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4 Books You Must Read Now

April Fool's! We're not turning our backs on investing -- though we did fool some of you.

I know what you're thinking after reading that headline: Which books? Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor? Philip Fisher's Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits? Peter Lynch's One Up On Wall Street? One of the countless tomes about or somehow related to Warren Buffett?

Oh, come on! Who cares? The market's volatile, and nothing makes much sense anyway. We've got some time on our hands, so maybe this is a good chance to catch up on some light reading.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
There's war. And there's peace. More war. And ... peace. There's Napoleon. And Pierre. (Aren't these people Russian?) There's also Prince Andrei. Oh, and Natasha. (OK, that's better, and yes, there is a Boris, too, but no Rocky or Bullwinkle.) Did I mention Napoleon and some French-speaking going on, too? (Ooh-la-la!) War and peace out!

Aren't-you-glad-it's-not-Dostoevsky-o-meter: 1,300 pages.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand


With all of the buzz about bailouts, maybe it's time to tune out and pick up free-market classic Atlas Shrugged. It's got railroads (a Warren Buffett favorite!) and Dagny Taggart. (Rumor has it Angelina Jolie might play her in the movie version -- hot! OK, maybe a little ironic, too. Read the book to find out why.) And who doesn't love 56-page-long speeches or guys named Hank? Shrug no more!

Ow-my-arms-are-hurting-o-meter: 1,200 pages.

The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
You know that whole "invisible hand of the market" thing? Well believe it or not, there's a little more to good old Adam Smith than that -- like 1,200 pages or so, in fact. I recommend stockpiling the Steak-Umms, Pop-Tarts, and a good bottle of Scotch whiskey before you get cracking.

I-wish-the-invisible-hand-of-the-market-would-hold-up-this-book-o-meter: 1,264 pages.

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
In Italian. (Just a suggestion.)

Did you, like me, read only The Inferno because it was by far the most interesting part? (The Circles of Hell do make for some good reading.) Well, now's the perfect opportunity to catch up on Dante's adventures in the other two levels of afterlife. Nothing says "rockin' good times" like Purgatory, after all.

A-walk-in-the-park-o-meter: 928 pages.

Alyce Lomax owns copies of some of the books mentioned, but the Fool's disclosure policy covers only stocks, so the books she owns, including the ones she still hasn't actually read, are none of anybody's business.  

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