Get
Smart

What David Is Reading

The Predator’s Ball:

THE INSIDE STORY OF DREXEL BURNHAM AND THE RISE OF THE JUNK BOND RAIDERS
Connie Bruck
2020 was a year that strongly reaffirmed the role that credit markets play in policymaker’s thinking and priorities. And Michael Milken was the 1980’s legend who has taught me more about credit markets than anyone else. If one ever needs a refresher in credit markets, Milken is worth reading. This book, though, is authored by a jaded Milken critic who felt that much of the 1980’s M&A boom was intrinsically dirty. Few people studying corporate America only from 1990-2020 actually understand what true “corporate raiding” was, and the 1980’s are a historical understanding must for people serious about navigating corporate finance in the 2020’s and beyond.
The Man Who Ran Washington:
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JAMES A. BAKER III
Peter Baker and Susan Glasser
The authors of this tour de force had a pretty big leg up before they typed a word of this book … that is, the subject. James Baker, still alive at age 90, is quite the tour de force himself, one of the most accomplished and significant men in American political history. But the husband-wife authors did a magnificent job bringing to the pages a gripping story of a person who is so unbelievably missed in American politics. A statesman, a pragmatist, an executioner, a grown-up – James Baker’s story can’t be recapped here, but you won’t regret reading it in this delightful book.
The Acquirer’s Multiple:
HOW THE BILLIONAIRE CONTRARIANS OF DEEP VALUE BEAT THE MARKET
Tobias E. Carlisle
Investors can make good returns following the crowd, running up a high momentum trade, and exiting before trouble ensues. But the greatest investors of all time have always done the opposite of that – running from the crowd, buying what has no momentum, and achieving great returns out of what the masses had left for the dead. Carlisle describes both the mentality and the mathematics of contrarianism in this short primer, and does it with flair.
Payback:
THE CONSPIRACY TO DESTROY MICHAEL MILKEN AND HIS FINANCIAL REVOLUTION
Daniel R. Fischel
I first read Fischel’s book years ago when I had begun my obsession with understanding Michael Milken. After reading Connie Bruck’s Predator’s Ball last month I had to re-read Fischel, if nothing else, for a rejuvenation of perspective that is pro-capital markets, and pro-financial innovation. Fischel is not just an author, and he wasn’t any kind of journalist. Unlike the pure journalists who sought fame and fortune tearing down Michael Milken (James Stewart at the top of that list), Fischel writes as an expert economist who clearly explains why ambitious politicians, ignorant journalists, and jealous Wall Street competitors sought to tear down Milken.
Always A Good Idea

THE CASE FOR DIVIDEND GROWTH

INVESTING IN A POST-CRISIS WORLD
David L. Bahnsen

It wouldn’t make sense for me to have a recommended investing book list and not include the book that serves as the core investing philosophy of The Bahnsen Group!

THE INTELIGENT INVESTOR

Benjamin Graham

The grandfather of value investing, Warren Buffett’s mentor, and the best explainer in history of buying a risk asset at a discount to the sum of its future cash flows!  Reading is believing …

FOOLED BY RANDOMNESS

Nassim Taleb

Not just in the investing world but in all of life, human nature causes us to mentally construct reasons and patterns for success, and allows us to be fooled by randomness, often to our own demise.  Chance, therefore, favors preparation.  And the quality of a choice can not be judged by the result – not if you care about the next time.

STOCKS FOR THE LONG RUN

Jeremy Siegel

More historical data than you may have signed up for, but this is a perfectly comprehensible book about the long-term reality of equity returns vs. other asset classes, and why that may be (i.e. the nature of the equity risk premium).  By long term, I mean, over 200 years of research is laid bare to make the case for a long-term equity bias.

ECONOMICS IN ONE LESSON

Henry Hazlitt

I can’t tell you how useful this book was to me at a very, very young age, in forming basic economic principles and understandings that would shape the foundation of what I believe about economic law and reality.

THE ESSAYS OF WARREN BUFFETT

LESSONS FOR CORPORATE AMERICA
Warren Buffett

This collection of essays from the oracle of Omaha, written over many decades, has become a vital addition to the libraries of not just investment advisors but corporate managers and business entrepreneurs.  Tremendous insights proven true over the test of time.

EXTRAORDINARY POPULAR DELUSIONS AND THE MADNESS OF CROWDS

Charles Mackay

If you are not a contrarian investor before you read this book, you will be after you read this book.  A historical instructive through the realities of human psychology and group think, and the disastrous investment results that can come about from those realities.

HUMAN ACTION

Ludwig Von Mises

It may be more philosophical than it is investment-application, but so much of my understanding of capital markets comes from my understanding of basic economics.  And this book many years ago taught me to understand human action as the core to understanding economics.  The calculations that serve at the core of human reasoning ultimately drive prosperity (and the preservation of civilization itself).  A few sentences can’t do justice to the richness of wisdom and profundity in this book.

David's Book Archive
Play Video
Play Video
Play Video
Play Video
Play Video
Play Video
Play Video
Play Video