Weekly Non-Fiction Reading List 3.29.21
This week I finished 9 books from some amazing authors…well 8 amazing authors. This week, I finished some books about how randomness controls our lives, critical thinking, investing, and how we can fix the criminal justice system. There’s one book on this list that was complete silliness, and I haven’t rated a book this low in quite a while. Enjoy!
Each of the links to the books are affiliate links, so if you use my link to purchase any of these books, some comes back to support what I do (and it also helps fund my reading habit).
This book is super short, but it’s worth the read. I love books on critical thinking and decision making, so I decided to check out this book. Schuster is a fan of thinking in systems, which is more of a macro look when trying to solve problems. Rather than just looking at once piece of the situation, you ask questions to see what the other contributing factors may be. This book will help people at work, in our government, and just about anywhere else you’re facing a challenge you need to solve.
The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data by Michael Patrick Lynch
Super Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt
Invested: How I Learned to Master My Mind, My Fears, and My Money to Achieve Financial Freedom and Live a More Authentic Life (with a Little Help from Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, and My Dad) by Danielle Town and Phil Town
If you’re new to investing, get this book ASAP. I’ve only been investing for a month and have read a ton of books. There aren’t many books that help you get down to the basics, but this is one of them. Danielle is a great storyteller, and her journey of learning about investing with her dad was relatable and heartwarming. I learned a ton from this book about value investing, which is something I’ve been wanting to learn more about. I’m primarily an index fund type of person, but this book really broke down the tools I need to analyze individual companies. The math of it all went a little over my head, but I’m sure it’ll make sense once I do some of the practices from the book.
How I Invest My Money: Finance experts reveal how they save, spend, and invest by Joshua Brown, Brian Portnoy, Carl Richards
The Laws of Wealth: Psychology and the Secret to Investing Success by Daniel Crosby
I read this book immediately after I finished Invested, the book Phil wrote with his daughter, and I binged this book in a day. I am more risk averse than most people, which is why I primarily invest in S&P 500 index funds. After learning more about Phil, I realized he’s an individual stock trader, but he’s just as risk averse and conservative as I am. That’s why I grabbed this book. Phil Town gives you some formulas to use to make sure you get stocks at a good price while also having a decent buffer (margin of safety). As long as you do your research on companies and don’t invest in what you don’t know about, it’s hard to see how this strategy will fail.
My only criticism with this book is a personal one. Even though Phil says he hates math and the math for this process is “simple”, it definitely wasn’t for a guy like me. I had to re-read sections a few times and take extensive notes. It was definitely worth it though. I have much more confidence now in purchasing individual stocks. But if you’re like me, make sure you’re ready to read this book like it’s a course. Take notes, practice, and you’ll be fine.
My girlfriend has bugged me to read this book for months, but I didn’t think I’d like it. I assumed it was all going to be about a day in the life of a mortician, but I was “dead” wrong (see what I did there?!). This was a really interesting book, and if you’re someone who is just curious about the world, I think you’ll enjoy this book. The author discusses what different cultures do with their dead, the history of how we’ve treated the dead, and much more. I think that if you’re interested in anthropology and similar subjects, you’ll like this book.
Make Money Blogging: Proven Strategies and Tools, Step-by-Step Guide to Making Money Consistently with Your Blog While Working from Home by Owen Hill
This book is short and sweet, so I’ll leave my review in the same way. It’s a great book for people who are extremely new to blogging. I’ve blogged as a hobby for years, so this book only added a little bit of value for me. For those who are just starting out, it can definitely provide some useful tips to get started.
Human’s are control freaks by design, and I’m no different. We love to think that we have far more control than we do, which is why I love reading books about how randomness impacts our lives. I’ve been meaning to read this book for months, and I finally had the time to check it out. At certain points, it gets a little too math-heavy for my liking, but overall, it’s a great book. The author does a fantastic job discussing different cognitive traps we fall into that make us miss the randomness in everyday life. It also teaches us that by being aware of these random events, we can make better long-term decisions while also practicing some humility.
Everything is Obvious: Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts
Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World by Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin West
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Lessons From Critical Thinkers: Methods for Clear Thinking and Analysis in Everyday Situations from the Greatest Thinkers in History (The critical thinker Book 2) by Albert Rutherford
I love philosophy, and Albert Rutherford has become one of my new favorite authors on critical thinking. This book is a great blend of philosophy and critical thinking, and it’s a super short read. It’s important to keep our thinking sharp, and there are some great thinkers we can learn from, so I highly recommend this book.
How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds by Alan Jacobs
The Enigma of Reason by Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber
Know-It-All Society: Truth and Arrogance in Political Culture by Michael Patrick Lynch
This book is absolutely ridiculous, and it hurts my soul that people who I respect think that this is one of the best books ever written on investment. The theory is great, but the practice and arguments that Pabrah presents are so bad that it’s hard to put into words. The idea of value investing is to watch companies that dip below their value, so you buy them “on sale”. That makes sense. It’s like flipping a house or buying a cheap car, doing minimal repairs and making a profit. The issue is that the author makes insane arguments.
The whole premise is small down side with huge upside, or as the author says, “tails I win, heads I don’t lose much.” A great example of why this is silly is he tells the story of how Patel families own most of the motels in the USA. It started with Papa Patel taking the only $9,000 he had and putting it into a hotel and hoping for the best. My question is, in what universe is investing 100% of you and your family’s money “low risk?”. Later, the author tells the story about how he did the same thing with his only $30,000 and his backup plan was to pull out of his 401k early. Noboy would call me a genius for taking my family’s savings to the roulette table, putting it all on black and calling it low risk high reward.
His argument is that “if it doesn’t work, and you lose, you can just make the money back by getting a job.” This is the most insane argument I’ve ever heard. I can go on and on about how silly this author is, but if you can get passed his ridiculous examples and understand the fundamentals of how to calculate the value of a stock, you can be smarter than him with your money and diversification.
Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions by Gerd Gigerenzer
Is the current state of our justice system working? If it’s not, why? And is the current justice system helping victims? These are just some of the questions that Danielle Sered addresses in this incredible book. I’ve read quite a few books on the criminal justice system, but this one is incredible. Sered tackles the subject from various angles that I hadn’t even thought of, and her stories from her program Common Justice are absolutely amazing. If you want to learn about why our justice system is failing while having hope for the future, you need to read this book.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Dr. Jennifer Eberdhart
Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? by Michael Sandel
If you need help with your mental health, I highly recommend the service I use, BetterHelp. They’re an affordable online therapy service, and by using this affiliate link, you help support The Rewired Soul.