Great books- non finance related only

tonapornottonap's picture
Rank: Baboon | 164

Hey monkeys,

I know there's been a ton of threads open for good books but most of them are finance/business related threads. Lately I want to read some good ole fashioned non-fiction that has nothing to do with finance. For starters, I read The Gene and Cancer the emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, I can't tell you that I remember all of what I read but definitely gained some insights in those areas ( I majored in finance in undergrad with no background in biology whatsoever).

I just want some good non-fictions to broaden my perspective to a world that's outside of finance.

Please keep the suggestions coming, much appreciated!

- 12/29/17, Finished Hawking's A Brief History of Time, thanks @Che Rand
- 1/20/18, Reading The Places in Between, thanks @catthegreat_accountclosed"
- finished "What do you care what other people think"
- finished "Age of Ambition, Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China" - great read
- 3/15/18 - currently... CFA secret sauce ugh


Comments (100)

Nov 17, 2017

Read Dostoyevsky and Hemingway


Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

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Dec 11, 2017

If you need specific ones, I'd say "For whom the Bell Tolls". For Dostoyevsky, maybe "The Gambler" as a good intro before digging into the Karamazovs...

Nov 17, 2017

The Brain That Changes Itself
Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science

Full PDF

This book is about the revolutionary discovery that the human brain can change
itself, as told through the stories of the scientists, doctors, and patients who have
together brought about these astonishing transformations. Without operations or
medications, they have made use of the brain's hitherto unknown ability to
change. Some were patients who had what were thought to be incurable brain
problems; others were people without specific problems who simply wanted to
improve the functioning of their brains or preserve them as they aged. For four
hundred years this venture would have been inconceivable because mainstream
medicine and science believed that brain anatomy was fixed.

The common wisdom was that after childhood the brain changed only when it
began the long process of decline; that when brain cells failed to develop properly,
or were injured, or died, they could not be replaced. Nor could the brain ever
alter its structure and find a new way to function if part of it was damaged. The
theory of the unchanging brain decreed that people who were born with brain or
mental limitations, or who sustained brain damage, would be limited or damaged
for life.

Scientists who wondered if the healthy brain might be improved or preserved
through activity or mental exercise were told not to waste their time, A
neurological nihilism -- a sense that treatment for many brain problems was
ineffective or even unwarranted -- had taken hold, and it spread through our
culture, even stunting our overall view of human nature. Since the brain could
not change, human nature, which emerges from it, seemed necessarily fixed and
unalterable as well.

The belief that the brain could not change had three major sources: the fact that
brain-damaged patients could so rarely make full recoveries; our inability to
observe the living brain's microscopic activities; and the idea -- dating back to the
beginnings of modern science -- that the brain is like a glorious machine. And
while machines do many extraordinary things, they don't change and grow.
I became interested in the idea of a changing brain because of my work as a
research psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. When patients did not progress
psychologically as much as hoped, often the conventional medical wisdom was
that their problems were deeply "hardwired" into an unchangeable brain.
"Hardwiring" was another machine metaphor coming from the idea of the brain
as computer hardware, with permanently connected circuits, each designed to
perform a specific, unchangeable function.

When I first heard news that the human brain might not be hardwired, I had to
investigate and weigh the evidence for myself. These investigations took me far
from my consulting room.

I began a series of travels, and in the process I met a band of brilliant scientists,
at the frontiers of brain science, who had, in the late 1960s or early 1970s, made a
series of unexpected discoveries. They showed that the brain changed its very
structure with each different activity it performed, perfecting its circuits so it was
better suited to the task at hand. If certain "parts" failed, then other parts could
sometimes take over. The machine metaphor, of the brain as an organ with
specialized parts, could not fully account for changes the scientists were seeing.
They began to call this fundamental brain property "neuroplasticity."
Neuro is for "neuron," the nerve cells in our brains and nervous systems.
Plastic is for "changeable, malleable, modifiable." At first many of the scientists
didn't dare use the word "neuroplasticity" in their publications, and their peers
belittled them for promoting a fanciful notion. Yet they persisted, slowly
overturning the doctrine of the unchanging brain. They showed that children are
not always stuck with the mental abilities they are born with; that the damaged
brain can often reorganize itself so that when one part fails, another can often
substitute; that if brain cells die, they can at times be replaced; that many
"circuits" and even basic reflexes that we think are hardwired are not. One of
these scientists even showed that thinking, learning, and acting can turn our
genes on or off, thus shaping our brain anatomy and our behavior -- surely one of
the most extraordinary discoveries of the twentieth century.

