaotic,” especially markets. This book counters the ideas of the Efficient Market Hypothesis and Modern Portfolio Theory and argues that markets are far riskier than we appreciate.
8. Dual Momentum Investing by Gary Antonacci
This book was my first introduction to the world of tactical asset allocation and rules-based, systems-driven active investment management. The author demonstrates that markets exhibit positive and negative trends that tend to persist; he calls this momentum. Antonacci provides an investment strategy based on this concept that hypothetically would have far outperformed markets by themselves historically from the 1970s to today.
9. Asset Rotation by Matthew P. Erickson
Another book on tactical asset allocation, the author shows how a variety of rules-based tactical systems would have improved investor returns and significantly reduced risk as compared with a simple buy-and-hold strategy. Erickson argues that traditional portfolio asset allocation models built on Modern Portfolio Theory are far riskier than investors recognized.
Part of this is due to the nature of bonds, which have provided positive returns due to declining interest rates from the 1970s into the 2000s. At some point that paradigm may shift and expose MPT-based strategies to far more risk than it was thought they could experience. What we saw in 2022 with conservative target-date funds declining by nearly as much as the stock market itself is a prime example.
10. The Little Book of Behavioral Investing by James Montier
In this great book for all investors, the author presents a series of simple, tried-and-true lessons investors should learn, and mistakes to avoid.
* Bonus The Lawyer Millionaire by Darren Wurz (Yes, that’s me!)
This one is a bonus! I’ve compiled my years of experience and knowledge into a book called The Lawyer Millionaire. Here, I discuss money management strategies designed specifically for lawyers and attorneys. This book guides you through investing to build wealth, paying off law school debt, minimizing taxes, planning for retirement, and even positioning your law firm for sale and succession.
Get your free copy of this book by scheduling a no-obligation consultation. Together, let’s find out if Wurz Financial Services is right for you to depend upon during your journey to a comfortable retirement. Contact us at 859-291-9879 or firstname.lastname@example.org today.
Darren Wurz is a fee-based financial advisor and co-owner of Wurz Financial Services, where he operates the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati office. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and has a master’s degree in financial planning from Golden Gate University. Darren specializes in serving the unique financial planning needs of attorneys and law firm owners. He is the host of The Lawyer Millionaire Podcast and author of The Lawyer Millionaire: The Complete Guide for Attorneys on Maximizing Wealth, Minimizing Taxes, and Retiring with Confidence, published by the American Bar Association.
Darren is a member of the American Bar Association and the Financial Planning Association. He is also active in his local community as a member of the Northern Kentucky Bar Association, Cincinnati Bar Association, Covington Business Council, and Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. To learn more about Darren, connect with him on LinkedIn.