Weekly Bookmarks –
126th Edition – July 4, 2021
Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.Martin Luther King, Jr.
1. Deficits and Debt
It’s not often, but I periodically find an author whose true gift is the written word. Many of us read non-fiction, and those authors are generally experts who are also solid to outstanding researchers. When it comes to writing, they stay in a small box never getting too close to the edges – they keep the writing simple.
I’m convinced that William Leith was put on this earth to write. He was probably born in a pen in his hand at birth ready to write about his experience in waiting to enter the world.
Leith writes many pieces on the ultra-wealthy. Rich, he is not. And he’s not afraid to bare his soul in the opening paragraphs of his open and clever book, The Trick:
A deficit is from the spending you’re doing now and will be punished for in the future. A debt is from the spending you did in the past. It’s punishment you’re already taking.
2. Why A Millionaire Became a Criminal
In the first 70 pages of Leith’s book, the reader is being prepped for the author’s interview with Jordon Belfort (The Wolf of Wall Street). Leith has questions about what drove and triggered his obsession. More importantly, why did he turn into a convicted criminal? In his own words, here’s what he told Leith:
Number one, bankrupt values. Upside-down values. And the beliefs. I was allowing my beliefs that I held, core beliefs, to come from sources that were ridiculous. I’ll give you an example. When I made my first $650,000 on a stock trade, I was twenty-four. What’d I do? First thing I did was buy a white Ferrari Testarossa. Why?
By the way, I want to thank my friend and mentor, Brian Jones for recommending this book. Thought-provoking as it’s part psychology, part philosophy, and part spiritual wisdom (my words) coming from a person not just wanting to write a story, but to gain answers for himself.
3. Many Unhappy Returns
Ever stumble on a book that turned out to be great, but you wondered how you hadn’t found it earlier?
Management books are one of several cures for my temperamental insomnia flareups. While it’s part memoir that helps, Many Unhappy Returns by Charles Rossotti was one of the best books I read in the first half of 2021
First, the guy had to be nuts for taking the IRS Commissioner position in 1997 after a successful ride of a lifetime in being the CEO at a public company he co-founded. Charles was also the fourth of fifth person hired at The Boston Consulting Group and hired by its founder, Bruce Henderson.
If you like business podcasts, our 30-minute chat with Mr. Rossotti is a short primer on textbook leadership in turning around a dinosaur. Thankfully, the five-year test of letting a business person run the IRS was a success.
4. Personal Thoughts on Independence Day
I am not a political person. But I will actively engage in conversations about justice, education, liberty, fiscal prudence, and my country’s past – the good, the bad, and the really ugly.
This weekend after watching Lee Daniels’ The Butler and listening to David Letterman talk to John Lewis as they walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge leading to Selma, Alabama, I found myself at times ashamed of my skin color.
And maybe that’s a good thing as that’s a reminder for me that there’s still much work to do to make this country a beautiful city on a hill. I love my country. But we’re not a great country. But we can be.
5. Touching the Void
It’s thought-provoking. I do not come close to reading the fiction titles that I would love to read. I have been reading some Tolstoy short stories to fill part of that void.
On the other hand, if you find yourself in a similar situation, narrative non-fiction can be as good and addicting as a great story.
I have no desire to step foot on a mountain after reading Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer which is a first-hand account of the Mt. Everest disastrous climb in 1996. Yet, I found the book riveting and hard to put down.
If you are looking for a similar read, consider Touching the Void by Joe Simpson (4.6 on 1.7k reviews).
Favorite Books in First Half of 2021
We’re working on a podcast episode of CFO Bookshelf’s favorite books during the first half of 2021. What were your 2-3 favorite books. Send us a note, and we’ll read your list and your name on an upcoming show this month.
Deep in the Archives – Bookmarks 22 – Freakonomics, Economics in One Lesson, Executive Economics, Book Summaries, Profit From the Core, and Creative Destruction.
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Always be learning and growing.