In the course of my travels I met a scientist who enabled people who had been
blind since birth to begin to see, another who enabled the deaf to hear; I spoke
with people who had had strokes decades before and had been declared incurable,
who were helped to recover with neuroplastic treatments; I met people whose
learning disorders were cured and whose IQs were raised; I saw evidence that it is
possible for eighty-year-olds to sharpen their memories to function the way they
did when they were fifty-five. I saw people rewire their brains with their thoughts,
to cure previously incurable obsessions and traumas. I spoke with Nobel
laureates who were hotly debating how we must rethink our model of the brain
now that we know it is ever changing.

The idea that the brain can change its own structure and function through
thought and activity is, I believe, the most important alteration in our view of the
brain since we first sketched out its basic anatomy and the workings of its basic
component, the neuron. Like all revolutions, this one will have profound effects,
and this book, I hope, will begin to show some of them. The neuroplastic
revolution has implications for, among other things, our understanding of how
love, sex, grief, relationships, learning, addictions, culture, technology, and
psychotherapies change our brains. All of the humanities, social sciences, and
physical sciences, insofar as they deal with human nature, are affected, as are all
forms of training. All of these disciplines will have to come to terms with the fact
of the self-changing brain and with the realization that the architecture of the
brain differs from one person to the next and that it changes in the course of our
individual lives.

While the human brain has apparently underestimated itself, neuroplasticity isn't
all good news; it renders our brains not only more resourceful but also more
vulnerable to outside influences. Neuroplasticity has the power to produce more
flexible but also more rigid behaviors -- a phenomenon I call "the plastic
paradox." Ironically, some of our most stubborn habits and disorders are
products of our plasticity. Once a particular plastic change occurs in the brain
and becomes well established, it can prevent other changes from occurring. It is
by understanding both the positive and negative effects of plasticity that we can
truly understand the extent of human possibilities.

Because a new word is useful for those who do a new thing, I call the practitioners
of this new science of changing brains "neuroplasticians." What follows is the
story of my encounters with them and the patients they have transformed.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Nov 17, 2017

How have I not come across this?? Thanks for the post, I'll definitely be snagging this! Super cool stuff

Monkey see. Monkey Doo [Doo].

Nov 21, 2017

awesome really appreciate this thank you!

Dec 10, 2017

This what occurs when utilizing the trance state with beneficial suggestions that can rapidly change perspectives. This can continue to change ingrained patterns of maladaptive behaviors if continued practice allows for neuroplasticity to work its ability to change connectivity through suggestion.


Feb 13, 2018

A Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson
Self Discipline in 10 days by Theodore Bryant
Art of War by Sun Tzu
Prince by Machiavelli
The God Father by Mario Puzo
Omerta by Mario Puzo
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Nov 17, 2017

I can't recommend Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" enough. If you don't care for the more rigorous math/science works, "A Brief[ER] History of Time" gets the same point across but in a tad more generalized manner. I think understanding (to the best of our abilities) the universe is the ultimate enhancement of perspective. I'd combine this with "The Selfish Gene" by Dawkins. It's a great outline of evolution in a style that can appeal to both scientist and layman. Again, having perspective on how exactly humanity got to this point is such an incredible experience of self reflection and perspective shift. These in combination will undoubtedly drive you to analyze all beliefs you hold to be true (religion, politics, motivations, human nature, etc).

For non science based books, I just read "The Prince" by Machiavelli, really cool take on feudal political thought. Definitely one of my favorite works on political thought. Certainly don't agree with a lot of the practices discussed but it's a healthy reminder of what mainstream politics used to look like.

