2021 Wall Street Reading List

A collection of the Wall Street Reading List's best business books published in 2021.


The Changing World Order

Ray Dalio
A few years ago, renowned investor Ray Dalio began noticing a confluence of political and economic conditions he hadn’t encountered before in his fifty-year career. They included large debts and zero or near-zero interest rates in the world’s three major reserve currencies; significant wealth, political, and values divisions within countries; and emerging conflict between a rising world power (China) and the existing one (US). Seeking to explain the cause-effect relationships behind these conditions, he began a study of analogous historical times and discovered that such combinations of conditions were characteristic of periods of transition, such as the years between 1930 and 1945, in which wealth and power shifted in ways that reshaped the world order. Looking back across five hundred years of history and nine major empires—including the Dutch, the British, and the American—The Changing World Order puts into perspective the cycles and forces that have driven the successes and failures of all the world’s major countries throughout history. Dalio reveals the timeless and universal dynamics that were behind these shifts, while also offering practical principles for policymakers, business leaders, investors, and others operating in this environment.

Think Again

Adam Grant
In Think Again, Adam Grant invites readers to consider the benefits of being able to change one's mind and to approach life with a more open and flexible mindset. Drawing on a wide range of examples and research from fields such as psychology, economics, and history, Grant argues that the ability to think differently and revise our beliefs is essential for personal growth, professional success, and social progress. The book begins by exploring the ways in which we often resist change, including our tendency to anchor to our initial beliefs, our fear of being wrong, and our preference for confirmation bias. Grant shows how these biases can lead us to make flawed decisions and to close ourselves off to new ideas. He then offers strategies for overcoming these biases and becoming more open-minded, such as seeking out alternative viewpoints, questioning our own assumptions, and engaging in productive disagreement. Throughout the book, Grant presents a range of examples that illustrate the benefits of being able to think again. He discusses how individuals who are able to change their minds have achieved greater success in their careers, how companies that embrace change have outperformed their competitors, and how societies that are open to new ideas have made progress on issues such as civil rights and climate change. In addition to these examples, Grant also provides practical tools and techniques for cultivating a more flexible and adaptive mindset. He suggests ways to seek out diverse perspectives, to ask good questions, and to engage in constructive debate. He also provides tips for managing conflict and building stronger relationships with others.

The Allocator’s Edge

Phil Huber
The Allocator's Edge is a comprehensive guide to alternative investments, written for financial advisors, institutional allocators, and professional investors. Written by Phil Huber, the Chief Investment Officer of a multi-billion dollar wealth management firm, the book covers the history, current state, and future of alternative investments, including private equity, hedge funds, catastrophe reinsurance, real assets, non-traditional credit, alternative risk premia, digital assets, collectibles, and other novel assets. The book also provides detailed information on how to build durable and resilient portfolios that harness alternative assets, and how to sharpen the client communication skills needed to establish proper expectations and make the unfamiliar familiar. The book aims to provide the confidence and courage needed for professional investors to effectively understand, implement, and translate alternative investments for their clients.

The World For Sale

Javier Blas
The World for Sale is a comprehensive and engaging exploration of the history and importance of commodity markets. In this book, Javier Blas traces the evolution of commodity markets from their origins in ancient civilizations to the present day, and he examines the ways in which these markets have influenced economic development, political power dynamics, and societal change. One of the standout features of the book is its historical scope. Blas does an excellent job of tracing the development of commodity markets over time, and he offers a rich and detailed account of their evolution. He also delves into the role of commodity trading companies and the influence they have had on commodity markets and the global economy. In addition to its historical focus, The World for Sale is also a thought-provoking examination of the ways in which commodity markets shape the global economy and political landscape. Blas explores the ways in which commodity markets have influenced economic development and political power dynamics, and he raises important questions about the potential consequences of our reliance on these markets.

The Bond King

Mary Childs
"The Bond King" by Mary Childs is a biography of Bill Gross, who is known as the "Bond King" in the investment world. The book tells the story of how Gross turned from a gambling college graduate into one of the most powerful and influential figures in the bond market. It details how he founded Pimco, one of the most successful and secretive investment firms, and how he helped reshape the financial system in the aftermath of the Great Recession. The book also covers Gross's rise to fame, the strategies that made him successful, and his downfall. The author, Mary Childs, argues that to understand the winners and losers of today's money game, one must understand the bond market and Bill Gross, the Bond King.

