2015 Wall Street Reading List

A collection of the Wall Street Reading List's best business books published in 2015.

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Superforecasting

Philip E. Tetlock
Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction is a book written by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner that explores the principles and practices of forecasting, and how individuals and organizations can improve their ability to make accurate predictions. The book is based on a decade of research conducted by Tetlock and his team at the Good Judgment Project, a collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), and a group of experts from various fields. One of the key findings of the research is that individuals who are able to consistently make accurate forecasts, or "superforecasters," possess certain traits and follow specific strategies that set them apart from other forecasters. These traits include an open-minded and curious approach to problem solving, a willingness to revise and update their views based on new evidence, and the ability to recognize and overcome their own biases. The book identifies several strategies that superforecasters use to improve their accuracy, such as using diverse sources of information, breaking problems down into smaller parts, and using probabilistic thinking. In addition to discussing the characteristics and strategies of superforecasters, the book also examines how organizations can use forecasting to make better decisions and improve their performance. The authors argue that forecasting can be a valuable tool for organizations to identify and mitigate risks, allocate resources more effectively, and improve the alignment of their goals and strategies. They also offer practical guidance on how to develop and nurture the skills of superforecasters within organizations, and how to create a culture that values and encourages accurate forecasting.

Zero to One

Peter Thiel
"Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future" is a book written by Peter Thiel, a venture capitalist and entrepreneur. In the book, Thiel shares his insights on how to build successful startups and create new technologies that can change the world. He argues that the most important task for entrepreneurs is to create something new and valuable, rather than simply trying to compete with existing companies. The book is divided into several chapters, each of which covers a different aspect of startup creation and growth. Thiel discusses the importance of monopoly, the need to focus on a niche market and how to scale a business. He also covers the challenges of raising capital, recruiting talent, and creating a company culture. Thiel also provides advice on how to think strategically and make bold decisions, emphasizing the importance of having a long-term vision for your startup. One of the main themes of the book is the importance of innovation and the creation of new technologies that can have a significant impact on the world. Thiel argues that the most successful startups are those that create something truly new and valuable, rather than just copying existing ideas. He also provides a framework for identifying opportunities for innovation and shares examples from some of the most successful companies in recent history. The book also serves as a guide for entrepreneurs, providing advice on how to navigate the startup ecosystem, and how to build a sustainable and profitable business. Thiel also offers his perspective on the future of technology and how startups can capitalize on emerging trends.

Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits

Philip A. Fisher
"Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits" is a book written by Philip A. Fisher, a renowned investor, and investment advisor. The book, first published in 1958, is considered a classic in the field of investing and has been praised for its timeless insights and advice. The book provides a comprehensive guide to investing in common stocks, with a focus on long-term growth. Fisher argues that the key to successful investing is to find good companies and hold on to them for the long-term. He emphasizes the importance of thorough research, and provides a framework for analyzing the potential of a company. Fisher’s approach to investing emphasizes the importance of understanding a company's business and management, rather than relying solely on financial statements. He provides a checklist of factors to consider when researching a company, including the strength of its management team, the quality of its products, and its competitive position in the market. The book also covers the importance of growth and the impact it has on the stock price and return. Fisher believes that growth is essential to the long-term success of a company and its shareholders. He explains how to evaluate the growth prospects of a company, and how to determine whether the price of its stock is consistent with those prospects. Fisher also stresses the importance of patience and discipline when investing. He argues that investors should focus on long-term growth, and avoid trying to time the market or chasing hot stocks. He also emphasizes the importance of diversification and the benefits it can bring to an investment portfolio.

Sapiens

Yuval Noah Harari
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is a book written by Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari and published in 2011. The book explores the history of the human species from the emergence of Homo sapiens in Africa to the present day. In Sapiens, Harari argues that the key to understanding human history is to look at the ways in which our species has used its unique ability to believe in things that exist purely in the imagination, such as gods, nations, and money. He suggests that these imagined realities have shaped the course of human history more than any other factor, and that they continue to shape our lives in profound ways. Throughout the book, Harari takes a sweeping, interdisciplinary approach to the subject, drawing on anthropology, biology, history, and economics to paint a comprehensive picture of human civilization. He covers a wide range of topics, including the agricultural revolution, the rise and fall of empires, the development of science and technology, and the impact of globalization. Sapiens has been widely praised for its accessible, engaging style and its thought-provoking insights into the human experience. It has become a global bestseller and has been translated into more than 50 languages.

The Alchemy of Finance

George Soros
The Alchemy of Finance is a classic book on investing and financial markets written by George Soros, one of the most successful investors and philanthropists of our time. In the book, Soros shares his thoughts on the principles that have guided his financial decisions and the lessons he has learned from his experience as a trader and investor. Soros is known for his successful currency trades, and in The Alchemy of Finance, he discusses the role of reflexivity in financial markets. Reflexivity refers to the idea that market participants' expectations and actions can influence the fundamentals of a market, leading to self-reinforcing cycles of rising or falling prices. Soros argues that reflexivity is a key factor that contributes to the unpredictability and fallibility of financial markets. In addition to discussing reflexivity, Soros also offers insights on how to develop a successful investment strategy. He emphasizes the importance of being able to adapt to changing market conditions and being open to new ideas and perspectives. He also advises readers to be mindful of the inherent risks and uncertainties of investing, and to approach markets with a sense of humility and caution.

