Earlier today, Hugh McLeod tweeted:
“Reading business books. About as much fun as drinking tepid sea water.”
To which I responded:
“You are reading the wrong ones.”
Hugh’s complaint sets up an interesting question: What are your favorite business books that are also fun reads? They can’t be boring, must be Business or Investing related. They also should be informative and/or educational as well.
Here are my 10 random business books that I think are especially readable:
• Lords of Finance by Liaquat Ahamed: “It covers a 50-year period from before World War I and leading up to World War II. Even if you’re not interested in finance, it’s a great read”
• The Big Short by Michael Lewis: “Michael Lewis, to me, is the preeminent narrator [of the financial crisis]. He is the guy who constructs the story better than anybody else.” (Lewis also wrote the wonderful Moneyball, which covers the business of Sports — kinda)
• Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises by Charles P. Kindleberger “The long history of Human financial mania will surprise anyone who is not a sttdent of markets or human psychology. The simple truth is this is what humans do . . .”
• When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management by Roger Lowenstein: The story of hubris and arrogance underlying the collapse of one of the world’s biggest hedge funds. Its reads like a fast-paced crime novel, full of enigmatic characters engaged in incredible risk-taking. The book presciently foreshadows the financial crisis a decade later.
• The Myth of the Rational Market by Justin Fox: “Fox does a wonderful job of telling the story of how the concept of the efficient market got completely out of whack”
• Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner: A look into human behavior from the perspective of an economist. Makes statistics surprisingly interesting.
• The Quants by Scott Patterson: “It’s about the mathematicians and rocket scientists who came up with a series of concepts as to how to use math to try to game the market”
• Griftopia by Matt Taibbi: “Taibbi is the poet laureate of vitriol. There is no one better to capture the country’s fury that these banks blew themselves up, and then twisted Congress’s arm to give them billions of dollars.”
• The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing: by Michael J. Mauboussin: A fascinating. exploration into the relationship between skill and luck. It is both logical and often counter-intuitive, and very informative.
• Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre “First published in 1923, it tells the story of a speculators rise and fall (repeat again and again) in vivid prose. Called “one of the most entertaining books ever written about stock trading, it has become a classic.”
What are your favorite, most interesting business reads?