A while back, I had a two-for-one entry featuring Burton Malkiel’s A Random Walk Down Wall Street and Andrew Tobias’ The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need. This is sort of a sequel, in that Burton G. Malkiel’s The Random Walk Guide to Investing is essentially the fusion of those two books.
The first part — about 30 pages — is a super-brief recap of A Random Walk Down Wall Street; the rest of the book — another 150 pages — is doing the financial advice bit that Tobias did in his book, but building on the evidence briefly summarized in the first part of the book.
As a substitute for the main Random Walk book, it’s only for the essentially uninterested — Malkiel’s summarizing conclusions, not making arguments and presenting evidence. If you just believe him, you’ll end up with the same set of facts that you’d get out of the larger book, but you’ll never be able to convince anyone who’s skeptical. But since you’re talking about 30 pages instead of 600 or so, that’s about what you’d expect.
As a substitute for Tobias’ book, it’s more directly competitive. The advice they give is basically the same (because any book that gives good investment advice has to give this advice), and the difference between them is primarily stylistic. Tobias has a breezy, casual style that’s fun to read and not intimidating; Malkiel has a staid, semi-formal style that’s less prone to slightly-silly exuberance (you won’t see him advocating cutting your own hair to save money). I prefer the enthusiasm of The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need to Malkiel’s soberness — and I particularly expect that people who don’t normally read investment books would be more attracted to Tobias’ style — but they’re both fine books, and you can’t go wrong reading either of them.