Misbehaving

Richard H. Thaler
Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics is a book by Richard H. Thaler, a Nobel laureate in economics. The book is a history of behavioral economics, which is a field of economics that incorporates insights from psychology and other social sciences into the study of economic decision-making. In Misbehaving, Thaler argues that traditional economics models, which assume that people are rational and always make optimal decisions, are incomplete and do not accurately capture how people actually behave. He uses examples and anecdotes from his own research and that of other behavioral economists to illustrate how people often behave irrationally and make decisions that are not in their best interest. Thaler also discusses the implications of behavioral economics for public policy, arguing that understanding how people actually behave can help policymakers design better policies that are more effective at achieving their goals.

Red Notice

Bill Browder
Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice is a non-fiction book by Bill Browder, an American-born hedge fund manager who became one of the largest foreign investors in Russia in the 1990s. The book tells the story of Browder's experiences in Russia, including the murder of his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and the campaign to expose the corrupt officials responsible for Magnitsky's death. The book begins with an introduction to Browder's background and his early experiences in Russia, including the challenges he faced as a foreign investor in a country with a murky legal system. It then delves into the story of Magnitsky, a young Russian lawyer who was hired by Browder's company to investigate a massive tax fraud scheme that had been perpetrated against it. As Magnitsky delved deeper into the case, he uncovered evidence of widespread corruption among Russian officials, and was subsequently arrested and imprisoned. Despite being in poor health, Magnitsky was subjected to brutal treatment in prison and died after being denied medical care. In the wake of Magnitsky's death, Browder dedicated himself to seeking justice for his lawyer and bringing the corrupt officials responsible for his death to account. He embarked on a campaign to expose the wrongdoing and to lobby for the passage of the Magnitsky Act, a set of sanctions against Russian officials involved in human rights abuses. Despite facing significant obstacles and opposition, Browder was ultimately successful in his efforts, and the Magnitsky Act was passed by the US Congress in 2012. Red Notice is a gripping tale of corporate intrigue and personal tragedy, and has been widely praised for its compelling narrative and powerful message. It is a testament to the courage and determination of one man in the face of overwhelming odds, and a call to action for those who seek to expose corruption and injustice wherever it may be found.

The Economics of Inequality

Thomas Piketty
"The Economics of Inequality" is a book written by French economist Thomas Piketty that delves into the topic of economic inequality and its impact on society. The book is notable for its extensive use of historical data, which allows Piketty to provide a long-term perspective on the evolution of income and wealth inequality. In the book, Piketty argues that inequality is a fundamental aspect of capitalist economies and that it has increased significantly in many countries over the past few decades. He explores the causes of this trend, including technological change, globalization, and government policies, and discusses the consequences of inequality for social mobility and economic growth. Piketty also considers the role of inheritance in shaping economic inequality and examines the ways in which different societies have attempted to address the issue through taxation and other policies. Throughout the book, he presents a wealth of evidence and analysis to support his arguments, making it an important resource for understanding the economics of inequality.

Elon Musk

Ashlee Vance
"Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future" is a comprehensive biography of the enigmatic entrepreneur and innovator Elon Musk, written by Ashlee Vance. In this book, Vance provides an in-depth look at the life and career of one of the most influential and ambitious figures of our time. The book begins with a look at Musk's childhood in South Africa, where he was raised by a father who was both brilliant and often absent, and a mother who was fiercely protective and supportive. Vance then follows Musk as he moves to Canada, attends college in the United States, and begins his career as a tech entrepreneur. He covers Musk's early days as the co-founder of PayPal and the lessons he learned from that experience, as well as his decision to tackle even bigger problems in the form of electric cars and space travel. The author conducted multiple interviews with Musk over a period of several years and spoke with many of his friends, family members, colleagues, and competitors to gain a comprehensive understanding of his character and the inner workings of his companies. The book covers Musk's passion for technology and innovation, his ambitious goals for space exploration and clean energy, and the challenges he faced along the way. In this book, the author goes behind the scenes to uncover the truth about the business and the inner workings of Tesla and SpaceX, the true story behind his public image, and even the personal and family struggles that he has had to face. The book also takes an honest look at Musk's mistakes and setbacks, and how he has learned from them and continue to move forward.

Extreme Ownership

Jocko Willink
"Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win" is a leadership book written by former Navy SEALs Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. The book is based on their experiences as SEALs and the leadership principles they learned during their time in the military. It is written to provide insights and actionable advice on how to lead and win in any context, whether it be in business, at home, or on the battlefield. The book's main concept is "extreme ownership," which is the idea that leaders must take complete responsibility for their actions and the actions of their team. The authors argue that this mindset is necessary for success in any endeavor, as it allows leaders to truly understand their role and make decisions that are in the best interest of their team and mission. The book emphasizes that leaders who take extreme ownership are not afraid to admit their mistakes, take accountability for their actions, and make the hard decisions needed to move forward. The book covers a range of topics related to leadership, including how to take ownership of a problem, how to lead in high-stress situations, and how to build and maintain a successful team. It also discusses the importance of clear communication and decision-making, as well as the role of discipline and humility in effective leadership. Through real-world examples and anecdotes from their time as SEALs, the authors provide a unique and powerful perspective on leadership. They share stories of success and failure and provide insights into how they were able to lead their teams to victory in some of the most challenging situations imaginable.