2018 Wall Street Reading List

A collection of the Wall Street Reading List's best business books published in 2018.

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Mastering the Market Cycle

Howard Marks
In Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side, Howard Marks, the co-founder and co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, provides a comprehensive guide to understanding and navigating market cycles. With decades of experience in the investment industry, Marks shares his insights on how to recognize the stages of a market cycle, how to identify mispricings, and how to position a portfolio to take advantage of opportunities and manage risk. The book begins by discussing the importance of recognizing that market cycles exist and that they can have a significant impact on investment returns. Marks explains that market cycles are driven by changes in investor psychology and that they can last for years or even decades. He argues that investors who understand and anticipate these cycles are better able to make informed decisions about when to buy and sell assets. Throughout the book, Marks provides a wealth of practical advice for investors of all levels. He discusses how to identify mispricings, which can occur when the market is over- or under-valuing an asset, and how to position a portfolio to take advantage of these opportunities. He also provides guidance on how to manage risk, including how to diversify a portfolio and how to use financial instruments such as options to hedge against potential losses. In addition to offering practical advice, the book also includes numerous examples and case studies to illustrate key concepts and help readers understand how to apply the principles discussed in the book.

Principles

Ray Dalio
"Principles" is a comprehensive guide to living and working effectively, written by one of the world's most successful investors and entrepreneurs, Ray Dalio. In the book, Dalio shares the principles that he has developed and refined over the course of his career, which have helped him to achieve both personal and professional success. One of the key themes of "Principles" is the importance of clear thinking and effective communication. Dalio emphasizes the need to gather as much information as possible, think critically about it, and express one's ideas clearly and concisely. He also stresses the importance of being open to different perspectives and continually learning from others. Another key theme is the value of setting high standards for oneself and one's team. Dalio argues that by setting high standards, we can push ourselves to be our best and achieve our goals. He also emphasizes the need for a culture of radical transparency, where team members are encouraged to speak up and share their thoughts and ideas without fear of reprisal. In addition to discussing these principles, Dalio also addresses the role that they play in decision-making, conflict resolution, and achieving one's goals. He offers practical advice on how to apply these principles in a variety of situations, and provides examples from his own experience to illustrate his points.

The Value of Everything

Mariana Mazzucato
The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy" is a book written by economist Mariana Mazzucato and published in 2018. In the book, Mazzucato critiques the conventional wisdom about how wealth is created and distributed in the economy, and argues for a new approach to economic policy. One of the key arguments Mazzucato makes in the book is that the current economic system is heavily skewed in favor of capitalists and against workers and other stakeholders, such as the state, which plays a crucial role in funding and supporting innovation. Mazzucato argues that the state, through investments in education, infrastructure, and research and development, has often been a key driver of innovation and economic growth, yet is not properly acknowledged or compensated for its role. Mazzucato also critiques the current understanding of value and value creation in the economy, arguing that it is overly focused on short-term profit maximization rather than long-term value creation. She suggests that a more holistic and inclusive understanding of value, which takes into account the contributions of all stakeholders, is needed in order to create a more equitable and sustainable economy. Throughout the book, Mazzucato provides examples and case studies to support her arguments, including the development of the internet, the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, and the transition to a green economy. She also offers suggestions for how to create a more fair and equitable economy, such as through investments in education, infrastructure, and research and development, and through the use of policies such as tax reform and public-private partnerships.

Thinking in Bets

Annie Duke
In Thinking in Bets, Annie Duke explores the role of decision-making in our lives and offers strategies for making better decisions. The book argues that many of our decisions are made under conditions of uncertainty, and that we can improve the quality of our decisions by learning to think in terms of probabilities rather than certainties. Duke presents a range of examples to illustrate the importance of thinking in bets, including examples from poker, business, and everyday life. One of the key themes of the book is the importance of separating luck from skill. Duke argues that many of our decisions involve an element of luck, and that we can improve the quality of our decisions by understanding the role of luck and being aware of its influence on our outcomes. She also discusses the importance of understanding the role of intuition in decision-making and offers strategies for improving our intuition. In addition to these themes, Duke also provides practical tools and techniques for improving our decision-making skills. These tools and techniques include using mental models to better understand complex situations, learning to recognize and avoid common decision-making biases, and developing a more strategic approach to decision-making. Throughout the book, Duke offers clear and engaging explanations of these tools and techniques and provides examples to illustrate how they can be applied in practice.

