The Winning Investment Habits of Warren Buffett & George Soros: Harness the Investment Genius of the World's Richest Investors
Unlike other books that try to sell you a method, or explain to you their method, this book here explains habits that two of the biggest investors/(Sorros is probably more a trader) use to amass their fortunes and constantly win in the markets. Then, it does something that so few books encourage it's readers to do (Van Tharp Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom being a clear and reccomended exception), it tells you that you are to look into yourself, and figure out a system that works for you. These are just habits, things that two great investors do in their trading that has made them successful.
The stock market is something that many people go into with vague hopes, with pension plans, or mutual funds for some interest, hoping that they'll pay off. Other people try to invest in a company they like--Peter Lynch's books can teach you brilliantly how he turned a mutual fund into something huge using that method--but a lot of people lack the will or the focus to do the research, the studying, and the ability to execute those buy and sell orders (emotionally) that the stock market will for most people remain a suckers bet.
With a book like this out there however, with its common and approachable language, it's to the point explainations, and it's brilliant juxtapositioning, you have a book that investors and traders alike should read long before ever buying their first stock.
To help design your own system, a few books that have helped my parents (investors) and me (trader).
Benjamin Graham: The Intelligent Investor and Security Analysis (though some things have changed in the market, much of what's written in those books are pretty much biblical in their importance for intelligent investing and well worth the money).
Philip Fisher: Common Stocks And Uncommon Profits (The Intelligent Investor and the book Security Analysis can be considered the most important books for Value investing, then Fisher's must be considered the most important book for growth stock investing. It is one of the best books on finding stocks that will grow and grow).
Peter Lynch: Beating the Street and One Upon Wall Street (he was a massive diversifier, but learning how different people did it is always important.
Dorsey: The Five Rules For Successful Stock Investing (coupled with Keys to Reading an Annual Report) (These two books are astonishing in their key to investment wisdom. Coupled with the other books, you can be finding undervalued companies with growth potential in a matter of a few months, that in a few years will be worth dozens of dollars more than you bought them for).
Jim Cramer: Real Money (I am not a huge fan of his book, but the one thing he does promote is selling the stock. Buy and Hold in the stock market needs to become a dead aphorism, and his selling rules, and emphasis on Buy and Homework, is well worth the small price of the book).
Van Tharp: Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom (A brilliant book that lays bare the mental needs one must have for a trader and how to get yourself there).
Stan Weinstien: Secrets for Profiting in Bull and Beark Markets (though completely technical analysis, in trading, if you don't couple the fundementals with technicals, you can't expect big gains.
Martin Zweig's: Winning on Wall Street (This book focuses on a style of macro-analysis, taking the big picture, and then finding stocks that fit in the big picture, with government reports, global market, and the such.
William O' Neil: The Succesful Investor, 24 Essential Lessons for Investment Success, and How to Make Money In Stocks (okay, cheesy title I will admit, and it sounds like one of those books you get at your own peril. It's also a massive add for his newspaper Investor's Business Daily--though with the information I've gotten from the book it's my experience that if you have the time you can do the same thing with Barron's magazine. William O'Neil made himself millions by analyzing the market and shorting stocks and buying stocks before they broke in either direction. He supported his fledgling paper with his trades alone. His three books come to a little more than 30 dollars which you'll make back in weeks if you follow his rules).
Nicolas Darvas: How I Made Two Million Dollars in the Stock Market, Wall Street: The other Las Vegas (Another bad title, but a brilliant system called Box System, a system that has inspired William O'Neil and countless others).
Gearld Loeb: The Battle For Investment Survival (An old timers book that aged well and is still relevant).
Michael Covel: Trend Following (a brilliant book that gives a strategy called Trend Following that many successful funds have used).
Jesse Livermore: How To Trade Stocks (This poor Massachusetts boy, went from a small job at 14 or 15, at a stock brokerage, to making a hundred million dollars in the 1920's, his insight into the psychology of the market has saved me money and made me money).
I've read all these books and I think diversifying your knowledge instead of your portfolio and focusing key things that you think are important, and not being afraid to fail, which is a hurdle every trader has to overcome (one time missed out on a 20 point jump in less than two months, because the stock dropped slightly--not even below buying point--and I got scared). Live and learn, that's the major lesson. Start with this book, it's the perfect beginners guide in my opinion.