This one isn't really non-fiction, but provides strong warning and in the age of mass surveillance "1984" is incredibly relevant. Government oversight, overreach, and surveillance can lead to disastrous consequences and always reminds me of the importance of a politically engaged democracy (w/e democratic republic for us in the US). So while not really non-fiction, it will undoubtedly lead to profound reflections on the nature of government and the role it should play in society.

Sorry if these aren't quite the genre you were hoping to get recommendations for. You mentioned you wanted to broaden your perspectives; undoubtedly for me, these works broadened my perspective and made me rethink my own stances on and understanding of human nature as well as our place in world and the universe. Also, if you like philosophy I'd say anything by Hume (too tired of typing to suggest more than one lol). Great stuff on humanism and epistemology!

Monkey see. Monkey Doo [Doo].

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Nov 21, 2017

I'm not looking for any specific genres and your list is a great start for me. Really appreciate this will make sure to get back to you once I'm done reading

Jan 1, 2018

just finished A Brief History of Time. it was a very intense read but learned a lot and now more aware of my surroundings. I also found Hawking's personalized stories of Einstein, another dude, and Newton to be very interesting. A very good read thank you!

Nov 17, 2017


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Nov 21, 2017

you've been extremely helpful

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Nov 21, 2017

Glad to be of assistance :")

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Dec 15, 2017



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Nov 17, 2017

The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL
Book by Eric Greitens

Left of Boom: How a Young CIA Case Officer Penetrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda
Book by Douglas Laux and Ralph Pezzullo

Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life
Book by Eric Greitens

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
Book by Carlo Rovelli

Nov 21, 2017

Extreme Ownership
The War of Art
The Westies
Mind Gym
Hillbilly Elegy
How Starbucks Changed My Life

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Nov 22, 2017

Didn't know Starbucks could change lives.

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Nov 25, 2017

Read the book

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Dec 18, 2017

Didn't know Starbucks could change lives.

Starbucks has helped me unload a bunch of crap over the years.

Specifically, their bathrooms are nicer than McDonalds in a jam. Yes, literal crap.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Mar 1, 2018

I'm curious if that was intentionally "The War of Art" or if it was supposed to be "The Art of War".

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Mar 5, 2018

didn't give you ms.

But yes. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Nov 22, 2017

Non-finance books that will broaden your perspective on the world ... I can help you there. I'm studying for the CFA, so reading non-finance books (non-Schweser books, really) has become necessary to keep my sanity.

  • Stay of Execution by Stewart Alsop (no, not the former NEA partner, but his journalist dad)
    On the outset, this sounds like the most depressing book on the planet -- Alsop is dying of leukemia, (or what the doctors believe is a rare form of leukemia, anyway), he's in and out of hospitals, figuring out his will and trying to make sense of the fact that he's about to die. The book is a memoir of his time in the hospital, written from a psychological distance with musings on his life thus far, his career in journalism, war, family, real estate and a plethora of other things. Alsop was a writer at Newsweek, so the prose is top-notch and his life store is incredibly interesting.
  • Southern Ladies and Gentleman by Florence King
    "Shade" before the word "shade" was a thing. King writes short essays about the American South and the quirky personalities she met while living there (everyone from her grandmother, who doesn't understand the Jewish man running the local bagel place, to good ole boys in all their forms) that are laugh-out-loud funny. A great read to distract yourself from whatever work/career-oriented BS is going on in your life.
  • The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
    I did not expect to like this book. Truthfully, I never would have picked up this book if I hadn't wandered into a politically progressive bookshop with a friend of the same political persuasion by accident, who raved about the book days later. Nguyen writes short-stories about Vietnamese immigrants in California and the various problems they face. Whether it's a husband facing dementia, resulting in his wife learning that he had an affair, or an American woman teaching English in Vietnam, all the stories are to-the-point and written as good fiction was once written. You understand why Nguyen won the Pulitzer after reading this.
  • Nearer, My God by William F. Buckley, Jr.
    Yes, I know what you're thinking -- a conservative white guy has a "come to Jesus" moment and tells us about it. Quite the opposite, in fact -- Buckley weaves his life story, references to classical literature and art, his lifelong devotion to Catholicism, and commentary on modern politics (modern, at the time of writing, was the late 1990s) into a book of musings about culture, life, and morality. It's not the easiest book to read, but I finished it with a better understanding of writers like Evelyn Waugh and C.S. Lewis and the significance of people like Clare Booth Luce, so it certainly hits your "broaden my perspective" criteria.