Billion Dollar Whale

Tom Wright and Bradley Hope
"Billion Dollar Whale" is a non-fiction book written by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, published in 2018. The book tells the story of Jho Low, a young and enigmatic financier from Malaysia, who orchestrated one of the largest and most audacious financial frauds in history. The book details Low's rise to power and the scheme he masterminded to launder billions of dollars from a state investment fund known as 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Low's scheme was an intricate web of shell companies, fake documents, and bribes that spanned across several countries and involved some of the world's largest financial institutions. The book provides a detailed account of how Low, and his associates managed to steal billions of dollars from the fund, which was established to spur economic development in Malaysia. The scheme went undetected for years, allowing Low and his accomplices to spend the money on lavish lifestyles, including the purchase of yachts, private jets, and real estate. They also used the money to fund Hollywood movies, buy art, and make political donations. The authors also explore the involvement of high-level politicians and international banks in the scandal, including the former Prime minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak. The authors reported how Low, and his associates used their connections with Najib to gain access to the fund, and how they used the proceeds to influence politics in Malaysia. The book also includes the role of some of the world's largest financial institutions like Goldman Sachs, who was hired to raise money for the fund, but later became embroiled in the scandal by using their services to launder the money. One of the most fascinating aspects of the book is the authors' exploration of the efforts of investigative journalists and government officials to uncover the truth behind the scandal. The book provides a behind-the-scenes look at the complex and often dangerous work of uncovering corruption on a global scale, and the challenges faced by those who sought to bring Low and his accomplices to justice.

Give People Money

Annie Lowrey
"Give People Money: How a Universal Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work, and Remake the World" is a book by journalist Annie Lowrey that delves deep into the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) and its potential to address poverty, inequality, and the future of work. The book provides a comprehensive and thought-provoking examination of an increasingly relevant and controversial topic, which has been gaining attention in recent years. In the book, Lowrey explores the history of UBI and the various forms it has taken throughout the world, from ancient Athens to modern-day Finland. She examines the successes and failures of different UBI experiments, highlighting the economic and social impacts of providing a guaranteed income to all citizens. Lowrey uses real-life examples to illustrate the positive effects of UBI on people's lives, such as reducing poverty, improving education and healthcare, and promoting entrepreneurship. The book also takes a critical look at the challenges and criticisms of UBI, such as concerns about the feasibility, cost, and impact on the labor market. Lowrey presents a compelling case for UBI as a way to empower individuals and improve overall well-being, while also addressing the potential downsides of such a policy. Overall, "Give People Money" is a comprehensive and informative read that offers a fresh perspective on UBI and its potential to address poverty and inequality, while also providing a roadmap for how to implement such a policy. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in economics, social policy, and the future of work.

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe

Dr. Steven Novella
The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake is a non-fiction book by Dr. Steven Novella, published in 2018. It is a guidebook for skeptical thinking and critical analysis, aimed at helping readers navigate the modern world of information and misinformation. The book covers a wide range of topics, including science, medicine, the paranormal, conspiracy theories, and more. Dr. Novella provides a thorough overview of the scientific method, and explains how it can be used to evaluate claims and separate fact from fiction. He also addresses common fallacies and cognitive biases that can lead people to believe in false or misleading information. One of the main themes of the book is the importance of critical thinking in today's world, where information is easily accessible but not always accurate. The author argues that by learning to think skeptically, readers can become better consumers of information and make more informed decisions. He also encourages readers to use their newfound skeptical skills to become advocates for science and reason in their communities.

The Fifth Risk

Michael Lewis
The Fifth Risk is a non-fiction book written by Michael Lewis that explores the various risks that the United States government faces, with a particular focus on the Trump administration. The book is structured around three main risks: the risk of ignorance, the risk of ideology, and the risk of incompetence. In the first section of the book, Lewis examines the risk of ignorance, discussing how the Trump administration showed little interest in understanding the inner workings of government agencies, and how this lack of understanding could potentially lead to disastrous consequences. The second section focuses on the risk of ideology, exploring how the Trump administration's political ideologies led to the neglect of important government functions and the pursuit of policies that were not based on sound scientific or economic principles. The final section of the book discusses the risk of incompetence, examining how the Trump administration's failure to properly staff key government positions and its lack of a cohesive policy agenda led to chaos and confusion within the government. Throughout the book, Lewis uses a range of examples, including the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Commerce, to illustrate the various risks facing the government and the potential consequences of neglecting these risks.

