Finance is obfuscated, not made accessible, for it is why professionals are paid. Barriers of entry are intentional
Anonymous finance professional
Context - While debating the legitimacy and usefulness of industry-knowledge barriers of entry is arguably interesting, I pursue a rather egotistical goal: learning finance. I believe that understanding finance & economy is part of the foundation of one's sense of agency. But the failed attempts, efforts, time, and energy yielded nothing, but some bitterness.
Form - I agree with this community that textbooks stood the test of time and represent the best form of source for learning. MOOCs and other nascent modern teaching mediums are still work-in-progress, but I am not dogmatic, rather, grateful for having unimpaired access to all mediums and willing to use them.
Opinionated preference - Given my background (mathematics & statistics and no finance/economy), I prefer concise expositions of principles & mechanisms of the system, stripping away, at least at first, any interpretations, be it functional or otherwise. Definitions of concepts, presentation of the environment (people's interests and goals), challenges, and solutions as well as emerging properties would be ideal. Lists and examples would be kept to a minimum, I find them cluttering the discourse.
Fantasized book incipit - Trading, now and later, present and future goods and services creates the opportunity for the specialization of people. Finance is the field and industry concerned with solving the trading implementation. While finance is wildly broad operationally, the problem is concise.
Question - What are the best textbook(s) to learn finance, all of it? It should not take very long, I believe...