Recommendations

Podcasts & Book recommendations

 


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SpreZZaturian reads business books


Podcasts

I walk my dog Ronja some 20 hours a week, and I spend an additional 5 hours a week working out, during which I usually listen to podcasts.

My main interest is science, but I’ve added some finance and economics podcasts too. Here are my favorite ones, in approximate order of relevance (economics and finance in blue, science in red, mixed in black):

MY OWN PODCASTS

  • Future Skillstogether with Ludvig Sunström, about the tools, practices and habits you need to be prepared for a future of accelerating change
  • 25 minuter – together with Ludvig Sunström, about skills and tools (in Swedish) 
  • Outsiders – I and Anna Svahn question old ingrained truths in finance and economics

 

SCIENCE

  • Psykiatrikerna – Swedish podcast about the mind, my absolute favorite podcast in Swedish
  • TED Radio hour – Exciting new technology and inspirational ideas delivered and curated by true professionals. The best podcast around.
  • WSJ The Future Of Everything – short format show with nuanced deep-dives into fascinating technological developments
  • The TED Interview – wide ranging interviews with the best TED speakers
  • The After On Podcast – practical science and technology, inspired by the very good (sci-fi and AI) book After On
  • The Economist, Babbage – Always interesting and concise (science news)
  • Discovery – Science news
  • Vetandets Värld P1 – Science news in Swedish
  • Nyheter från vetenskapsradion – Science news in Swedish
  • Vetenskapsradions veckomagasin – Science news in Swedish
  • TED Talks audio – The base for TED Radio Hour; more up to date
  • Brain Science with Ginger Campbell – An immensely interesting and valuable repository (145+ episodes) of interviews and book reviews on all things brain and mind related.
  • Guardian Science Weekly – Science news
  • Nature Podcast – Science news
  • Science Talk – Science talk
  • In our time science – Cosy and versatile show on history and science; delightfully British
  • Smart Drug Smarts – discussions about foods and compounds that can boost the brain without adverse side effects
  • The Infinite Monkey Cage – Brian Cox and friends making astrophysics, quantum physics and particle physics accessible

 

ECONOMICS AND FINANCE

  • Macro Voices – The best macro and investment show in podcast form (cf Real Vision TV)
  • Adventures in Finance – Spin off from the excellent macroeconomic TV production Real Vision
  • Superinvestors and the Art of Worldly Wisdom (Jesse Felder talking to legendary investors)
  • Masters in business (Barry Ritholtz)
  • Invest like the best – Markets, finance, philosophy and life
  • Freakonomics radio – Thought provoking about (ir)rational human behavior
  • The Investor’s Podcast: We study billionaires – Book reviews and discussions about the successes, models and thoughts of successful investors
  • EFN Börslunch – Finance news in Swedish
  • Exchanges at Goldman Sachs – I hate to say it, but it’s actually interesting sometimes, and somewhat useful — by the vampire squid and Most Imperial Company in the world
  • WSJ What’s News – short format daily news from Wall Street Journal
  • Börspodden – Swedish stock market talk and interviews
  • Hidden Forces – trial (November 2018)

 

OTHER

  • Philosophize this! – One philosophy or philosopher at a time. Light, humorous and deep at the same time. Highly entertaining and educational
  • Sean Carroll’s MindscapeStyrkelabbet – The Go To podcast for everything weight lifting related (Swedish)
  • Waking Up with Sam Harris – long format talks about morals, ethics, mindfulness, technology, psychedelics and more
  • Gastropod – Entertaining about the science and history of food
  • The Usual Suspects – Swedish podcast about politics in general and libertarian principles in particular
  • BrainStuff – Everyday (technical) stuff explained
  • Språket i P1 – A fun show about the peculiarities of the Swedish language (Swedish)
  • Stuff you should know – Exactly that, presented in a wonderfully humorous manner
  • Stuff to blow your mind – Interesting stuff on all topics
  • In our time – Cosy and versatile show on history and science; delightfully British, but sometimes a bit too slow
  • Konsensus – a podcast about cryptocurrencies (in Swedish)
  • Framgångspodden – Feelgood interviews with successful people (Swedish)

 

ON THE BENCH

  • Radiolab – Good stories by master story tellers, but often too much narrative and too little substance
  • A History of the world in 100 objects – 100 episodes narrating the history of mankind from the perspective of single artifacts – Not that engaging, which is why it’s at the bottom of this list
  • Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – I never seem to make time for this one
  • Invisibilia – deep and entertaining about the underlying reality of existence (but I rarely listen anymore)
  • Sommar och vinter i P1 (sommarpratarna) – I only listen to select episodes

TV

Real Vision – unbiased news and interviews on economics and finance


YouTube channels

Fight Mediocrity: book reviews on a whiteboard

MinutePhysics: Very short videos on physics concepts

RSA animates: Whiteboard run-throughs of important topics

Vsauce: Popular science

Vsauce2: Popular science

Inside Silicon Valley:

AwakenWithJP: Satire

Kurzgesagt – In a nutshell: Short animated science videos


Books

With no further presentation (for that, go to the separate blog articles instead, such as Required Investor Reads80 sci-fi books, my 50 favorite booksHow To Make Friends…, and, in Swedish: veckans bok från “25 minuter”). Below please find reviews of 50-60 of my most and least favorite books. (you can also check out this post about where I find my weekly fix of information)