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Nov 23, 2017

I'm a huge Buckley fan, this might make me finally read Nearer My God ... curious if you've read any of his fiction and if that's worth a go.

Nov 23, 2017

I flipped through a tome or two of the Blackford Oakes books and compared to his usual writing, they seemed very amateurish (almost like he wrote them as a young boy). I haven't read one cover to cover, though, but there's a copy of The Rake at the library that I've been eyeing.

Nearer is completely worth it. It can be bogged down by literature references/analysis at times, but you'll finish it having learned a TON.

Which of Buckley's books do you like best?


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Nov 27, 2017

Hey thank you for this thorough list. As someone who's currently going through level II I'm with you....

Nov 22, 2017

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Nov 22, 2017

Not necessarily for empowerment or work, but I've always enjoyed the following for leisure reading. They aren't necessarily original by any means, but many were reads that were more thought provoking the second time I read them after a long period of time.

1) Paper Quakes by Kathryn Reiss (One of my favorite reads and one I picked up over a decade ago)
2) Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
3) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
4) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5) Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (a great read that depicts the ugliness of man. A bit cynical the 2nd time I read it)
6) On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche

Some other enjoyable works I appreciated were Tolstoy's War and Peace, and the series of unfortunate events by Lemony Snickett :)

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Nov 22, 2017

Old man and the sea I found a bit too dry for my liking. I probably am not at the level of reading required to fully appreciate its place in acclaimed literature.

Genealogy was fantastic. Nietzsche is a hard pill to swallow for most but if you make it through all the sections you'll learn a lot.

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Dec 10, 2017

oh kafka....what a guy - either extremely insightful or just really messed up

Nov 22, 2017

The three-body problem - Cixin Liu;
Kane and Abel - Jeff Archer;
One man's view of the world - Lee Kuan Yew;
Clash of civilizations;
Romance of the three kingdoms.

"If you're afraid - don't do it, if you're doing it - don't be afraid!"
-- Genghis Khan

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Nov 22, 2017

Fitzgerald - Great Gatsby and This Side of Paradise
Plutarch - Roman Lives
Cicero - Political Speechs
Montaigne - Essays
David Brooks - Bobos in Paradise
Chernown - Hamilton, Titan
Weber - Protestant Ethic & Spirit of Capitalism
Leverage Sellout - Damn it Feels Good to be a Banker (this one is more sociology than finance, despite its ostentatious title).

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Nov 23, 2017

I recommend to read books from a specific genre you are interested in. I used to read a lot of books that were recommended by powerful figures from all industries but I realized that I was way more into biographies/autobiographies than "Strategy/48 Laws of Power/Lessons from Sun Tsu/Art of persuasion" type of books. Even some of the classics from Hemingway are definitely a great read but they just weren't for me. For example the God Lloyd Blankfein apparently only reads history books since that's the specific genre he is interested in.

If you are trying to improve your general knowledge of the world, I'd recommend blogs such as or Tim Ferris.

Nov 23, 2017
  • The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
  • The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
  • The Origins of Political Order by Francis Fukuyama
  • The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
  • Friend & Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete by Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer
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Nov 23, 2017

However overhyped the man may be, Elon Musk's biography by Ashlee Vance is worth your time.

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Mar 5, 2018

Reading the book in fact dehypes (if that's a word) him imo. But I do have a friend who started to hail him as the second coming of Christ after reading it so really up to you

Nov 23, 2017

Junot Diaz is pretty good. Wrote "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" and "Drown", both of which I recommend.

Nov 23, 2017

Why read nonfiction when there's a treasure trove of classical literature available?

  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  • Divine Comedy by Dante
  • The Odyssey by Homer

If you're really keen on nonfiction, I'd recommend Sexual Personae by Camille Pagilia, however.

