Best Private Equity Books

Book rating updated 9.05.2024

Ranking the best private equity books of all time – the most popular PE books a must read. Invest like a Pro!

  1. Barbarians at the Gate

    3 986 ratings
    Recommended by: Chamath Palihapitiya

    A landmark story of the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco, one of the biggest and most dramatic events in the history of Wall Street. The battle royal between the CEO, F. Ross Johnson, and Henry Kravis, the partner of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, is traced in the course of the book, along with the mammoth-sized personalities and egos involved. A page-turning, blow-by-blow account of how the deal of the decade almost did not happen, which gives an inside look at the excesses of 1980s Wall Street.

  2. What It Takes

    3 806 ratings
    Recommended by: Ray Dalio

    That has made Secret of Success one of the best books written so far by a titan in finance and investment. The book portrays life lessons and business acumen of a self-made billionaire and is practical advice on how to build and scale companies, make effective decisions, and achieve personal and professional goals. Through his absorbing personal stories, the author brings to life how the dreams he set into motion with ambition, vision, and work reached the top of the line. It's a prescription for anyone who would want to make an influence in the world of business or who would want to understand what drives successful entrepreneurs and leaders.

  3. King of Capital

    1 511 ratings

    It tells the remarkable story of the rise to power of Blackstone, one of the world's leading private equity firms, and its founder, Stephen Schwarzman. It takes you inside the firm's biggest deals, including its IPO, and the battle over Equity Office. It describes the personalities, strategies, and controversies that have propelled Blackstone to its success—indeed, within the broader social and economic concerns of private equity's place on the global financial stage.

  4. The Private Equity Playbook

    952 ratings

    This book goes deep down into the world of private equity with an insider's view and serves as a guide for pragmatic insights in re-investing by investors, managers, and entrepreneurs. Covers the entire life cycle of private equity, from fundraising and sourcing deals to creating value and exits. Takes the author's experience as a successful private equity investor to demystify the industry and offer a roadmap for success.

  5. Competition Demystified

    523 ratings

    The book uses a theoretical understanding and practical application framework to the investor and consultant perspectives based on their experience on how competitive advantage can be understood and analyzed. It starts with the assertion that most companies face far less competition than they think and proves that true competitive advantage is based on barriers to entry, customer captivity, and economies of scale. Provides practical tools and case studies for assessing the competitive landscape and developing strategies for sustainable profitability.

  6. The New Tycoons

    233 ratings

    Explores the once-secretly run private equity industry from its birth in the 1960s to its current position as one of the most potent forces in modern world finance. Profiles leading players in the industry, such as Blackstone, KKR, and Carlyle, and probes their strategies in producing outsize returns. Studies the controversies of private equity, such as jobs, wages, and inequality issues, in relation to the financial crisis of 2008.

  7. Mastering Private Equity

    205 ratings

    A comprehensive overview of private equity: fundamental concepts, investment strategies, and practices of leading investors in the industry. The book provides an overview of the whole landscape in private equity: types of firms, funds, and investment strategies. It provides practical insights into deal sourcing, due diligence, valuation, and value creation; skills and mindset necessary for the management to be successful in the industry.

  8. The Masters of Private Equity and Venture Capital

    201 ratings

    Tells the stories of the ten most successful private equity and venture capital investors of all time, from Henry Kravis to Tom Perkins and Don Valentine. Takes readers behind the scenes into their investment philosophies, strategies, and deal-making prowess—all amid personal and professional struggles that they had to conquer. Dispenses invaluable lessons and insights for anybody striving to become an investor or entrepreneur and to learn from the masters of the craft.

  9. These Are the Plunderers

    187 ratings

    It exposes how wrong the private equity industry and its effects are on American business and society. It will argue that private equity firms hijacked the economy and are gathering value from citizens' hard work, communities, and the long-term sustainability of business. It depicts the human cost of leveraged buyouts—layoffs, cuts in benefits, and bankruptcies—all in its trail, and the lobbying and political clout of the industry. It is a completely damning indictment of private equity and a call for greater regulation and oversight.

  10. Private Equity in Action

    37 ratings

    This is a hands-on book written with the help of real-life case studies that introduce the reader to the private equity market. It includes real-life examples and interviews with top private equity professionals on sourcing deals, due diligence, valuation, and post-investment management. It is all-encompassing in its scope of skills, knowledge, and mindset that are must-haves for success in the industry, coupled with the challenges and opportunities that Private Equity faces in the 21st century.


  • What are the best private equity books ever written?

    These are the top 10 best books on private equity of all time and for this year (2024) sorted by rating:

    1. "King of Capital" by David Carey and John Morris
    2. "Barbarians at the Gate" by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar
    3. "The Masters of Private Equity and Venture Capital" by Robert Finkel and David Greising
    4. "The New Tycoons" by Jason Kelly
    5. "Private Equity Laid Bare" by Ludovic Phalippou
    6. "Private Equity 4.0" by Benoît Leleux, Hans van Swaay, and Esmeralda Megally
    7. "The Private Equity Playbook" by Adam Coffey
    8. "Introduction to Private Equity" by Cyril Demaria
    9. "The Founder's Dilemmas" by Noam Wasserman
    10. "Private Equity Operational Due Diligence" by Jason Scharfman.
  • What are the best books on private equity for beginners?

    List of must read PE books you should study to get started:

    1. "Private Equity For Dummies" by Steven Kaplan
    2. "Mastering Private Equity" by Claudia Zeisberger, Michael Prahl, and Bowen White
    3. "The Hands-On Guide to Private Equity" by Wade Anglin and John Gilligan.