Books that I've found interesting, impactful or down-right crazy!
Updated: Sep 17, 2019
Massive scams, misaligned fiduciary interests, the Pareto principle, the microbiome, smart talk radio, why it's better to be born in January than December, gut wrenching nonfiction and why you shouldn't "give a fuck" about most of the stuff that worries you.
There's a reason why 40% of hockey players in the NHL were born in January, February and March, while only 10% were born in October, November and December. A few fortunate circumstances allowed Bill Gates access to computers at a young age, allowing him to log over 10,000 hours of tinkering before most others had even touched a keyboard. Outliers makes the case that environment and fortunate circumstance, often beyond our control, is the key driver in creating what appears to be outlier success.
Billion Dollar Whale outlines one of the biggest scams in history. Did you know the the movie The Wolf of Wall Street was funded by a complete scam? The book starts with an elaborate birthday party in Las Vegas (even elaborate by Vegas' standards) that is attended by many of today's A listers. If million dollar parties, expensive gifts (sports cars, diamonds, art) and corrupt bankers and governments interest you, check out this book.
If you like the title of this book, you will love the book itself. If you're offended by the title, you're probably reading the wrong blog anyway. The Subtle Are of Not Giving a Fuck is a great gift for anyone who can't stand a cupcake society. There are winners and losers in society and not everyone deserves a participation ribbon. Most of the stuff the people concern themselves with or worry about is complete bull shit. The author does a nice job of mixing humor with real-talk.
Brain Maker is a game changer. John Horner, who is a friend, as well as a former player and coach of mine, recommended this book to me when he learned that my son had been diagnosed with Autism. I knew nothing about the microbiome or how gut health impacts our brain health. After reading this book, my wife and I switched our youngest son and daughter to a gluten free diet. The impact has been remarkable.
Pharmaceutical companies don't stand to benefit from you changing your diet. Instead, they would like to solve your problems with a pill. In Brain Maker, you will read about societies that don't have any cases of Autism, Alzheimer's, cancer and other diseases that face the modern world. How is this possible? Because they have a much more diverse, healthier microbiome than we do.
I have a general distain for the traditional financial advisor business model (you pay a % of your total portfolio value each year, regardless of performance). I think that this structure creates a misalignment of interests and leads to a lack of fiduciary responsibility for the client. IMO, the traditional financial advisor model is completely outdated and won't be around for much longer.
I'm a fan of Tony Robbin and have read many of his books. Money Master The Game is a good book for people to gain a baseline education on the world of investing. Only around 5% of money managers beat the market. If you don't have tens of millions of dollars, you likely don't have access to one of those money managers. Don't be a fool. Read this book, then talk to a financial planner who will charge you a flat rate to outline your investment plan (unless you feel confident to do it yourself). Don't pay a % of your total assets. Don't buy expensive annuities. Don't get ripped off.
Everyone has heard of the 80/20 rule, but The 80/20 Principle helps hammer home the point with specific, relatable examples. The world moves so fast that determining where we want to spend our time - be it in our personal lives, business or otherwise - is sometimes a difficult decision. The author provides a good system to use as a backdrop when making decisions on where to place focus.
Colin Cowherd ruined sports talk TV and radio for me... but in a good way. By that, he does such a good job of weaving intelligent thought and dialogue into his show that The Herd is the only show I enjoy now. When I listen to other sports talk, it seems juvenile and dumbed-down. You Herd Me is basically an extended version of some of Colin's best material. I don't agree with all of Colin's opinions, but I respect him. I also like how sometimes he will argue the unpopular side of a topic to provide entertainment, even if I doesn't hold that opinion. Very smart.
Wow. We are a violent species. I've seen movies that showed some of the torture techniques that our ancestors deployed, but this book describes them to an entirely new level. The Better Angels of our Nature makes the case that we are living in the most non-violent time periods of our existence. Sure, we see things on TV and the internet that may make us believe otherwise, but that's because modern technology has enabled information to flow more freely and rapidly than ever before. Hopefully, humans continue on this path towards less violence.
Side note - I'm a terrible reader. I haven't been diagnosed with a specific reading disorder, but I have never been able to slow my mind down enough to read books. I have to really concentrate when I read, which slows me down to a snail's pace. Instead, I listen to books via Audible. I wish this would have been possible when I was growing up!