This page is a chronological list of books I have been reading recently, most recent first. Below is an image and brief synopsis for each book. If any take your interest, please feel free to click the image to take you to an Amazon affiliated link, which earns me a few pennies to help fund the site.
“Bad Blood” by John Carreyrou
Bad Blood is the story of the incredible rise of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Carreyrou has written a compelling and detailed narrative of events, which at times I struggled to believe. I had heard good things about this book and my expectations were exceeded by some margin.
“The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham
Every once in a while I like to re-read The Intelligent Investor. When investing feels complicated, or I feel overwhelmed, I go back to this book. If you haven’t read it yet, why not?
“1,000 Dollars and an Idea” by Sam Wyly
Sam Wyly is the billionaire I’d never heard of. I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that having read 1,000 Dollars and an Idea as his career is both fascinating and crucial in the development of computing and the internet. I found this book highly inspirational as Wyly equally catalogs both his success and his failures. As always, it’s the failures, and his response to them, that offer the most insight. One of the best books I’ve read in a long while and a strong contender for my book of 2018.
“The Outsiders” by William N. Thorndike Jr.
I had been waiting for years to read The Outsiders, having heard so many good things. Unfortunately for me it didn’t quite live up to the hype. However, what it does, it does well. The overall dive into capital allocation processes by the eight case studies is full of interesting facts and tidbits, and I definitely have a greater appreciation for the process of capital allocation. As an investor it has changed my mindset when assessing potential investments, which I suppose is testament to the strength of the book. That being said, I feel the book was repetitive in places, and could easily have been twice as long (and twice as detailed).
“The Culture Code” by Daniel Coyle
The Culture Code is a collection of stories and anecdotes about business practice in various organisations around the world. The book reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’, which is high praise indeed. From the Navy Seals to Google, Pixar to the San Antonio Spurs; Coyle illustrates what it is that makes particular cultures and practices work for each group, even though no two groups are the same. Fascinating.
“Homo Deus” by Yuval Noah Harari
Homo Deus is the successor to the widely-acclaimed ‘Sapiens’. Whereas Sapiens was concerned with our past, Homo Deus concerns itself with our (possible) future. And a bleak future it hypothesises indeed! I found this book a harder read than Sapiens. It doesn’t flow as well, and is perhaps a tad lengthy. I would still recommend it, however, as it is exceptionally well researched and deeply contemplative.
“How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market” by Nicolas Darvas
How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market is the story of world-famous dancer Nicolas Darvas, and how he ended up making over $2m in the stock market over a period of three years. I don’t really follow technical analysis, but those of you who do may recognise Darvas as the inventor of the ‘Darvas Box Method’. The book reads very much like ‘Reminisces of a Stock Operator’, another fascinating book chronicling the life of renowned trader Jesse Livermore. Darvas illustrates his multi-year path to developing the trading system that ultimately made him rich, including all the pitfalls along the way. I’m no trader, as I say, but this was very interesting.
“The Little Book That Builds Wealth” by Pat Dorsey
The Little Book That Builds Wealth should be integral to any investors library. The book is focused on helping identify companies with sustainable competitive advantages, or ‘moats’. Dorsey begins by looking at the different types of moat, before explaining how to identify quality companies that possess one or more of them. Lastly, there are two chapters devoted to buying at appropriate valuations and knowing when to sell. A short read, but highly valuable.
“How to Lie With Statistics” by Darrell Huff
Who knew a book about statistics could be so entertaining, yet Darrell Huff has pulled it off. A short read, How to Lie With Statistics enumerates some of the many ways numbers and figures can be twisted and manipulated to convey all manner of different views and opinions. You’ll likely leave the book with a desire to question every statistic you see. 120-odd pages designed to help you to think critically.
“Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is a phenomenally ambitious book. Noah Harari looks at the multitude of factors that have affected the development of Homo sapiens, beginning with the cognitive revolution approximately 70,000 years ago. The author proceeds to cover the major points in human history, as well as the impact of technology, money, religion, war and scientific discovery. And we’re only just getting started. A truly remarkable book, with plenty to digest and debate.
“The Warren Buffett Way” by Robert Hagstrom
I decided recently to re-read The Warren Buffett Way. Whilst there are obviously a number of books on Buffett, this one is unique in its ability to break down notable purchases such as Coca-Cola and GEICO, and the rationale behind them. The book covers an awful lot. Alongside Buffett’s history & investing methodology, Hagstrom takes a look at investor psychology, risk, and portfolio management. Worth it for his breakdown of nine significant purchases alone.