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Best Response
Nov 23, 2017

Majored in Foreign Lit back in college and here are my quick picks for non-fiction:

"The Places in Between" by Rory Stewart. The story is highly captivating. The guy hitchhikes through Afghanistan with a small knowledge of Persian and a case load of biases and preconceptions. Amazing to read some of his experiences and slowly see the shift away from his early biases.

"Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China" by Evan Osnos. Best travel writing I've come across, of the Asian region at least. Incredibly interesting and genuinely very well-written. I believe it also collected a Pulitzer.

"John Adams" by David McCullough. Brilliantly-written and filled with a great deal of unique facts about early American politics. The only biography I wished wouldn't end.

There are many great non-fiction works out there. The travel accounts are particularly good. However, do not look away from fiction. If you want to open yourself to unique new perspectives I cannot recommend enough trying a work or two by Sebastien Japrisot and/or Francoise Sagan .

Japrisot's works are highly chilling thrillers/mysteries written in a strong French and psychological style. The "Trap for Cinderella" is a great start.

Francoise Sagan, meanwhile, wrote some brilliant pieces on sexuality, materialism, social etiquette, etc. from the French perspective. Incredibly "different".

No matter what you end up going with, I recommend that you make it as international as possible. Challenge your own preconceptions with the subject matter. You will walk away a much more rounded person.

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Nov 24, 2017

Proust's pretty good too. "Swann's Way".

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Nov 27, 2017

I'm reading "The Places in Between" first and will get back to you on that. Thank you!

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Jan 26, 2018

Finished the places in between. Honestly, I didnt really enjoy the book but at the same time I did learn a lot about the day to day rural Afgan people and very sad about Barbour in the end.

Nov 23, 2017

Several recommendations, loosely organized:

political philosophy:

-The Prince

Dystopian literature:
-Brave New World
-Homage to Catalonia (one of Orwell's lesser known works, but great. Also historical).

-Guns, Germs, and Steel
-SPQR (a fantastic book about the difficulties of studying history accurately through the lense of a very gifted student of Roman history)

Other literature:

-Heart of Darkness


-The 48 Laws of Power
-How to Win Friends and Influence People
-The Illiad/Odyssey

Will add more later when I've had a chance to contemplate my bookshelf.

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Nov 24, 2017

got to say Brave New World is one of my absolute favorites.

Nov 24, 2017

I think it's much more apt as a metaphor for today than say, orwell's books. And yes, one of my favorites.

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Jan 2, 2018

You have great taste.

Mar 4, 2018

Literally thinking the same thing. Also thinking if I knew him in real life, we would be friends.

"Man is split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet in order blindly and dumbly to rot and disappear forever." ~ Ernest Becker

Nov 23, 2017

"Thinking, Fast and Slow" by nobel laureate Daniel Kahnemann (the one from Kahnemann & Tversky). It will literally change the way you think and makes you aware of the flaws in the way you think

"Principles" by Ray Dalio. Shows you an interesting way to organize your behavior based on a set of self determined rules.

Any Franz Kafka, gives you a new perspective on bureaucracy

"The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking" by Dale Carnegie, if you want to fine-tune your speaking skills

"World Order" by Henry Kissinger, great overview of the history of the major regions in the world and why we have the current world order (sorted by regions. If I remember correctly, covers Europe, the Middle East, Japan, India, China and the US)

The biographies of persons you admire or want to know more about

Then I would also echo what the others posted before: 48 laws of power, freakonomics, Brave New World and / or 1984, How to win friends and influence people

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Dec 10, 2017

I second the Kafka recommendation. Kafka's novels/short stories were the only ones I remember enjoying in HS.

Dec 18, 2018

"World Order" by Henry Kissinger, great overview of the history of the major regions in the world and why we have the current world order (sorted by regions. If I remember correctly, covers Europe, the Middle East, Japan, India, China and the US)

Learned more from that book than my idiot of a professor.

