Business in Review

Book Review: Short Ain’t Necessarily Simple


Heinz Kurz’s Economic Thought: A Brief History is the latest attempt to communicate the history of economics to laypeople but like its predecessors, it leaves much to be desired.

The Universal Man Makes a Way Toward Wealth


What investors can learn from the life of John Maynard Keynes.

Book Review: You Are Not a Gadget


Jason Lanier’s argument technology is nothing without the humans who built it has many parallels to investing. 

“We’re Not So Different, You and I!” Part II


Part two covers David Graeber's Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Different book, yet the takeaway is unchanged: Ideology often blinds investors.

Book Review: Endgame—The Problem with Doomsayers


I’ve reviewed many a doom-and-gloom financial book in this space. Here’s one more for the collection.

The Return of the Unconscious, Part II


Part II of our survey of recent popular psychology literature.

Think Again!


Daniel Kahneman’s seminal compilation of his life’s work on the psychology of decision making encourages you to think…and then think again!

Book Review: A Grand, if Wandering, Pursuit


Bestselling author Sylvia Nasar’s entry on economic history is beautifully written, but too scattered to be a coherent narrative.



A summer’s worth of considering Commies and Libertarians. 

The Economy in Mind


An unsung classic on free market capitalism from a bygone era that deserves revisiting.

A Drunkard's Walk, a Random Walk, a Fool’s Walk, and…a River!


Four books on randomness, uncertainty, probability, and how they work in the stock market.

Fisher Investments Book Review: Money ’Magination


Two books about how prices work turn out to be better primers in behavioral finance.

Food Politics


Robert Paarlberg’s book on the politics of food is a good primer for investors and those generally interested in the topic.

Hardcore Entrepreneurial Candor


Two books on the stark realities of what it takes to get rich.

Getting Acquainted with Geopolitics


Two essential readings in geopolitics, regardless of your ideology.

For Whom Does the Grail Serve?


Consistent market outperformance is brutally tough, but it’s no Holy Grail.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do


Three books highlight a few problems with expert investing advice.

How to Read the Wall Street Journal


Did Rupert Murdoch's purchase of the Wall Street Journal improve the paper, or lower its bar further toward the lowest common denominator?

End the Fed


A political manifesto? Yes, but Ron Paul's book deriding the Fed is also one of the best layperson's primers on central banking in years.



An accessible history of the bull markets spanning the '80s and '90s, but skip the analysis.

Exile on Main Street


Who knew the keys to consumerism lay in Keith Richards' six string?

Attack of the Indexers!


John Bogle and William Bernstein re-make their case for passive investing.

Political Turkeys


A smattering of post-election politics reading.

Overhaul and Crash Course


Steven Rattner's Overhaul is a fine enough account of the US auto bailout as a financial and political event, but Paul Ingrassia's Crash Course provides the necessary context to see why it happened.

Travel Reading Diary


After a long business trip, a few reading suggestions.

Choice 2-Pack


How We Decide proves Jonah Lehrer ranks among the best active science writers, while Sheena Iyengar's The Art of Choosing is a sometimes cluttered but broader meditation on the act of choice in our lives.

The Number: What Do You Need for the Rest of Your Life and What Will It Cost?


Lee Eisenberg's The Number is a surprisingly fresh take on the issues of savings and retirement.

The Shallows and Cognitive Surplus


Nicholas Carr's The Shallows is spotty, but ultimately an important read for today's investor. Clay Shirky's Cognitive Surplus often makes the right points, but in tedious fashion.

The Misbehavior of Markets

Though sometimes clumsy, Benoit Mandelbrot's Misbehavior of Markets is one of the original popular works on market randomness.

Think Twice

Teaser: Think Twice firmly establishes Michael J. Mauboussin's status among the best behavioral finance writers.

High Financier

Niall Ferguson's biography of Siegmund Warburg is often good literature, but a lesser achievement in biography and financial history.

Squam Lake and Senseless Panic

William M. Isaac's Senseless Panic is a sensible voice of reason and experience on the 2008 panic, while the ballyhooed Squam Lake Report is just more claptrap.

Capitalism 4.0


Anatole Kaletsky's Capitalism 4.0 is deft, erudite, and essential reading for those looking to better understand the global macroeconomic future ahead.



David H. Freedman's book about why and how experts are often wrong lacks depth and is probably not worth your time.

Myth of the Rational Market


Jonathan Fox's Myth of the Rational Market is a great primer into the history of efficient market theory, but doesn't do what the title promises.

13 Bankers

While its emphasis on the history of concentrated corporate power and the nature of regulation makes it stand out from the pack, 13 Bankers turns out to be just another book about the crisis that misses the mark.

The Rational Optimist

Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist is timely and, bar none, the best book of the last several years for investors. Too bad most will only see it as a history book.

Crisis, Roubini Style

Nouriel Roubini's Crisis Economics delivers more Dr. Doom gloom but is of little use for most investors.

The Greatest Trade Ever

Gregory Zuckerman's The Greatest Trade Ever not only beat Michael Lewis to the punch, but is a better book about those who profited from the bear market.

Getting Off Track

John Taylor's short but pungent book on the financial crisis is the closest yet to articulating the truth of 2008's panic...but still doesn't quite get there.

The World Is Flat

Now in its third version, Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat has proven itself the keystone popular analysis on modern globalization.

The Richest Man in Babylon


The Richest Man in Babylon is a great book for your graduating grandchildren, but probably too hammy for the rest of us.

The Age of the Unthinkable

Joshua Cooper Ramo's The Age of the Unthinkable, ends up missing the mark, but for the right reasons.

The Big Cynic


With his newest bestseller, The Big Short, Michael Lewis proves he's still the most entertaining financial journalist around. But his cynicism betrays him too often.

It's Not as Bad as You Think


Brian S. Wesbury's It's Not as Bad as You Think: Why Capitalism Trumps Fear and the Economy Will Thrive picks up where Milton Friedman left off.

Capitalism and Freedom


Capitalism and Freedom is the best entry point into the world of Milton Friedman.

How to Lie With Statistics

How to Lie With Statistics is still the best book for beginners to enter the world of statistical analysis.



The Wiedemer brothers' Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown is sure to go down in infamy as a landmark of today's pessimism.

Attack of the Quants!

Books about "quants” are popping up everywhere, but Emmanuel Derman's My Life as a Quant is best for neophytes.

Of Two Minds

Reading Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff's It's Different This Time is one heck of a frustrating experience, and nearly split my mind in two.

I Am the Walrus (Goo goo g' joob)

Sean D. Carr's The Panic of 1907 illustrates just how familiar—and also different—the events of 2008 really were. A truly mind-bending trip, man.

The Apologia of Hank Paulson

Henry Paulson's On the Brink is disappointing and too long, while Andrew Ross Sorkin's Too Big to Fail might well end up the definitive text of the era.

Geopolitics, Battlestars, and the Next 100 Years

George Friedman's The Next 100 Years is an ambitious and fascinating glimpse into the future of geopolitics.

Starting With a True Classic

GC Selden's Psychology of the Stock Market is full of wit and wisdom…and still relevant today.


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