 

  • My 20-ish all-time favorites
  • Eight additional good and useful reads
  • Yet more really good books, by topic
    • People and skills
    • Astrophysics and physics
    • The economy and financial markets
    • Fictional books that I think have important things to teach about the political system
    • And just a few good sci-fi reads with no purpose or message
  • Popular books I think you should skip
  • More sci-fi
  • Required Reading For Investors
    • Very useful and readable (for investors), but perhaps not required per se
    • More fun than important, but still offer some psychological insights into markets and its participants
    • Popular books an investor can do without
    • Investment books I haven’t read but probably are really good
    • School investment text books
  • Books on my to read list
  • Recently finished books
  • Suggestions from friends and social media

All-time favorite books (in no particular order)

How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes
(easy read, important, micro and macroeconomy, part cartoon – the best book on economics ever written). To understand money and the economy. Illustrated, funny, entertaining and incredibly pedagogic and smart

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology
(easy read, predicts technological evolution, important long-term). The Singularity Is Near shows step by step how technology evolves from punch cards (and actually far before that), via vacuum tubes to semiconductor based super computers and possibly mechanical nanocomputers, to strong artificial intelligences that self-evolves to billion times more intelligent than a human being. 

The user illusion – Cutting consciousness down to size
(psychology, difference between me and I, the conscious self and the subconscious, an eye-opener on the human condition). The User Illusion shows very convincingly (with references to scientific experiments) how small and deceitful the mind is and how powerful and capable the subconscious is.

Gödel Escher Bach
(a very difficult and heavy Pulitzer-winning tome; challenging but rewarding) GEB deals with self reference, consciousness, art, music, mathematics and artificial intelligence illustrated by ant hills. Gödel Escher Bach took me a year to finish but instilled a dramatically different perspective on math, symbol language, self-reference, consciousness and artificial intelligence. The ant hill analogy to the human brain and consciousness is brilliant (and is a recurring feature of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld magicians)

The Naked Ape: A Zoologist’s Study of the Human Animal
(entertaining, easy about the human condition, bonding, psychology, physiology etc). A zoologist’s take on human customs, culture and drives.

Sapiens: How the cognitive, agricultural and technological revolutions combined with a culture of shared myths to enable humans to take over the world and surpass even evolution itself. The book reads like an upgrade to The Naked Ape.

Atlas Shrugged
One of only two fiction book on my list. (A bit hard to get into but once you do it’s amazing. A fantastic and yet believable tale about a free economy spiraling into communism. On the surface an addictive political thriller set in a time similar to the one of Rockefeller, Ford, Edison etc. In reality a comment on the dangers and evils of socialism and communism). It’s long and it’s fiction but the average person needs to get these lessons hammered into them over and over again over 1000 pages to get it. Atlas Shrugged turned my view on right and wrong, fair and unfair upside down. 

Engines of creation
(The book that popularized the promises and dangers of nanotechnology some 25-30 years after Richard Feynman’s talk about Plenty Of Room). Engines Of Creation explains why a super high tech future is inevitable. Whatever can be done will be done, and it starts with nanotechnoogy

The Road to Serfdom
Hayek’s readable and scary version of Mises’ more dense work on communism. A true economic horror story about why communism failed and why it still lingers behind every altruistic corner

A Brief History of Time
The original Hawking book about the universe, now updated several times and illustrated in The Universe in a Nutshell (which is the one you really should read)

Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think
An optimistic run-through of available or near-available technology that promises to solve the five big challenges of water, energy, hunger, pollution and death. Yes, death. This is where the world is heading in 2040. make sure you and your children are change resistant

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed
Pattern recognition lies behind human intelligence. This is how it works. Kurzweil’s thought provoking work on brain structure and the roadmap to strong general artificial intelligence and the logical next step to a run-away technological singularity that seeds and wakens up the entire universe with intelligence. 

Tomorrow’s Gold
A much needed perspective of empires, hegemonies, leaders, cities, currencies and countries that come and go over the course of human history. It would be very unusual for the US dollar, New York and the U.S. to remain global leaders for an other hundred years.

A Short History of Nearly Everything
An entertaining and inspiring book about more or less everything, from the big bang to present day, including the origin of species and why the moon is so important. This is one of very few books that should be mandatory in school – if anything should be mandatory. Everything you need to know about history. Forget Caesar, Hitler, the US civil war and the stone age. This is the history that made us what we are. And, no, it’s not astrophysics or a cheap version of Hawkins. This is about earth and mankind.

