About the author

Jacob Wolinsky

Founder and CEO of ValueWalk.com (the “Site”) is a web site owned by VALUEWALK LLC, a New Jersey limited liability corporation. I am the former VP of business Development of SumZero, LLC, the world’s largest community I have prior experience in a value based pe firm focused on PIPE transactions in micro-cap companies, and at a value based research firm, which focused on smid caps.

  • Hugh


    I have recently been going through books that I have read and liked. Here are some more that I posted previously on Corner of Berkshire and Fairfax: (Apologies if you are not interested, I just figured that someone might be looking for business books that others liked. If this is taking up too much space, feel free to delete.) :)

    Built from scratch : how a couple of regular guys grew the Home Depot from nothing to $30 billion / Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank with Bob Andelman.

    The king of oil : the secret lives of Marc Rich / Daniel Ammann.

    Riches among the ruins : adventures in the dark corners of the global economy / Robert P. Smith ; with Peter Zheutlin.

    All the rave : the rise and fall of Shawn Fanning’s Napster / Joseph Menn.

    Amazonia / James Marcus.

    1,000 dollars and an idea : entrepreneur to billionaire / Sam Wyly.

    Behind the cloud : the untold story of how Salesforce.com went from idea to billion-dollar company–and revolutionized an industry / Marc R. Benioff, Carlye Adler.

    Alibaba : the inside story behind Jack Ma and the creation of the world’s biggest online marketplace / Liu Shiying and Martha Avery.

    Chocolate fortunes : the battle for the hearts, minds, and wallets of China’s consumers / Lawrence L. Allen ; foreword by Ángel Cabrera.

    Dave’s way : a new approach to old-fashioned success / R. David Thomas.

    Pour your heart into it : how Starbucks built a company one cup at a time / Howard Schultz and Dori Jones Yang.

    The Wal-Mart way : the inside story of the success of the world’s largest company / Don Soderquist.

    You Bet: The Betfair Story Colin Cameron

    The PayPal wars : battles with eBay, the media, the mafia, and the rest of planet Earth / Jackson, Eric M.

    Bets, drugs, and rock & roll : the rise and fall of the world’s first offshore sports gambling empire / Budin, Steve.

    In$ide Intuit : how the makers of Quicken beat Microsoft and revolutionized an entire industry / Taylor, Suzanne E.

    Chasing the same signals : how black-box trading influences stock markets from Wall Street to Shanghai / Brown, Brian R.

    Taco titan : the Glen Bell story / Baldwin, Debra Lee, 1952-

    Godfather of the Kremlin: The Decline of Russia in the Age of Gangster Capitalism [Paperback]
    Paul Klebnikov

    Done Deals: Venture Capitalists Tell Their Stories [Hardcover]
    Udayan Gupta

    eBoys: The First Inside Account of Venture Capitalists at Work/ Stross, R

    Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days (Recipes: a Problem-Solution Ap) [Paperback]
    Jessica Livingston

    The Perfect Store: Inside eBay by Adam Cohen

    How I Became a Quant: Insights from 25 of Wall Street’s Elite by Richard R. Lindsey and Barry Schachter

    Fidelity’s World: The Secret Life and Public Power of the Mutual Fund Giant/ Henriques

    The White Sharks of Wall Street: Thomas Mellon Evans and the Original Corporate Raiders / Henriques

    Direct from Dell: Strategies that Revolutionized… by Michael Dell

    Metal Men: How Marc Rich Defrauded the Country, Evaded the Law, and Became the World’s Most Sought-After Corporate Criminal by A. Craig Copetas

    The First Billion Is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and America’s Energy Future [Paperback] T. Boone Pickens (Author)

    Grinding It Out: The Making Of McDonald’s by Ray Kroc

    Boone by T. Boone Pickens Jr.

