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What David Is Reading

American Amnesia:

HOW THE WAR ON GOVERNMENT LED US TO FORGET WHAT MADE AMERICA PROSPER
Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson
Sometimes one simply must read books they disagree with to challenge their own views, or to be better equipped to deal with the arguments they most find unsettling. This book was painful to read in that so much of its underlying presuppositions are so horrifically contrary to the classical liberalism I hold dear, and yet truth be told the book was fair, honest, and in some cases enlightening. Now, it was also almost entirely wrong, but I am better off for having read it.
The Hour of Fate:
THEODORE ROOSEVELT, JP MORGAN, AND THE BATTLE TO TRANSFORM AMERICAN CAPITALISM
Susan Berfield
For any paying attention, our economic and political system seem hell-bent on relitigating and re-discovering various complexities of large and powerful businesses, and what limits there ought to be on the wealth and the power of these behemoths. Easy answers are not going to be found, but one thing is clear to me – those who have a better understanding of the history behind our previous grappling with these issues will be more prepared to understand the present environment. One will be struck in reading this book how much things have changed since the early 1900’s, and one will be struck by how much things are still the same.
Wild Company:
THE UNTOLD STORY OF BANANA REPUBLIC
Mel and Patricia Ziegler
I am a sucker for business biographies, especially underdog stories and rags to riches stories and all that other American dream stuff. And even when the author/self-made gazillionaire/entrepreneur themselves protests to loathe the ladder that they climbed, I find these stories inspiring (and their protests comical). The story of how a writer and an illustrator were able to start buying throwaway military garb and “style it” and “sell it” – eventually building one of the dominant clothing brands of the last generation – is really quite remarkable. And their contempt for the “corporate buyers” who funded their scale and expansion is equally remarkable, as much for its lack of self-awareness as anything else.
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 INTELLIGENT 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.

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