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
Taleb’s classic that reveals the dangers of sloppy statistical analysis and cognitive biases. You’ll never view your investments or brokers in the same way after this masterpiece

Post-Human by David Simpson: A super high paced story in 5 (so far) installments about a future society populated by enhanced humans, artificial intelligences. Simpson’s imagination knows no limits and neither do his characters (that keep changing from friend to villain and back again). Ultra-modern sci-fi, fast-paced multifaceted story about hard core nanotech and AI. Three out of five books (so far) are fantastic, two are “just” very good. All are extremely entertaining page turners. Beware, many, many have claimed to skip several nights of sleep once they got hold of Simpson’s books


Bonus book, added February 7, 2016

It’s very early times I admit, but this book struck a nerve deep within me and made several pieces of the puzzle fall into place. Hence, I’ll include it in my hall of fame immediately. I have practiced deep work and shun the shallowness of always-on and constant e-mailing but never had the right framework and research support to argue for it. Now, Cal Newport has provided exactly that. Read his book before it’s too late (more inspiration and links here).

Deep Work by Cal Newport: How to, and why it’s important to regularly go off-line

Cal explains why the hyper connected youth (and you) may lose their ability to focus and quickly learn new difficult things, and thus lose out to robots. And, more important, what to do about it.


More bonus books, added February 18, 2018

From Zero To One by Peter Thiel: How to create a new, fast growing, important company

The Fourth Turning by Strauss and Howe: A theory of how archetypical generations shape history, and a warning regarding the 2020’s

The Fabric of Reality by David Deutsch: How it all fits together (science, quantum physics, virtual reality, information theory, computing)

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari: Who we humans are at our core, where we came from, what drove us from hunting to farming through the industrial revolution and the coming era of cyborgs.


8 Additional good and useful reads

Peak: The science behind becoming an expert

Signals: Economics made understandable; discern the everyday signals that uncover the true nature of economic and societal changes

Lords of Finance: 1929, The Great Depression – and the Bankers Who Broke the World

The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy—How to Save Yourself and Your Country

Intelligent Universe: AI, ET, and the Emerging Mind of the Cosmos

The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor. Down to earth rules of thumb and thoughts about investing by one of the best

(Mastering The Market Cycle: Getting The Odds On Your Side)

Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet. What science actually says about dogs and wolves. This is how you should socialize with your dog, not master it.

The Fountainhead: Easier than Atlas shrugged but almost as strong in its message that every man is an island

The great crash: The one and only objective description of what actually happened in the US in 1929-1932

Thinking fast and slow: You may have read all of this at college (economic psychology classes) but TFAS provides an entertaining and much needed rehearsal of the lessons about how poor our minds are at some things


Yet more really good books, by topic

People and skills

Your Competent Child is a testament to the wonders of children’s minds, and how robustly the will evolve to independent grown-ups with a strong self-esteem, as long as you basically stay out of their way, act as a witness, an inspiration and a role model, rather than a hindrance, a punisher or a nanny. Don’t spoil or ruin your child. We all have the capacity for strong self-esteem, brilliance, love and independence as long as our parents stop messing things up by being overprotecting, judgemental or just mean. The sequel “Family Life” is also pretty good but nowhere near the genius level of YCC.

How to win friends and influence people (Dale Carnegie) A bit inspiring. See my thorough review and summary here

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus – Yes, men and women are different. There are quite a few gems hidden in this repetitive book, that can be used for dating and nursing the consequent relationships.

Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman Very Inspiring book about the Nobel Prize winning physicist’s upbringing, curiosity, career and many, many shenanigans


Astrophysics and physics

Physics Of The Future – Popular and accessible science; tells you what there already is and what most likely will be available in 10, 20, 50 and 100 years
The Universe In A Nutshell
(A Brief History Of Time – a bit dated now, however)
(The Grand Design – an update to TUIAN and ABHOT, but quite superfluous after “nutshell”)


The economy and financial markets

Bull! – The epic tale about the IT mania, the stock bubble and the consequent crash. Highly relevant as 2016 draws to a close and the markets are yet again at 2000-like epic peaks and just about ready to come crashing down.


Fiction books that I think have important things to teach about the political system:

Withûr Wé – An epic space adventure in libertarian spirit
The Moon is a harsh mistress – The colony on the moon is just as unhappy about things as the US were under British rule (and the Brits under EU rule)


And  just a few good sci-fi reads with no purpose or message:

Prey – Prey (nanotech gone wrong; a very well researched book by Crichton). Crichton’s best ever. Very well researched and believable story about the spontaneous development of strong AI
Neuromancer – AI and digital agents, one of the first books in the genre, and still highly relevant
The Diamond Age – Inspiring and well written about a nanotech book raising a little girl. When nanotechnology and replicators create abundance… and a tutor companion for a little girl in the form of a book 
Reamde – computer viruses, virtual world crimes and some other stuff. Modern, long, takes place in MMORPGs and the real world
The Hydrogen Sonata – a space epos
Marooned In Real Time – oldie but goldie about a conceivable form of time travel. One simple idea explored to its fantastic extreme. You do not want to be left behind. 
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (all five) – so fun, so smart!
Nexus/Crux/Apex – Hard core tech books. Interconnected minds, nanotech, transhumanism, action
Discworld – just fun fantasy; not all the 40 books are that good, but several of the first ten are …magical – not least “Mort”
Ender’s game – the book has an incredibly strong message about revenge that is almost totally overlooked in the movie. I can’t remember ever feeling so engaged and alive reading a book as I did during some specific scenes in Ender’s. Unfortunately the author dropped the ball after the follow-up (Speaker for the dead – which I also recommend reading)
Atopia, Dystopia and Utopia – Cultural clashes between the nanotechnological and virtual reality seasteading paradise and the rest of humanity. Everyone on the Seasteading platform is spending their life in a virtual world – and it’s not the same one. The final book in the series, Utopia is magnificently grand in scope and philosophical depth; a true delight to read.