Cash and cash equivalents: $138,311
Financial instruments and other inventory positions owned: $448,166

Dec 18, 2018

"World Order" by Henry Kissinger, great overview of the history of the major regions in the world and why we have the current world order (sorted by regions. If I remember correctly, covers Europe, the Middle East, Japan, India, China and the US)

Learned more from that book than my idiot of a professor.

Sure, if you're interested in learning from a war criminal, you can also learn your history from Mein Kampf

Nov 24, 2017

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T Harv Eker
The Prince by Machiavelli
Art of War by Sun Tzu
33 Strategies for War by Robert Greene
How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

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Mar 5, 2018

Great suggestions. I've read both 7 habits and how to win friends. Terrific books. I had a strategy class as my capstone course and we were required to read the 7 habits book - god bless those 2 professors.

Going to look into your other suggestions as we seem to have similar tastes.

One I'll add: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Nov 24, 2017

If you like fantasy Brandon Sanderson has tons of great reads out there.

Nov 25, 2017

Came here to recommend anything Sanderson, but especially the Stormlight Archive.

Btw, Oathbringer, #3 in the Stormlight Archive, just released. It lives up to the first two

Edit: forgot my profile bio/motto is a Sanderson quote, shows you how much of a homer I am :)

"This world, it is a tempest sometimes. But remember, the sun always rises again."
-- Brandon Sanderson

Nov 26, 2017

It is incredible how quickly he can push out high quality works.

Nov 24, 2017

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Book by Yuval Noah Harari

While a bit constructionist in its approach toward morals and ethic, it is a very interesting read.

Nov 26, 2017

I highly recommend the AUtobiography of Benjamin Franklin. It is a great read about a man who made is own future and was constantly focused on self-improvement.

Here is the version I read:

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Nov 27, 2017

Here's another good non-finance non-fiction:

"Things Better Than Boobs" by Theodore Rasbury

I hear it is a quick but essential read.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Nov 27, 2017

I contribute with one of my favs, I really enjoyed it:
1984 - Orwell

Nov 27, 2017

The Disaster Artist is a great read.

Dec 1, 2017

Art of War Sun Tzu
War and Peace Leo Tolstoy

Dec 7, 2017

Reading Shoe Dog just now. About Phil Knight, the guy that started Nike. I read 200 pages out of 385 yesterday and he still hasnt founded Nike. Its a decent read though, reminiscent of Steve Jobs autobiography, which is also an ok read.

Some of my favourites -

7 Habits of Highly effective people **
48 laws of power
Moonwalking with Einstein
50th Law - Robert Greene
Mastery - Robert Greene
The Defining Decade **
At left brain turn right
Thinking Fast and Slow
The Art of thinking Clearly
Influence - Robert Cialdini **
Steal like an artist **
How to win friends and influence people
4 hour work week **
A new world - Eckhart tolle
Never eat alone
Bird by Bird
On writing - stephen king **
Strategize to win - carla harris
Think and grow rich - napoleon hill
See you at the top
Mans search for meaning - viktor frankl
Outliers - malcolm gladwell
How to talk to anyone
The magic of thinking big
Emotional intelligience - daniel goleman
The wisdom of the crowds
The greatest salesman in the world
Benjamin Franklin autobiography
Focus - daniel goleman

Philosophy -
The Daily Stoic - 366 days of wisdom
Tae te ching - Lao Tze
Meditations - Marcus Aurelius **
Senecas letters
Platos The republic
Courage - osho
Siddhartha - Herman hesse
Thus spake zarathustra - friedrich neitzche

Finance related (whether you like it or not!)
Ray Dalios Principles
The King of Capital - Steve Schwarzman biography
Guide to investing - Robert Kiyosaki
Liars Poker **
Cold Steel
Barbarians at the Gate
Young Money
The Masters of Private Equity and venture capital
New tycoons

The red pill/manosphere/girl game-
The rational male - rollo tomassi **
How to be a 3% man - corey wayne

Consulting -
The pyramid principle
The McKinsey Way

Fictional -
The Fountainhead - ayn rand **
The alchemist - paolo coelho
The old man and the sea

Blogs -
Farnham street blog
Ed latimore/twitter
Illimitable men/twitter
The red pill reddit
The minimalists blog
Fortune - term sheet
Pillars of Wall Street deal of the week

** - recommended reading

Dec 8, 2017

shoe dog is pretty amazing. I powered through that book in a week. Great read and thank you for this list!

