Books and Summaries


A list of resources to tacomob, to grow continuously, and to live a thousand lives.

Want to change your life?  Read widely and read more of the good stuff.

Generally, people who embrace exploration and self-learning will have no problem keeping up in life as learning new things is something they enjoy doing.

Learning accelerated = Reading:  In a handful of hours you get to absorb what took someone else years to accumulate, understand, distill, and refine.

Reading is the best return on investment.  You have to live your entire life in order to know one life.  But with reading you can know 1000s of people’s lives for almost no cost. What a great return!

And–as a bonus–you will undoubtedly come across many precious nuggets of wisdom shared by people who went through life before you “been there–done that”.

“It is what you read, when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” — Oscar Wilde

“It isn’t what the book costs; it’s what it will cost if you don’t read it.” – Jim Rohn

“Reading is an act of civilization; it’s one of the greatest acts of civilization because it takes the free raw material of the mind and builds castles
of possibilities.” – Ben Okri, poet

“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.” – Mark Twain

A Reader

Whatever problem you’re struggling with is probably addressed in some book somewhere written by someone a lot smarter than you.

Here’s a list of books that I have found helpful and believe to be worth your time:

For additional time saving, some of them include a link to my own Private Executive Summary of the books’ key messages.

(I want to be upfront with you that the links below are affiliate links to Amazon.  That means that Amazon pays me a bit of money if you click them, even if you buy something else on their site.  The books won’t cost you any more than they normally would).


But books don’t work. People do. Use books as tools to grow, change, and improve your mind – the lens through which you look at problems and come up with solutions.


The Power of Your Subconscious Mind – Joseph Murphy (1963)

Contrary to what many people think, it is not the thing that is believed in that brings an answer to a person’s prayer or chant.  Prayers are answered when the individual’s subconscious mind responds to the mental picture or thought in his mind.  This law of belief is the law of life and the secret operating principle in all the religions of the world.  Your subconscious mind works according to the law of belief and is on the job twenty-fours hours a day.

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind – Executive Summary & Key Messages


Mind Power – James Borg (2008)

In this self-help book James Borg opinions that when we change our thinking, we change our life.  We all have the power to control our mind (if we put our mind to it) – instead of letting our mind control us. The mind is given to us, we are not given to the mind.

Most important are our thoughts.  We create our own thoughts.  Nobody else is doing it to us.  It’s self-inflicted.  We have to take control of them.

Mind Power – Key Messages


Happy Money – Elizabeth Dunn & Michael Norton (2013)

Money can buy happiness, even beyond that initial inflection point of 40,000 to 70,000 USD per year.  As long as you spend it right and follow the five core principles of smarter spending.

Happy Money – Executive Summary & Key Messages


The Happiness Hypothesis – Jonathan Haidt (2006)

Happiness Formula: H = S + C + V

Happiness is a biological set point for us.  After good or bad times, we tend to return to our general level of happiness.  At the same time, we can do things that either help or hurt our happiness and we can understand better how our minds and emotions work.

Factors that decrease happiness include persistent noise, lack of control, shame, dysfunctional relationships, and long commutes.  Strong marriages, physical touch, meaningful relationships, and religious affiliation tend to improve happiness.  Activities with others enhance our happiness, whereas status objects tend to separate us from others.

The Happiness Hypothesis – Executive Summary & Key Messages


How we know what isn’t so – Thomas Gilovich (1993)

As individuals and as a society, we should strive to develop those “habits of mind” that promote a more accurate view of the world.  Unfortunately, the tendency to impose order to ambiguous stimuli is built into the cognitive machinery we use to understand the world.  And that can be so automatic and so unchecked that we often end up believing in the existence of phenomena that just aren’t there.

How we know what isn’t so – Executive Summary & Key Messages


Antifragile – Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2012)

Here the author of The Black Swan teaches us why being dumb and antifragile beats being extremely smart and fragile.

Antifragile things are getting better and stronger when the world is falling apart. Everything that has more upside than downside from random events (or certain shocks) is antifragile; the reverse is fragile. Nature is antifragile, but the globalized economic system is fragile. If nature ran the economy, it would not continuously bail out its living members to make them live forever.

Antifragility implies more to gain than to lose, equals more upside than downside, equals (favourable) asymmetry.

Antifragile – Key Statements


Prosper Slowly and Investing:

Market Sense and Nonsense – Jack D. Schwager (2012)

When it comes to investment models and theories of how markets work, convenience usually trumps reality.  But the simple fact is that many revered investment theories and market models are flatly wrong.  Unfounded assumptions, erroneous theories, unrealistic models, cognitive biases, emotional foibles, and unsubstantiated beliefs all combine to lead investors astray.

Schwager takes aim at the most perniciously pervasive academic precepts, money management canards, market myths, and investor errors.

