Walk into any book store, and you'll find more how-to investing books than you could read in six lifetimes. There are some classics: From Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor to Peter Lynch's One Up on Wall Street, many of the world's finest investors have graciously shared their secrets in a way the lay investor can understand.

But as the old saying goes, "To the man who only has a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." If your investing game plan starts with burying yourself in how-to books, you're likely to drive yourself bananas sorting through conflicting viewpoints. To take everything in, you've got to form your own opinions, create your own skill set, and learn to absorb information in the way that works best for you.

To begin, take teachings from other disciplines and apply them to investing. Here are four books that don't even whisper about how to beat the S&P, but they can take your interest in investing to new levels.

Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger
--Peter Bevelin

Sure, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) Vice Chairman Charlie Munger's name pops up in the title, but only because part of the book is devoted to how Munger and other brainiacs soak up knowledge from a range of fields and put it to work in their respective disciplines. With striking insights from Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, and great Roman thinkers, Seeking Wisdom underlines how psychology, philosophy, math, engineering, and biology (to name a few) affect our ability to make decisions.

Deep Simplicity: Bringing Order to Chaos and Complexity
--John Gribbin

You'll enjoy this book if you've ever wondered how two guys tamed the mind-blowing amount of information on the Internet by creating Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), how a black-and-white mouse catapulted Disney (NYSE:DIS) into the stratosphere, or how a fizzy drink allowed Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) to root itself in our minds forever. Deep Simplicity highlights the chaos theory -- that says a butterfly flapping its wings in New York can cause a typhoon in New Delhi -- and how vastly complex phenomena can be borne of surprisingly simple forces. A bit heavy on the academic side, some pages made me doze, but the main concepts are eye-opening and not difficult to grasp. The complexities of investing will never have looked so simple after reading this book.

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
--Nassim Nicholas Taleb

If you think you're a day-trading pro, checked your stocks more than once a day, think there's skill involved in roulette, or insist there's money to be made in momentum investing, this book will humble you. Written by a successful money manager armed with an M.B.A. and a Ph.D., Fooled by Randomness will change your perception of short-term market fluctuations. Taleb's easy-to-understand explanation of how probability shapes our perceptions of triumph provides an invaluable lesson of what truly creates long-term investing success, and why so many investors get burned after their hot streaks prove to be nothing more than a blessing from Lady Luck.

The Selfish Gene
--Richard Dawkins

ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) makes a gazillion dollars a second while millions of homeowners are being flushed down the commode -- is that fair? This book will enlighten you without taking a moral stance. Examining biological evolution, Dawkins proposes his own version of survival of the fittest and explains how it’s the cornerstone of every dynamic system with a will to survive. He presents an understanding of what drives adaptation and the ability to overcome change and makes a cogent case for why this is as important in investing as understanding how to read a balance sheet.

Be a renaissance investor
If investing were nothing more than a numbers game, a few sharp pencils and a calculator would do the trick for anyone. Unfortunately, it isn't. Few fields are so enmeshed in a range of forces, from investor psychology to the calculus behind options pricing. Having a basic understanding of a few nonfinancial areas will no doubt help shape your interest in investing, allowing you to see the market as more than a few wiggly numbers skipping across a ticker.

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