Poor Charlie's Almanack - Charlie Munger

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Rated: 10/10

Available at: Amazon

ISBN: 1578645018

Related: Principles, Tribe of Mentors

Summary

A book that has had a large impact on how I think and approach problems.  Formatted after Ben Franklin’s yearly publication of advice, Munger lays out all sorts of things, from clear investing principles, to an introduction to mental models and how more people should be thinking with interdisciplinary tools.

Particularly relevant for those interested in business and finance, but as he makes clear in many of his speeches (transcripts included in the book), it should be relevant for all, from lawyers to economists.  Highly recommend.

Notes

General Notes

  • Focs on what to avoid - that is, what NOT to do - before considering affirmative steps to take.

  • Avoid “physics envy” - the tendency to want to reduce enormously complex systems into one-size-fits-all Newtonian formulas.

  • “A scientific theory should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.” - Albert Einstein

  • Quickly eliminate the big universe of what not to do, follow up with a fluent, multidisciplinary attack on what remains, then act decisively when, and only when, the right circumstances appear.

  • There should be a huge area between everything you should do and everything you can do without getting into legal trouble.

  • There are two kinds of businesses: the first earns 12%, and you can take the profits out at the end of the year.  The second earns 12%, but all the excess cash must be reinvested - there’s never any cash.  We hate that kind of business.

  • You should pay attention to mistakes of omission.

  • The keys t becoming an investor are discipline, hard work, and practice.  It’s like playing golf - you have to work on it.

  • Pay attention to the micro to get the macro.

  • Mutual fund and money management in general is disgusting; the incentives are perverse and no one notices because they’re still making money.  An index fund would be better.

  • EBITDA = “bullshit earnings"

  • The theory that stock options have no cost is stupid.  A stock option is both an expense and dilution.

  • Derivatives are dumb, and the accounting for them is worse.

  • “I’d remove 3/4 of the faculty - everything but the hard sciences."

  • Departments need more interconnectedness and understanding of other departments.

  • A lot of success in life and business comes from knowing what you want to avoid: early death, a bad marriage, etc.

  • Beware of envy - if someone else is getting richer faster than you, who cares??

  • "Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up.  Discharge your duties faithfully and well.  Step by step you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts.  But you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts…Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day.  At the end of the day - if you live long enough - most people get what they deserve."

  • “In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time - none, zero."

  • Once you get into debt, it’s hell to get out.

  • Carson: Avoid ingesting chemicals in an effort to alter mood or perception, avoid envy, and avoid resentment.

  • Munger: avoid being unreliable, learn as much as you can from the good and bad experience of others & become as educated as you possibly can, get up from your first, second, or third severe reverse in the battle of life, invert, always invert (or in other words, be objective, and avoid the negative).

  • Where can you find the money in the business?  Where is the free cash being generated?

  • What can you “surf”?

  • The way to win is to work, work, work, work, and hope to have a few insights.

  • Beware gaming of systems and stop any abuse early.

  • Ex: worker’s compensation systems.

  • On Berkshire investing in USAir - it was a preferred stock with a mandatory redemption - ie. basically a loan, with a good fixed dividend and mandatory redemption.  The only guess was that they would be able to pay it back.

  • “I’m all for fixing social problems.  I’m all for being generous to the less fortunate.  And I’m all for doing things where, based on a slight preponderance of the evidence, you guess that it’s likely to do more good than harm.  What I’m against is being very confident and feeling that you know, for sure, that your particular intervention will do more good than harm, given that you’re dealing with highly complex systems wherein everything is interacting with everything else."

  • On education in elite soft science:

  • Many more courses should be mandatory (including psychology and accounting for legal)

    1. Much more problem-solving practice that crosses several disciplines, including practice that mimics the aircraft simulator to prevent loss of skills through disuse.

    2. Increase use of the best business periodicals (Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, etc.)

    3. Professors of super-strong ideology (either right or left) should usually be avoided.  Also for students. 

    4. Should more intensely imitate the fundamental organizing ethos of hard science (math/physics/chemistry/engineering).

  • Rational organization of multi-disciplinary knowledge is forced by making mandatory 1) full attribution for cross-disciplinary takings and 2) mandatory preference for the most fundamental explanation.

