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Biographies, Investing & Business Books I Read (Or Re-Read) In 2016

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Biographies, Investing & Business Books I Read (Or Re-Read) In 2016

My goal is to read at least one book a week so around 50 a year. Sometimes it works out to be more, sometimes less but over the years it has proven to be a good bogey. Some people are shocked by the number (personally I don’t think it is a big deal) but what I’ve found is that most books aren’t worth reading cover to cover. I view myself as a “gold miner” when it comes to books i.e. seek out the few core principles, lessons or stories that I can apply in my life and ignore the rest. Most business books these days will only contain that much anyway thus it is not too difficult to get through large volumes. I read practically everything I can get my hands on with the exception of fiction, unless it has some ties to the real world (such as the Noble House that I mention below).

Below is a list and quick summary on all the business books I read last year and also the ones that are on my nightstand currently. If you have any recommendations do let me know via e-mail or Twitter. Thank you!

Biographies, Investing & Business Books – 2016 Booklist


Investing/Business Books

  • Guy Spier – Education of a Value Investor: In the form of an autobiography Guy details his travels through Wall Street, starting out as a hotshot MBA and going through a few humbling episodes in his life that brought him closer to his centre, both as an investor and a human being. Highly recommended for investors who are just starting out and who have been in this business for a long time. What I liked most about this book is Guy’s approach of putting it all on the table and expressing all of the vulnerabilities that we go through as investors. It is very unlikely that you’ll ever read a book like this from a fund manager at a large asset manager
  • Daniel Amman – King of Oil: The story of Marc Rich and the company that was to become Glencore. Highly controversial figure but a very good perspective on the development of the modern crude oil business
  • James Clavell – Noble House: For all the sinophiles out there. This book is part of Clavell’s Asian Saga series and tells the story of the Noble House (i.e. Jardine Matheson) as a fiction, though you’ll recall plenty of connections to the real world if you read between the lines. In case you don’t want to read through 1,400 pages, this story was also made into a TV series with the young Pierce Brosnan as the Tai Pan
  • William Thorndike – Outsiders: This book never gets old
  • Ed Catmull – Creativity Inc: This is probably the best business book I read in a good while. Through reading this book you’ll get a good glimpse into the inner workings of Pixar and their approach to nurturing creativity, talent and movie ideas. Highly recommended
  • J Paul Getty – How to Be Rich: A very easy read full of life stories and anecdotes. His mantra for success: “rise early, work late, and strike oil”
  • Robert Smith – Riches Among Ruins: The trading of emerging and frontier market debt today is conducted via brokers, however not too long ago everything took place on the ground. Smith, one of the creators of this market, details his travels and investments through Latin America, MidEast, Asia and Eastern Europe. Recommended for people interested in financial history, exotic locations and tales of dealing with questionable characters
  • Peter Lynch – One Upon Wall Street: No introduction necessary
  • Norman Berryessa – Global Investing: The Templeton Way: A book from the 1980s about about the concepts of global investing that Templeton was a proponent of
  • John Train – Money Masters: Investment methods and techniques of the greats. The book includes interviews and profiles of Buffett, Lynch, Fisher, Robertson, Soros et al
  • Danny Meyer – Setting the Table: I’ve re-read this book just as Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack empire was going global. He gives a behind the scenes look into his “enlightened hospitality” concept. Great read
  • Jack Schwager – Market Wizards and New Market Wizards: I think this requires no description
  • Jeroen Bos – Deep Value Investing: A practitioner’s guide to deep value investing. Jeroen is a very experienced investor and this book illustrates his investment successes and lessons learnt in an easy to read way. Great to complement Peter Cundill’s book
  • Claire Barnes – Asia’s Investment Prophets: Claire Barnes (of the Asia Apollo Fund) interviews some of the investing legends in Asia. An out of print, very hard to come by book (it goes $9,000 on Amazon) written in the style of the Market Wizards
  • Janet Tavakoli – Dear Mr Buffett: Another take on the global financial crisis from the perspective of the author and Buffett
  • Mark Mobius – Passport to Profits: Written during the Asian financial crisis so it gives an interesting perspective to global and EM investing from Mark Mobius
  • John Neff – Neff on Investing: Neat little book on Neff’s contrarian investment approach in running Vanguard Windsor and Gemini II Funds
  • Steve Stoute – Tanning of America: Steve Stoute (also Jay Z’s business partner) uses his perspective as an entrepreneur and ad man to describe how hip-hop changed popular culture forever via fashion, entertainment and even consumer behaviour. Great to listen as an audiobook
  • Ricardo Semler – Maverick and Seven Day Weekend: The story of Semco and how to put employee satisfaction as the first principle
  • Dan Pena – Your first $100m: Dan Pena’s methods of reaching financial freedom. It is actually a very no-nonsense book about creating a roll-up
  • MJ DeMarco – Millionaire Fastlane: Similar to the above. Worth reading through it
  • Mohnish Pabrai – Dhando Investor: Great little investing book from Mohnish
  • Ben Horowitz – The Hard Things About Hard Things: Similarly to Creativity Inc, it is one of the best business books I read last year with a lot of practical applications. Oh and how could I forget Horowitz’s quoting of hip-hop lyrics throughout this book
  • Ronald Chan – Behind the Berkshire Curtain: Helpful book in understanding Berkshire’s operating companies and managers
  • Blake Mycoskie – Start Something That Matters: The inspiring journey of TOMS
  • Peter Bevelin – Few Lessons from Warren Buffett: A shorter version of Larry Cunningham’s book in summarising the core principles of Warren Buffett
  • Howard Buffett – 40 Chances: I’m hugely interested in agriculture and it was very interesting to get Howard Buffett’s perspective on how better farming techniques (albeit starting from a very low base) can have a dramatic impact in developing countries’ development. It is certainly a great responsibility to give away $3bn+ in a meaningful way. Very enlightening read

Anything that’s not business or investing related

Business books that are currently on my nightstand


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