“Dear Chairman – Boardroom Battles and the Rise of Shareholder Activism” by Jeff Gramm
Let me first say that Dear Chairman is absolutely fantastic. It is also many different things. On the face of it, it’s a collection of case studies of activist investors, and their battles with various boardrooms. Beyond that, it is a history of the development of shareholder activism in the twentieth and early twenty-first century. Beyond that, it is an exploration of the changing nature of public company boardrooms. Look even further, and it is an investigation into the evolution of stakeholder and shareholder interest across corporate America. Just brilliant.
“ReWork” by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
The full title of this book is ReWork: Change the Way you Work Forever. Unfortunately having read it, I’m afraid this isn’t likely to happen. It’s a short read, full of quick and simple segments for entrepreneurs (the authors prefer to call them “starters”) on how to better use their time. Segments such as “Planning is guessing” and “Out-teach your competition”. A lot of the book makes sense, and were I to start a business I may find myself flicking through it from time to time. I think I was simply expecting more, however.
“Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t” by Steven Pressfield
A short read, Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t is a semi-autobiographical account of one mans journey to becoming a writer. He wasn’t born a writer, he earned it. And what he learned during his journey he enumerates within this book. Fiction, non-fiction, screenplay, self-help book, whatever you want to write, this book might just help you get there.
“Against the Gods” by Peter Bernstein
Against the Gods is held in high regard, and having finished the book I now see why. With a core focus on investing, it traverses the history and development of thoughts and attitudes towards risk and risk management. Littered with practical and historical examples, it isn’t the easiest read, but it will most definitely give you a deeper understanding about the notion of ‘risk’.
“Contrarian Investment Strategies” by David Dreman
I’d place Contrarian Investment Strategies up there with Jim O’Shaughnessy’s What Works on Wall Street in terms of the value it provides to any investor who thinks from a quantitative perspective. This book covers a wide range of investment theory, from technical analysis to thoughts on risk, value investing to stock market psychology. One of my favourites.
“The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason
The Richest Man in Babylon is an entertaining, albeit apocryphal, account of how said richest man obtained his vast wealth. The book reminds me in places of Napoleon Hill’s ‘Think and Grow Rich‘ in it’s enduring optimism. It is a guide on the basic principles of wealth generation, that can be undertaken by anybody.
“Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely
Predictably Irrational highlights the myriad ways in which we are influenced into reacting irrationally to the world around us. Ariely walks us through a number of experiments he has undertaken to prove how little we think about particular decisions, particularly involving money. (There is also an epilogue on the subprime mortgage crisis which was really interesting). If you enjoy psychology, it’s a quick, entertaining and surprising read.
“Simple But Not Easy” by Richard Oldfield
Simple But Not Easy is a semi-autobiographical book by investment professional Richard Oldfield. It is no ‘how-to’ guide on investing, but it does provide insight into Oldfield’s views on the subject. The book contains a healthy reminder on the virtues of value investing, as well as a list of past mistakes the author has made.
“The Everything Store” by Brad Stone
Written by journalist and author Brad Stone, The Everything Store is an exceptionally written history of Amazon, and it’s founder Jeff Bezos. Starting from the very beginning, the book covers all the successes and failures that have led to Amazon becoming the dominant eCommerce company.
“Let Go” by Pat Flynn
I first heard of Pat Flynn when he was interviewed on The Investors Podcast. He is owner of smartpassiveincome.com, and his story is fascinating. Having been made redundant as a job captain for an architecture firm, Pat set out on his own to develop passive income strategies. This book describes part of his journey. Let Go a short book, but inspiring none the less.
“The Zurich Axioms” by Max Gunther
I’d been recommended The Zurich Axioms by a few people on Twitter, and I have to say I was disappointed. I don’t believe it’s necessarily a bad book, however I don’t feel I really took anything from it I didn’t already know. That being said, if you are new to investing I would still recommend it, as it will help you develop a framework of investing rules that will be of benefit.
“The Power of Gold” by Peter Bernstein
I received this as a Christmas present, and must say it was an excellent read. For anyone remotely interested in the history of the function and value of gold throughout civilisation, The Power of Gold is an absolute must. The book takes a deep dive into the role of gold, both from a cultural and economic perspective.