What are the private equity books to read?

What are the best private equity books to read?

As Mark Twain once said, “The man who doesn’t read has no advantage over the man who cannot read”.

I cannot stress enough the importance of reading, especially in this day and age when we have so much information available to us.

I recommend the following private equity books:

“Barbarians at the Gate” by Bryan Burrough and John Helyardetails.  This book is about the 1988, $25 billion takeover of RJR Nabisco by private-equity firm KKR, which was the biggest takeover at the time. Not only is this a great private equity book, but it’s one of the best investment books of all time.

The second private equity book that I recommend is “King of Capital” by David Carey and Johnny Morris.  This book outlines the history of Blackstone and how Blackstone was started by Steve Schwartzman and Pete Peterson in 1985. These two excellent bankers invested $200,000 each. As mentioned in a previous video (Video #5), today Blackstone has five people who are each worth over a billion dollars.

“King of Capital” tells the incredible story of how the company was built in 1985 to where it is today. combined with other interesting secondary stories such as how Blackstone created Blackrock, the company that now runs over a trillion dollars, and how Blackstone sold Blackrock a little early.  While this book isn’t as detailed on the deals as “Barbarians at the Gate”, it gives a better overall picture of the private equity industry.

Another private equity book that I recommend is “The Future of Private Equity: Beyond the Mega Buyout” by Mark Bishop. This book looks at the future of our industry from a global perspective.  My favorite part of the book is the emerging markets section that includes interviews with people in the private equity industry from all over the world.

If you like the format of reading interviews about the private equity industry, you may also like “The Masters of Private Equity Venture Capital” by Robert Finkel and David Greising.

In addition to these books, I highly recommend that you spend time researching the documents that are available online on public, private equity companies.  Publically listed private equity companies are required to provide their information to investors.  You can use this information as an opportunity to learn about these companies. Investors, such as pension plan CPPIB (Video #3); have an annual report that details their investments. You can learn a lot by reading an annual report.

To recap:  read, read and read.  You can learn so much about this industry by reading!