The Cult of We

Eliot Brown
The Cult of We: The Untold Story of WeWork's Rise and Fall, by Eliot Brown is a gripping tale of how the charismatic CEO of WeWork, Adam Neumann, sold a vision of a company worth $10 trillion, revolutionizing the office space and education, even colonizing Mars. But behind the hype, WeWork was burning through cash and as it prepared for an IPO, the entire enterprise came crashing down, vaporizing nearly $40 billion in value. Through exclusive access, Brown offers an in-depth look at the people and the financial system that led to one of corporate America's most spectacular meltdowns.


Daniel Kahneman
"Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment" is a book by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel laureate in economics and psychology. The book explores how humans make judgments and decisions under uncertainty and how these judgments can be influenced by various factors, such as noise in the information processing system or biases in the way we perceive and interpret events. In the book, Kahneman discusses how noise can interfere with the accuracy of our judgments and decisions, and how it can lead us to make mistakes or poor choices. He also looks at how individuals and organizations can improve their judgment and decision-making processes by reducing the impact of noise and addressing sources of bias.

The Caesars Palace Coup

Sujeet Indap
The Caesars Palace Coup is a book that tells the story of a Las Vegas casino heist executed by Wall Street tycoons. The book details how an MIT math wizard turned a once-sleepy casino chain into the biggest gaming company in the world, and how two of the most storied private equity firms in the world swooped in to take control in a blockbuster buyout. However, when the global economy went into its worst meltdown since the Great Depression, the two firms had to execute a series of brilliant, if edgy, transactions to keep their investment afloat while waiting for Sin City and Atlantic City to bounce back. The book also explores the battle between loan and bondholders and hedge funds over control of the company's casinos, and the impact of these actions on the industry.


Robin Wigglesworth
An insightful and captivating account of how a group of rebels and innovators took on the establishment and revolutionized the world of investing. From the early days of their unorthodox ideas to the current state of the industry, this book provides a comprehensive look into the history and impact of the index fund movement. Written by a leading financial journalist, it delves into the personal stories and motivations of the individuals who pushed for change and the challenges they faced along the way. This captivating narrative is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the forces that shape modern finance and the potential implications for the future.

Empire of Pain

Patrick Radden Keefe
Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty is a deeply reported and shocking exposé of the Sackler family and their role in the opioid epidemic. Written by award-winning author Patrick Radden Keefe, the book is an investigation of the rise and fall of one of the most powerful and secretive families in America, and how it was all built on a family tradition of deception and lies. The book begins by tracing the history of the Sackler family, who made their fortune by developing and marketing OxyContin, a highly addictive opioid pain medication. The book delves into how the family aggressively marketed the drug and how it quickly became a major contributor to the opioid epidemic, which has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in the United States. In addition to examining the family's role in the opioid epidemic, the book also looks at the family's philanthropic efforts, which have supported many cultural institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum. The book explores how the family used their wealth and influence to shape the narrative around OxyContin, and how they were able to avoid accountability for the harm caused by the drug. Throughout the book, Keefe interviews former employees, patients, and family members of the Sacklers, as well as experts in the fields of medicine, law enforcement, and addiction. He combines this research with an examination of previously unseen documents to provide a comprehensive and deeply unsettling picture of the inner workings of the Sackler family. Empire of Pain is a powerful and essential book that shines a light on the dark side of the American dream and the human cost of corporate greed. It is a chilling and cautionary tale of a family that wielded immense power and influence but ultimately brought about its own downfall through their insatiable desire for wealth and control.

The Key Man

Simon Clark and Will Louch
The Key Man is a gripping story of how a charismatic and self-made business leader, Arif Naqvi, founder of Abraaj, a Dubai-based private-equity firm, was able to convince the global elite to invest in his impact investments with the promise of making money and doing good. The book, written by Simon Clark and Will Louch, is based on extensive research and hundreds of documents, and exposes the fraud and racketeering that took place at Abraaj and how it duped investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars. It also shines a light on the efforts to clean up global capital flows, and the challenges faced by regulators, investors, and citizens in understanding the opaque private equity industry.

