Weekend reading

Good reads from around the Web.

I am determined to read more books in 2015. The Internet’s vast buffet is fabulous for knowledge gluttons like me, but there’s something about getting stuck in the world of a good book that’s the antithesis of all that hyperactive hyperlinking.

Is there a slow reading movement? I won’t Google it to find out…

Instead, here’s some books from 2014 that I’ve either read or wish I had.

It’s not too late to grab one for Christmas for the investing nerd in your life – which may well be you.

(All blue titles take you to the Amazon listing.)

The Education of a Value Investor

I have recommended this account by a chastened hedge fund manager to all my active investing friends, but I get the impression few have read it. That’s a shame – there’s true wisdom and humility here.

Fast Forward: The Technologies and Companies Shaping Our Future

This is the book to read if you want to win from the shift to robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and all the rest of it, rather than risk being left on the scrapheap.

Saving the City: The Great Financial Crisis of 1914

This came out at the fag end of 2013, and I missed it until Merryn mentioned it in the FT. For anyone who likes a good crash!

Boy Plunger Jesse Livermore: The Man Who Sold America Short

Like many seasoned active investors, I’ve poured through Jesse Livermore’s infamous recollections for trading tips. But his real-life was just as outlandish as his stock market punting.

The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

Some say this could be the definitive history of the creative geniuses and smart engineers who made the modern world.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century

No, I’ve not read Thomas Piketty’s vast, headline hogging explanation of rising inequality yet, either. Reviews were mixed. I agree there’s a problem though.

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

One of the best stockpickers I know never reads about investing, but he gorges on books about business. This one by a Pixar founder is a favourite.

The Shifts and the Shocks

Martin Wolf of The Financial Times has been one of the most clear-headed guides throughout the past seven years of dislocations in the financial and economic spheres. Here he sums up what he thinks we’ve learned – and what we’ve yet to appreciate.

Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises

You’re probably not supposed to find former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s book laugh-out-loud funny, but I snorted my way through it. More bitchy and candid than we’d any right to expect.

Shredded: Inside RBS, the Bank That Broke Britain

Remember Fred Goodwin? Author Ian Fraser does. Rave reviews.

Passive investing books

I didn’t read any new and definitive passive investing books aimed at the UK in 2014. The good news is my co-blogger, The Accumulator, swears he’s going to pull together his own book in 2015! But for now I can only point yet again to Monevator contributor Lars Kroijer’s Investing Demystifiedand Tim Hale’s doughty Smarter Investing. Both books are barely a year old.

Have a good one

We have an article to come on Tuesday admitting that investing in risk premiums may not be all that, and I’ll try to pull together a best of 2014 selection for next Saturday.

Otherwise, it’s time for a mini break. Hope you enjoy yours, too.

Merry Christmas!

From the blogs

Making good use of the things that we find…

Passive investing

Active investing

Other articles

Product of the week: Are 10-year fixed rate mortgages catching on? TSB and Santander have both rushed out keen rates this week, reports The Guardian. Rates start at an incredible 3.44%, and to me the TSB one looks a winner. (Though not to the rich, apparently).

Mainstream media money

Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view these enable you to click through to read the piece without being a paid subscriber of that site.1

Passive investing

  • Explaining the Value Premium – Swedroe/ETF.com
  • Will there be a Santa Claus Rally? – Roth/AARP
  • Investing wisdom from 3 experts – Vanguard
  • Explaining ETFs to my dad – Vanguard Blog
  • How passive investors could boost active managers – CIO

Active investing

Other stuff worth reading

  • How to spot a trading hoax – Guardian
  • Best and worst paying UK jobs – ThisIsMoney
  • The opposite of a role model – Housel/Motley Fool US
  • Let’s build houses on supermarkets’ surplus land – ThisIsMoney
  • The mystery of disappearing/reappearing bank balances – Guardian
  • A disgruntled finance worker writes to Russell Brand – Independent
  • Don’t make assumptions about your inheritance – WSJ [Featuring Mike]
  • Why so many young marriages are over by 30 – Guardian
  • Where did America’s working age men go? – NY Times

Book of the week: I enjoyed Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. Now he’s widened his lens to take in the entire digital revolution in The Innovators, and he’s getting more rave reviews. At 528 pages, it at least looks good value for money. I’m Kindle-ing it to get me through Christmas!

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  1. Reader Ken notes that: “FT articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”.”

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