  • An old two part rule works wonders in business, science and elsewhere: 1) take a simple, basic idea and 2) take it very seriously.

  • Extreme success is likely causes by some combination of the following factors:

  • Extreme maximization or minimization of one or two variables. Ex: Costco or our furniture store.

    1. Adding success factors so that a bigger combination drives success, often in non-linear fashion, as one is reminded by the concept of breakpoint and the concept of critical mass in physics. The “lollapalooza” result.

    2. An extreme of good performance over many factors. Ex: Toyota or Les Schwab.

    3. Catching and riding some sort of big wave.  Ex: Oracle.

  • One must consider second-order and higher-order effects.

  • Inspired by Keynes: Better roughly right than precisely wrong.

  • “You want to deliver to the world what you would buy if you were on the other end."

  • The acquisition of knowledge is a moral duty. You must be a lifelong learner.

  • Once you have the ideas, you must continuously practice their use.

  • Beware, as you can cause enormous offence by being right in a way that causes somebody else to lose face in his own discipline or hierarchy.

  • Generally speaking, envy, resentment, revenge and self-pity are disastrous modes of thought.

  • Embrace non-egality - done the right way, and it will allow you to reach the highest levels of achievement. (ie. provide lots of playing time for your best players).

What to Look for in a Partner (Warren Buffett):

  • Someone smarter and wiser than you.

  • Someone who will never second-guess you nor sulk when you make expensive mistakes.

  • A generous soul who will put up his own money and work for peanuts.

  • Someone who will constantly add to the run as you travel a long road together.

Praising Old Age (inspired by Cicero’s Discourse of Old Age):

  • Performing well for a long time gives you great comfort in old age as you can look back at a job well done.

  • Self-improvement should continue as long as you are alive.

  • The study of philosophy is an ideal activity for old age.

  • The only life worth living is dedicated in substantial part to good outcomes one cannot possibly survive to see.

  • Early retirement is virtually unthinkable.

  • Do not complain about personal misfortune or the physical decline with aging.

  • Good wine in moderation and stays at a country retreat can improve life.

  • “The best Armour of Old Age is a well spent life preceding it;” - Cicero, de Senectute (?)

From his children:

  1. Do the job right the first time.

  2. Be responsible.

  3. Admit your mistakes.

  4. Endless practice and determination will allow you to succeed.

  5. Going along with normal social customs allows harmonization.

  6. Durability is a first-rate virtue.

Charlie’s Checklists:

The Two-Track Analysis (Pages 63, 64):

  • What are the factors that really govern the interests involved, rationally considered? (For example, macro and micro-level economic factors).

  • What are the subconscious influences, where the brain at a subconscious level is automatically forming conclusions? (Influences from instincts, emotions, cravings, and so on).

Investing and Decision Making Checklist (Pages 73-76):

An Investing Principles Checklist:

  • Risk - All investment evaluations should begin by measuring risk, especially reputational

  • Incorporate an appropriate margin of safety

    1. Avoid dealing with people of questionable character

    2. Insist upon proper compensation for risk assumed

    3. Always beware of inflation and interest rate exposures

    4. Avoid big mistakes; shun permanent capital loss

  • Independence - “Only in fairy tales are emperors told they are naked"

  • Objectivity and rationality require independence of thought

    1. Remember that just because other people agree or disagree with you doesn’t make you right or wrong - the only thing that matters is the correctness of your analysis and judgment

    2. Mimicking the herd invites regression to the mean (merely average performance)

  • Preparation - “The only way to win is to work, work, work, work, and hope to have a few insights"

  • Develop into a lifelong self-learner through voracious reading; cultivate curiosity and strive to become a little wiser every day

    1. More important than the will to win is the will to prepare

    2. Develop fluency in mental models from the major academic disciplines

    3. If you want to get smart, the question you have to keep asking is “why, why, why?"

  • Intellectual humility - Acknowledging what you don’t know is the dawning of wisdom