Dec 7, 2017

thus spoke of my all time favourite

Dec 8, 2017

Reading an English interpretation of the Bushido Code now. Would recommend. Up there with The Prince, Art of War, Tao Te Ching type shit


Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

Dec 9, 2017

The World According to Garp - John Irving
The Crying of Lot 49 - Pynchon
V - Pynchon
White Noise - Don DeLillo
Lolita - Vladamir Nabokov
The Broom of the System - DFW
Animal Farm - Orwell
Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the Wolrd - Mark Kurlansky

Dec 18, 2017

Planning on reading "The World According to Garp" soon, heard that it's a fantastic book from a top writer.

Dec 9, 2017

Since African literature is so understated, here goes my plug first of Kenyan writers

1.) Meja Mwangi - Kill Me Quick
2. Margaret Ogola - The River and the Source
3. Ngugi Wa Thiong'o - All his works really.
4. Grace Ogot - All her works
Non Kenyan - Chinua Achebe undeniably.

Much like you must read Gatsby, Harper Lee here. These are our staple classics.

Western novels
Albert Camus - The Stranger (read it in both French and English and just a great book)
Hermann Hesse - Siddhartha, Steppen Wolf
Kafka - Metamorphosis.
Nietzsche - Thus spoke Zarathustra (where "God is Dead" comes from. A quote thoroughly taken out of context)
Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451 (when I was pretty much addicted to books, this book is just literature porn. Beautifully written.
Song of Ice and Fire Series - where the popular Game of Thrones comes from. From my reading list, you can see I lean towards philosophy. These books are just so good though.
Eiji Yoshikawa - Musashi, Taiko and a Heike story. I had and Eiji Yoshikawa phase.

I don't like poems but Robert Frost and Langston Hughes have poems I have memorized.

Dec 10, 2017

If you are looking for recently released books and I think someone already mentioned this but Sapiens and Homo Deus are absolutely fantastic.

If you are looking for history and politics, check out Grant, 1491 and 1776. I also heard Nixon: The Life was good too.

If you are looking for fiction, one of my favorite novel recommendations that I think is super underrated is Mutiny on the Bounty. It is a classic and actually very gripping novel- it has everything from adventure and expeditions, tropical paradise etc and all based on real events which I always think is cool.

If you are looking for a book series, check out P.G. Wodehouse. He was a British author who wrote the Jeeves and Wooster comedy series and his material I think is both timeless and hilarious. His material is little old school but used by Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry and Rowan Atkinson.

Dec 10, 2017

Living with a Seal by Jesse Itzler is awesome and it's a fast and easy read.
Quick intro: Jesse is a entrepreneur who co-founded Marquise Jet and is involved in a number of other projects as well. He meets an ex-Navy Seal at a 24 hour, run as much as you can, event where just about everyone there is part of a larger team where everyone takes turns running....not SEAL. The dude does the entire 24 hour race by himself...and wins. Itzler is fascinated by this being and invites him to live with him and his family in NYC for a month to immerse himself in SEAL's training regiment and lifestyle.

The book really made me redefine what pain is and how much you can truly benefit and grow from making yourself as uncomfortable as possible in any facet of life.

Oh and any leather-bound book is a fine piece of literature.

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Dec 10, 2017

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Recommended by several billionaires,. Fascinating read

Discusses how Genghis Khan conquered all of the middle east, russia, eastern europe, etc. and assimilated their cultures

Jan 1, 2018

ive read a bio of Genghis Khan this past summer, not this specific book but similar idea. Stories like his make me wonder how much shit i'll have to go through to become somewhat good. what are your thoughts on this?

Dec 10, 2017

"Strangers in a Strange Land" - Douglas Massey; interesting book about how and why we form groups in societies over time and their effects.

