The 5 Best Books On Economic History For Global Macro Trading & Investing

If your goal is to become a master global macro trader or investor, then you need to become a devout student of economic history. The books below cover various episodes of credit driven speculation throughout history. Studying these instances will show you that humans tend to repeat similar periods of economic delusion time and time again. This knowledge will help you stand apart from the crowd and form profitable “smart contrarian” opinions that will put you ahead of the game.

1.  Ray Dalio’s “How The Economic Machine Works”

How The Economic Machine Works Book

Ray Dalio is the founder of Bridgewater Associates — the #1 most successful hedge fund of all time. The reason for the fund’s success stems from Dalio’s deep understanding of the true driver of economies: credit. Booms, busts, and everything inbetween fit into Dalio’s view of credit and the short and long-term debt cycles it creates. Dalio’s “Economic Machine” is the foundation of the macroeconomic theory we use to analyze markets right here at Macro Ops.

2. Carmen Reinhart’s “This Time Is Different”

 This Time Is Different Book

As long as we continue to have credit cycles, we’ll continue to have financial crises. In This Time Is Different economist Carmen Reinhart conducts a comprehensive study of financial crises across 66 countries in 5 different continents over 8 centuries. Reinhart covers government defaults, inflationary spikes, unemployment rates, equity prices, and much more to show the similarities between all these events and why they’re bound to happen again and again.

3. Kindleberger’s “Manias, Panics, and Crashes”

Manias, Panics, and Crashes Book

Charles Kindleberger’s Manias, Panics, and Crashes once again dissects the centuries of credit booms and busts that have lead to financial crises. Speculative bubbles are an integral part of financial systems across history. You can’t avoid them because you can’t avoid human nature. This book once again proves why that’s true.

4. Chancellor’s “Devil Take The Hindmost”

 Devil Take The Hindmost Book

In Devil Take The Hindmost Edward Chancellor takes a deeper look at the psychology behind the booms and busts we’ve come to love. Why do people bet on markets?  And why does this speculation always spiral out of control? Chancellor takes his shot at explaining this phenomenon from a combination of a sociological and psychological standpoint.

5. Mackay’s “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds Book

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay was first written in 1841. This book goes way past just speculative bubbles. It also covers witch hunts, the Crusades, stylistic trends, and a host of other “popular delusions” that have permeated throughout history. The crux of the argument is that human nature doesn’t change. And because it doesn’t change, we can expect to see the same kind of delusions to continue ad infinitum.

Don’t just read these books. Study them thoroughly and understand the common links that drive markets. Understand why human psychology plays such a large part. As Mark Twain said “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes”. Know your history…

If you’re interested in a more comprehensive reading list for global macro traders & investors, click here. 



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Brandon Beylo

Value Investor

Brandon has been a professional investor focusing on value for over 13 years, spending his time in small to micro-cap companies, spin-offs, SPACs, and deep value liquidation situations. Over time, he’s developed a deeper understanding for what deep-value investing actually means, and refined his philosophy to include any business trading at a wild discount to what he thinks its worth in 3-5 years.

Brandon has a tenacious passion for investing, broad-based learning, and business. He previously worked for several leading investment firms before joining the team at Macro Ops. He lives by the famous Munger mantra of trying to get a little smarter each day.


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Founder and head macro trader at Macro Ops. Alex joined the US Marine Corps on his 18th birthday just one month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He subsequently spent a decade in the military. Serving in various capacities from scout sniper to interrogator and counterintelligence specialist. Following his military service, he worked as a contract intelligence professional for a number of US agencies (from the DIA to FBI) with a focus on counterintelligence and terrorist financing. He also spent time consulting for a tech company that specialized in building analytic software for finance and intelligence analysis.

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