  • Stay within a well-defined circle of competence

    1. Identify and reconcile disconfirming evidence

    2. Resist the craving for false precision, false certainties, etc.

    3. Above all, never fool yourself, and remember that you are the easiest person to fool

  • Analytic rigor - Use of the scientific method and effective checklists minimizes errors and omissions

  • Determine value apart from price; progress apart from activity; wealth apart from size

    1. It is better to remember the obvious than to grasp the esoteric

    2. Be a business analyst, not a market, macroeconomic, or security analyst

    3. Consider totality of risk and effect; look always at potential second order and higher level impacts

    4. Think forwards and backwards - Invert, always invert

  • Allocation - Proper allocation of capital is an investor’s number one job

  • Remember that highest and best use is always measured by the next best use (opportunity cost)

    1. Good ideas are rare - when the odds are greatly in your favour, bet (allocate) heavily

    2. Don’t “fall in love” with an investment - be situation-dependent and opportunity-driven

  • Patience - Resist the natural human bias to act

  • “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world” (Einstein); never interrupt it unnecessarily

    1. Avoid unnecessary transactional taxes and frictional costs; never take action for its own sake

    2. Be alert for the arrival of luck

    3. Enjoy the process along with the proceeds, because the process is where you live

  • Decisiveness - When proper circumstances present themselves, act with decisiveness and conviction

  • Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful

    1. Opportunity doesn’t come often, so seize it when it does

    2. Opportunity meeting the prepared mind: that’s the game

  • Change - Live with change and accept unremovable complexity

  • Recognize and adapt to the true nature of the world around you; don’t expect it to adapt to you

    1. Continually challenge and willingly amend your “best-loved ideas"

    2. Recognize reality even when you don’t like it - especially when you don’t like it

  • Focus - Keep things simple and remember what you set out to do

  • Remember that reputation and integrity are your most valuable assets - and can be lost in a heartbeat

    1. Guard against the effects of hubris and boredom

    2. Don’t overlook the obvious by drowning in the minutiae

    3. Be careful to exclude unneeded information or slop: “A small leak can sink a great ship"

    4. Face your big troubles; don’t sweep them under the rug

Other investing notes:

  • Trade infrequently - if you could only make 20 trades in your lifetime, how would that change what you do?

  • Find your ‘fat pitch’ and swing hard - look for opportunities where you have a big advantage, and swing hard at these ones.  Most investors swing too often.

  • To do this, you must be prepared and have capital available.

  • We have three investment buckets: yes, no and too hard to understand.

  • First cut:

    1. difficult to understand: Pharma, tech, etc.

      1. Heavily promoted: IPOs, “deals”, etc.

    2. Second cut:

    3. Financial reports and accounting examined with skepticism

      1. Additional factors examined is extensive, includes: current and prospective regulatory climate, state of labor, supplier and customer relations, potential impact of changes in technology, competitive strengths and vulnerabilities, pricing power, scalability, environmental issues, presence of hidden exposures;

      2. Recast financial statement figures to fit own view of reality, including actual free or “owners” cash being produced, inventory and other working capital assets, fixed assets, and intangible assets (usually overstated, like goodwill)

      3. Assessment of true impact, current and future, of cost of stock options, pension plans, and retiree medical benefits. 

      4. Assesses a company’s management well beyond conventional number crunching, including the degree to which they are “able, trustworthy, and owner-oriented”.  Ex: do they deploy cash?  Do they allocate it intelligently on behalf of the owners, or do they overcompensate themselves? Or pursue ego-oriented growth for growth’s sake?

      5. Above all: understand competitive advantage in every respect - products, markets, trademarks, employees, distribution channels, societal trends, and so on - and the durability of that advantage.

      6. What competitive destruction forces may deteriorate this?

    4. Then: calculate the intrinsic value of the whole business and, with allowance for potential dilution, etc., to determine an approximate value per share to compare to market prices.

    5. “A great business at a fair price is superior to a fair business at a great price."

      1. Ex: Washington Post, GEICO, Coca-Cola, Gillette, etc.

    6. Finally: “prior to pulling the trigger” checklist

    7. Includes what are the current price, volume and trading considerations? What disclosure timing or other sensitivities exist?  Are better uses of capital currently or potentially available? Is sufficient liquid capital currently on hand or must it be borrowed? What is the opportunity cost of that capital?

    8. Then: make a large and decisive bet.  No initial positions or small speculative investments.

  • Ben Graham: if you could calculate the value of a whole enterprise (what it would sell for if available), and then take the stock price and multiply it by the number of shares, and get something that was one-third or less of sellout value, then you’ve got a lot of edge going for you (big margin of safety) - but this was in a different time, it doesn’t exist like this anymore.

  • Often maximization or minimization of a single factor (notable specialization) can make that single factor disproportionately important.

  • What “moat” does the business have?  Can we widen this every year?

  • Overall: far more time is committed to learning and thinking than doing.

  • Score yourself on how you played the hand, not whether you won it.

  • For the smaller investor, find smaller companies.

  • Anytime someone offers you a tax shelter in life, don’t buy it.

  • Anytime someone offers you anything with a big commission and a 200-page prospectus, don’t buy it.

  • "On a net basis, the whole investment management business together gives no value added to all buyers combined."

  • Answer to reaching financial security:

  • “Spend less than you make; always be saving something.  Put it into a tax-deferred account.  Over time, it will begin to amount to something.  THIS IS SUCH A NO-BRAINER."

  • What should a young person look for in a career?

  • “I have three basic rules. Meeting all three is nearly impossible, but you should try anyway:

    1. Don’t sell anything you wouldn’t buy yourself.

      1. Don’t work for anyone you don’t respect and admire.

      2. Work only with people you enjoy."

  • On life advice:

  • “Have low expectations.

    1. Have a sense of humour.

    2. Surround yourself with the love of friends and family.

    3. Above all, live with change and adapt to it."

Ultra-Simple, General Problem-Solving Notions (Pages 279-281):

  • Decide the big “no-brainer” questions first.

  • Apply numerical fluency.

  • Invert (think the problem through in reverse).

  • Apply elementary multidisciplinary wisdom, never relying entirely upon others.

  • Watch for combinations of factors - the Lollapalooza effect.

25 Psychology-Based Tendencies (Pages 440-498):

  1. Reward and Punishment Superresponse Tendency

  2. Incentives have huge power

    1. “If you would persuade, appeal to interest and not to reason.” - Benjamin Franklin

    2. Especially fear professional advice when it is especially good for the advisor;

    3. Learn and use the basic elements of your advisor’s trade as you deal with your advisor;

    4. Double check, disbelieve, or replace much of what you’re told, to the degree that seems appropriate after objective thought.

    5. The power of incentives can cause poor behaviour if checks are not in place.

    6. Man tends to “game” all human systems; anti-gaming features are a huge and necessary part of system design.

    7. “Granny’s Rule”: you must first do the unpleasant thing (eat your carrots) before getting your reward (dessert).

  3. Liking/Loving Tendency

  4. Man likes being liked and loved.

    1. Man will ignore faults of, and comply with witness of, the object of his affection

    2. He will favour people, products, and actions merely associated with the object of his affection

    3. He will distort other facts to facilitate love

    4. This also works in reverse; admiration also causes or intensifies liking or love

    5. A man who loves admirable persons and ideas has a huge advantage in life

    6. There are social policy implications; ex: it’s obviously desirable to attract a lot of lovable, admirable people into teaching

  5. Disliking/Hating Tendency

  6. The opposite of liking/loving:

    1. Disliker/hater will ignore virtues in the object of dislike

    2. Dislike people, products and actions merely associated with the object of his dislike

    3. Distort other facts to facilitate hatred

  7. Doubt-Avoidance Tendency

  8. Man is programmed to quickly remove doubt by reaching some decision

    1. What usually triggers doubt-avoidance tendency is some combo of:

    2. puzzlement

      1. stress

    3. (Both of these factors naturally occur facing religious issues); thus, the natural state of most men is in some form of religion.