Popular books I think you should skip

The count of Monte-Cristo – don’t get me started! This is not the adventure it promises to be. Read a synopsis or see one of the recent movies instead
The bible – long, boring, poorly written, paradoxical and with exactly zero value as an inspiration, guide, entertainment or whatever you can think of. Simply a collection of garbage
What’s wrong with right now – I am all for mindfulness, but this one was just awful
Choose yourself – I just didn’t get what was so great. It’s fine, sure, and probably inspires a lot of people, but I didn’t get one single impulse from it
The foundation (by Asimov; it was a good adventure story back in the days, but everything else is so much better these days. Read David Simpson, Robert Heinlein, Neal Stephenson or Iain Banks for epic sci fi instead)
Rama (Arthur C. Clarke; utterly pointless and slow-moving B-movie drama sci-fi)
Micro by Crichton/Preston (see Rama above)

The mote in God’s eye – long and boring, far too little interesting tech. A one-idea book that reminded me of Rendez-vous with Rama


More sci-fi that wasn’t included above (see here for the full list of sci-fi reviews)

I recommend you read them in this order, after reading the even more highly recommended books in the genre above (the further down the less important the books,… and the order)

Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson (Innovative! Computer viruses in virtual worlds can be dangerous)

Peculiar ideas. Worthwhile though. Vinge’s mind is strange indeed:
A Deepness in the sky – Vernor Vinge
A fire upon the deep – Vernor Vinge
The peace war – Vernor Vinge

Good reads:
The Gift – Dave Donovan

Immortality – Kevin Bohacz

Ghost of the gods – Kevin Bohacz (pretty good sequel)

Masked as teenage sci-fi but much better than what you’d expect from that premise. Quite cool tech:
The second ship – Richard Phillips
Immune – Richard Phillips
Wormhole – Richard Phillips

Fast moving easy reads
Final Theory – Mark Alpert
The Omega theory – Mark Alpert
Extinction – Mark Alpert

A bit unpolished first novel (I think) but exciting story about the birth of an evil AI:
Robopocalypse – Daniel H Wilson

Startrek meets Avatar? Immense scope, somewhat weird, and very long. Perhaps these deserve a higher place on my list…
The Bohr maker – Linda Nagata (the best of her three books)
Deception well – Linda Nagata (gets a bit heavy sometimes)
Vast – Linda Nagata

A really weird one from way back:
Slaughterhouse five – Kurt Vonnegut

Worthwhile AI action
Avogadro Corp – William Hertling
AI apocalypse – William Hertling
The last firewall – William Hertling

Surprisingly good teenage trilogy, at least as good as the hunger games:
Divergent – Veronica Roth
Insurgent – Veronica Roth
Allegiant – Veronica Roth (the least good of the three, you really can quit after the second book)

Prize-winning big-scope-novel, but a bit too slow: 
Hyperion – Dan Simmons

Quite cool but a bit too much like Wool: 
Containment – Christian Cantrell

Kind of a prequel to Prey. Pretty good but nowhere near Prey:
Next – Michael Crichton

These are surprisingly bland; perhaps best recommended for young adults:
The seven Foundation books – Isaac Asimov:
Prelude to Foundation
Forward the Foundation
Foundation
Foundation and Empire
Second Foundation (one of the two best in the series)
Foundation’s Edge (one of the two best in the series)
Foundation and Earth


Required Reading For Investors

TOP TEN

Margin Of Safety – Seth Klarman (great summary for free here)

It’s really all you need to become aware of the most important pitfalls and opportunities in investing. This one is truly required reading; many times over.

Reminiscences of a stock operator – Edwin Lefevre

This book covers one of the greatest traders/investors ever, from his humble beginnings as a quotation boy to becoming one of the richest people in the world and a stand off against the U.S. government. His mistakes, luck and success imprint the reader with the foundations of investing psychology, technical analysis, macro/micro and sound, productive, investment.

Remember that “technical analysis” isn’t all about drawing arbitrary patterns in a stock chart, it’s about trying to infer the psychology that drives human herd behavior and stock prices.

Technical analysis has been a dirty word since my first finance classes in college, but prices still do hold some information.

Exactly what and how to use it is another story. I don’t think it’s black or white but a lot of shades of grey between macro, micro and technicals.

More Money Than God by Sebastian Mallaby: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite (Council on Foreign Relations Books (Penguin Press)) – Entertaining and informative read about holes in the Efficient Market Hypothesis and how various hedgefund managers have exploited and covered tose holes over the last 70 years.

Fed Up by Danielle DiMartino Booth – Highly informative and entertaining insider’s view of the inner workings of the Federal Reserve Bank Of The U.S.A.

Already mentioned above: The Most Important Thing – Howard Marks (and the follow up about Mastering The Market Cycle)

Everything you need to know about risk. Marks is a master of breaking down “risk” in components of risk, which clarifies the concept, and educates the reader on how to manage risk. You might think risk is just (historical) price volatility, or earnings volatility, VaR or something similar.

