Learning finance

Finance is a pretty broad field of study – ranging from financial accounting and reporting, to the study of various financial markets, stock markets, valuations, trading etc.

As in my answer regarding learning Economics, I would suggest

  1. Start with a few good books to learn the basics of all the fields
  2. Read through some good blogs to help you understand the nuances, real-life applications, and the current trends,
  3. Utilize MOOCs to take up some good courses, both to assess your proficiency, and also to earn certifications that you can use to showcase your achievements

A. Books

  1. Corporate Finance
    Principles of Corporate Finance : Richard A. Brealey
  2. All about derivatives
    Options, Futures and Other Derivatives (6th Edition) : John C. Hull
  3. Valuation of financial assets
    The Theory of Investment Value: John Burr Williams
  4. Investment valuation
    Investment Valuation: Tools and Techniques for Determining the Value of Any Asset : Aswath Damodaran
  5. Trading
    The Intelligent Investor: Benjamin Graham
  6. Financial markets
    Foundations of Financial Markets and Institutions (4th Edition): Frank J. Fabozzi, Franco P. Modigliani, Frank J. Jones
  7. Accounting
    Intermediate Accounting : Donald E. Kieso, Jerry J. Weygandt, Terry D. Warfield
  8. Venture Capital
    Venture Capital and the Finance of Innovation : Andrew Metrick, Ayako Yasuda

B. Blogs

  1. Prof. Jayanth R. Varma’s Financial Markets Blog: Prof Jayant Verma is a Professor of Finance (mainly Financial markets) at IIMA. He is one of the most impressive teachers I have ever met.

    He was one of the first members of SEBI and is on the board of multiple big companies including Infosys and Axis Bank.

    His blog, which has been up since 2005, is a brilliant resource on understanding the nuances of the financial markets.

  2. Dealbook (NYT): Dealbook is the news aggregator section of NYTimes to keep you updated on the current state of affairs of the Fin industry.
  3. Mergers & Inquisitions: Everything you need to know about every aspect of the Financial world – from big investment banks to boutique firms, from Private Equity to Hedge Funds and AM/WM firms.
  4. Investment Banking Blog: The holy mecca for preparation of i-Banking interviews, the IB Blog offers everything from bootcamps and interview prep courses (paid) to free resources like basic interview questions, overview of the industry etc.
  5. Wall Street Oasis: Similar to #2 above, but with more functionality to read the best articles of the month/week/day etc.
  6. FT Alphaville: Another news aggregator that will make sure you do not have any time left in your day (courtesy it’s exhaustive coverage of current affairs)

C. Courses

  1. Accounting
    A 10 lesson introductory course on accounting, for free.

    Introduction to Financial Accounting

  2. Financial Markets
    Who better to learn from, than a Nobel Laureate?

    Robert J. Shiller is a 2013 Nobel prize winner in Economics for his work on “empirical analysis of asset prices”.

    He offers a 23-part series of 1 hour+ lectures for free on Youtube. Probably the best way to start learning about Financial markets and their machinations.

  3. Financial Theory

    John Geanakoplos is the current “James Tobin” Professor of Economics at Yale. In hi 26 lecture series, he covers the basics of finance, ranging from the time value of money, the risk-return tradeoff, asset pricing, yield curves, and risk hedging.

  4. Finance Theory
    Another course on Finance Theory, this time by MIT.

  5. edX – Pricing Options with Mathematical Models
  6. edX – Yield Curve Analysis
  7. Udemy – The Beginner’s Guide to the Stock Market
  8. Udemy – Fundamentals of Forex Trading



D. Bonus – Personal Finance

Personal finance is not usually taught as part of any curriculum. But this is something that will affect you the most, and is one of the most vital life-skill one should have.

From the wiki page,

Personal finance is the financial management which an individual or a family unit is required to do to obtain, budget, save, and spend monetary resources over time, taking into account various financial risks and future life events.

Here’s a 20 part tutorial series from Khan Academy to get you started.

The modules covered (in order are):

  1. Institutional Roles in Issuing and Processing Credit Cards
  2. Roth IRAs
  3. 401ks
  4. Basics of the U.S. Income Tax Rate
  5. Inflation Overview
  6. Mortgage Interest Rates
  7. Time Value of Money
  8. Term and Whole Life Insurance
  9. Open-Ended Mutual Funds
  10. Estate Tax
  11. Unemployment Rate Primer
  12. Traditional IRAs
  13. What It Means to Buy a Company’s Stock
  14. Relationship Between Bond Prices and Interest Rates
  15. Introduction to Bonds
  16. Introduction to Compound Interest
  17. The Rule of 72 for Compound Interest
  18. Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and Effective APR
  19. What is Bankruptcy?
  20. Introduction to Mortgage Loans

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