Factfulness

Hans Rosling
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, is a groundbreaking and thought-provoking book written by the late Hans Rosling, a world-renowned statistician, physician, and public speaker. The book offers a data-based perspective on global development and progress, challenging many of the commonly held beliefs about the state of the world and the direction in which it's heading. In the book, Rosling argues that people's perceptions of the world are often heavily influenced by what he calls "the overdramatic worldview," which leads us to believe that the world is worse than it actually is. He then proceeds to discuss ten instincts that he argues cause us to have a distorted view of the world, these include the Gap Instinct, the Negativity Instinct and the Straight-Line Instinct. By providing evidence to counter these misconceptions, Rosling aims to give readers a more accurate and balanced understanding of the world. The book is organized into chapters that address various issues related to global development, including poverty, health, education, and the environment. Rosling presents the latest data and statistics on these topics and uses them to paint a picture of the world that is often at odds with the gloomy, pessimistic view that many of us hold. Throughout the book, Rosling's writing is clear, engaging and approachable and he uses humor and anecdotes to make his points. He also uses interactive data visualization and images to provide a more holistic understanding of the facts. One of the key takeaways of the book is that the world is actually improving in many ways and the progress is often ignored by the media, which portray a different picture. Rosling encourages the readers to be more open-minded and to question their own assumptions and biases. He also encourages people to be more curious, skeptical, and fact-based when forming opinions and make decisions. Factfulness has received positive reviews from experts and readers alike, and it is considered a must-read for anyone looking to gain a better understanding of the world and the progress being made. It is a powerful call to action for readers to become more fact-based in their thinking, and to work towards creating a better future for all.

Skin in the Game

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Skin in the Game is a book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, published in 2018. It is a philosophical and practical guide to decision-making in uncertain situations, based on the idea that people should only make decisions if they are willing to bear the consequences of those decisions. The central argument of the book is that those who have "skin in the game" – that is, those who stand to gain or lose personally from the outcome of their actions – are more reliable and trustworthy than those who do not. According to Taleb, having skin in the game is a necessary condition for taking responsibility and being accountable for one's actions. The book covers a wide range of topics, including risk, probability, ethics, politics, and social justice. It draws on examples from a variety of fields, including economics, history, philosophy, and personal experience.

Atomic Habits

James Clear
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones is a self-help book by James Clear, first published in 2018. The book presents a practical framework for understanding and changing habits, with a focus on the small, atomic actions that make up our daily routines. The book argues that to change our lives, we should focus on changing our habits, one small step at a time. Clear presents a four-step process for building good habits and breaking bad ones: cue, craving, response, and reward. He explains how to create an environment that supports good habits, how to make bad habits less appealing, and how to make good habits more attractive. Clear also provides specific strategies for making positive change, such as the "Two-Minute Rule" (starting small and building up gradually) and the "Fogg Method" (making habits as simple and easy as possible). Additionally, he covers the role of identity in shaping habits, and encourages readers to view themselves as the kind of person who already possesses the habits they want to develop. Throughout the book, Clear uses a wide range of examples and stories to illustrate his points, drawing on research and personal experience. The book is filled with practical tips and tools for putting the concepts into action, it is easy to read, and it makes the complex subject of habits easy to understand. Clear presents his ideas in a clear, concise, and actionable way that makes it easy to implement. Critics have praised Atomic Habits as a practical and actionable guide to developing good habits and breaking bad ones. They noted that the author provides a clear roadmap for making positive changes and that the book's advice is actionable, easy to understand, and it helps to develop good habits that stick for the long term.

When the Wolves Bite

Scott Wapner
When the Wolves Bite is a thrilling exposé on the high-stakes battle between two of Wall Street's fiercest and most influential figures, Carl Icahn and Bill Ackman. As they navigate the cutthroat world of financial markets, they come head-to-head over a controversial nutritional supplement company, Herbalife. Their disagreement sets off a years-long feud, complete with secret backroom deals, public accusations, and billions of dollars in stock trades. The book provides an in-depth look into the psyche of these powerful men and the lengths they were willing to go to win this high-profile battle. Written by an author with unprecedented access to all the players, this book is both a gripping business story and a must-read for anyone interested in the world of finance and power.

The Bank That Lived a Little

Philip Augar
The Bank that Lived a Little is a detailed and engaging history of the investment bank Barings, which was founded in 1762 and, for much of its history, was considered one of the most prestigious and stable financial institutions in the world. Written by Philip Augar, a former investment banker and financial journalist, the book traces the rise and fall of Barings from its early days as a merchant bank financing the Industrial Revolution to its eventual collapse in 1995. Throughout the book, Augar examines the various challenges that Barings faced as it tried to adapt to a rapidly changing financial landscape in the late 20th century. These challenges included increased competition from newer, more nimble banks, as well as regulatory changes that made it more difficult for traditional investment banks to operate. Despite these challenges, Barings continued to pursue an aggressive growth strategy, making a series of high-risk investments and acquisitions that ultimately proved to be its downfall. At the center of the story is Nick Leeson, a young trader who was responsible for bringing down Barings through his reckless and fraudulent behavior. Leeson, who was working in the bank's Singapore office, made a series of unhedged trades that resulted in huge losses for the bank. When these losses came to light, they triggered a financial crisis that ultimately led to the bank's collapse.