Nope. Marks will teach you about dozens of different risks that will make you see investing in a whole different light.

Hedgehogging – Barton Biggs

Biggs’ story of how he started a hedge fund, managed setbacks in funding as well as investing (not least in oil). It’s entertaining and very useful. I learned more reading that book, than in my previous 10+ years in the market (I said something similar in an Amazon review way back).

You will literally feel Barton’s angst as he struggles with whether to cut his losses, or hold on to sinking assets that might be about to bounce or turn around. Better him than you.

Fooling some of the people all of the time – Einhorn

The perils of shorting, of being right but early and alone – and drawing fire from the authorities. If you are at all enticed by the dark side of shorting, you need to read this.

Already mentioned above: The Black Swan – Taleb

More about hidden risks and how to take them into account. Taleb’s epic book about the unknown unknowns that risk undoing everything unless you manage the fat tails of (im)probable outcomes.

Already mentioned above: BULL! – Maggie Mahar

The breathtaking story of the worst stock market mania ever in the late 1990s. Read and compare the IT bubble 1995-2000 with the central bank bubble of 2010-2015.

Already mentioned above: The great crash – Galbraith

The only objective recount of the markets and the economy in the early 1930’s. Did investors actually commit suicide? Didn’t anybody warn before. What responsibility did the Federal reserve have? Back then, the world’s greatest economist right before the crash claimed stock prices had reached a permanently high plateau. Should celebrity pundits like that be trusted?

Already mentioned above: How an economy grows and why it crashes – Peter Schiff

It’s about macro, I know, but it’s also about the foundations of entrepreneurship, investment, productivity and wealth creation. It’s the best book on economics ever written. It’s required reading on every book list. Here, it might just keep you a little more level headed when feeling the urge to buy into the Snapchat or Uber IPOs.

The death of money – James Rickards

What might happen to fiat money when the current money printing era draws to an end. Also, why you might want to buy gold instead of most stocks. Perhaps a bit dystopian and scary for a young investor, but nevertheless a good reminder that stocks are not all about stocks…

The Retarded Hedge Fund manager – Karl-Mikael Syding

My own honest tale about taking risk, and the importance of realizing the difference between luck and skill and avoiding hubris.


Very useful and readable (for investors), but perhaps not required per se

Already mentioned above: Thinking Fast And Slow – Kahneman (About the limitations of the human mind. Economic psychology and behavioral finance 101. You’ve already read it all if you have a masters degree in finance, but it’s a good summary nevertheless)

Already mentioned above: The user illusion – Norretranders (insightful and important regarding the interplay between the conscious and the subconscious; the real self and the narrating I). Learn to trust your intuition (which is the 1m times faster subconscious way of trying to communicate important things to your slow I) and be fascinated to learn that your “I” actually live half a second in the past, which is how long it takes the self to filter and sort and communicate the info (as well as make a fake time stamp -0.5s).

The Logic of Life – Tim Harford (a new slant on homo economicus, how superficially illogical decisions actually are super rational. It can help explain why some unlikely companies prosper and some ‘sure things’ fail)

Already mentioned above: Abundance – Diamandis & Kotler (about the wonderful future of technology and mankind [not sci fi; very concrete actual technologies]. Great for insulating yourself against doomsayers and perhaps understanding which new new things are more likely than others, and what kind of competition they will soon face)

Already mentioned above: Tomorrow’s gold – Marc Faber (Macro. Power centers and currencies you thought would last forever didn’t. None. The dollar and the U.S. won’t either, and definitely not the euro. Please note though that the time scale is in the hundreds or thousands of years, not next Monday)

Already mentioned above: Lords of finance – Ahamed (important lessons from central banking’s early days, not least the quick-step dance between currencies, real estate, stocks and bonds required to protect your savings during the Weimar hyperinflation)

Manias, panics and crashes – Kindleberger (everything you ever needed to know about the history and dynamics of manias and panics. The book is unfortunately a bit of a slow read, but the information is important and useful to gain perspective on what a bubble is, how it forms, the psychology behind its build-up and its bursting, what parts are fundamental and what parts are irrational feed back loops, how long to ride a bubble and how to trust a strong advance actually isn’t a bubble at all)

Endgame – Mauldin (not as good as I had hoped, but interesting macro take on the future for various [all] geographies. China, Japan, Russia… here is a prescient look into the future of geopolitical risk)

Irrational exuberance – Shiller (bubble theory from the man behind the Shiller cyclically adjusted price earnings ratio: CAPE)

Holy grail of macroeconomics – Koo (what really happened in Japan, and what was done about it, albeit not updated for the last few years’ insanity)

Animal Spirits – Akerlof/Shiller (the micro behind the macro of recoveries and bubbles)

The return of depression economics – Krugman (believe it or not, it was actually quite good – I read it in 2001 but he’s released an update including both crashes since then)

The great reflation – Boeckh (perhaps it’s over now, but here Boeckh shows the opportunities created by reflating the world after a trough. For next time, perhaps.)