    King Icahn: The Biography of a Renegade Capitalist by Mark Stevens

    Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart

    The Predators’ Ball: The Inside Story of Drexel… by Connie Bruck

    No Bull: My Life In and Out of Markets by Michael Steinhardt

    Cable Cowboy: John Malone and the Rise of the… (Paperback)
    by Mark Robichaux

    The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars… by Joël Glenn Brenner

    Inventing Money: The Story of Long-Term Capital Management and the Legends Behind It by Nicholas Dunbar

    The Billionaire Who Wasn’t: How Chuck Feeney Made and Gave Away a Fortune Without Anyone Knowing – Hardcover (Sept. 25, 2007) by Conor O’Clery

    Soros: The Life, Ideas, and Impact of the World… by Robert Slater

    Julian Robertson: A Tiger in the Land of Bulls and Bears by Daniel A. Strachman

    Running Money by Kessler

    Murdoch (Paperback)
    by William Shawcross

    Carnegie (Paperback)
    by Peter Krass

    Bloomberg by Bloomberg by Michael Bloomberg

    The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty – Paperback (May 1, 2008) by Julia Flynn Siler

    Thomas Mellon And His Times (Calvin Centre) by Thomas Mellon

    Bill Graham Presents by Bill Graham

    Sneaker Wars: The Enemy Brothers Who Founded Adidas and Puma and the Family Feud That Forever Changed the Business of Sport by Barbara Smit

    The Cell Game: Sam Waksal’s Fast Money and False Promises–and the Fate of ImClone’s Cancer Drug by Alex Prud’homme

    War at the Wall Street Journal: Inside the Struggle To Control an American Business Empire by Sarah Ellison

    Devils on the Deep Blue Sea: The Dreams, Schemes, and Showdowns That Built America’s Cruise-Ship Empires by Kristoffer A. Garin

    The Billion Dollar Molecule: One Company’s Quest for the Perfect Drug by Barry Werth

    Ultimate Risk: The Inside Story of the Lloyd’s Catastrophe by Adam Raphael

    The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes [Paperback]
    Bryan Burrough

    Vendetta: American Express and the Smearing of Edmond Safra by Bryan Burrough

    Tearing Down the Walls: How Sandy Weill Fought His Way to the Top of the Financial World. . .and Then Nearly Lost It All by Monica Langley

    Starting from scrap / Stephen H. Greer

    Softwar : an intimate portrait of Larry Ellison and Oracle / Mathew Symonds ; with commentary by Larry Ellison.

    No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller by Harry Markopolos

    Too Good to Be True: The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff by Erin Arvedlund

    The Informant: A True Story by Kurt Eichenwald

    Indecent Exposure: A True Story of Hollywood and Wall Street (Collins Business Essentials) [Paperback]
    David McClintick

    The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind

    Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar


  • Hugh


    Thanks for posting your reviews. I always like reading what you have to say about recent books that you’ve read.

    I have noticed that I tend to like books that are company specific or investment specific. I also seem to enjoy books which talk about companies or investments that make a lot of money or create a lot of value. I also like books that talk about companies or investments that lose a lot of money or destroy a lot of value. I also like when they are highly technical, have information that I have not seen before, and use primary sources mainly through interviews. These books seem to usually be written by either founders/ceos/high placed managers/investment bankers/investors/traders or financial journalists from wsj, ft, bloomberg, nyt, barrons, forbes, fortune, business week. The financial journalists usually share a level of knowledge from writing and reading financial news daily over many years. When the journalists are able to interview high level managers/investors as primary sources they usually write about new information that I have not seen anywhere before. Ceo/manager/investor books also sometimes can be really good I think, because they write about information that has never been covered in the financial press before. Sometimes the ceo books can be just plain bad. For me though, I tend to really enjoy books about companies and investments that are making or losing lots of money. Especially when the books show why this value creation or destruction is happening. I get an emotional rush just from reading it. I also get this rush sometimes when Buffett talks about specific companies and investments. He mentioned that 08-09 was so exciting because intrinsic values of companies were changing so quickly and so violently. I think that when books capture this they tend to be very exciting. I also like it best when the books give me new information that can influence my investment decisions.

