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Books

Margin of Safety

by Seth Klarman

The Big Short

by Michael Lewis

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

by Alice Schroeder

This biography has direct insights from countless hours of the author's interviews with WEB. The narrative is very lucid, and the author makes sure to give large doses of contextual information. If you're seeking good behind-the-scenes information to complement all of WEB's annual partnership reports and letters to shareholders, this is a great resource.

The New Rules of Money

by Ric Edelman

They're not exactly rules, but they're decent analysis factors for personal finance.

More Mortgage Meltdown

by Whitney Tilson and Glenn Tongue

I received this book attending Whitney Tilson's presentation in San Francisco. It's very detailed about the financial crisis and would appeal to those who can assimilate loads of data. His powerpoint presentation is similarly epic and filled with timely data. It's available with ongoing updates here.

Liar's Poker

by Michael Lewis

The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means

by George Soros

Pilgrimage to Warren Buffett's Omaha

by Jeff Matthews

The Intelligent Investor

by Benjamin Graham

Chapters 8 and 20 are key to Warren Buffett's investing strategy.

A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing

by Burton Malkiel

High Infatuation

by Steph Davis

The Tao of Warren Buffett

by Mary Buffett

I read this book in observation of the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders' meeting last weekend.

Dumb Money

by Gary Wolf and Joey Anuff

The Nine

by Jeffrey Toobin

Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations

by Simon Rich

Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life

by Michael Krasny

The Omnivore's Dilemma

by Michael Pollan

Fast Food Nation

by Ed Schlosser

The New New Thing

by Michael Lewis

The Trial

by Franz Kafka

Hamlet

by William Shakespeare

King Lear

by William Shakespeare

Oedipus Rex

by Sophocles

A Civil Action

by Jonathan Harr

To learn of a professional's commitment to their work, bordering obsession, is a distinctive feature of some American lawyers. This true story made famous by the film of same title presents the world of Jan Schlictmann and plaintiff lawyers. His life is intertwined with one case, and it consumes him while depleting both his finances and morale.

Let My People Go Surfing

by Yvon Chouinard

If I ever start my own business and want to see it grow, Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia would be the businessman who would serve as my model. He began Patagonia originally to forge rock climbing equipment and fund his recreational activities. He essentially lived in a van. The company grew, began making clothing, spun off the equipment business , and has been doing good and promoting great adventures. (And they have some awesome pictures and stories in their catalogs!) The company philosophies are promoted at every level.

Dark Age Ahead

by Jane Jacobs

Jacobs argues that the following are cause for concern of a dark age ahead for America:

People are increasingly choosing consumerism over family welfare - consumption over fertility, debt over family budget discipline, fiscal advantage to oneself at the expense of community welfare. Universities are more interested in credentials than providing high quality education. Elevation of economics as the main "science" to consider in making major political decisions. Governments are more interested in deep-pocket interest groups than the welfare of the population. A culture that prevents people from understanding/realising the deterioration of fundamental physical resources which the entire community depends on.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

by Dave Eggers

Neither too heartbreaking nor genius, this book is only staggering because of how many liberties and overindulgences the author takes. He is obsessive about even his own thought mechanisms. It bears down on the book and makes one think that he has difficulty not taking himself too seriously. Paragraphs that last for pages and the jesusmaybehewillfinallyfinishhisthoughtsbutIcanneveractually figureoutifthereiseverapointwherehewillsimplygetoverhavingastreamof inconsequentialthoughts... God. Let. Him. Stop. Please. For. The Love. Of. God.

See how annoying that style of writing can be? I slogged through it eventually.

Hubbert's Peak

by Kenneth Deffeyes

Deffeyes' profession as a geologist is omnipresent throughout the book - each page is filled with information about rock formations, geological history, and techniques to extract oil from the earth. He shies away from more detailed technical analysis, making the book accessible to those without knowledge of geology.

Beyond Oil

by Kenneth Deffeyes

This geologist gives an overview of oil as well as other existing and potential energy resources. From the perspective of a natural scientist, he dissects the possibility of extracting these precious materials from the earth.

See No Evil

by Robert Baer

Bob Baer was an undercover CIA officer stationed in the Middle East. The first 100 pages are most gripping, detailing the background, development, and training of a CIA recruit. The remainder of the book are Baer's recollected experiences. He collects information about terrorist organizations, and encounters Kurdish rebels who wish to overthrow Saddam Hussein. He is stationed in India, Turkmenistan, and Beirut after the U.S. embassy bombing. He eventually returns to Washington, a place where politics manipulates the flow of accurate information and hides the truth about those who would attack the United States.

The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies

by Richard Heinberg

Although there are some alternative options available to supplant oil use, we're in trouble unless most people are aware of this limited resources predicament.

American Sucker

by David Denby

This writer from the New Yorker was in the process of a divorce, but he couldn't divide his Manhattan apartment. They sell the apartment for the settlement. Since this was during the 2000 dot-com boom, greed motivates him to take his share and invest it in the stock market. This is his diary of the anguish he experienced during the meltdown.