More fun than important, but still offer some psychological insights into markets and its participants

Cityboy – the ugly truth about financial analysts (you’ll never trust a recommendation again)

Wall Street Meat – A great book for understanding the immoral machinations that underpinned the IT mania (good IPOs go to insiders, bad go to you)

Liar’s Poker – Early days of the stock market’s comeback from the dead in the 1980’s. My guess is we could very well end up in a “death of markets” situation again in a few years; the early 2020’s?

The new new thing – Lewis’ story about the IT mania in the end of the 1990’s

Trading with the enemy – Jim Cramer’s colleague recounts Cramer’s borderline illegal antics at his hedge fund’s office and in the stock market


These an investor can do without:

The Intelligent Investor – Graham (Boring, dated, methods still works though but it’s way too long for saying keep stocks and bonds in your portfolio, buy more of whatever falls in proportion to the other)

Market Wizards – Schwager (Wtf?! Utter junk. Some fun stories, but nothing actionable – just hundreds of recounts of gut feeling and luck)

Wealth, War and Wisdom – Barton Biggs (I learned a few things about WWII, but the market stuff is borderline ridiculous – almost religious)


I haven’t read the following investor’s books myself but they are probably worthwhile:

Antifragile (what is actually new here vs. The Black Swan?)

The little book of sideways markets (expect sideways markets for decades, with huge swings… this book might come in handy)

Flash boys (Lewis is always entertaining and educational, here in a scary tale about HFT front running and rigging. Do you really want to invest in that environment?)

When genius failed (interesting tale about the Nobel prize winners that almost broke the financial system, by miscalculating the thickness of financial tails)

The big short (Lewis’ narrative of the house price boom and bust, its main characters and companies; I love the film)


School investment text books I’ve kept but you easily can do without

Statistics – Newbold (way too much formulas for most, albeit some important lessons on which statistics to trust and which not to)

Basic Econometrics – Gujarati (some regression analysis techniques can be useful, but mechanistic investing on this level is useless anyway)

Futures and Options – Hull (skip this one and take market prices for granted. You won’t be doing any option arbitrages anytime soon, or ever)

Principles of Corporate Finance – Brealey & Myers (here’s what you’ll learn: companies take on debt, and issue equity. Some proportions are expensive and/or risky. Sometimes companies acquire each other. Sometimes too dearly)

Valuation – Copeland (not completely useless, but do you seriously think you’ll forecast cash flows 20-50 years out and discount them with some arbitrary factor? And then invest your own money based on what comes out of the model? I don’t think so)

Macroeconomics -Dornbusch and Fischer (among all the laughable [EMH] charts and graphs there are some insights into economics, but you’ll learn so much more in Schiff’s book)


I constantly add books to my Amazon wish list, most of which I will never read, but I like to keep a list to choose from whenever I run out of things to read. Anyway here is the very short version of what’s going on my virtual nightstand soon:

Books on my reading list (November 2018):

Currently reading:

  1. The singularity trap, by Dennis Taylor
  2. Danielle, by Ray Kurzweil
  3. Mastering The Market Cycle, by Howard Marks
  4. Smart Föräldraskap, by Mattias Ribbing
  5. Architects of Intelligence, by Martin Ford
  6. Magic Medicine, by Cody Johnson
  7. Beyond Blockchain, by Erik Townsend
  8. Revolution and Rebellion

My 25 next-up priority reads:

  1. 12 Rules For Life, by Jordan Peterson
  2. Defiance (prequel to legacy human)
  3. Death’s End, by Liu Cixin (Book 3/3)
  4. Originals (networking)
  5. Never Eat Alone (networking)
  6. The Master and Margarita
  7. Atomic Habits, by James Clear
  8. How To Change Your Mind
  9. Keeping At It, by Paul Volcker
  10. The Art Of Worldly Wisdom
  11. The Leadership Lab, by Pippa Malmgren
  12. Why We Sleep
  13. The Everything Bubble, by Graham Summers
  14. When Money Dies
  15. AI Superpowers
  16. The Master And His Emissary
  17. Mr Pikes
  18. The Outsiders
  19. The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of Mass Unemployment, by Martin Ford
  20. After Life (Simon Funk)
  21. Chaos Monkeys
  22. Flash Boys
  23. Post-Human 6 (waiting for the author)
  24. Post-Human 7 (waiting for the author)
  25. Dawn of the singularity 2 (waiting for the author)

More on my To Read List:

Forever war + Buying time (Haldeman)

little book of sideways markets

The panic of 1907

Diaspora

Permutation city

Superintelligence

Daemon

Influx

Prometheus rising

The collapse of complex societies

A guide to the good life

Fluency (confluence series)

A learning experience

The probability broach

Into the black

Straight to hell

The obstacle is the way

The Eyre affair

Iron sunrise

Singularity sky

The future of the mind

Intuition pumps

The accidental time machine

The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness

The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

Should We Eat Meat? Evolution and Consequences of Modern Carnivory

The Red: First Light (The Red Trilogy Book 1)

The Six (The Six Series Book 1)


Recently finished books

Seveneves – read summer 2018 (booooring, albeit after an amazing beginning)

The three body problem (Liu Cixin) – read summer 2018, mixed bag (boring start but genius ending)

The Dark Forest (Liu CIxin) – read fall 2018, mixed bag (but better than “The 3-body prob”), I’ll probably have to read the final book in the trilogy too

The Age of Em: Work, Love, and Life when Robots Rule the Earth – read summer 2018, detailed, thoughtful, but boring like an academic thesis

The man who sold the moon (Heinlein, not very good, slow moving and predictable; felt obsolete)

Half of a yellow sun (a psychologically tolling dramatization of the Biafra crisis)

New Delhi Borås (a great little book about one man’s struggle against India’s caste system and quest for love – in Swedish; highly recommended)

Ghost of the gods (August 2015) – hard core sci-fi. Decent.

