Diary of a Financier

Bookshelf update: Century Club!

In Bookshelf on Wed 10 Feb 2016 at 08:15

Back on January 1, 2011, my New Year’s Resolution was to read 100 books in 5 years.  61 months later, I achieved just that…

This post is a celebration of a major achievement — attainment of a long term goal I set for myself.  Long term goals are hard to reach.  So much has changed in my life over these 5 years, so I feel really accomplished, having clung to the self-motivation needed to stay committed to this promise.

More importantly, I don’t think the time-suck has been at the expense of real living or relationships.  Rather, it’s been an enriching experience — in terms of both self-improvement and recreational enjoyment.

A bookshelf is an objective manifestation of someone’s intellectual curiosity, but it’s not the entire quantum of his knowledge.  Not only do I consume an exorbitant amount of content in non-book form, but my growing wish list might be the best indicator of my ambition.  I’m perhaps more proud of what I haven’t read, than what I have…

“a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you don’t know as your financial means, mortgage rates and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menancingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.”
–Nassim Taleb, The Black Swan


I’ve listed all 100 books in my Bookshelf, which I’ve ranked from most influential to least — in terms of their impact on me personally.  To commemorate today’s milestone, here they are: my first Top 100…

Top Books

  1. Ahamed, Liaquat: Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
  2. Lowenstein, Roger: When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management
  3. Taleb, Nassim: Fooled by Randomness
  4. Lewis, Michael: The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
  5. Schwager, Jack: Market Wizards: Interviews with Top Traders
  6. Peters, Edgar: Chaos and Order in the Capital Markets
  7. Horowitz, Ben: The Hard Thing about Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
  8. Mallaby, Sebastian: More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite
  9. Thiel, Peter: Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
  10. Ferguson, Niall: The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
  11. Schwager, Jack: Hedge Fund Market Wizards
  12. MacMillan, Margaret: Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World
  13. Taleb, Nassim: Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
  14. Stein, Garth: The Art of Racing in the Rain
  15. Tett, Gillian: Fool’s Gold: How the Bold Dream of a Small Tribe at J.P. Morgan Was Corrupted by Wall Street Greed and Unleashed a Catastrophe
  16. Isaacson, Walter: Steve Jobs
  17. Chernow, Ron: The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance
  18. Partnoy, Frank: The Match King: Ivar Kreuger
  19. Hoffman, David: The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy
  20. Andreessen, Marc: The pmarca Blog Archives (select posts, 2007-09)
  21. Klarman, Seth: Margin of Safety
  22. Levy, Steven: In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives
  23. Altucher, James: Choose Yourself
  24. Christensen, Clayton: The Innovator’s Dilemma
  25. Ries, Eric: The Lean Startup
  26. Coll, Steve: Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to 9/11/2001
  27. Stone, Brad: The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos & the Age of Amazon
  28. Fox, Justin: The Myth of the Rational Market
  29. Pink, Daniel: Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us
  30. Patterson, Scott: Dark Pools: High-Speed Traders, A.I. Bandits, and the Threat to the Global Financial System
  31. Bruner, Robert & Carr, Sean: The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market’s Perfect Storm
  32. Kahneman, Daniel: Thinking, Fast and Slow
  33. Diamandis, Peter: Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth & Impact the World
  34. Lewis, Michael: Liar’s Poker
  35. Berger, Jonah: Contagious: Why Things Catch On
  36. Isaacson, Walter: The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
  37. Taleb, Nassim: The Black Swan
  38. Lowenstein, Roger: The End of Wall Street
  39. Ahuja, Maneet: The Alpha Masters
  40. Cohan, William: The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Freres
  41. Carlson, Nicholas: Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!
  42. Hillenbrand, Laura: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
  43. Lanier, Jaron: Who Owns the Future?
  44. Patterson, Scott: The Quants
  45. Soros, George: The Alchemy of Finance
  46. Glenny, Misha: McMafia
  47. Holiday, Ryan: Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising
  48. Schwager, Jack: The New Market Wizards: Conversations with America’s Top Traders
  49. Cramer, James: Confessions of a Street Addict
  50. Mares, Justin & Weinberg, Gabriel: Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers
  51. Kidder, Tracy: The Soul of a New Machine (Data General)
  52. Lefevre, Edwin: Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
  53. McLean, Bethany & Nocera, Joe: All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis
  54. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty
  55. Lambert, Emily: The Futures: The Rise of the Speculator and the Origins of the World’s Biggest Markets
  56. Sorkin, Andrew Ross: Too Big to Fail
  57. Greenblatt, Joel: The Little Book That Still Beats the Market
  58. Levitt, Steven & Dubner, Stephen: Freakonomics
  59. Stewart, James: Den of Thieves
  60. Nasar, Sylvia: Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius
  61. McLean, Bethany: The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron
  62. Coelho, Paulo: The Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dream
  63. Feiler, Bruce: Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths
  64. Kiechel, Walter: Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World
  65. Narang, Rishi: Inside the Black Box: A Simple Guide to Quantitative and High Frequency Trading
  66. Stiles, T.J.: The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
  67. Ismail, Salim: Exponential Organizations
  68. Valliant, John: The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival
  69. Gertner, John: The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation
  70. Silver, Nate: The Signal and the Noise
  71. Stross, Randall: The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator
  72. Lewis, Michael: The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story (Jim Clark’s Silicon Graphics/Netscape/Healtheon)
  73. Rand, Ayn: Atlas Shrugged
  74. Irwin, Neil: The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire
  75. Catmull, Ed: Creativity, Inc. (Pixar)
  76. Rogers, Jim: Street Smarts
  77. Levitt, Steven & Dubner, Stephen: SuperFreakonomics
  78. McCullough, Keith & Blake, Richard: Diary of a Hedge Fund Manager
  79. Diamandis, Peter: Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think
  80. Derman, Emanuel: My Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance
  81. Pausch, Randy: The Last Lecture
  82. Lewis, Michael: Flash Boys
  83. Benioff, Marc: Behind the Cloud (salesforce.com)
  84. Pressfield, Steven: The War of Art
  85. Burrough, Bryan: Barbarians at the Gate
  86. Mele, Nicco: The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath
  87. Collins, Jim: Good to Great
  88. Biggs, Barton: A Hedge Fund Tale of Reach and Grasp
  89. Laozi: Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing)
  90. Kindleberger, Charles: Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises
  91. Lewis, Michael: Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World
  92. Lynch, Peter: One Up On Wall Street
  93. Collins, Jim: Built to Last
  94. Friedman, Thomas: The World Is Flat
  95. Marks, Howard: The Most Important Thing
  96. Biggs, Barton: Wealth, War & Wisdom
  97. Hoffman, Reid & Casnocha, Ben: The Startup of You
  98. Aurelius, Marcus: Meditations
  99. Guillebeau, Chris: The $100 Startup
  100. Brooks, John: Business Adventures


  1. Don’t see The Bible in a list…, better read it 100 times…


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