Recommended Reading

This post is in response to inquiries about recommended reading. Other recommendations will be provided at a later date.

On May 25, 2016, the 'work thing' ended and I got my life back. This is when I made a commitment to exercise more regularly. I have kept that commitment and typically have daily ~2-hour high-intensity workouts.

My second commitment was to read more. I don't like fiction nor do I like audiobooks so this commitment has been a bit more of a struggle. I need to be more consistent as opposed to powering through a few books followed by a hiatus.

In Process

The first is ~700 pages and the second is ~800 pages. I have to read these books in 30-minute spurts because the font is so darn small.  A font between that used in these books and that in P.D. Eastman's Go, Dog. Go! would be nice. The font in The Prize is so small I need a magnifying glass.

Titan - The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

by Ron Chernow

Titan - The Life of John D. Rockefeller

The Prize - The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power

by Daniel Yergin

The Prize - The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power


Check out these 6 books to determine if you may enjoy reading them as much as I have.

The World For Sale - Money, Power, and the Traders Who Barter The Earth's Resources

by Javier Blas and Jack Farchy

The World For Sale - Money, Power, and the Traders Who Barter The Earth's Resources

Not everyone is familiar with Marc Rich, a long-time fugitive from US justice, nor with Vitol, Cargill, Glencore, and Trafigura. Kleptocrats, however, have had these commodity traders (and others) on speed dial for decades.

This fascinating book delves into how billionaire commodity traders enable enormous expansion in international trade. They connect resource-rich countries (regardless of how corrupt or war-torn they are) with the world's financial centers. Do you have any concerns about Cuba, Iraq, Russia, Lybia, Burundi, Chad, Brunei, Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, Equatorial Guinea, and the Democratic Republic of Congo ranking poorly on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index? Most/many commodity traders do not! These commodity traders are willing to do business where other companies dare not set foot.

Benefiting from three decades of reporting from nearly 100 countries, including tens of thousands of pages of previously unpublished financial and legal documents and interviews with more than one hundred former and current executives, the authors delve into how commodity traders play a critical role in modern finance. This industry has long operated in the shadows, facilitating the flows of raw materials that keep the world's populations fed, its factories supplied, and its ships, planes and automobiles fuelled. unprecedented light onto an industry that has long operated in the shadows.

These commodity traders have created enormous wealth for their owners using their broken moral compass.

Billion Dollar Whale - The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World

by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope

Billion Dollar Whale - The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World

This is an epic tale of white-collar crime on a global scale pulled off by a young social climber from Malaysia.

In 2009, a chubby, mild-mannered graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business named Jho Low set in motion a fraud of unprecedented gall and magnitude. Over a decade, with the aid of Goldman Sachs and others, Low siphoned billions of dollars from an investment fund under the 'watchful eye' of global financial industry watchdogs.

Low may have pulled off one of the greatest and largest heists in history. The question remains, however, as to how much wealth remains. He used the money he stole to finance elections, purchase luxury real estate, throw champagne-drenched parties, and to finance Hollywood films like The Wolf of Wall Street.

By early 2019, with his yacht and private jet reportedly seized by authorities and facing criminal charges in Malaysia and in the United States, Low had become an international fugitive. He still remains a fugitive!

If there is such a thing as an afterlife, I hope people like Low get what they deserve.

Conspiracy of Fools - A True Story

by Kurt Eichenwald

Conspiracy of Fools - A True Story

Eichenwald, an award-winning New York Times reporter, transforms the unbelievable story of the Enron Corporation scandal, the corporate collapse that appeared to come out of nowhere. In late 2001, Enron, a darling of the financial world and a company whose executives were friends of presidents and the powerful, imploded virtually overnight, leaving vast wreckage in its wake and sparking a criminal investigation that would last for years.

Lead characters such as Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, and Andrew Fastow were found guilty. Their prison sentences, however, pale in comparison to sentences others receive for far less serious crimes. The American (and many other countries) judicial system is broken!

Chaos Kings - How Wall Street Traders Make Billions In The New Age Of Crisis

by Scott Patterson

Chaos Kings - How Wall Street Traders Make Billions In The New Age Of Crisis

Our world has become more extreme. Virtually everywhere, there is mayhem bearing down on us putting trillions of assets at risk. Pandemics, climate change, superpower rivalries, cyberattacks, and political radicalization regularly make the headlines!

In response to these risks, at least two factions have formed on how to respond.

One faction believes humans can never see the big disaster coming. The belief is that extreme events (Black Swans) are inevitable but will always catch us by surprise.

A second faction with the belief that looming chaos can be detected, relies on complex formulas. These risk prognosticators see Dragon Kings, the punishing events that are unlikely to occur but have probabilities that can be predicted and defended against.

Plunder - Private Equity's Plan To Pillage America

by Brendan Ballou

Plunder - Private Equity's Plan To Pillage America

Firms like Blackstone (BX), Brookfield (BAM and BN), Apollo, Carlyle, and KKR are among the largest employers in America. They hold assets that rival those of small countries yet few understand what these firms are or how they work.

The author's experience as a federal prosecutor who served as Special Counsel for Private Equity at the US Department of Justice offers great insight as to how private equity has reshaped American business by raising prices, reducing quality, cutting jobs, and shifting resources from productive to unproductive parts of the economy. He vividly illustrates how many private equity firms buy up retailers, medical practices, prison services, nursing home chains, and mobile home parks, among other businesses, using little of their own money to do it and avoiding debt and liability for their actions. Forced to take on huge debts and pay extractive fees, companies purchased by private equity firms are often left bankrupt, or shells of their former selves, with consequences to communities that long depended on them.

Junk to Gold - Lessons I Learned

as told by Willis Johnson - founder of Copart (CPRT) and written by Marla J. Pugh

Copart - Junk to Gold

This book is a bit more uplifting than the previous books. It is a true success story.

Junk to Gold is about Willis Johnson's journey from humble beginnings to unimaginable success. Johnson, the founder of CPRT, offers up a personal and inspirational account of his journey to the top including lessons he learned from love, war and building a global, multi-billion dollar business.

This is a much easier read than the previous books; you could read it in its entirety in a couple of sittings.

I wish you much success on your journey to financial freedom!

Note: Please send any feedback, corrections, or questions to [email protected].

Disclosure: I am long BX, BAM, BN, and CPRT.

Disclaimer: I do not know your circumstances and do not provide individualized advice or recommendations. I encourage you to make investment decisions by conducting your research and due diligence. Consult your financial advisor about your specific situation.

I wrote this article myself and it expresses my own opinions. I do not receive compensation for it and have no business relationship with any company mentioned in this article.