Recommended Books for the CFA

Many investment bankers and students that plan to move into hedge funds or the investment management industry often ask us to recommend books and a study plan for the CFA. When you register for the CFA, you already receive a lot of recommended readings and study notes to help you prepare, so those are materials that you need to read in priority. But below are also a couple of very useful additional books that we recommmend.

Kaplan CFA Basics: The Schweser Study Guide to Getting Started Bruce Kuhlman


Kaplan does publish very high quality preparation books in general. As the title indicates, be aware that this book is aimed for starters that have not taken the CFA level 1 yet - it is ideal for students and other non-finance professionals that don't know much about finance and accounting. What we like about this book is that it is easy to follow and understand, and provides a very good overview of the concepts of the CFA so that you do not get totally lost before starting your study. A bit expensive, but you can sell them back through amazon whenever you're done with your study so the overall actual cost won't be that high. If you are a finance professional, just go straight into the curriculum materials and skip this book.


Schweser Studynotes for 2011 CFA Level 1 Exam (Volume 1-5 Plus Quick Sheet) Kaplan Schweser


Those study notes are the most widely used and most effective ones to prepare you for the Level 1 exam - they also have notes for Level 2 and 3. They are good for reviews after you went through all the study materials.


2010 Stalla CFA Level 1 Study System (Study Guides, Lecture Notes, Passmaster Cd, Multimedia Lecture Disc, Flashcards) Stalla Review for CFA Exams


Stalla is a CFA study provider that offers preparation courses for the CFA. While you may not need their courses, they do publish quite good books and guides to help your CFA study. What is nice and special about their books is the software that comes with it. Some people may find reading easier, while some others prefer to use more "interactive" ways of studying. If you are in the "other" category, their books are for you. They also have level 2 and level 3 books, and the links are below.


Equity Asset Valuation (CFA Institute Investment Series) Jerald E. Pinto CFA


Very important and popular book covering the four important aspects of equity valuation: DDM (dividend discount model), Free cash flow models, price multiples, and residual income. It is not only good to help CFA study (level 2 in particular), but is also a reference book for valuation as it is done in the investment management industry. This book also scores many points for having clear worked out examples to help your understanding.


Quantitative Investment Analysis (CFA Institute Investment Series) Richard A. DeFusco CFA


This book is worth mentioning because we think it does a good job of explaining the statistics part of the CFA exam. It also goes into the other CFA subjects (statements analysis, time value of money, etc.) but goes much deeper in the statistics area for those who are interested in this area in particular.


- previously published at


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