BOOKS


14 Great Summer Reads

Compiled by Tina Korbe

Sales of romance novels are up, a quirky indicator that the economy is down because the books provide depressed investors with a welcome diversion. But the following books, recommended by top editors of Kiplinger's Personal Finance, dish the real financial dirt. The original business novel, a bawdy comedy, wry advice and honest insight -- it's all here, on a summer reading list that's smart as well as satisfying.

IF YOU WANT PLOT ...

Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis (Dover, $3.50)
Yes, it's a novel from the 1920s, and no, it's not about picking stocks or mutual funds. But it's one of the original business novels in American letters and still one of the best.
Recommended by Jeff Kosnett


Liar's Poker, by Michael Lewis (Penguin, $16.00)
The author's first big hit, this 1989 book chronicles Lewis's time working as a bond salesman for Salomon Brothers. If Solly hadn't been acquired by Travelers Group (later to become Citigroup) in 1991 and had survived to reach this century, there's a good chance it would have met the same fate as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. But this memoir is anything but bankrupt. Call it Wall Street meets Animal House -- it will leave you rolling on the floor.
Recommended by Manny Schiffres

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The Wolf of Wall Street, by Jordan Belfort ( Bantam Books, $14.00)
Belfort, a convicted stock hustler who founded several fraudulent brokerage firms, is such an odious person you wonder why you would want to waste your time on him. But once you start reading this tale, you have to wonder if any broker thinks you are anything but a fool to be fleeced.
Recommended by Jeff Kosnett


Confessions of a Wall Street Analyst, by Dan Reingold ( HarperCollins, $14.95)
A former media consultant, Reingold explains everything you want to know about how companies and analysts provide investors with information -- and misinformation. If you like Michael Lewis, you'll appreciate this book.
Recommended by Jeff Kosnett


IF YOU WANT THOUGHT ...

Enough, by John C. Bogle ( Wiley, John & Sons, $24.95)
There's nothing new about Bogle's financial advice. Vanguard's founder still touts simple, low-cost investments such as the index funds he created. But his observations hit home at a time when investors are trying to squeeze every penny out of their investments. Also timely: his criticism of the mutual fund industry for tipping the balance away from long-term stewardship and toward short-term salesmanship, "which has been detrimental to the interests of our shareholders."
Recommended by Janet Bodnar


Nudge, by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein (Penguin, $16)
Cleverly written and refreshingly readable, Nudge is an insider's guide to how our own psychological quirks and predispositions affect our decisions about "health, wealth, and happiness" -- and how we can leverage those quirks to influence public policy. Thaler is the nation's top authority on investor psychology, while Sunstein has been nominated to be President Obama's "regulation czar." Their combined expertise will make you a better investor.
Recommended by Bob Frick and Cynthia Currie


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