This was the first year I made the transition to do the majority of my reading digitally. It takes some getting used to, but I’ve found the Kindle Paperwhite to be one of my favorite new pieces of technology. It’s lightweight and the screen quality is amazing — no glare from the sunlight, works in light or dark rooms and is especially handy for people who travel a lot and don’t want to carry around 3-4 different books with them.
Now onto my favorite books I read in 2015.
Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life & Comedy by Judd Apatow
While technically not a book about investing or business per se, there are so many good lessons in this compilation of interviews between Apatow and a number of well-known comedians — Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Louis CK, Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller and Steve Martin to name a few. People assume that being a comedian is just about having the confidence to get up on stage and be funny, but there is so much more that goes into it. Apatow does a great job detailing the different processes used by these successful comedians not only for stand-up routines, but also for writing screenplays, running TV shows, working on movies and managing a staff to create great content. (Also, Michael Batnick and I saw Apatow perform stand-up recently and he was hilarious.)
The Incredible Shrinking Alpha by Larry Swedroe & Andrew Berkin
A book that every financial professional should read, but many won’t because so much of what’s in here conflicts with the way things are done in the finance industry. That means it’s even more important for investors outside of the financial realm to read. The book is packed full of studies and market wisdom. Probably my most highlighted investment book of the year on my Kindle.
The Next Perfect Trade by Alex Gurevich
By no means am I a trader, but this book still had a lot to offer me as an investor. I respect the process Gurevich lays out for how he thinks about his trades. The best part of the book for me is how he lays out the different relationships and moving parts in the markets — rates, stocks, currencies, growth, etc. This is one of the better macro explainers I have read that actually touches on market-based decisions as opposed to useless theories.
The Devil’s Financial Dictionary by Jason Zweig
One of the most original business books I’ve read in a long time. If you’re interested in finance you have to read this book. It’s a harsh, honest, funny, historical and interesting look into the world of business and the markets.
The Girl In The Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
I was a fan of the Stieg Larrson trilogy about Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist so I was interested to see the direction a new writer (Larrson passed away before any of his books were published) would take this series. I thought it was very well done. It was something of a spy, cyberterrorist thriller that would make for a great movie some day. Highly entertaining.
Make Me by Lee Child
I’m still waiting for Child to put out a bad Jack Reacher book but he only seems to be getting better as an author as he ages. This was the 20th book in the series and it was one of the best yet. Child has put out at least one Reacher book every single year since 1997. This one also contains some interesting background information on the Internet as one of the plot lines that I found fascinating. I hope I’m wrong, but my theory is that the series may be winding down with the next book or two after what happened in this latest one.
The Martian by Andy Weir
This one is fairly mainstream since it was made into a Matt Damon movie (also very good), but it was one of the better books I’ve read in a while. Not only is the plot extremely interesting and suspenseful, but you get the feeling that you’re learning quite a bit of science at the same time. The back story on how Weir turned a series of blog posts into a novel is also a really great story.
And here are the reviews I wrote on some of the other books I enjoyed this year:
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all.