Monthly Bookmarks –
157th Edition – November 5, 2023
Sam Bankman-Fried is gone. And crypto is back to its favorite activity: a wild speculative rally.Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2023
1. Number Go Up Will Be the Top Non-Fiction Book of 2023
This past week, we learned that Sam Bankman-Fried will be in jail for a long time.
Even though Michael Lewis has written a book about him, the better book released before his was Number Go Up by Zeke Faux.
If you know little about FTX and Bankman-Fried, this readable account of its demise is a perfect starting point. The book’s scope extends well beyond FTX as Zeke chronicles his ventures around the globe, sharing what I call binge-worthy episodes suitable for a Netflix docuseries.
2. Thinking Analytically
Many students who took Richard Zeckhauser’s Analytic Frameworks Policy for more than four decades called it life-changing.
Maxims for Thinking Analytically by Dan Levy is based on that course. Leave your pencil, paper, and calculator at your desk. “Though the book is analytical, it is not mathematical,” according to the author.
There are nineteen maxims with short chapters providing ideas and stories behind each nugget of wisdom. Here are a few of my favorites:
- When you have trouble getting your thinking straight, go to an extreme case.
- Don’t take refuge in complexity.
- Good decisions sometimes have poor outcomes (this reminds me of Annie Duke’s concept, resulting).
- Don’t be limited by the outcomes you have in front of you.
- Information is only valuable if it can change your decision.
3. Read More Fiction – Mission Accomplished
Because I read so much non-fiction, reading novels is a treat. Picking titles is the hard part. I prefer fiction with solid character development and memorable plots.
I only share some of the titles below that I completed this summer if you are looking for some suggestions.
- I was not too fond of the movie version of The Grapes of Wrath. Still, I read Steinbeck’s book anyway because I wanted to understand better the behaviors people experienced during The Dust Bowl combined with The Great Depression. I paired that book with the riveting story of a mother and her two children who fled Texas to California in hopes of a better living during The Depression. It was worse, as told in The Four Winds by Kristen Hannah. Several months have passed since reading both books, and both still occupy my mind.
- I became a Ken Follett fan last year when I read A Dangerous Fortune, where the protagonist is a banker. I wanted to read another title, so I picked Eye of the Needle, a WWII thriller. Excellent.
- Stephen King once wrote under the pen name Richard Bachman. I found The Running Man a heart-pounding, hard-to-put-down book. The ending is … sorry, I can’t say. If you get a new book version with King’s forward to it (spoiler alert!!), don’t read it. He gives away the ending.
4. A Savvy Way to Build a Personal Network
Nick Gray started hosting two-hour cocktail parties when he moved to a big city so he could begin to develop new friendships and loose connections.
The successful entrepreneur and founder of Museum Hack has written a short book on how to host parties, and he’s left out absolutely nothing. All the necessary ingredients are included, from identifying your first guests, the number of guests to invite, icebreakers, food to serve, and the perfect nights for these parties.
What a creative idea and another way to start applying the life principles of Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.
As we enter the holiday season, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party is the perfect gift for friends and colleagues.
5. Three Powerful Introspective Questions About Your Business
One of the best books I’ve read on valuing a private business is Quick Value by Reed Phillips. His process is simple, impactful, and can replace the annual strategic planning process.
Early in the book, there are three questions that I think are relevant to every management team member in any organization, large or small. These questions are not just for CEOs.
- Does the management team have a firm understanding of the organization’s value at this moment?
- Do you know with certainty how much value the leadership team created in the past year?
- Can the management team pinpoint in the business where value is being created or where it is declining?
Title Image Attribution: By Cointelegraph, CC BY 3.0
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