A History of the American People by Paul Johnson, published by Harper Perennial. An excellent read thus far, but the author’s march through 500 years of American history (roughly 1492-1992) approaches a thousand pages – so it’s going to be a little while until I’m through it.
Options for the Beginner and Beyond: Unlock the Opportunities and Minimize the Risks by Edward Olmstead, published by Financial Times Press. The author is a mathematics professor at Northwestern University and has written a stock options newsletter for many years. This is a thorough introduction to trading in options and while the topic is not always an easy one, this is a relatively accessible read.
America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It by Mark Steyn, published by Regnery. Steyn picks up on trends and concerns I imagine Pat Buchanan stressed in Death of the West, but manages to do it with wit and charm. Europe is in decline, Islam is on the rise and today’s modern Western world will survive largely only in the form of its last great hope, the United States of America. Steyn observes the beginning of this phenomenon -indeed, it is already happening – and predicts its ends through the usual social, economic and political lenses, but also and especially through demographic analysis.
Diversity: The Invention of a Concept by Peter Wood, published by Encounter Books. A spectacular tour de force by a skilled anthropologist and political observer that skewers the illogical, intellectually unserious, self-important and self-defeating thinking of today’s “Diversity” movement. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for any university student or faculty member, anybody who has ever attended a diversity workshop or sensitivity training seminar or anyone who is just plain exasperated by the ridiculousness coming from the multicultural-obsessed, politically-correct crowd.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, published by Scholastic. This may seem an odd addition to my list, but I enthusiastically recommend this book! Reading this trilogy was one of my first forays back into fiction since I read The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde a number of years ago (a book I also highly recommend). While I did not like the third book as much as the first two, overall it’s a wonderful series, and definitely film-worthy. I saw the movie on opening night and must say I wasn’t disappointed.
Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning by Jonah Goldberg, published by Doubleday. I was excited to buy this when it came out last year, because it was marketed as an aggressive counter-attack on the Left through mere illumination of their philosophical and political origins – all with an endearing sense of humor. It more than fit the bill. Goldberg drops a lot of knowledge on the reader – indeed Fascism is a heavier read than some other recent conservative best sellers. That’s partly what makes it so useful to the discourse and rewarding for the reader. It was a thrill to meet the author when he delivered a lecture at Mission Hills Country Club in late 2008. I look forward to fully reviewing this book and continuing to follow the author’s work.
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefevre, published by J. Wiley. This is a classic tale, especially for anyone interested in the stock market. It is the story of Jesse Livermore, a high-flying trader of the Roaring 1920s, who started out as a boy manning the quote board in the “bucket shops” and went on to make – and lose – several large fortunes. The story is entertaining and insightful, and still holds lessons for investors and speculators today. This book comes highly recommended by some very successful investors (like Investors Business Daily founder William J. O’Neil) and even before reading it I gave a copy to my brother as a birthday present. It will help to have a little background knowledge; if you do, this is a fun one.
Stock Market Wizards: Interviews with America’s Top Stock Traders by Jack Schwager, published by HarperBusiness. This is one of the latest in the well-known and well-acclaimed “Market Wizard” series. I like learning the biographical nature of this book, and getting to know the individual traders. Each is highly successful in his or her own right, but among them a range of strategies and styles is represented. It’s not just technicians or just fundamentalists, so you get a real mix which may help expand your perspective as to the appeal or reasoning behind various approaches.
The Complete Green Letters by Miles Stanford, published by Zondervan. Someone recommended this book to me, and unfortunately I took the advice! If you are looking for religious devotional literature, keep looking. Only grace can pardon Stanford for his maddening syntactical malfeasance.
The Little Book That Beats the Market by Joel Greenblatt, published by Wiley. This has been a fairly popular book and an updated version was even released recently. However, I was not particularly impressed. It’s aimed for a very popular audience, and I think the author went overboard in trying to make it accessible to all. Greenblatt is a also basically a value investor, whereas I am more of a growth-oriented investor, so perhaps I’m a bit biased.