Books 2012

 Feb 3rd, 2013 

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Some time ago I read an article about Kindle owners reading more books than others. The author was explaining that owning a Kindle makes you read more. Owning a Kindle is definitely not the cause. I believe it is the other way around – reading more makes you buy a Kindle, therefore Kindle owners seem to read more. Anyway, the reasoning there is not the topic of this post.

In 2012, my goal was to read 1 book/quarter. I am happy to say that I managed to read three times as much.

I was taken on a fantastic journey of mysteries and discoveries through the streets of London by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. After that, my mind has ventured through Wonderland with the help of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. With today’s knowledge, it is easy to imagine what would be required to go to the center of the Earth. But, can you believe that Jules Verne imagined that with the knowledge of 1864? Just like most of his books, A Journey to the Center of the Earth is one fascinating reading. From the center of the Earth I went back back in 1943 to the story of a Norwegian hunted by Nazi troops. David Howarth and Stephen E. Ambrose describe the incredible story about survivorship and human spirit in We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance. Finally, I was taken closer to the present day and financial topics by David Lender’s Bull Street which is a pretty good mixture of reality and fiction about the life on Wall Street.

People can do amazing things. Warren Buffet built his fortune from scratch and enjoys life in his own particular way; the way Alice Schroder narrates Mr. Buffet’s biography is capturing, amusing and inspiring; The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life is a must read in my opinion. Creating a Fortune 500 company is a goal that only few manage to meet, creating two Fortune 500 companies might sound impossible, however Eli Broad was the first to do it. In The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking Eli Broad describes his unusual way of dealing with every situation and explains his life decisions.

I tried to expand my financial knowledge throughout the year. It is interesting to see that most personal finance books share the same ideas in a different form. Everything resumes to a few simple (obvious?) principles: (1) spend less than you make, (2) delay gratification, (3) think twice cut once, (4) do your homework before any commitment, (5) don’t act on impulse. On the topic I read Get A Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties by Beth Kobliner, I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi, The Accounting Game: Basic Accounting Fresh from the Lemonade Stand by Judith Orloff and Darell Mullis. The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley is an interesting reading about what he calls the real millionaires in the US and about their habits. However, after reading Nassim Nicolas Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and Markets, I started to ask myself how much of the results in the previous financial books are biased. I closed the 2012 financial topic with Ben Graham’s The Intelligent Investor.

What am I reading now? (1) One Up On Wall Street : How To Use What You Already Know To Make Money In The Market by Peter Lynch and John Rothchild and (2) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.

* I wrote this post from a Surface RT device.