Books of 2021
Below are the five best that I have read this year, in the order I read them.
First I read William Green’s excellent ‘Richer, Wiser, Happier’ and reading that made me want to find more by William so I took the plunge and bought (the rather expensive) The Great Minds of Investing. It’s well worth it. For around 25 years William has been obsessed with investing and investors, has written for The New Yorker, Time, Fortune, Forbes, The Economist and many others and this stunning book gives a great insight into the minds of 33 phenomenally successful investors including Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Bill Ackman and Arnold Van Den Berg.
William’s profiles are complemented by 33 stunning portraits by Michael O'Brien.
“The people who seemed the least happy and the most frenzied and the least successful are those that are always chasing the next hot things”. Thomas Gayner
Along with Desert Island Discs, reading Lunch with the FT is a essential weekend task. Starting in 1994 and now thousands of lunches later, this book contains Lionel’s pick of the best.
[About 1944, the year the Nazis invaded his native Hungary and killed hundreds of thousands of Soros’s fellow Jews] “I learnt then that there are times when the normal rules don’t apply…also the fact that it might be more dangerous to be passive — it can be less risky to take risk”. George Soros
A bit of a different one, this. Fenella Rouse sent English Pastoral to me after we chatted about my upbringing on a couple of farms in Northumberland. James Rebanks (also a Desert Island Discs guest, here) writes beautifully about his own upbringing, the three generations of farming he’s been part of and the pride he has in wanting to leave the best legacy he can for the future.
“I am riding in the tractor, crammed in behind my grandfather. My backside aches from sitting on adjustable spanners, a wrench, a socket set”.
The book is about Peter Barton who was a founder and CEO of Liberty Media. Peter’s father and grandfather both died of heart attacks in their mid-40s — Peter always thought he’d suffer the same fate and so lived life to the max just in case. He even threw a party when he hit 45 1/2 to celebrate that his heart hadn’t given out yet.
“Reflecting on my good fortune in life is part of what I do to bolster my readiness to leave this life. True, I haven’t had the full span of allotted years, yet I have the quiet satisfaction of believing that there’s nothing I have missed. Reminding myself of that is a pleasant job, not a difficult one, since the evidence of my great good luck is all around me”.
The Courage To Be Disliked: How to free yourself, change your life and achieve real happiness (Courage To series) by Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga
Courage is important for entrepreneurs. Leadership, vision, grit — yes, all important — but there’s something about the word ‘courage’ that is different and essential. The book is written in the style of a young man and a philosopher having a discussion, the philosopher drawing much of their wisdom using the theories of Alfred Adler’s ‘Individual Psychology’.
Reading this made me want to learn more about Adler’s thinking so I bought this and started it this week.
“First, one should ask ‘whose task is this?’ Then do the separation of tasks. Calmly delineate up to what point one’s own tasks go, and from what point they become another person’s tasks. And do not intervene in other people’s tasks, or allow even a single person to intervene in one’s own tasks. This is a specific and revolutionary viewpoint that is unique to Adlerian psychology and contains the potential to utterly change one’s interpersonal relationship problems.”
None of these posts are investment advice. If you are thinking about investing you should seek the advice of a suitably qualified independent advisor.