Here’s what I’ve been reading for the past three months:
- Wall Street Under Oath – Ferdinand Pecora was chief counsel for the 1933 investigation into Wall Street practices leading up to the 1929 crash. His book lays out what the investigation undercovered — the widespread speculation and manipulation of stock prices by some of Wall Street’s biggest players. And it was legal at the time. It’s a fascinating read on a wild moment in market history. (notes)
- The Memoirs of Walter J. Schloss – Walter Schloss was a value investor who learned under Ben Graham before branching out on his own and crushing the market over 47 years. He shares stories about his family history, life growing up, working with Graham, and running his own partnership. His memoir is just shy of 100 pages. Be aware that it’s out of print, hard to find, and usually overpriced when available. Devout value investors, looking to complete their collection, may find it interesting. The notes should suffice for everyone else. (notes)
- The Ten Commandments of Business Failure – Don Keough ran Coca-Cola and sat on the boards of several companies including Berkshire Hathaway. So he’s familiar with business success. He’s also familiar with failure. His book inverts the question “How to succeed in business?” He uses numerous mistakes that he and other business leaders have made over the years to cover common factors behind business failure. (notes)
- Memos from the Chairman – Ace Greenberg is the former chairman of Bear Stearns. The book is a collection of his memos that offer insight into his simple management philosophy. It’s very repetitive at times — he’s keeping his team focused on what’s important — but he mixes it up with humor and wit. Best of all it’s a quick read. (notes)
- The Great Crash, 1929 – John Kenneth Galbraith recreates the timeline of events that led to the biggest bubble and crash in U.S. market history. From the Florida land boom to the rise of investment trusts, Galbraith focuses on the speculative frenzy throughout 1928-29 before the market came crashing down. It’s a lesson on the market’s past and future combined. It’s also another great book for fans of market history. (notes)
- 100 to 1 in the Stock Market – I picked this book up around this time last year, then quit halfway through. I finished it over the holidays. Its driving idea is to buy great companies at low valuations to reap the reward of earnings growth combined with multiple expansion over decades. The author focuses on the fundamentals behind a great company, but the book is dated. What it lacks is a discussion on what to look for, beyond the fundamentals, to help identify great companies.
Need more fall reading ideas? Try these book lists:
- If You Only Read a Few Books in 2023, Read These — Ryan Holiday’s annual reading list for this year.
- Smithsonian Scholars Pick Their Favorite Books of 2022 – The list ranges across a number of different topics.
- 2022 Year-End Book Recommendations – Howard Marks and the folks at Oaktree list their favorite reads of last year.
- Forecasting Follies – The Better Letter
- Date Update 2023: Setting the Table! – Musings on Markets
- Why Inflation Matters – R. Lowenstein
- Price-to-Fantasy Ratio: Self-Deception with Forward Operating Earnings – Research Affiliates
- How Greed and Leverage Destroyed the Crypto Tulip Market – ContrarianEdge
- You Won’t Detect the Next Fraud – T. Seides
- A Bank of Her Own – JSTORDaily
- AI and the Big Five – Stratechery
- The Physics Principle That Inspired Modern AI Art – QuantaMagazine