The Contrarian

Max Chafkin
The Contrarian: The Story of Peter Thiel is a biography of the billionaire venture capitalist and entrepreneur, Peter Thiel. Written by Max Chafkin, the book traces Thiel's life and worldview, from his upbringing as the child of immigrant parents to his founding of PayPal and Palantir, early investment in Facebook and SpaceX, and relationships with fellow tech titans Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Eric Schmidt. The book also explores Thiel's efforts to export his values to the corridors of power beyond Silicon Valley, including funding the lawsuit that destroyed the blog Gawker and supporting far-right political candidates, notably Donald Trump for president in 2016. The Contrarian is an in-depth look at Thiel's life and impact on the tech industry, providing an incisive portrait of a tech industry whose explosive growth and power is both thrilling and fraught with controversy.

This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends

Nicole Perlroth
In This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends, Nicole Perlroth explores the vulnerabilities of our digital infrastructure and the ways in which hackers and cyber criminals are exploiting these vulnerabilities to wreak havoc. The book traces the history of cyber attacks and looks at the ways in which they are evolving, including the rise of nation-state hacking, the use of artificial intelligence to automate attacks, and the growing threat of ransomware. Perlroth also examines the efforts of cybersecurity experts and law enforcement to defend against these attacks. She discusses the challenges they face, including the complexity of modern digital systems, the constant evolution of attack techniques, and the limited resources available to defend against these threats. She also considers the ways in which individuals and organizations can protect themselves, including by adopting better security practices and by investing in more secure technologies. Through a combination of investigative reporting and personal narrative, This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends offers a compelling and sobering look at the dangers of our digital age. Perlroth writes with authority and clarity, and she presents a nuanced and well-rounded view of the threats we face and the efforts being made to defend against them. Whether you're a cybersecurity professional or simply someone who is interested in the topic, this book is a must-read.

Lying for Money

Dan Davies
In Lying for Money, financial journalist Dan Davies delves into the shadowy world of financial fraud and the people who perpetrate it. From Ponzi schemes and insider trading to elaborate scams and corporate deception, Davies examines the many different forms of financial fraud and the often complex tactics used by fraudsters to deceive investors and steal money. Through a series of case studies and interviews with experts, Davies reveals the motivations and tactics of fraudsters, and the ways in which they are able to manipulate the system to their advantage. He also explores the role of regulators and law enforcement in detecting and prosecuting financial fraud, and the impact it can have on individuals and the economy as a whole. In addition to providing a fascinating look at the inner workings of financial fraud, Lying for Money also offers practical insights and advice for investors looking to protect themselves from being duped by unscrupulous actors.

Rebellion, Rascals, and Revenue

Michael Keen
Rebellion, Rascals, and Revenue is a book that provides a historical perspective on taxation and how it has evolved over time. Written by two leading authorities on taxation, Michael Keen and Joel Slemrod, the book takes readers on a tour through various episodes in tax history, both preposterous and dramatic, from ancient times to the present day. The book covers a wide range of topics such as the British rebellion in Sierra Leone over a tax on huts, the cut in the tax on tea in 18th century Britain, and the scandals of the Panama Papers. The book also explores how past tax systems have similarities to current tax systems, and how history can provide clues to solving the tax problems of today. The book is described as entertaining and informative, and it is intended to provide readers with a new perspective on the subject of taxation.


Luke Burgis
Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life by Luke Burgis is a book that explores the concept of mimetic desire and its impact on human behavior and society. The author argues that mimetic desire, which is the tendency to want what others want, plays a significant role in shaping our desires, relationships, and interactions with others. The book delves into the psychological and social aspects of mimetic desire and how it can lead to both positive and negative outcomes. It covers the ways in which mimetic desire can drive innovation and progress, as well as how it can lead to destructive behaviors such as envy, rivalry, and aggression. The author uses real-world examples to illustrate the ways in which mimetic desire plays out in different aspects of our lives, from personal relationships to politics and business. Throughout the book, the author provides insights on how to navigate the influence of mimetic desire and how to use it to our advantage. He provides practical advice for individuals, organizations and society on how to harness mimetic desire for positive outcomes, as well as how to identify and manage negative outcomes. The book is written in an engaging style, making it accessible to a wide range of readers, including those with little or no background in psychology or sociology. It is an insightful and thought-provoking work that provides a deeper understanding of human behavior and the dynamics of social interactions.