  9. Inconsistency-Avoidance Tendency

  10. The brain of man is reluctant to change

    1. Ex: few people can list bad habits they have eliminated, but instead give excuses or state it is “fate"

    2. The rare life wisely lived has in it many good habits maintained, and many bad habits avoided or cured

    3. We will tend to ignore or discount evidence to maintain our previously-held beliefs, rather than change those beliefs (confirmation bias)

    4. Charles Darwin provides a counter-example: he trained himself to intensively consider any counter-evidence he encountered

    5. Can be manipulated by getting someone to do you a favour; this works in reverse (manipulate someone to hurt someone and they will dislike/hate them)

    6. Also, to achieve something, or a particular state - pretend to have done it already, or to be it already (smiling makes you happier just as being happier makes you smile)

    7. Benefit in education when a pupil has to teach a topic; have to beware this doesn’t turn students into zealots

  11. Curiosity Tendency

  12. There is an innate curiosity in humans

    1. This often helps temper some other psychological habits

  13. Kantian Fairness Tendency

  14. Humans often follow behaviour patterns that, if followed by all others, make the human system better for everyone

    1. Ex: lining up at coffee shops, being courteous on the road, etc.

  15. Envy/Jealousy Tendency

  16. We have a strong tendency to compare ourselves to others

    1. “It is not greed that drives the world, but envy.” - Warren Buffett

  17. Reciprocation Tendency

  18. Humans tend to reciprocate favours and disfavours

    1. Antidote: train yourself to delay reaction

    2. This drives trade, marriage, and joins inconsistency-avoidance tendency to help make humans fulfill promises, behave ethically, etc.

    3. Can be used in sales when someone does you a favour; to counter, don’t let buyers accept any favours

    4. Can also be used when making a big ask, you do a favour by asking something smaller - the other person is likely to acquiesce

  19. Influence-from-Mere-Association Tendency

  20. A thing will be associated with the rewards previously bestowed

    1. Ex: advertisements of products with pretty girls (Graham: believe this is more like/love tendency)

    2. Ex: a man gambles in a casino once and wins, and then continues to gamble to his detriment

    3. Antidotes:

    4. Carefully examine past success, looking for accidental, non-causative factors associated that will tend to mislead

      1. Look for dangerous aspects of a new venture that were not present when past success occurred

    5. Hating and disliking also cause miscalculations triggered by mere association

    6. Ex: we dislike those who bring us bad news

    7. Antidote: develop a habit of welcoming bad news

    8. Another bad result here is the common use of classification stereotypes

    9. The average dimension in some group will not reliably guide you to the dimension of a specific item.

  21. Simple, Pain-Avoiding Psychological Denial

  22. The reality is too painful to bear, so facts will be distorted to become bearable.

    1. Ex: a tragic death; drug addiction

  23. Excessive Self-Regard Tendency

  24. We tend to regard ourselves more highly than others would; the same applies to our spouses, children, etc.

    1. We tend to prefer those who are like ourselves; select those like ourselves; etc.

    2. We tend to overestimate our talents in comparison to others

    3. We tend to overweight the interview portion of a hiring process because we tend to overweight our own intuitions

    4. Antidote:

    5. Man should face two facts:

      1. Fixable but unfixed bad performance is bad character that tends to create more of itself, causing more damage to the excuse giver with each tolerated instance

      2. In institutions, fair, meritocratic, demanding culture plus personnel handling methods that build up morale and removal of the worst offenders

    6. Antidote 2:

    7. Force yourself to be more objective when you are thinking about yourself, your family and friends, your property, and the value of your past and future activity.

