Pods & Recs: 1Q20 Book Suggestions

Hey Listeners,

I’m sure most of you are stuck at home right now, so I wanted to pass along a list of the book recommendations made on podcasts during the first quarter of 2020. Hope you find some good reads to keep you busy!

Joe Rickets (Founder & Former CEO, TD Ameritrade, Owner of Chicago Cubs):

  1. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose — Story of Lewis and Clark that led him to studying the beaver trade and how the West was opened.

Barry Ritholtz (CIO, Ritholtz Wealth Management):

  1. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough — About two brothers going against everyone telling them how crazy they are, and they essentially go out and invent flight.
  2. The Spider Network: How a Math Genius and a Gang of Scheming Bankers Pulled Off One of the Greatest Scams in History by David Enrich — It’s about the LIBOR manipulation and reads like a thriller.

Brian Kelly (Founder & CEO, The Points Guy):

  1. Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac — Insane page turner and perfect model of how to not run a business.
  2. Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War by Leymah Gbowee — The author was the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Winner from Liberia. She brought women together to help end the bloody Civil War while living in a refugee camp with no degree, three kids, and an alcoholic husband, and is now she is on the floor of the U.N. opening up sessions. It gives you inspiration that even on our worst day, we have it pretty good.

Patrick O’Shaughnessy (CEO, O’Shaughnessy Asset Management):

  1. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk — Amazing book about the ways in which traumas of varying levels of intensity manifest in the body.

Vlad Magdalin (Co-Founder & CEO, Webflow):

  1. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek — Defined his leadership principles.

Kevin Systrom (Co-Founder, Instagram):

  1. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen — He took away that you should always have a “someday-maybe list” of things that you think are really interesting but don’t have enough time for right now. When he left Instagram, he decided to look at his list and took up learning to fly.
  2. Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by Clayton Christensen — If you are a products person or responsible for selling something to people, knowing what job you are solving for people is the most important thing you can do.
  3. Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio: A structured way of thinking about how to make decisions.

Matthew Benkendorf (CIO, Vontobel Quality Growth):

  1. FDR by Jean Smith — Really good piece of perspective as you read about that time period compared to the time period today. History gives you perspective of how decisions in history have played out.
  2. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow — He‘s had admiration for Hamilton and his contribution to the country before the play became popular.

Samir Kaul (Founding Partner, Khosla Ventures):

  1. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle — talks about living in the present and not thinking about the fast and future. It also talks about meditating, thinking about yourself and exercising more.
  2. Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie — The author is the founder of Tom’s. The guy didn’t want to start a big enterprise; he just wanted to make shoes after seeing it be done in Argentina. Contrary to everyone he talked to, he said for every shoe he sells, he was going to give one away, and everyone thought that was the dumbest business idea and it turned out to be the best business idea. Start something that matters — if you start a mission you can create a movement.

Safi Bahcall (Physicist and biotech entrepreneur, author of Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases and Transform Industries):

  1. Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg — There hasn’t been a hero like Lindbergh in over a century. When he made the trip over the Atlantic, people wouldn’t even take bets on his life because it was so unlikely he would make it flying solo across the Atlantic. When he came back, a third of the population came out to see him. He was more popular than FDR, FDR felt threatened, and orchestrated a campaign against him.
  2. Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi — One of the best sports biographies. It had a lot of drama because he had a huge hatred and love of the sport, and how he meets Steffi Graf is an incredible love story.
  3. How Life Imitates Chess: Making the Right Moves, from the Board to the Boardroom by Garry Kasparov — He breaks down what it was about how he approached the game that helped him because the longest reigning chess champion in history.

Howard Marks (Co-Founder, OakTree Capital Management):

  1. Fooled By Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Taleb — I think that his ideas about the randomness of the investors environment, and as a consequence, short-term performance says rather little about merit. I think these are important ideas.

Barbara Tversky (Professor of Psychology, Stanford University):

  1. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling.

Peter Livingston (Angel Investor and General Partner, Unpopular Ventures):

  1. Angel Investing: The Gust Guide to Making Money and Having Fun Investing in Startups by David Rose — Recommends it for people who are interested in learning about angel investing and it really helped him when he started out.

Keith Rabois (General Partner, Founders Fund):

  1. High Output Management by Andy Grove — It is THE book on how to run a start-up, written in 1982 and I don’t think anyone has written anything nearly as good. The book has been so influential that many things that were radical and innovative in the book are now so widespread, like 1 on 1 meetings with managers.
  2. The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership by Bill Walsh — The philosophy of the book is that by not focusing on outputs like winning a football game, the way you fundamentally win a football game is by doing everything precisely and perfectly consistently. You start with a philosophy that you will measure everything and make people accountable for being incredibly disciplined and focused.

Sarah Leary (Co-Founder, Nextdoor):

  1. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert Putnam — Talks about the importance of building social capital and trust, and that has been on a slow & steady decline the last 30–40 years. This leads to issues where crime rate goes up, test scores go down, and public health is worse.

David Pakman (Partner at Venrock, Co-Founder, