A list of the top twelve books of 2015 and the complete list of the Broyhill Book Club collection.
"If I were rich I would have many books, and I would pamper myself with bindings bright to the eye and soft to the touch, paper generously opaque, and type such as men designed when printing was very young. I would dress my gods in leather and gold, and burn candles of worship before them at night, and string their names like beads on a rosary. I would have my library spacious and dark and cool, safe from alien sights and sounds, with slender casements opening on quiet fields, voluptuous chairs inviting communion and reverie, shaded lamps illuminating sanctuaries here and there, and every inch of the walls concealed with the mental heritage of our race. And there at any hour my hand or spirit would welcome my friends, if their souls were hungry and their hands were clean. In the center of that temple of my books I would gather the One Hundred Best of all the educative literature in the world." -- Will Durant
Last year, I made a conscious effort to spend less time in front of the screens. With the help of Goodreads, I set a goal of reading one book per week. What follows is certainly not a list of the “One Hundred Best of all educative literature in the world.” It is simply one man’s attempt at shifting his lifestyle away from online diversions and optimizing his return on time invested. As it turns out, substituting television (the occasional Netflix binge permitted) and email for an Amazon Kindle has extraordinary implications for mindfulness and clarity of thought.
All good investors appreciate the need to read extensively, but few recognize the benefit of reading broadly. The temptation to click on every email notification or enticing “breaking news” story too often leads us down a never-ending Google rabbit hole. The art of focus is lost in the 21st century. Instead, we spend the majority of our time in front of the screens erratically chasing the latest headlines rather than adopting a more attentive and comprehensive approach to learning.
The Roman Stoic philosopher, Seneca, described a well-ordered mind as one able to remain in a single place and linger among a limited number of master thinkers.
“So you should always read standard authors; and when you crave a change, fall back upon those whom you’ve read before . . . and after you have run over many thoughts, select one to be thoroughly digested that day.”
After devouring 74 books in 2015, I plan to spend more time in the New Year digesting the works of a more limited number of “master thinkers” and organizing those connections across multiple disciplines. Many of last year’s book were new additions to the Broyhill Library, but some of the most valuable lessons learned originated from falling back on standard authors. All knowledge is
cumulative. Successful investors compound their wisdom through broad reading over a lifetime.
The following pages illustrate my Year in Books, along with twelve of my favorites (just too hard to stop at ten). I enjoyed the journey just as much as I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with friends. Clients of Broyhill are welcome to choose one book for their own library - it’s our way of saying “thank you” for giving us the motivation to come into the office every morning smarter than the previous day.
- Chris Pavese