    8. Excess of self-regard can sometimes cause success from overconfidence.

    9. “Pride” - in a job well done, a life well lived, etc. - is a good force; perhaps the best is a pride in being trustworthy

  25. Overoptimism Tendency

  26. Even people doing well will display an excess of optimism

    1. Antidote: trained, habitual use of the simple probability math of Fermat and Pascal

  27. Deprival-Superreaction Tendency

  28. Loss-avoidance: we tend to overvalue losses compared to gains

    1. We tend to frame problems incorrectly when dealing with loss

    2. This plus inconsistency-avoidance tendency causes us to hate/dislike non-believers of our own causes

    3. Causes many people to continue when they should cut their losses

  29. Social-Proof Tendency

  30. Man automatically thinks and does what he observes to be thought and done around him (or not done)

    1. Triggering most often occurs in the presence of puzzlement or stress, particularly when both exist

    2. Antidote (societal):

    3. Stop bad behaviour before it spreads

      1. Foster and display all good behaviour

    4. Antidote: learn how to ignore the examples from others when they are wrong.

  31. Contrast-Misreaction Tendency

  32. Also known as anchoring, we tend to judge things in relation to things immediately available

    1. Ex: buying an over-priced option on a car because we evaluate the price compared to the overall car cost

    2. Also leads to drift, when a small step in the wrong direction is unrecognizable because it is so small in contrast to the overall picture; however, a large number of these small steps can lead to ruin

  33. Stress-Influence Tendency

  34. Small amounts of stress can increase performance

    1. Heavy stress can destructively change behaviour and lead to depression

    2. Some late research by Pavlov suggested that reversing a breakdown only happened when stress was re-imposed

  35. Availability-Misweighing Tendency

  36. The mind overweighs the factors easily available to it

    1. Antidote: use checklists

    2. Behave like Darwin - emphasize factors that don’t produce reams of easily available numbers

      1. Hire skeptical, articulate people to act as advocates for notions opposite to the incumbent

    3. Consequence: extra-vivid evidence should be under-weighed, while less vivid evidence should be over-weighed.

    4. Can constructively use this: in persuading someone else to reach a correct conclusion; as a device for improving ones own memory by attaching vivid images

    5. “An idea or a fact is not worth more merely because it is easily available to you."

  37. Use-It-or-Lose-It Tendency

  38. All skills attenuate with disuse.

    1. Antidote: make use of the functional equivalent of the aircraft simulator used by pilots.

    2. Engage in practice of all useful, rarely used skills, many outside his discipline, as a sort of duty to his better self.

      1. Assemble skills into a checklist that is routinely used.

      2. Skills of a very high order can only be maintained with daily practice.

    3. The tendency is less present when skills are slowly raised to fluency rather than crammed.

  39. Drug-Misinfluence Tendency

  40. Don’t use drugs, kids.

  41. Senescence-Misinfluence Tendency

  42. Continuous thinking and learning, done with joy, can help delay the inevitable cognitive decline.

  43. Authority-Misinfluence Tendency

  44. We tend to over-weight the instructions or example set by people of authority.

  45. Twaddle Tendency

  46. Man tends to fill time with “busy work” or communication that is not useful.  

    1. Beware distraction from serious work.

  47. Reason-Respecting Tendency

  48. Man possesses a natural love of accurate cognition and joy in its exercise.

    1. It makes man especially prone to learn well when he has a good reason for it.

    2. To use: communicate the reason behind learning or doing something when you desire someone to do it.

    3. Tell Who What do to, When, Where and Why.

    4. Used backwards: people will be more likely to respond even when the reasons given are dubious.

  49. Lollapalooza Tendency - The Tendency to Get Extreme Consequences from Confluences of Psychological Tendencies Acting in Favour of a Particular Outcome

  50. Self-explanatory: when combining several of these tendencies, one is likely to get an extreme outcome (or, worded differently, to get an extreme outcome, combine many of these tendencies).

Other Mental Models:

  • ~100 in number

  • “To the man with a hammer, the world looks like a nail."