Into the Wild

by Jon Krakauer

Much like the Grizzly Man movie, this young, idealistic man embarks upon a journey to Alaska after he burns all of his donates his money to OXFAM and burns the rest of his cash. He hitchhikes all over America, working the occassional odd job, but insists on living a lifestyle with few belongings. He shuns his family and society while pursuing a nomadic (but almost ascetic) existence and a heightened connection with nature.

His 112 days in the Alaskan wilderness is remarkable, but sometimes we cannot control the outcome of events. No matter how much our will forces us to reach for the summit, sometimes ominous weather repels us from glory... or perhaps consuming some poisonous vegetation in Alaska, much like Chris McCandless (a.k.a. Alex Supertramp).

Traditional Lead Climbing

by Heidi Pesterfield

Just trying to learn more about rock climbing...

Life of Pi

by Yann Martel

Yann Martel tells an imaginative story about animals (and their human characteristics). Survival, territorialism, and faith are the primary themes. The 16-year-old boy, Pi Patel, lives in Pondicherry, India, with his family where his father is a zookeeper. He has some wonderful insights into animals and religious practices. He takes a few jabs at agnostics and eventually discards his vegetarianism (with good reason). His family eventually must move to Canada and travel on a freight ship. The character is imaginative and quick to respond. One wonders if Martel made Pi to be smarter and wiser than even an above average boy for his age. It is difficult to know whether the book is actually a true story, but it remains fiction to those with a penchant for classification. It could have fooled me! Yet this book is still one of the most creative fiction works that I have read in years.

American Dynasty

by Kevin Phillips

A tale of a family (the Bushes and Walkers) that created a dynastic tradition in the United States. Contrary to all of the democratic ideals against the formation of a monarchic executive, the Bush family has been intent on securing their "legacy". The book diverges into contextual history which makes for slow reading and questioning, "why doesn't he just get back to talking about the Bushes?!?"

Don't Get Too Comfortable

by David Rakoff

Stories about the Today Show, beachfront resort employment, the consumption habits of foodies, and other humorous cultural oddities.

Born Losers

by Scott Sandage

This is one of my mentor's decade-(plus)-long cumulative effort at researching the history of "losers" or "bankrupts" in America.

The Tipping Point

by Malcolm Gladwell

Connectors, Mavens, and Salespeople. I'm a Maven (as far as my knowledge goes).

The Long Emergency

by James Howard Kunstler

Preparedness!

Wealth and Democracy

by Kevin Phillips

My Life

by William Jefferson Clinton

Fueling the Future

by Andrew Heintzman and Evan Solomon

America's Secret War

by George Friedman

The Coming Anarchy

by Robert D. Kaplan

The author, like Christopher Hitchens, is an anti-utopian. He presents his evidence of a future world disorder and anarchy by his encounters with poverty and aimless youth in developing countries. I think that his explanation of the problems faced in these regions is intriguing and makes the book worthwhile. Ethnic violence, disease, environmental degredation and overpopulation are just some of these problems that contribute to this rise in anarchism.

An Introduction to Legal Reasoning

by Edward H. Levi

I read this book expecting to gloss over a commentary regarding the process of legal reasoning. I should read more book reviews because it was unlike anything I expected. The author presents his narrative in the style of a researched paper, with footnotes and all. It describes the logic and development of defining immorality associated with interstate trade. It traces court cases and the malleability of the law through legislation, statutes, and constitutional interpretation.

Letters to a Young Contrarian

by Christopher Hitchens

In the same vein as Dershowitz, Hitchens posits his theories about his profession and approach to life. The organization of Hitchens' letters leave much to be desired as they do not have discrete titles. His letters are abundant with name-dropping and cliche Latin quotes. I usually disregard these displays of knowledge on the part of the author. It seems to highlight the author's knowledge in an attempt to lend credibility to their theories.

Letters to a Young Lawyer

by Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz compiles a volume of letters to a young lawyer seeking advice regarding the legal profession. As someone who maintains a high level of respect in the legal community, his insights stem from extensive experience as a Harvard Law professor and zealous advocate. His writing is very helpful to those looking for direction upon the sea of life, career, legal ethics, morality, and effective advocacy. It was a gift to me from a cultured individual.

Bush's Brain

by James Moore and Wayne Slater

Notes on politics:

1. Consultant stirring up dirt - candidate remains clean - Bush high road, Rove low road.
2. Gain inside knowledge of improprieties - downplay and deny knowledge / contact.
3. "Face possibility of ... X."
4. Operatives and surrogates gather information and make offers.
5. Start investigations and rumors (whisper campaigns) - monitor and prepare for others' rumor-spreading.
6. "Well-reasoned and circumspect defense, followed by rapid and aggressive offense."

Reading, reading, reading...

I have a large bookcase along one wall of my living room. Most of the library is made up from books that I couldn't sell through half.com. So the collection looks very odd. I prefer not to buy new books. Financial news takes up most of my reading time, but I'll post books that I completed here.

I like books...

If you... ahem... want to buy me a book, you can check out my wishlist.

Book resources

Half.com is my preferred place for buying and selling books, but Amazon is great for reviews and information.

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