This article appeared in the January 2011 ASX Investor Update email newsletter. To subscribe to this newsletter please register with the MyASX section or visit the About MyASX page for past editions and more details.

Want to improve your returns in 2011? Read these books for a prosperous New Year.

Photo of Sean Dostal By Sean Dostal, Moneybags

It was an interesting 2010 for investors and generally a quiet year for new releases of investment books, but there were some standouts.
Here are my top 10 books to get you ready for the year ahead. Each is available at for 20 per cent off the recommended retail price in January 2011.

1. Top Stocks 2011

For the past 17 years Martin Roth has created this treasure trove of information and analysis on top Australian companies - 105 companies are analysed using comparable sales and profits data, ratio analysis, company profiles and research into the outlook for many leading companies. Top Stocks was released in late October and again has been Moneybags' best-selling book of the year.

2. Shares to buy and when

From the title, you would expect this to be similar to Top Stocks 2011, but Jim Berg takes a very different approach. He combines technical analysis (analysis of share price action) with fundamental analysis (analysis of financials) to come up with his list of the top 110 shares on the ASX. Jim Berg is well respected among the trading community and this book is set to become an annual best-seller.

3. Stock Market Strategies that work in Australia

This one has been a sleeper. Without a major distributor initially, word has spread and people are interested in what Paul Nojin and Matthew Brooks are saying. They have meticulously analysed investment strategies and their results in the Australian market. Learn their techniques for finding bargains and strategies for bull and bear markets.

4. Universal principles of successful trading

What separates winning and losing traders? Successful traders operate in many different markets, can be short or long-term traders, and each has their own preferred trading instrument. This extraordinary book shows the common threads that help them achieve their results. Learn about how to develop a trading plan, how to identify and create an effective methodology, money management and trading psychology.

5. The Wiley trading guide

Gurus, experts, trading messiahs - who should you follow? There are a lot of phonies and marketing experts out there but who really has the runs on the board? Wiley have put together 17 traders from Australia, Asia, Europe and the US in a guide covering many different approaches and markets. The list is impressive and each gives some fresh insights into their approach and how it applies to current markets. So take a bite from each and see what interests you.

6. Understanding investments

Some people have had dinner table conversations about investing ever since they got their first piggy bank. For the rest, it was probably something to consider after getting a secure job, bought a home and settled down in life. The problem is that our educational system does not give a good grounding in the options available. This book, in its 5th edition, provides a clear and concise summary of what you need to know, the terminology, and pros and cons of different asset classes. It covers shares, managed funds, options, property, collectables and more.

7. For Dummies series

The Australian For Dummies books are very accessible and usually a good starting point to give you a good understanding of the topic. Although strictly a 2009 release, Online Share Investing For Dummies is included because it provides such an extensive overview of investing online with a clear roadmap through websites that are useful for Australian investors. It also gives a good introduction to investing techniques and strategies, and some useful information on traps to avoid for beginners.

8. Shares & Taxation

I have a lot of respect for accountants but I do not like paying them $250 an hour for information I could have easily picked up from a book. I also like to go in armed with ideas and a good understanding of the lay of the land. Shares & Taxation will give you a general understanding of the tax rules around shares, share traders versus share investors, record keeping, ownership structures, margin lending and tax treatment of derivatives. Best of all, its cost is equivalent to only eight minutes with an accountant!

9. Trading from your gut

Have you heard of the Turtle Traders? In 1983 two traders made a bet. Richard Dennis bet that trading was not just a natural skill but could be taught to anyone. Twenty-three people were selected from all walks of life and taught to be extraordinary traders in just two weeks. They became legends of Wall Street while making millions in profits for Richard along the way. Curtis Faith became the most successful Turtle Trader. This book shows you how Faith combines the Turtle Trader technique with instinct to deliver exceptional results.

10. Shares made simple

Not everyone wants to be an active trader. Charts, extensive analysis and complex trading systems may not suit you or fit current demands on your time. However, you may want some control over your investments and avoid or reduce the fees for financial advisers. This book teaches the basics of share investing and how you can do it yourself. It is a no-hype, unashamedly conservative book that will help you get started and get your feet wet. You may go on to become an active trader in the future or you may be very happy with the simple approach adopted.

About the author

Sean Dostal is managing director of, a leading online shop for investment books, software, courses and newsletters.

From ASX

ASX documents and books are a good starting point for investors who want more information about share investing. Key publications include:

The views, opinions or recommendations of the author in this article are solely those of the author and do not in any way reflect the views, opinions, recommendations, of ASX Limited ABN 98 008 624 691 and its related bodies corporate ("ASX"). ASX makes no representation or warranty with respect to the accuracy, completeness or currency of the content. The content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. Independent advice should be obtained from an Australian financial services licensee before making investment decisions. To the extent permitted by law, ASX excludes all liability for any loss or damage arising in any way including by way of negligence.

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