Market Sense and Nonsense – Executive Summary & Key Messages


Trade Your Way To Financial Freedom – Dr. van Tharp (2006)

Dr. van Tharp does not merely describe how to optimize your buy entry—the what and when to buy a stock—like most of the other trading books do.  He goes beyond that and provides a step-by-step guide, covering all crucial aspects for your success:  Understanding Yourself (why), Position Sizing (how much), Exits (when and how), Reward-to-risk-optimized System that is right for you and that works.

There is no Executive Summary for this book.  I do not see any possible shortcut to absorb the pieces of wisdom contained in the book except to read it cover to cover and follow the instructions step by step yourself.


Trading In The Zone – Mark Douglas (2001)

How well do you know yourself?  The psychological part of trading is by far the most important aspect of becoming a successful trader.


Full of Bull – Stephen T. McClellan (2007)

Trading and investing in the stock market is one of the better asset classes to help you grow your money.  Thus, it is crucial to better understand what is really driving and motivating the players in the Capital of Capital (also known as Wall Street).  Why not read what an Ex-Wall Street Analyst has to say?

Due to all the systemic flaws of the current “Street Procedures”, individual investors will just have to work around the Street, learn its ways, exploit it, and in the end be responsible for their own investment decisions.

Only use Street’s information and its research content, not its conclusions or recommendations

Full of Bull – Executive Summary & Key Messages


The Origin of Financial Crises – George Cooper (October 2008)

Financial market analyst George Cooper challenges the core principles of today’s economic orthodoxy and explains how we have created an economy that is inherently unstable and crisis prone.  With great skill, he examines the very foundations of today’s economic philosophy and adds a compelling analysis of the forces behind economic crisis.  His goal is nothing less than preventing the seemingly endless procession of damaging boom-bust cycles, unsustainable economic bubbles, crippling credit crunches, and debilitating inflation.

The book is a very informed piece that is not too loaded with the economic jargon that tends to make books about dry subjects unbearable to read.

The Origin of Financial Crises – Executive Summary & Key Messages


The Art of Execution – Lee Freeman-Sohr (September 2015)

This book is a unique piece of evidence in the sense that the author had the opportunity to give 45 leading investors between 20 to 150 million dollars each of real money to invest in their Best Ideas. 1,866 investments representing 30,874 individual trades later he took stock and analyzed in detail their actions after the investment was made.

The result: Fund Managers got most of their best wrong.  In fact most of their investments lost money.  Only 49% of the very best investment ideas made money. But still overall almost all of them did not lose money and some made a lot of it.

The lessons learnt from the successful fund managers are divided into two sections. Section One focuses on “I’m losing – What should I do?” and Section Two obviously talks about “I’m winning – What should I do?”

Posts about the key messages of the book can be found here: Part 1 and Part 2


Rational Optimism:

Abundance – Peter H. Diamandis & Steven Kotler (2012)

Reading this will give you an optimistic outlook for the future, amidst all those bad news circulating in main stream media.  We will soon be able to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman and child on the planet.  Abundance for all is within our grasp.  This bold contrarian view, backed up by exhaustive research, introduces our near-term future where exponentially growing technologies and three other powerful forces are conspiring to better the lives of billions.

Abundance – Executive Summary & Key Messages


Scarcity – Sendhil Mullainathan & Elder Shafir (2014)

Why having too little means so much.  When scarcity captures the mind, we become more attentive and efficient.  There are many situations in our lives where maintaining focus can be challenging.  We procrastinate at work because we keep getting distracted.  We buy overpriced items at the grocery store because our minds are elsewhere.  But a tight deadline or a shortage of cash focuses us on the task at hand.  With our minds riveted, we are less prone to careless error.  This makes perfect sense: scarcity captures us because it is important and worthy of our attention.

Scarcity – Executive Summary & Key Messages


The Rational Optimist – Matt Ridley (2010)

Science journalist Ridley believes there is a reason to be optimistic about the human race and he defies the unprecedented economic pessimism he observes.  The book is about the rapid and continuous change that human society experiences, unlike any other animal group.  At some point in time, human intelligence became collective and cumulative in a way.  He argues for markets as the dominant source of human progress and lists numerous examples to prove that his optimism is rational.

The Rational Optimist – Executive Summary & Key Messages


Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism and a Radical New Way to Make a Difference – William MacAskill (2015)

This book is full of counterintuitive insights and a great practical guide to leverage the compassion and kindness inherent in all of us (yes, you too) to get the biggest charity bang for our donations.

Unfortunately, we “very often fail to think as carefully about helping others as we could, mistakenly believing that applying data and rationality to a charitable endeavour robs the act of virtue. And that means we pass up opportunities to make a tremendous difference.”

Doing Good Better – Executive Summary & Key Messages



The book you don’t read won’t help.

The above are not books I’m picking so I can look smart.  These are books that I’ve read that have made me smarter (so I believe).

Because a book – not all – affects your life.  In ways you cannot list or know, but you are not the person in the end who you were at the start.  An idea, a truth, has tinkered with your thinking, it has reshaped how you feel.  So little else in life is so altering.

Comments are closed