Apex (September 2015) – hard core sci-fi. Pretty good continuation of the series.

The Selfish Gene (spring 2016) – Felt out of date. Update: there is finally, after 30 years, an update available in October/November 2016

Dawn of the singularity (spring 2016) – hard core AI and economic sci-fi. Good one! Right up there on par with David Simpson’s other books (Post-Human), albeit more focus on the economy as a driving force instead of hard core technology.

All I Want To Know Is Where I’m Going To Die So I’ll Never Go There (September 2016) – life and investing wisdom from Munger and Buffett: very good factual content but poor form

Predictably Irrational (October 2016) – behavioral economics, how we are not homo economicus at all. Interesting and worthwhile complement to Thinking Fast And Slow

Stenbeck. (fall 2016) – Swedish economic history (the rise of mobile telecom, media and the internet)

How To Benchpress/Deadlift/Squat, by Greg Nuckols

The Dao of capital – Investment lessons by Mark Spitznagel. Very thoughtful ideas of “roundabout” investing, as opposed to straight line thinking. Learn to love losses!

Investor Psychology (reading fall 2016, never finished but seemed pretty useful)

Olja för blåbär (reading fall 2016, Swedish text book about the importance of oil; never finished it)

Darknet (done; I accidentally bought this one instead of Dark matter, not very good but OK)

Counteract – read snippet, not impressed

The god of small things – read snippet, not my cup of tea

10% human – read snippet, interesting but not much new info

The legacy human – done, pretty good but not essential, somewhat thought provoking about a future with a mix of post-singularity superhumans and unenhanced legacy humans, where the latter compete in artistic impression to win a place among the superhumans. I’ve bought the prequel (November 2018)

Framgångsboken, by Alexander Pärleros — inspiring stories and suggestions for happiness and efficacy

The Doors Of Perception, by Aldous Huxley — not as spectacular as I had hoped

The Preferred Observer (read fall 2016, not as good as Withur We)

The Next Perfect Trade: A Magic Sword of Necessity – not very readable about how to identify the next big financial trade

The beginning of infinity (done) – very interesting, well written and pedagogical about infinities, about the scope for scientific progress and more

The Fabric Of Reality – extremely good, an all time favorite. Deep thoughts and scientific speculation about the true underlying building blocks and interconnectedness of everything around us

Sapiens – extremely good, an all time favorite about the true nature of humans and human societies. Where do we come from, where are we going?

Homo Deus – not quite as good as Sapiens but still insightful and interesting. Builds a little on top of Sapiens after an unecessarily detailed recap of Sapiens

Jessica Christ I (The beginning) — for young adults, i.e., not me. What if God had a daughter in modern times.

The Turing Exception – Pretty good, but nothing you’ll miss

If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor – I didn’t like it. Anecdotes from the world of movies.

Ready Player One: entertaining fiction about a future where people spend most of their lives in Virtual Reality — many engaged in a prize hunt where the prize is ownership of the game itself. Nothing truly special. Better than the movie at least.

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions – entertaining lessons in physics from questions about what would happen if X.

Dark matter by S.W. Ahmed – I probably read the wrong book. This one got a 1 star of 5 from me… Truly amateurish. I’m suspecting I should have read Dark Matter by Blake Crouch :D

Dark matter by Blake Crouch – better than S.W. Ahmed’s Dark Matter, but this one is also amateurish and unengaging

After On – highly entertaining AI-themed book about a near future society where social media measures and directs everything

Quantum Incident by Douglas Phillips – boring, nothing that intrigued me

Quantum Space by Douglas Phillips – boring, nothing that intrigued me

Quantum Void by Douglas Phillips – boring, nothing that intrigued me

Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark – After a super interesting and believable intro (about an AI secretely taking control) the book “just” became good.

The Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle – So, so, not bad, not super can;’t even remember what is was about

Writing without bullshit – good and short about how to write concisely

The metamorphosis of prime intellect – A page turner. Weird, disturbing and fresh take on a strong and kind of benevolent AI co-existence with humans.

TED Talks, the official TED guide to public speaking by Chris Anderson – perfect for any person thinking about presenting something to more than one person from a stage

The 1-page marketing plan by Allan Dib – I’m still reading it. It’s a very practical book that takes a marketing beginner step by step toward building and maintaining a well tailored set of clients

Altered Carbon: I’ve seen the HBO series and currently have no plans to read the books. The series is a 3/5.

Once dead – Great (albeit pointless) action, but wasn’t the sci-fi I was hoping for.

