“Devil take the Hindmost: A history of financial speculation” by Edward Chancellor
Tragic, exuberant and somewhat unchanged; there are probably no other place where history often repeated itself, other than the financial market. And in “Devil Take the Hindmost”, the history of financial market speculation is being brought back to life, through Edward Chancellor’s exquisite writing.
Written in the pages of the book, there were once a Publicani in the Roman Empire era on 2nd century B.C., the primitive form of financial market in Hotel Des Bourses in 16th century Antwerp, and the Tulip Mania in 1630s Netherlands. There were also the eras of Stockjobbing in London’s Exchange Alley, the infamous South Sea Bubble of 1720 where Sir Isaac Newton lost a fortune, and the famous 1929 Great Depression. And there were of course the Masters of the Universe and the Big Swinging Dicks of the 1980s, the Asian Crisis in 1997 and the astounding story of Long Term Capital Management.
With stories from Europe to US, from Japan to Nicaragua, from Indonesia to Mongolia, the book also describes the political and economic complexity of each era, and the irrational human behaviour that has never really changed since the beginning of time. But most significantly now than ever, when it was written in 1998, the book pointed out the root causes of what 10 years later would be known as the Global Financial Crisis. Bottom line, it’s a must read book, especially for market practitioners.
“The Winning Investment Habits of Warren Buffett & George Soros: Harness the Investment Genius of the World’s Richest Investors” by Mark Tier
Based on an extensive amount of research, the author identified 23 winning investment habits that are shared by ALL master investors, even as diverse as (conservative) Warren Buffett and (speculator) George Soros.
In the early chapters of the book, the author began by describing the 7 deadly investment sins, which would make 70% of the things we see or read in CNBC and Financial Times looks irrational. Then he writes in forensic detail each 23 winning investment habits, with an emphasis on psychological factors and the vital role of personalized investment system/strategy.
I instantly fell in love with this book as soon as I read the first few pages. And I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about investing/trading, or for those who simply love reading books on financial market.
“Traders, Guns and Money: Knowns and unknowns in the dazzling world of derivatives” by Satyajit Das
This book is like the greatest hits compilation of the derivative market scandals. It’s fast, funny and viciously juicy. Two thumbs up for Das! My favourite bit: The lawyer’s pencil-sharpening Zen moment lol.
“Losing My Virginity – the Autobiography” by Richard Branson
I never thought that I would finish reading this “thick book with small printings.” But quite the contrary. Right after I read the very first page, I was hooked to Richard Branson’s roller coaster life story, and finished the book very quickly.
From fooling around with the principle’s daughter during school, to running a small hippie music store above a barber shop; to his crazy record-breaking adventures, and indeed to the phenomenal success of the Virgin Group; this book tells it all to the very naughty details. All in all, it’s a very fun book to read.
“Money Masters of Our Time” by John Train
This is an excellent book that cover detailed biographies, and more importantly the trading strategies, of the biggest names in financial market, such as Benjamin Graham, Philip Fisher, Warren Buffett, Jim Rogers, George Soros, Julian Robertson, Peter Lynch and John Templeton, to mention a few. Need I say more?
“Awaken the Giant Within : How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!” By Anthony Robbins
Several paragraphs simply could not describe the magnitude of this book. Since the first time I read it when I was a teenager, this book has given me a tremendous understanding of life, the sense of who I am, and the psychological reasons behind every person’s behaviour. If I was an atheist, this would definitely be my bible.
“No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam” by Reza Aslan
In a world where there are so many misleading books on Islam, both by Muslim and non-Muslim scholars, this book is a vitally important book. It is fair, balanced and critically detailed, with seemingly endless list of credible references. The author’s deep understanding on other religions is also applauding, while the stories on the origins and evolution of Islam have finally given me the complete picture of my own religion.
Indeed, Reza Aslan seems to have read it all, from one extreme interpretation to the other, from the polytheist pre-Arabian era to the current state of monotheistic religions in the world. All of this, wrapped in a beautifully written language, and with flair of excellent writing skills.
“Liar’s Poker” by Michael Lewis
Liar’s Poker is by far the funniest book on Wall Street that I’ve ever read. It’s set in New York and London in the 1980s, where the writer built his career in the bond department of Salomon Brothers. Along with Michael Lewis’ progress from trainee, to lowly geek and to Big Swinging Dicks, there are amusing stories to tell and larger-than-life characters that became 1980s classic tales. All of this described with great detail, sharp wit and humor, in an era when Salomon Brothers was probably the world’s most powerful investment bank.
“Adventure Capitalist: The ultimate road trip” by Jim Rogers
This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s a beautifully written book about the journey of the author, the Indiana Jones of Finance himself, through 116 countries in 3 years, which landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Within the adventurous journey, he encountered the mafias in Russia, nearly died in a blizzard in Iceland and was held captive by rebel soldiers in an African war-zone. An amazing eye-opener book, it also provides us with in-depth analysis on the broad political-economic-and-social condition of each country that he visited. All of this combined with vast knowledge of history, world current affairs and his legendary investment analysis; which inspired me to alter my life to finance, start reading history and follow world current affairs.
I can’t believe that such amazing journey could occur, and so diverse knowledge can be written in a single book. But that’s the beauty of this book, and that’s why it’s number one in my personal chart.