Category: Book Reviews

Book Review: The End of Alchemy

end of alchemyThe End of Alchemy is the most comprehensive book on financial crises that has been published since the Great Recession. Mervyn King headed up the Bank of England during the 2008 Financial Crisis. However, unlike Timothy Geithner and Ben Bernanke, he doesn’t set out to defend his actions during the crisis or make excuses for questionable decisions. Instead, King criticizes the system that allowed the crisis to happen, allowed the crises before it, and will inevitably create future crises if it is not changed. Continue reading “Book Review: The End of Alchemy”

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Book Review: Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Barking Up the Wrong TreeBarking Up the Wrong Tree draws on scientific studies and historical examples to answer 6 questions about success:

  1. Should we play it safe and do what we’re told if we want to succeed?
  2. Do nice guys finish last?
  3. Do quitters never win and winners never quit?
  4. Is it more important what you know or who you know?
  5. How important is believing in yourself?
  6. “Work, work work” or “work-life balance?”

The answers are not black and white. Eric Barker finds the most logical approach to each problem based on evidence on both sides of each argument. This book looks through all the hype that is out there in the self-improvement media and consolidates it into simple, practical pieces of advice that you can start using the day you read it. It is a very helpful resource for hard-working individuals who want to do everything it takes to be their best selves.

Book Review: The Total Money Makeover

Total Money MakeoverDave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover is not a perfect system, nor is this a perfect book, but it is the reality check that tens of thousands of American consumers need. After one filters out the unhelpful testimonials and the plugs for his radio show, this book a lot of good common sense about finances.

Ramsey rightly compares personal finance to personal health. Most of it is common sense, but as he says, it is 20% knowledge and 80% behavior. Ramsey’s system is all about correcting behavior. There are some methods that are more efficient than Ramsey’s but that offer too many temptations that many people can’t handle. While Ramsey encourages you to follow his system strictly, he is forthcoming about the arguments against everything he says. This is an important reason why I recommend this book.

Some people need this system and need to follow it strictly to fix their finances. Some people are already doing okay and can keep doing what they are doing. I would say that this program is not for everyone, but everyone should read it to make sure. It could be the difference between becoming a millionaire and going bankrupt. Even if you don’t use it all, there is plenty of good information and some solid reality checks in here for everyone, even those who already know a lot about finance and are financially successful.

Book Review: Sons of Wichita

sons of wichitaThe Koch family has tried for decades to keep itself out of the spotlight while building the 2nd largest private company in America. However, as this biography explains, they haven’t done the best job of it. Daniel Schulman details the Koch brothers’ lifetime of conflict with business competitors, political opponents, their companies’ shareholders and employees, and each other. It feels a bit like if someone wrote a novelization one of those epic long-running soap opera TV shows, except this all actually happened. Continue reading “Book Review: Sons of Wichita”

Book Review: Lords of Finance

Lords of FinanceLords of Finance is described as the story of the four central bankers who set up the world for the Great Depression. However, the reader can expect to get a whole lot more than that from this book–whether he wants it or not.

It is mostly written in a biographical style, with more incidental details than necessary. The financial side of the story is explained, but not with as much depth or clarity as many other books of this type offer. Some general claims about the macroeconomy are made without enough explanation about macroeconomics to back them up. Continue reading “Book Review: Lords of Finance”

Book Review: University of Berkshire Hathaway

university of berkshire hathawayThe market is flooded with books about Warren Buffett. This is the 5th one that I have read. Some books assemble or quote Buffett’s writings; others reverse engineer Buffett’s investment strategy. Often these authors seem to be trying to convince you they have inside information or trying to indoctrinate you into the Buffett cult. University of Berkshire Hathaway is not one of those books. It has details you won’t find anywhere else, which makes it a relevant addition to the prolific repertoire of books about Buffett and Berkshire. Continue reading “Book Review: University of Berkshire Hathaway”