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FCS Reading List – 1H’2015

“Liber medicina animi — a book is the soul’s medicine.”

Top Reads in 2015 (through June 30th):
Biography

  • I’ll Drink to That – Betty Halbreich –   Halbreich created the personal shopping department at Bergdorf Goodman.  Her life (now in her 80s) spans a unique slice of history and has intersected with numerous intriguing people.  Surprising, highly recommend
  • No Hero – Mark Owen –  The follow-up to No Easy Day, Owen talks more about life on the elite Seal Team 6
  • Orange is the New Black – Piper Kerman – This biography is the basis of the TV show and a fascinating look at the inside of the federal prison system
  • Still Fooling Them – Billy Crystal –  Actor / comedian Crystal reflects on his life and time in show business.  Incredibly enjoyable
  • Ahead of the Curve – Philip Delves Broughton – When a journalist leaves the news world to go to Harvard Business School, it was inevitable that it turns into a book about the experience
  • Dad is Fat – Jim Gaffigan –  A lot of the material in here is the same as his recent stand up special, but comedian Gaffigan does not fail to entertain.
  • I Must Say – Martin Short – Short’s story about his rise in show business intersects with that of so many other beloved actors.  Truly one of the great comedians of this age
  • A Curious Mind – Brian Grazer – Imagine Entertainment producer Brian Grazer makes the case that curiosity is important.  More interesting are the stories he interweaves about how he started in Hollywood.

Investing:

  • What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars – Jim Paul – Too many investors focus on making money, what unites all great investors is their focus on how not to lose it – this is a must read
  • Education of a Value Investor – Guy Spier – Hedge fund manager Spier talks about the process, discipline and psychology of being a value investor
  • A Passion to Win – Sumner Redstone – Redstone, owner of Viacom, pens an excellent autobiography chronicling the rise of the modern media industry
  • When Money Is King – Ron Perelman – Richard Hack – A biography of financier Ron Perelman. An interesting profile of his deals, but not noteworthy otherwise

Business / Finance: 

  • Dream Big – Cristiane Correa – Originally published only in Brazil, Dream Big is the story of 3G Capital, the now owners of Budweiser, Burger King, Heinz, etc.
  • Confessions of an Advertising Man – David Ogilvy – Later in his career, ad-man Ogilvy offers his thoughts on successful advertising and life
  • Zero to One – Peter Thiel – Not really a unified book, but more a collection of Thiel’s musings.  A quick and interesting read
  • The Toyota Way – Jeffrey Liker – This is an oldie, but if you haven’t looked at how Toyota runs its factories, you are missing out.
  • The Art of the Sale – Philip Delves Broughton –  Broughton interviews and reflects on the craft of selling, a discipline in business that is often assumed, but not explored deeply
  • The Masters of Private Equity and Venture Capital – Robert Finkel –  Finkel interviews several renowned private equity heavyweights who we have not seen comment at length in print before

Industry Profiles:

  • Factory Man – Beth Macy – Macy’s chronicles the rise and fall of the American furniture industry and the Bassett family
  • Heads in Bed – Jacob Tomsky –   An inside look at the hotel / hospitality industry
  • I F**ing love that company – Bayard Winthrop and Randy Komisar  – A short pithy work looking at the changing world of branded consumer goods

Management:

  • How Google Works – Eric Schmidt –  An inside look at the 21st Century’s leading company
  • The Score Takes Care of Itself – Bill Walsh –  Process is what matters to seminal football coach Bill Walsh

Non Fiction:

  • Being Mortal – Atul Gawande –  A deep dive look at the process of aging and dying in the modern world – a must read
  • The Power of Habit –  Charles Duhigg –  A recommendation from JT I was a bit skeptical about, but found to be incredibly enjoying. A thorough look behind the scenes of daily routines and habits
  • End of the Suburbs – Leigh Gallagher –  Gallagher tries to prove the point that the suburbs are dead and re-urbanization is underway.  In general, I found it long on rhetoric and short on data

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