"Thinking, Fast and Slow" - Daniel Kahneman; fantastically written book on the two main actors in your brain, automatic and logical (he does a better job naming them than I do), very interesting

Dec 11, 2017

You may want to check on "The Old Fashioned Gardener" written by Nigel Colborn.

Dec 12, 2017

Paul Kalanithi's "When Breath Becomes Air" - young neurosurgeon gets diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and contemplates the complexity of life. I usually don't like "search for meaning" type books but this one was beautifully written.

Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P)
Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)

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Jan 26, 2018

Some old political/philosophical works are pretty good reads too:

-"Republic" Plato
-Most things by Cicero
-"The Prince", "Discourses on Livy" Macchiavelli
-"Art of War" Sun Tzu
-"The Histories" Herodotus

Mar 15, 2018

it's so hard to not fall asleep when i read "Republic". currently collecting dust on my desk...

Mar 1, 2018

I started reading Musashi on recommendation from Tim Ferris. It's an old samurai epic written in 1930s - even today it's insanely popular in Japan:

Musashi - Eiji Yoshikawa

Mar 15, 2018

I haven't read The Predator's Ball, but I can recommend some books that I found beneficial in the "add value" category:

This Town by Mark Leibovich -- This reads like a history of Politico, but looking back on it, it's a great expose on how ridiculous you look when you social climb. It highlights people who'll do anything to make themselves seem important and larger-than-life, so this is a great early warning against that type of mindset. Plus, I'm from DC, so I love anything that breaks down the ridiculousness of my hometown.

The Education of a Value Investor by Guy Spier -- I know you said "no finance," but this is a biography with references to finance thrown in and less is of a traditional finance book. Guy describes what it's like to be young and have your rose-colored glasses on and not be aware of land-mines that can crush you early in your career. Being aware of those landmines early will stave off disappointment in the long-run,

The Unwinding by George Packer -- This is a book that traces the lives of 8 (I believe?) people from childhood through middle age, with bite-sized bios of more well-known people, like Oprah and Newt Gingrich, thrown in for balance. The book looks at the mistakes these people make and how macro events (e.g., the 2008 crisis) have an impact on them. It's a fascinating read, especially because the people profiled therein are all real, but by the end, you'll have 1-2 characters that you'll find annoying.


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Mar 15, 2018

On my list that I believe "add value" or just recommend:

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger by Peter Bevelin

Deep Simplicity by John Gribbin

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Caldini

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Mar 15, 2018

How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen. HBS theories mixed into the larger important ideas in life.

I second Kahneman's book ^.

Mar 15, 2018

I'm reading "The Wise Men" right now. Very relevant for what's going on in the world at current time. (It also has given me the ability to be optimistic about the world, starting with what Wall Street can and should be!)

It's a catchy tune with a very witty character. Someone recently remarked that they, "used to love picking up little books of witticisms. Now there is just self-help books."

Dec 18, 2018

"The wise men" is a great book. "Kissinger" also written by Isaacson was also incredibly well-written.

Cash and cash equivalents: $138,311
Financial instruments and other inventory positions owned: $448,166

Mar 15, 2018

Man's Search for Meaning- Victor Frankl
Do no Harm Henry Marsh
Thinkign Fast and Slow Daniel Khaneman
When breath becomes air
How not to be wrong

Dec 18, 2018

just finished thinking fast and slow, it was a painful process but very glad that i finished it. so many things are clearer to me now.

Mar 15, 2018

Small is Beautiful by E.F. Shumacher

Mar 2, 2018

Paris in the Present Tense

Mar 15, 2018

Although my post was sarcastic, I am looking for some recommendations.

I recently read "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer. I know it's over ten years old, but I've been busy for the past decade so I just got around to it.

I'm pretty sure everyone on earth has already read this one, but if not, it's a worthwhile book.

"Into Think Air" is the author's account of climbing Everest. Needless to say, the ascent doesn't go smoothly.

Mar 15, 2018

Everyone Poops

Mar 4, 2018

If you have any interest in Energy, The Prize by Daniel Yergin. It's an in-depth but nontechnical overview of the rise of oil & gas to it's modern day dominance

Mar 5, 2018
Dec 18, 2018