These are recommended books, blogs, and movies for an undergraduate finance audience. Most items such as audio and video features and market microstruture are publicly available. Some are only available to enrolled students. Each class has specific lecture slides provided on the course LMS. My technical notes to supplement those slides and support a wide range of finance courses are provided in this booklet.
In my opinion, news should have as little commentary as possible and focus on matters of importance rather than entertainment value. I also don’t think you should pay for a cable package to receive decent news. These sources keep you informed without attempting to elicit an emotional reaction.
This list is rather short because I only add books that I have read personally and I think are worth taking time away from something else to read.
- Corporate Finance by Ivo Welch
- Investments by Bodie, Kane, and Marcus
- The Economy
- Introductory Econometrics: A Modern Approach by Wooldridge
- Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist’s Companion by Angrist and Pischke
- The Misbehavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Financial Turbulence by Benoit Mandelbrot
- Security Analysis (1940) by Graham and Dodd
- The Intelligent Investor (1949) by Benjamin Graham
- Investing Philosophies by Aswath Damodaran
- Active Portfolio Management: A Quantitative Approach for Providing Superior Returns and Controlling Risk by Grinold and Kahn
- When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long Term Capital Management by Roger Lowenstein
- Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter Bernstein
- Asset Pricing by Cochrane
- Financial Theory and Corporate Policy by Copeland, Weston, and Shastri
- Handbook Of the Economics of Finance
Advanced Quantitative Techniques
Before using any statistical software or programming language, you should master Excel. It is the most common tool used in finance. You should also know a bit of VBA to automate repetitive tasks. Next, you should learn a more powerful tool for advanced analytics. I recommend R but Matlab, Octave, Python, SAS, or Stata are reasonable choices. My Code page may help.
- Elements of Statistical Learning
- Time Series Analysis and Its Applications: With R Examples by Shumway & Stoffer
There are many sources of data available but in my class and in your job, you must use primary sources. This means original data that has as little filtering as possible. This page includes other sources that are of comparable quality and reliability. They are free to access as you move from the university to your career.
- Bank for International Settlements (BIS) – international banking statistics
- Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
- Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) – U.S. employment statistics
- CAPE Ratio – Cyclically Adjusted Price/Earnings Ratio by Robert Shiller
- Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE)
- Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) – delayed quotes on commodities
- Conference Board – consumer confidence data
- Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI)
- Energy Information Administration (EIA)
- Fama/French Factors
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) – banking data
- Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) – macroeconomic data and interest rates
- FINRA Market Data – hosted by Morningstar
- Institute for Supply Management (ISM) – manufacturing activity
- National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) – official U.S. recession periods
- Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – EDGAR database of company filings / start with the 10-K for annual data and the 10-Q for quarterly data
- University of Michigan – consumer sentiment index
- U.S. Census Bureau – monthly retail trade report
- Microstructure – my list of information related to market microstructure
Premium Data Sources
These are some of the data sources you should expect to encounter in the industry. Any experience with the sources would be useful to mention in an interview.
- S&P Capital IQ
- Thomson One
- Thomson Reuters Datastream
- Value Line
Finance Blogs, Magazines, and Newsletters
These magazines and blogs are not unbiased and may publish bad information but there is enough relevant content for me to recommend them here. Clearly, some should be taken more seriously than others. Many of the traditional print media sources here can be accessed with an RSS reader rather than paying for a print subscription.
- Bloomberg Radio
- Breakfast with Dave by David Rosenberg – daily macro economic analysis newsletter
- EconTalk – Blog and Podcast
- Foreign Affairs – If you want to know what key policy makers think about foreign policy, read this one.
- Foreign Policy – excellent global coverage
- Fortune Term Sheet by Dan Primack – daily email about financial deals
- Free Exchange – additional shorter form articles from The Economist for free
- Planet Money on NPR
- Sci-Hub (Links) – open access to academic papers
- Selected Media – stories that I have compiled for undergraduate courses
- TabbFORUM – market focused and a decent source for microstructure information
- The Economist – If you only read one news source, this is the one to read. Most university libraries provide The Economist for free although a personal subscription is more convenient.
- The Wall Street Journal – This is still the newspaper of record for U.S. business although I would not recommend reading it on a regular basis.
- YouTube – there are some really great lectures available for free. I have links to a few on my channel.
- Zero Hedge – more entertainment than serious analysis (be very skeptical of content posted here)
These are movies that are important to finance culture or have some interesting finance content. Plenty of other movies take place around finance but have little relevant content.
- Betting on Zero (2016) Documentary about Bill Ackman shorting stock in Herbalife for Pershing Square.
- The Big Short (2015) Entertaining take on the mortgage crisis
- Margin Call (2011) Fictional story about an investment bank that begins a financial crisis
- Too Big to Fail (2011) Glossy and overly simplistic look at the 2008 bailouts
- Inside Job (2010) Documentary covering many aspects of the 2008 financial crisis
- Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) Documentary about the fall of energy trading firm Enron
- Boiler Room (2000) Portrays a “pump-and-dump” brokerage firm
- Rogue Trader (1999) Based on the true story of Nick Leeson who brought down Barings Bank
- Other People’s Money (1991) Comedy about a corporate raid in the 1980’s
- Wall Street (1987) Portrays insider trading and corporate takeover; includes the famous “Greed is Good” speech
- Trading Places (1983) classic comedy that involves futures trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange