About this time of year, I like to make a list of newly released books to read during the cold winter months. There are so many new and interesting authors releasing new works each year that a checklist makes it more likely I will read some of them.
The problem is my P/R ratio: purchased-to-read-book ratio. Out of the many interesting books we all buy each year, we only end up reading some of them. Not counting travel or cookbooks, my Amazon.com order history tells me I have bought 51 books in 2017, but I have read just 21 of them. My P/R ratio is 2.43.
I plan to fix that. My usual run of new books for winter will appear next month; today, I went to my own bookshelf, and picked 10 missed opportunities. These are either unread, unfinished or worthy of a re-read.
These are not merely the classics — you don’t need me to tell you to read “A Random Walk Down Wall Street”; instead, these may be a bit off the beaten path.
Let’s jump right in:
“Poor Charlie’s Almanac” by Peter Kaufman. Now in its third edition, this 548-page illustrated book is an encyclopedic collection of the wit and wisdom of Charles Munger, Warren Buffett’s 93-year-old partner. M
unger advocates three practices: read deeply, understand diversification and invert ideas as a way to test them. His words are as down to earth as any spoken by one of the world’s most successful investors.
“The Money Game” by George Goodman, who wrote under the nom de plume Adam Smith. Goodman skewered Wall Street as it existed in the 1960s and ’70s.
The Harvard-educated Rhodes Scholar predated the snark of the modern era by almost a half-century. He posed the question “Why are economists always wrong?” long before the rest of us pondered the issue. This insightful, witty book was described by one reviewer as “your grandfather’s ‘Liar’s Poker.’”
“Black Monday: The Catastrophe of October 19, 1987“ by Tim Metz. With a new book out on the 1987 crash, I thought it timely to remind readers of the seminal book on the topic.
Metz’s version is meticulously reported, a cast of characters colorfully written, filled with an insightful understanding of what went wrong. I found it while I was in the midst of researching other work — and it was a pleasure to read.
“Once in Golconda: A True Drama of Wall Street 1920-1938“ by John Brooks. How can you not be intrigued by a book that promises to “bring to vivid life all the ruthlessness, greed, derring-do, and reckless euphoria of the ’20s bull market, the desperation of the days leading up to the crash of ’29, and the bitterness of the years that followed”? Sign me up.
“The Go-Go Years: The Drama and Crashing Finale of Wall Street’s Bullish 60s“ also by John Brooks: Once markets recovered from the 1920s crash, the Great Depression and World War II, they began a 20-year climb up to the 1929 peak and then far beyond it. Who better to tell the tale with wit and insight than Brooks?