David Epstein
In Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, David Epstein challenges the notion that success in any field requires early specialization and argues that, in fact, a diverse range of experiences and skills can be more valuable in today's rapidly changing world. Through a series of case studies and research, Epstein demonstrates that people who are able to adapt to new situations and learn new skills quickly are more successful than those who focus narrowly on one specific area of expertise. The book delves into a variety of fields, including sports, music, and business, to examine the role of specialization and the ways in which a broad range of skills and knowledge can lead to success. Epstein also discusses the ways in which education and the work environment can either support or hinder the development of a range of skills and knowledge. In addition to offering a compelling argument for the value of a broad and varied approach to learning and career development, Range also provides practical advice for how to cultivate a range of skills and experiences, including the importance of taking on a variety of challenges and seeking out diverse learning opportunities.

The Premonition

Michael Lewis
"The Premonition: A Pandemic Story" is a book by Michael Lewis that delves into the origins and global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The book begins by tracing the spread of the virus from its origins in Wuhan, China to its rapid spread around the world, and the various ways in which people and institutions responded to it. Through interviews with scientists, government officials, and everyday people, Lewis examines the factors that contributed to the rapid spread of the virus and the devastating consequences it had on individuals and societies. The book also explores the ways in which the pandemic exposed and exacerbated preexisting inequalities and injustices, particularly in terms of how it disproportionately affected marginalized communities. Lewis looks at how the pandemic has disrupted global systems and economies, and how it has forced people to adapt to new ways of living and working. In addition to discussing the immediate impact of the pandemic, the book also considers its long-term consequences and how it may shape the future. The Premonition is a thought-provoking and deeply insightful look at one of the most significant events of our time, and how it has forever changed the world we live in.

The Cold Start Problem

Andrew Chen
The Cold Start Problem is a book that examines the challenges that startups face in launching and scaling new products and services in the technology industry. Written by Andrew Chen, the book delves into the concept of "the network effect" and how it can be used to attract new users and drive viral growth. The book draws on the experiences of successful companies such as LinkedIn, Twitch, Zoom, Dropbox, Tinder, Uber, Airbnb and Pinterest to provide insights into how network effects can be created and leveraged to drive product success. It also includes practical frameworks and principles that can be applied to various products and industries, making it a valuable resource for entrepreneurs and startups looking to navigate the competitive tech landscape.

Safe Haven

Mark Spitznagel
In Safe Haven, Spitznagel argues that traditional investment strategies, which focus on maximizing returns while ignoring risks, are fundamentally flawed. Instead, he advocates for a safe haven approach, which focuses on protecting an investment portfolio from potential losses by using a variety of strategies and assets, such as bonds, gold, and options. Through real-world examples and historical data, Spitznagel shows how this approach can lead to higher returns and lower volatility over the long term. He also provides practical advice for investors on how to implement a safe haven strategy in their own portfolios. The book is aimed at professional investors, financial advisors, and anyone looking for a new perspective on risk management and portfolio construction.

An Ugly Truth

Sheera Frenkel
"An Ugly Truth" is a thought-provoking book by journalist Sheera Frenkel that delves into the impact of misinformation on our societies and politics, specifically the role of technology companies in spreading and amplifying false information. The book is a first-hand account of the author's experiences covering the intersection of technology and politics in some of the world's most troubled and polarized regions, including the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Frenkel provides an in-depth look at the ways in which misinformation is weaponized and used to sow discord and destabilize countries, often with devastating consequences. She details the various tactics used by state actors, political operatives, and others to spread false information, including the use of bots, troll farms, and other sophisticated tools. One of the key themes of the book is the role of technology companies in the spread of misinformation. Frenkel examines the policies and practices of some of the world's largest tech companies and provides a critical examination of the ways in which these companies have allowed misinformation to flourish on their platforms. She also raises important questions about the responsibilities of these companies and the potential consequences of their actions. An Ugly Truth is not just about the negative effects of misinformation, but also about how people and institutions are fighting back, investigating and debunking false stories, and working to create a more informed and engaged citizenry. This book is not just for people interested in technology and politics but for anyone who wants to understand the role of misinformation in shaping our societies and the impact it can have on our democracies. Frenkel's writing is clear, and her reporting is thorough, making it accessible to a wide range of readers. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the inner workings of the disinformation ecosystem and the ways in which it can be combated.

