The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor
by Howard Marks
Howard Marks is the co-founder and co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Management and he ranks #374 on the 2017 Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans. In this book he covers 20 topics: second-level thinking; market efficiency and its limitations; intrinsic value; the relationship between price and value; understanding risk; recognizing risk; controlling risk; market cycles; the pendulum; combating negative influences; contrarianism; finding bargains; patient opportunism; knowing what you don’t know; having a sense for where we stand; appreciating the role of luck; investing defensively; avoiding pitfalls; adding value; and pulling it all together.
Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points that Challenge Every Company
by Andrew S. Grove
“A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. The change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end.”
Andy Grove, former chairman of Intel, describes six categories of 10X changes: competition, technology, customers, suppliers, complementors, and regulation. “When a Wal-Mart moves into a small town, the environment changes for every retailer in that town. A 10X factor has arrived. When the technology for sound in movies became popular, every silent actor and actress personally experienced the 10X factor of technological change. When container shipping revolutionized sea transportation, a 10X factor reordered the major ports around the world.” Continue reading →
Office of Strategic Services
William J. Donovan, Director
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), operating during World War II. This 32-page manual instructs OSS officers on numerous ways citizen-saboteurs can be trained to gum up the works. “Simple sabotage is more than malicious mischief, and it should always consist of acts whose results will be detrimental to the materials and manpower of the enemy.”
“Simple sabotage does not require specially prepared tools or equipment; it is executed by an ordinary citizen who may or may not act individually and without the necessity for active connection with an organized group; and it is carried out in such a way as to involve a minimum danger of injury, detection, and reprisal… Try to commit acts for which large numbers of people could be responsible.” Continue reading →
The Way of Beauty: Five Meditations for Spiritual Transformation
by François Cheng
François Cheng is a Chinese-French writer who references art and language from both cultures as well as Taoism in his discussion of beauty. Cheng presents some interesting ideas, particularly in the fourth and fifth meditations, within an overall esoteric and meandering text.
My favorite thought from this book is the idea of beauty as an experience as opposed to an attribute. “True beauty does not reside only in what is already manifest as beauty… It is a becoming, and the dimension of spirit or soul is vital to it… Beauty is always a becoming, an advent, if not to say an epiphany… Beauty implies interconnectedness, interaction, an encounter between the elements that constitute an occurrence of beauty, between the beauty present and the gaze that beholds it.” Continue reading →
Nolo’s Quick LLC: All You Need to Know About Limited Liability Companies
by Anthony Mancuso
“The limited liability company (LLC) is a relatively new business ownership structure that combines the best features of the corporation and the partnership. It gives small business owners corporate-style protection from personal liability while retaining the pass-through income tax treatment enjoyed by sole proprietorships (the legal term for one-person businesses) and partnerships.” LLC owners are called members.
To determine if an LLC is the best fit for your business, the author explains the advantages and disadvantages of various business structures in comparison to LLCs, including sole proprietorship, general partnership, limited partnership, C corporation, S corporation, RLLP, Series LLP, L3C, and benefit corporations. Continue reading →
The Take-Charge Patient: How You Can Get the Best Medical Care
by Martine Ehrenclou
Being a take-charge patient is about being a proactive member of your health care team. The book includes advice on primary care and specialist physician visits, avoiding medication errors, surgeries and hospital stays, patient advocates, and some tips on dealing with insurance and billing.
Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill
by Matthieu Ricard
Matthieu Ricard gave up a career in cellular genetics at the Institut Pasteur to study Buddhism in the Himalayas. In this book he shares his wisdom about happiness drawing from thirty-five years of studying Buddhism and psychology.
“A change, even a tiny one, in the way we manage our thoughts and perceive and interpret the world can significantly change our existence. Changing the way we experience transitory emotions leads to a change in our moods and to a lasting transformation of our way of being.” Continue reading →