    I tend to dislike books by economists and business professors. Many times I feel like they seem to look for facts to fit or back up their economic theories rather than just telling a story based on the facts that they come across through investigation. I also feel like they usually have nothing to do with making/losing money or figuring out why companies intrinsic values are changing, or figuring the magnitude of change in the future. I understand that influencing investment decisions is not their goal. However, I usually end up not being able to finish these economic type books, or else I just end up skimming them.


    Here is a list of my favorite books from the 08-09 period in order:

    1. Confidence Game: How a Hedge Fund Manager Called Wall Street’s Bluff by Christine Richard

    2. The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History [Hardcover] by Gregory Zuckerman

    3. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

    4. House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street [Paperback]
    William Cohan (Author)

    5. Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns,… by Kate Kelly

    6. Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, the Fall of Merrill Lynch, and the Near-Collapse of Bank of America

    7. The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Co… by Scott Patterson

    8. Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the FinancialSystem–and Themselves by Andrew Sorkin

    9. On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System by Henry Paulson

    10. The Sellout: How Three Decades of Wall Street Greed and Government Mismanagement Destroyed the Global Financial System

    11. No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller by Harry Markopolos

    12. Too Good to Be True: The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff by Erin Arvedlund

    13. A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers by Lawrence McDonald

    14. Bear-Trap: The Fall of Bear Stearns and the Panic of 2008 by Bill Bamber

    15. The Rise and Fall of Bear Stearns by Ace Greenberg

    16. The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market’s Perfect Storm by Robert F. Bruner

    A Colossal Failure and Bear Trap were not great at times, but I felt like they mentioned new information about what was going on at the trading desks within the two investment banks. The Sellout was slow at times, but it did mention new information about Hubler at Morgan, and Fink at Blackrock. I thought House of Cards was great even though his Lazard book was kind of slow. The last section was not as exciting, but I thought that the first section was intense. The Sorkin and Paulson books were very educational as to what the government was doing, but I was shocked by the reasons given for why the government was doing certain things. Overall, though, I thought that they were very informative. The Madoff books were informative I thought because they showed how Madoff went about falsely convincing investors/regulators/feeder funds that his fund was not a fraud. It also had new information about how regulators/feeder funds/European banks interact with hedge funds. I have mentioned some of the negatives about these 16 books, but overall, I thought that they were great informative books.


    Here are some books that I could not get into:

    Chasing Goldman Sachs: How the Masters of the Un… by Suzanne McGee

    The End of Wall Street by Roger Lowenstein

    The Murder of Lehman Brothers: An Insider’s… by Joseph Tibman

    Fool’s Gold: The Inside Story of J.P. Morgan… by Gillian Tett

    The Devil’s Casino: Friendship, Betrayal, and t… by Vicky Ward

    In FED We Trust: Ben Bernanke’s War on the Gr… by David Wessel

    Last Man Standing: The Ascent of Jamie Dimon and… by Duff McDonald

    Diary of a Very Bad Year: Confessions… by Anonymous Hedge Fund…

    When Markets Collide: Investment Strategies f… by Mohamed El-Erian

    Uncontrolled Risk: Lessons of Lehman Brothers an… by Mark Williams

    The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World by Alan Greenspan

    Origins of the Crash: The Great Bubble and It… by Roger Lowenstein

    I read all of Tett’s two books, but I could not seem to get into them. I did like the part where she talked about JPMorgan’s creation of derivatives, but after that I could not get into it. I loved Lowenstein’s Buffett book and LTCM book, but I could not get into his last two. I am curious about what others think of El-Erian’s book. I could not get into that at all. I wanted to like these books, but ended up not liking them.

    Sorry for the very long comment. I have been thinking about this stuff lately and wondering about the reasons why I like certain books more than others.

    I also like hearing what others think about books whether their opinions differ from mine or are similar to mine.

    So thanks again for writing the book reviews. I enjoy hearing what you think.


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