Amazon Unbound

Brad Stone
Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire is a nonfiction book written by journalist Brad Stone. The book, which was published in 2021, is an in-depth look at the history of Amazon and its founder Jeff Bezos. It covers the company's early days as an online bookstore, its rapid expansion into new markets and products, and its current status as one of the most powerful and influential companies in the world. The book provides an inside look at how Bezos built Amazon from a small start-up into a global empire, through the eyes of the people who were there at the time, including early employees, executives, and competitors. It also covers the company's culture and its corporate strategy, and how it has shaped the world of online retail. The book also explores the impact of Amazon's growth on the broader economy, including its effect on brick-and-mortar retailers, its impact on job markets, and its role in the development of the gig economy. The author also examines the criticism that Amazon received for its business practices, treatment of its workers and its lobbying efforts. The book also examines the role that Jeff Bezos plays in the company, and how he manages to keep pushing Amazon forward despite the challenges it faces. The author also examines the effect of his personal life on the company and on the industry.

The Delusions Of Crowds

William J. Bernstein
The Delusions of Crowds: Why People Believe They Can't Be Wrong, by William J. Bernstein, is a thought-provoking book that examines the psychological and social forces that drive collective delusions and mass movements. Bernstein, a renowned investment expert and historian, uses a combination of historical analysis and contemporary examples to explore the ways in which people's biases and emotions can lead them astray. Throughout the book, Bernstein investigates a wide range of delusions and mass movements, including financial bubbles, cults, and political ideologies. He shows how these phenomena are often driven by a mix of optimism, conformity, and groupthink, and how they can have far-reaching consequences for individuals and society. At the same time, Bernstein also offers a hopeful message. He argues that, by understanding the forces that drive collective delusions, we can better guard against them and make more informed and rational decisions. He provides practical tools and strategies for avoiding the pitfalls of groupthink and for thinking for ourselves.

Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism

Anne Case
Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism is a non-fiction book written by Anne Case, an economist and Princeton University professor. The book examines the rising mortality rates among working-class Americans and explores how economic and social changes have contributed to this trend. The book argues that the increasing number of deaths from suicide, drug overdose, and alcoholism among working-class Americans are not just the result of individuals' personal problems but are also symptoms of deeper economic and social issues that are affecting the working class. Case suggests that the decline of secure, well-paying jobs, and the erosion of social protections have led to a feeling of hopelessness and despair among working-class Americans. The book provides a detailed examination of the economic, social and political changes that have contributed to the rise in deaths of despair among working-class Americans, and it highlights the impact of the declining of the labor share of the income, decreasing relative wages of low-skilled workers, of the erosion of social protections and the rising income inequality. Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism is a powerful and thought-provoking book that provides a fresh perspective on the current economic and social challenges facing America. The book is written for both experts and general readers, and it's a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the reasons behind the working-class distress, the future of capitalism, and how to create a more equitable and humane society.

The Price You Pay for College

Ron Lieber
"The Price You Pay for College" is the essential guide for anyone navigating the complex world of higher education financing. Written by New York Times' "Your Money" columnist Ron Lieber, this book is a comprehensive and practical resource for both parents and students. In "The Price You Pay for College," Lieber provides a clear and candid look at the various options for paying for college, including scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs. He offers practical advice on how to compare financial aid offers, make the most of tax benefits, and avoid common mistakes. Lieber also delves into the difficult topic of student loan debt, providing readers with the tools they need to understand and manage their loans. Beyond the nuts and bolts of paying for college, Lieber also explores the broader issues surrounding the high cost of higher education, including the impact of college on career prospects and lifetime earning potential. He also challenges readers to think critically about the true value of a college degree and the role of higher education in society. With "The Price You Pay for College," parents and students can make informed decisions about the most important investment of their lives. This book is an essential read for anyone looking to finance a college education and should be on the bookshelf of anyone planning for or currently in college. This book is published in 2021, and it's for anyone who is trying to figure out how to afford college, whether you're a parent, student, counselor, or grandparent. This book should help you gain confidence in your choices and clarity on the issues that matter most in this process.