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A Few of our Favorite Things: Finance Books & Movies

Finance plays a crucial role in our lives, shaping economies and influencing our personal financial decisions. All of us here at Ascend Advisory Group have our own backstory on what steered us into this profession and pop culture has certainly influenced us or helped us grow, once we got here. Whether you're an investor, entrepreneur, or simply interested in the world of finance, books and movies can offer valuable insights and entertainment. In this article, we present a carefully curated list of our favorite finance books and must-watch finance movies. Dive into these suggestions and explore the fascinating world of finance.

1. "The Intelligent Investor" by Benjamin Graham (Book): Considered the bible of investing, this timeless classic provides essential guidance on value investing and developing a long-term investment strategy. Benjamin Graham's principles and philosophies are widely respected by successful investors, including Warren Buffett.

Why we like it: “This book is widely regarded as a classic and essential read for investors. It introduces timeless investment principles and strategies that are just as relevant today as when the book first published. Benjamin Graham's insights on value investing, risk management, and long-term thinking provide a solid foundation for individuals looking to build a successful investment portfolio. We feel that this book’s emphasis on fundamental Analysis, which aligns with our values here at Ascend. The book emphasizes the importance of understanding the intrinsic value of a company. Graham's approach encourages investors to focus on a company's financial health, earnings, and long-term prospects rather than short-term market fluctuations. This perspective helps investors make informed decisions and identify undervalued opportunities.” –Adam Day, Financial Advisor

2. "The Millionaire Next Door" by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko (Book): Unveils the surprising truth about wealth accumulation and the lifestyles of self-made millionaires. The book challenges common perceptions by revealing that many millionaires are not extravagant spenders living in luxurious mansions but rather ordinary individuals who live frugally, save diligently, and make prudent financial decisions. Through extensive research and case studies, the authors uncover the common traits and habits that contribute to wealth creation, such as living below one's means, investing wisely, and prioritizing financial independence over material possessions. By offering practical insights and debunking societal stereotypes, "The Millionaire Next Door" empowers readers to adopt a mindset of financial discipline and long-term wealth-building strategies to achieve lasting prosperity

Why we like it: “This was one of the first books that made me interested in a career in finance. I love that it offered challenging stereotypes to the common assumptions about wealth building. It provides a fresh perspective on who millionaires really are. It reveals that many millionaires are not the extravagant spenders living lavish lifestyles portrayed in the media but rather ordinary individuals who have accumulated wealth through disciplined financial habits and smart decision-making.“ –Stephanie Schanken, Financial Advisor, COO

3. "Wall Street: A History" by Charles R. Geisst (Book): is a comprehensive exploration of the world's most iconic financial hub, tracing its evolution from its early beginnings to the present day. This book delves into the stories of key players, pivotal moments, and transformative events that have shaped Wall Street's influence and impact on global finance. From the birth of the New York Stock Exchange to the rise of investment banks and the challenges faced during economic crises, the narrative offers a fascinating glimpse into the triumphs, scandals, and power struggles that have defined the financial district. With meticulous research and captivating storytelling, "Wall Street: A History" provides a rich tapestry of the people, institutions, and dynamics that have made Wall Street an enduring symbol of wealth and ambition.

Why we like it: “I love reading and learning about history. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the world's financial hub, tracing its orgin from its early beginnings to the present day. By reading this book, you can gain a deeper understanding of the historical events, trends, and individuals that have shaped Wall Street and its impact on the global financial landscape. Additionally, it explores the development and transformation of key financial institutions, such as the New York Stock Exchange, investment banks, and brokerage firms. Understanding the origins, roles, and functions of these institutions can provide valuable context for anyone interested in finance, investing, or the inner workings of the financial industry.” Jeff Korbini, Financial Advisor, COO

4. "Flash Boys" by Michael Lewis (Book): In this gripping non-fiction book, Lewis exposes the dark world of high frequency trading and its impact on the financial markets. It offers an eye-opening account of the rise of computer-driven trading and the quest for advantages on Wall Street.

