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Good Reading -- December 2014

As in recent years, this last edition of the year will feature some "bonus" materials. I hope you find something useful, and here's wishing you a great end to 2014 and an even better 2015. - Phil


  • Reading List -- My updated list of the best books and articles that I've read on investing. As always, suggestions are welcome. I also made a point to read -- for the second, third or fourth time -- everything I previously ranked "1." I always like reading new books, but I still think that 90% or more of the wisdom in investing is contained in the best dozen or so books.

  • Investment Principles and Checklists -- A collection of principles, ideas, concepts and checklists compiled from great investors. I've distilled some of it into more usable form, but this is meant to be a resource, not a ready-to-go checklist. Actually creating your own tailored checklist is a key part of its usefulness.

  • Investing Quotations -- Selected quotes, snippets and soundbites, mostly from the same sources as above.


Here are the best books I read this year (all of which were previously mentioned in an email unless otherwise noted):

  • Business Adventures by John Brooks

  • Dream Big by Christiane Correa

  • Berkshire Beyond Buffett by Larry Cunningham

  • Double Your Profits in 6 Months or Less by Bob Fifer

  • Stress Test by Tim Geithner

  • Pride in Performance by Les Schwab

  • The Education of a Value Investor by Guy Spier

  • The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon -- I didn't read this when it came out last year, but it's pretty good. I wouldn't call it great, and Bezos's wife famously trashed it in a review. But the Amazon/Bezos story is so good and so important that the book is still worth reading. Here's a recent interview too.

  • Half Luck and Half Brains by Kemmons Wilson

Here are some great lists and reviews of other books:

  • The Surprising Books that Mentor Billionaires, Chess Prodigies... -- A great list of reading suggestions by Shane Parrish of Farnam Street. Here's a larger one and another running down the Financial Time's favorite list is here. And another profiling Tyler Cowen's nonfiction picks.

  • Best Books for Investors: A Short Shelf -- Jason Zweig lays out his excellent choices for investors of all stripes.

  • The Best Books of 2014 -- Amazon editors lay out their picks across a range of categories.

  • The 10 Best Books of 2014 and 100 Notable Books of 2014 -- More recommendations from the New York Times.

  • The Best Books I Read in 2014 -- Bill Gates gives his favorites.


  • Why Elizabeth Warren is wrong about Wall Street insiders -- While the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington is undesirable in many regards, I agree that the worst possible option is a regime of clueless, overmatched regulators.

  • Longreads Best of 2014 -- A list of every #1 article on the Longreads weekly email.

  • The Dozy Watchdogs -- This is a good history of accounting audits and a fairly balanced look at the problems they present today.

  • The 85 Most Disruptive Ideas in Our History -- I think it was just the editors of Bloomberg BusinessWeek that compiled the list and made the rankings, but regardless of the order or contents of the list this is pretty cool. The article itself is here.


  • "On the Psychology of Prediction" -- The recent collapse in the oil market reminded me of this article, which Kahneman has called his favorite.

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