  • Redundancy/backup system model (engineering)

  • Compound interest (math)

  • Breakpoint/tipping-point/autocatalysis (physics/chemistry)

  • Darwinian synthesis (biology)

  • Cognitive misjudgments (psychology)

  • Permutations and combinations (math); Fermat/Pascal system

  • Decision-tree theory

  • Accounting (double-entry bookkeeping)

  • Breakpoints (engineering)

  • Advantages of scale (microeconomics)

  • Specialization (biology/microeconomics)

  • Surfing (finding a wave and staying there for a long time)

  • Tragedy of the commons (economics)

  • Invisible hand (economics)

  • Invisible foot (biology/economics)

  • Comparative advantage in trade (economics)

  • Pin factory (economics)

People:

  • Jack Welch

  • Jared Diamond

  • Samual Johnson

  • Richard Dawkins

  • Steven Pinker

  • Benjamin Franklin

  • Demosthenes

  • Cicero

  • Nietzsche

  • Galileo

  • Bernie Cornfeld (negative example)

  • Adam Smith

  • Thomas Carlyle

  • Henry E. Singleton

  • Johnny Carson

  • John Milton

  • Benjamin Disraeli

  • Sir Isaac Newton

  • Epictetus

  • Elihu Root

  • Rudyard Kipling

  • W. Edwards Deming

  • Frank Wells

  • Max Planck

  • James Clerk Maxwell

  • Michael Faraday

  • Richard Thaler

  • Carl Jacobi

  • Pierre-Simon Laplace

  • Roger Fisher

  • Richard Feynman

  • Robert Woodruff

  • John Kenneth Galbraith

  • N. Gregory Mankiw

  • Garrett Hardin

  • John Maynard Keynes

  • Paul Krugman

  • David Ricardo

  • Ronald Coase

  • Victor Niederhoffer

  • Confucius

  • Voltaire

Recommended Books:

  • A Matter of Degrees: What Temperature Reveals About the Past and Future of Our Species, Planet, and Universe - Gino Segre

  • Andrew Carnegie - Joseph Frazier Wall

  • Deep Simplicity: Bringing Order to Chaos and Complexity - John Gribbin

  • F.I.A.S.C.O.: The Inside Story of a Wall Street Trader - Frank Partnoy

  • Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters - Matt Ridley

  • Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In - Roger Fisher, William Try, and Bruce Patton

  • Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies - Jared Diamond

  • How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe’s Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It - Arthur Herman

  • Ice Age - John & Mary Gribbin

  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion - Robert Cialidini

  • Living Within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos

  • Models of My Life - Herbert Simon

  • Only the Paranoid Survive - Andy Grove

  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin - Benjamin Franklin

  • The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal - Jared Diamond

  • The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins

  • The Warren Buffett Portfolio: Mastering the Power of the Focus Investment Strategy - Robert Hagstrom

  • The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor - David S. Landes

  • Three Scientists and Their Gods: Looking for Meaning in an Age of Information - Robert Wright

  • Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. - Ron Chernow

From the Editor:

  • Les Schwab: Pride in Performance - Les Schwab

  • Men and Rubber: The Story of Business - Harvey Firestone

  • Men to Match My Mountains: The Opening of the Far West, 1840 - 1900 - Irving Stone

Other Books Mentioned:

  • B.F. Skinner: A Life - Daniel W. Bjork

  • Be Quick - But Don’t Hurry! -  Andrew Hill with John Wooden

  • Cicero, On a Life Well Spent

  • Collapse - Jared Diamond

  • Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits - Philip Fisher

  • Darwin’s Blind Spot

  • Godel, Escher, Bach - Douglas Hofstadter

  • Objective Accounting - Carl F. Braun

  • Principles of Microeconomics - N. Gregory Mankiw

  • Process and Reality - Alfred North Whitehead

  • Shaping the Managerial Mind - Peter Drucker

  • Shoot the Piano Player - David Goodis

  • Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman - Richard Feynman

  • The Affluent Society - John Kenneth Galbraith

  • The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth - Benjamin M. Friedman

  • The Wealth of Nations - Adam Smith

  • The Language Instinct - Steven Pinker

  • Winning - Jack Welch