Why we like it: “I love pretty much anything that Michael Lewis writes. I am sure that his name will be on this list multiple times. His stories are always about real-life outliers. Technology has always fascinated me and this story is super compelling about how during the early days of tech, everyone was fighting tooth and nail for that ‘edge’.” –Adam Day, Financial Advisor

5. "The Big Short" by Michael Lewis: (Book and Movie) Based on true events leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, this captivating book provides a thrilling narrative of the individuals who saw the impending collapse of the housing market and bet against it. It sheds light on the complex financial instruments that contributed to the crisis.

Why we like it: “The book gives an educational view of the Great Financial Crisis and how it developed while still being very entertaining. One thing the movie does well is that it simplifies the complexities of the banking crisis in a manner that the average person could understand. The overall plot of the film is how real life investor, Michael Burry, and other hedge fund managers realized the impending crash in the housing market and were able to bet against the market making a fortune in the process. The movie has an all-star cast with names such as Steve Carell, Christian Bale, and Brad Pitt.” -Brad Shook, Associate Financial Advisor

6. "The Total Money Makeover," by Dave Ramsey (Book): Financial expert Dave Ramsey presents a systematic guide to achieving financial freedom and transforming one's financial life. With a no-nonsense approach, Ramsey emphasizes the importance of budgeting, eliminating debt, and building an emergency fund as the foundation for long-term financial success. He provides practical strategies for tackling various types of debt, from credit cards to mortgages, and encourages readers to live within their means and prioritize saving and investing. Ramsey's motivational style and relatable anecdotes inspire readers to take control of their finances, offering hope and a roadmap to break free from the cycle of debt and create a life of financial stability. "The Total Money Makeover" serves as a powerful tool for individuals seeking to gain financial literacy, regain control of their money, and build a solid financial future.

Why we like it: “Dave Ramsey has a down-to-earth and no non-sense attitude that most people will appreciate and find entertaining. The steps to financial freedom that he lays out really do work if followed by those aiming to get out of debt. With control over your finances comes more happiness and control over your life.” – Austin Phillips, Registered Account Administrator

7. "Liar’s Poker" by Michael Lewis (Book): Michael Lewis takes readers on a captivating journey through the high-stakes world of Wall Street during the 1980s. As a young bond trader at Salomon Brothers, Lewis provides a first-hand account of the cutthroat culture and excessive greed that permeated the financial industry at the time. With wit and humor, he exposes the inner workings of the bond market and the deceptive practices that fueled the rise of complex financial instruments. Through colorful anecdotes and larger-than-life characters, Lewis sheds light on the era of financial innovation and excess, ultimately revealing the dark side of Wall Street where bluffing, risk-taking, and outrageous bets became the norm. "Liar's Poker" is a gripping memoir that exposes the underbelly of the financial world while offering valuable insights into the mindset and motivations of those involved.

Why we like it: “Michael Lewis is renowned for his engaging storytelling and ability to explain complex financial concepts in an accessible manner. "Liar's Poker" is no exception, offering a captivating narrative that blends personal anecdotes, colorful characters, and financial education. Additionally, I find that it has lessons on human behavior, which is very applicable to our day-to-day.” – Archana Springer, Registered Account Administrator

8. "Moneyball" by Michael Lewis (Book and Movie): Based on a true story, this sports drama starring Brad Pitt explores the revolutionary use of statistics and data analysis in baseball. The film highlights how an unconventional approach to talent evaluation challenged the status quo, making it relevant to finance professionals seeking innovative strategies.

Why we like it:I spent the better part of my childhood playing competitive Baseball. This movie brought both worlds together for me (finance and baseball). The movie has an excellent cast and compelling story.” Jeremy Wakeland- Associate Financial Advisor

By immersing yourself in the world of finance through books and movies, you can gain valuable knowledge and perspectives on investing, personal finance, and the inner workings of the financial industry. The suggested finance books and movies in this list provide an excellent starting point for anyone looking to enhance their financial literacy while being entertained. Enjoy the journey as you delve into these captivating resources and expand your understanding of finance.


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