Bears Stearns’ Required Reading List for Interns

From a presentation I was browsing through tonight, here is brokerage firm Bear Stearns’ reading list for new interns. All in all, it’s solid if fairly predictable stuff. So, what would you add to the list? What would you take away?


  1. Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein

  2. Paul — No list of Street books is complete with “The Great Crash, 1929” by John Kenneth Galbraith.
    I would also suggest Kurt Eichenwald’s “Conspiracy of Fools,” about Enron’s rise and fall.
    Thanks, and good post as usual!

  3. “where are the customers’ yachts” by fred schwed

  4. Too many business books! Success in business is predicated on understanding human emotions, motivations, actions, and trying to get the other guy to do what you want. I’d drop about half of these and replace with some solid literature, i.e., Anna Karenina). I’d add some biographies (Matthew Arnold, Rockefeller, others), and anything written by John Le Carre (especially his early works). Plus, it’s unlikely that interns can write a complete, coherent sentence, so the reading will help that as well. While we’re at it, how about a subscription to The Economist?

  5. The Go-Go Years by John Brooks enabled one to know exactly how the late 90s would end; the similarities between Saul Steinberg’s attempt to take over Chase was eerily similar to AOL’s merger with Time-Warner (big difference of course is AOL deal went through to the future disappointment of all TW shareholders).

  6. That list is ok, I’ve read them all – but full of a bit of fluff and as the markets are dynamic some are dated. I suppose they want good books that expose them to business of capital markets.
    Here is my list – most are pretty standard stuff. – Keep up the great blog!
    Markets in general
    # Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation, by Edward Chancellor
    # Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein
    # Trading and Exchanges: Market Microstructure for Practitioners by Larry Harris
    # Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, by Edwin Lefèvre
    # Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    # Where Are the Customers’ Yachts, Fred Schwed
    # The Essays of Warren Buffett : Lessons for Corporate America by Warren E. Buffett
    # The Accidental Investment Banker: Inside the Decade that Transformed Wall Street
    # The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co. by William D. Cohan
    # Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies, by McKinsey & Company Inc.
    Fixed Income/Derivatives
    (couldn’t find any outstanding fixed income – bonfire of the vanities(?))
    # Fiasco: The Inside Story of a Wall Street Trader by Frank Partnoy
    # Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and unknowns in the dazzling world of derivatives by Satyajit Das
    # A Demon of Our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the Perils of Financial Innovation by Richard Bookstaber
    Hedge Funds
    # When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management, by Roger Lowenstein
    # Hedgehogging by Barton Biggs
    # More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places by Michael J. Mauboussin
    # How We Know What Isn’t So by Thomas Gilovich
    # Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
    # Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes And How To Correct Them by Gary Belsky and Thomas Gilovich
    (for their own finances)
    # The Secrets of Economic Indicators: Hidden Clues to Future Economic Trends and Investment Opportunities by Bernard Baumohl

  7. How can you have a finance reading list without Alchemy of Finance?

  8. I’d take Monkey Business off the list. It’s a good read, but what’s the point? My bank had me read The Vault Guide to investment banking prior to training, and you get the crux of Monkey Business (you’ll work long hours on silly things) in fewer pages and with less of a doom-and-gloom perspective on the capital markets industry.

  9. Agreed on Monkey Business. Read it eons ago, but thought it was instantly dated and somewhat weak.
    I would add in, however, Frank Partnoy’s FIASCO.

  10. How about a reading list for Bear Stearns top management? “CDOs for Dummies” would be a good start.

  11. Funny. Cynic 😉

  12. One Way Stox says:

    I like to recommend THE GOLD COAST by Nelson DeMille.
    The best book you will EVER read.

  13. Are interns FLSA exempt? Do they get paid overtime for this required reading (assuming they don’t do it during normal working hours)?

  14. I would switch The Smartest Guys in the Room for Den of Thieves.
    How can such a list not include Where The Money Grows? That is the best book about Wall Street, written almost 100 years ago. Only Yesterday and Once in Golcanda are also excellent.

  15. Paul – if you like Fiasco – you would probably like the new book, “Traders, Guns & Money” by Satyajit Das

  16. I would add:
    1. Jonathan Knee’s “An Accidental Investment Banker”
    2. “The Predictors” to let them understand that geeks, not I-bankers, will inherit the world :-)
    3. Although not surprised by the exclusion of philosophy, I think they should all be made to read some. It will teach them – if they honestly read them – to cope with those two impostors of life: success and failure.

  17. Paul: Just a quick question, since you have called yourself a card-carrying grammar nag in the past.
    Should that not be “Bear Stearns’s” instead of “Bear Stearns'”?

  18. Since we are talking about the boys of Bear Stearns I think what they should really start out with is “Business Ethics: Corporate Values and Society, by Milton Snoeyenbos, Robert Almeder, James Humber.”

  19. Shefaly
    The proper way to denote possessive via apostrophe “s” for words ending in “s” is only slightly less controversial than boxers vs. briefs. I generally am in The Economist usage camp, which says the following:

    Use the normal possessive ending ‘s after singular words or names that end in s: boss’s, caucus’s, Delors’s, St James’s, Jones’s, Shanks’s.

    Use the ending s’ on plurals that end in s—Danes’, bosses’, Joneses’—including plural names that take a singular verb, eg, Reuters’, Barclays’…

    Taking the above approach, the proper way to denote possession with respect to Bear Stearns is via “‘” alone, i.e., Bear Stearns’ analysts.