Books for Investors April 2019

I just returned from a 10-day family vacation in northern Scotland.  Fantastic time to reflect on my life, my family, and my work.  Lots of adventures and experiences that I’ll look forward to sharing in the coming weeks!

One of my goals for 2019 is to read more long-form, timeless wisdom which will further my quest toward being a more thoughtful investor.  This month that included some Spring Break style content as well as market reads.

In case you’re interested, here are links to my previous book lists:

Books for Investors March 2019

Books for Investors February 2019

Three Books for Healthy Habits in 2019

With all of that in mind, here are three good books that I’ve read in recent weeks.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain

Fantastic read.  An Anais Nin quote near the end summarizes this book beautifully: “Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts.  We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center.  So we lost our center and have to find it again.”  Some of the best portfolio managers I’ve worked with have been total introverts- deep thinkers, disciplined professionals, patient investors. 

People I’ve known for years are sometimes surprised when I tell them I’m an introvert.  It doesn’t mean you hate public speaking (I love it) and it doesn’t mean you don’t like people (I love meeting new people), it’s all about where you get your energy.  I love attending conferences, love chatting it up, love reconnecting with people.  But when you don’t see me at the cocktail party, I’m probably up in my room, reading and journaling and centering myself!

The Tao Jones Averages: A Guide to Whole-Brained Investing, Bennett W. Goodspeed

I first read this book years ago, but decided to pick it back up after legendary portfolio manager George Noble mentioned it at the 2019 CMT Symposium.  Goodspeed shares why analyzing companies is an inherently left-brained activity- all about models and details and projections.  Managing a portfolio is more of a right-brained exercise- seeing the forest for the trees through macro themes and headwinds.  A good investor uses a healthy dose of both!

One other solid quote that summarizes my take on the pendulum swinging way too far to the quantitative side, in a way minimizing the value of creative thinking for investors: “Our modern obsession with numbers has resulted in a “Cognitive Era,” and our obsession with measurement has created a prevalent philosophy that if it can’t be counted, it doesn’t count.  Though we are told not to compare apples and oranges, we continually do so by translating them into numbers.  In the process, we tend to lose track of their intangible properties such as taste, nutrition, and aesthetics.”

Scottish Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Scotland the Brave, Jonathan Green

Read this gift from my father-in-law on the plane ride to Glasgow.  We approach vacations with an open-endedness and spirit of serendipity that I’m sure would drive deep vacation planners absolutely nuts. This book encouraged us to try some new foods (Stornoway black pudding was a surprise favorite), go out of our way to track down some amazing locations (the fields at Bannockburn were a highlight), and approach the trip with the goal of learning as much as we could about the culture of the Scottish people. 

I’m committed to reading more timeless content this year.  Sharing my reads with you is one way to keep myself honest.  What are you reading these days?  Tell me on Twitter.


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