A Scanner Darkly – Pointless. Drug addicts and detectivies (who are also addicts). The end.

Angels of our better nature – Very long, boring and without any significant new information. Humans used to beat each other, now we don’t. Everybody has capacity for violence, and for empathy

Big Debt Crises, by Ray Dalio – a bit of a disappointment: good information but a bit boring

Factfulness, by Hans Rosling – I learned nothing new

The Fringe Worlds – entertaining sci-fi

Engineering infinity – boring and pointless low quality sci fi antology

All These Worlds – Bobiverse

For We Are Many – Bobiverse

We Are Legion – Bobiverse

Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius – dense but thought provoking


Suggestions from friends etc.:

A history of central banking and the enslavement of mankind

En ny jord + Lev livet nu (Eckhart Tolle)

Spin state + spin control

Poor Richard’s almanac (I really should get going with this one soon… perhaps I should get a physical book)

Bold

Antifragile (I’m getting mixed reviews, and I’ve already read The Black Swan, so…)

Dealers of lightning

The Golden Age

The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal (P.S.)
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity

Deep Value: Why Activist Investors and Other Contrarians Battle for Control of Losing Corporations (Wiley Finance)

Mastery (The Robert Greene Collection)

Angel Tech: A Modern Shaman’s Guide to Reality Selection

The Lamp and the Light: A Parable About Finding Life’s Purpose

34 Comments

      • Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charles T Mugner (Warren Buffett’s business partner) – It’s all about business, life long learning and the 25 cognitive biases. It also relates to how he played in the role of influencing Warren Buffett’s investment process. i.e. paying a premium for better quality stocks rather than cigar bud stocks :)

        • Great tip. My friend and co-host of “25 minuter” is constantly trying to get me to read PCA. I didn’t quite like what I saw the first time I opened it, but I just might move it a little closer to the top of my reading list.

    • Now I have – thanks for the push, it was REALLY good, like a Market Wizards but with deep and useful analysis and conclusions.

  1. Serious question: If Peter Schiff’s book is the best economics book you’ve ever read, why did he get the economic/investment landscape so wrong after 2008? He predicted a depression as well as hyper inflation from QE as I recall. Granted, he was not alone, but he stuck to that scenario for a long time after it was clearly wrong.

      • I’ve purchased and read Peter’s book on your recommendation and found it to be a great primer for macroeconomics. It would seem the reasoning in the book is the foundation from which Peter bases his market predictions. Is this the case for you as well?

        • “Predictions” is a somewhat too precise word for what you can get out of the book, I think. It’s a great framework and a reminder to stay grounded when thinking about economics. However, when it comes to the real world economy and the stock markets it becomes too complex to really talk about “predictions”.

  2. You are right, prediction is too strong of a word. Would it be more accurate to say that it has helped shape your outlook on the economic environment?

    • It’s one piece to the puzzle. Or maybe the frame. Or the sky (lots of similar blue pieces making up a large portion of the puzzle)

  3. Hej Mikael,

    Grymt bra intel på läsvärda böcker – och jag tycker din och Ludvigs pod blir bättre för varje avsnitt. Du verkar också ha svart bälte i att lyssna på podcast (>20h/v) så.. vad sägs om en motsvarande rek på poddar?

    Regards Micke

    PS – skulle du säga att det fortfarande är köprek på silver? I så fall vilket instrument ska man använda? ETF motsvarande ishares/fond eller.. ngt annat?

    • Tack

      Silver är nog fortfarande köpvärt, men jag har sålt mitt de senaste dagarna (en pytteskvätt kvar som jag har lagt upp idag) för att köpa mer guld istället.

      En poddsida kommer nog, liksom en sida med nyhetsbrev och sajter jag tittar på

    • Just the the book has already been mentioned in another list, e.g., the “Top 16” list.

  4. Hi! Under School investment books you’ve dismissed pretty much everything, Do you have any tips on books (or videos/websites) to learn the Valuation process of a company? I’ve looked into Damodoran’s Valuation books and my current university recommends Principles of Corporate Finance (on your list).

    • I’ve tried writing a few posts on valuation. However they turned out about as boring and useless as the school textbooks… :D

      Here, e.g.

      Unfortunately I don’t have any better resources to guide you to. Some of my articles under “Finance” here, could be worthwhile. I do have a book in the making but that’s for 2018 I think

  5. Thanks for these lists. They are excellent.
    Antifragile is rightly on your reading list. It is a masterpiece. Black Swan shows that we live in an unpredictable world. Antifragile explores how to intelligently live in an unpredictable world. It is deeply relevant from an investment risk point of view. It has been influencial to my investment strategy. Read it. You will rave.

  6. If you liked Selfish Gene and Gödel Escher Bach, I think you will like Chaos by James Gleick and The Blind Watchmaker. Also; The (Mis)Behaviour of Markets: A Fractal View of Risk, Ruin and Reward, by Mandelbrot.

  7. I appreciate your articles and podcast. Got a lot of ideas and inspiration from it.

    I like to give back, so I think this book ties in well with your podcast and ideas.

    Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

    How to utilize algorithms to everyday life.
    e.g overfitting, explore/exploit, and bayes rule. Are a few algorithms that this book covers with real life application.

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