Summer Reading Picks By Ackman, Chanos, Gross, Tilson via Julie Verhage, Bloomberg Short summary and more on the books below from Amazon.com.
As things slow down a bit on Wall Street during the summer months, many of its best and brightest will find more time in their schedules to read. You can find Bill Ackman, Jim Chanos, Bill Gross and Whitney Tilson’s summer reading recommendations below.
Bill Ackman’s Summer Reading Recommendations
As the founder and chief executive officer of Pershing Square Capital Management and a well-known philanthropist, it’s no surprise that Ackman picked books with a high focus on entrepreneurship and making an impact on the world.
The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.
Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.
Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.
From the coauthors of the New York Times bestseller Abundance comes their much anticipated follow-up: Bold—a radical, how-to guide for using exponential technologies, moonshot thinking, and crowd-powered tools to create extraordinary wealth while also positively impacting the lives of billions.
Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World unfolds in three parts. Part One focuses on the exponential technologies that are disrupting today’s Fortune 500 companies and enabling upstart entrepreneurs to go from “I’ve got an idea” to “I run a billion-dollar company” far faster than ever before. The authors provide exceptional insight into the power of 3D printing, artificial intelligence, robotics, networks and sensors, and synthetic biology. Part Two of the book focuses on the Psychology of Bold, drawing on insights from billionaire entrepreneurs Larry Page, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos. In addition, Diamandis reveals his entrepreneurial secrets garnered from building fifteen companies, including such audacious ventures as Singularity University, XPRIZE, Planetary Resources, and Human Longevity, Inc. Finally, Bold closes with a look at the best practices that allow anyone to leverage today’s hyper-connected crowd like never before. Here, the authors teach how to design and use incentive competitions, launch million-dollar crowdfunding campaigns to tap into ten’s of billions of dollars of capital, and finally how to build communities—armies of exponentially enabled individuals willing and able to help today’s entrepreneurs make their boldest dreams come true.
Jim Chanos’s Summer Reading Recommendations
The hedge fund manager who rose to fame after shorting Enron in 2001, Chanos recommends these three books focused on Wall Street and history.
Bernard Baruch was a self-made millionaire, legendary stock trader, and venture investor. For most of the first half of the 20th century, he epitomized the “good side” of Wall Street in the public mind. Celebrated as “Adviser to Presidents” and “The Park Bench Statesman,” he also became known as “The Man Who Sold out before the Crash.” James Grant’s much praised biography draws on a wealth of previously untapped material.
On June 18, 1815 the armies of France, Britain and Prussia descended upon a quiet valley south of Brussels. In the previous three days, the French army had beaten the Prussians at Ligny and fought the British to a standstill at Quatre-Bras. The Allies were in retreat. The little village north of where they turned to fight the French army was called Waterloo. The blood-soaked battle to which it gave its name would become a landmark in European history.
In his first work of nonfiction, Bernard Cornwell combines his storytelling skills with a meticulously researched history to give a riveting chronicle of every dramatic moment, from Napoleon’s daring escape from Elba to the smoke and gore of the three battlefields and their aftermath. Through quotes from the letters and diaries of Emperor Napoleon, the Duke of Wellington, and the ordinary officers and soldiers, he brings to life how it actually felt to fight those famous battles—as well as the moments of amazing bravery on both sides that left the actual outcome hanging in the balance until the bitter end.
Executives, investors, and the business press routinely chant the mantra that corporations are required to “maximize shareholder value.” In this pathbreaking book, renowned corporate expert Lynn Stout debunks the myth that corporate law mandates shareholder primacy. Stout shows how shareholder value thinking endangers not only investors but the rest of us as well, leading managers to focus myopically on short-term earnings; discouraging investment and innovation; harming employees, customers, and communities; and causing companies to indulge in reckless, sociopathic, and irresponsible behaviors. And she looks at new models of corporate purpose that better serve the needs of investors, corporations, and society.
Bill Gross’s Summer Reading Recommendations
Legendary bond investor Bill Gross recommends two books with historical leanings, although on two quite different topics. Gross says he’s read the first one, a classic (and long) piece of Russian literature, three times. It’s “history/greed/avarice/lust/human nature fully exposed,” as he described it in an e-mail. His second choice is more off-kilter. Have you ever wondered why a living room is called a living room? The answer may surprise you.
War and Peace broadly focuses on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men.
A s Napoleon’s army invades, Tolstoy brilliantly follows characters from diverse backgrounds—peasants and nobility, civilians and soldiers—as they struggle with the problems unique to their era, their history, and their culture. And as the novel progresses, these characters transcend their specificity, becoming some of the most moving—and human—figures in world literature.
With his signature wit, charm, and seemingly limitless knowledge, Bill Bryson takes us on a room-by-room tour through his own house, using each room as a jumping off point into the vast history of the domestic artifacts we take for granted. As he takes us through the history of our modern comforts, Bryson demonstrates that whatever happens in the world eventually ends up in our home, in the paint, the pipes, the pillows, and every item of furniture. Bryson has one of the liveliest, most inquisitive minds on the planet, and his sheer prose fluency makes At Home: A Short History of Private Life one of the most entertaining books ever written about private life.
Whitney Tilson’s Summer Reading Recommendations
This American investor and philanthropist says you should read the latest book detailing the extraordinary life of Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, as well as Milder’s book, which explains what can go wrong when companies start manufacturing their products to China.
In Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance provides the first inside look into the extraordinary life and times of Silicon Valley’s most audacious entrepreneur. Written with exclusive access to Musk, his family and friends, the book traces the entrepreneur’s journey from a rough upbringing in South Africa to the pinnacle of the global business world. Vance spent more than 30 hours in conversation with Musk and interviewed close to 300 people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk’s world-changing companies: PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity, and to characterize a man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation while making plenty of enemies along the way.
Vance uses Musk’s story to explore one of the pressing questions of our time: can the nation of inventors and creators which led the modern world for a century still compete in an age of fierce global competition? He argues that Musk–one of the most unusual and striking figures in American business history–is a contemporary amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs. More than any other entrepreneur today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as the visionaries of the golden age of science-fiction fantasy.
An insider reveals what can—and does—go wrong when companies shift production to China
In this entertaining behind-the-scenes account, Paul Midler tells us all that is wrong with our effort to shift manufacturing to China. Now updated and expanded, Poorly Made in China: An Insider’s Account of the China Production Game reveals industry secrets, including the dangerous practice of quality fade—the deliberate and secret habit of Chinese manufacturers to widen profit margins through the reduction of quality inputs. U.S. importers don’t stand a chance, Midler explains, against savvy Chinese suppliers who feel they have little to lose by placing consumer safety at risk for the sake of greater profit. This is a lively and impassioned personal account, a collection of true stories, told by an American who has worked in the country for close to two decades. Poorly Made in China touches on a number of issues that affect us all.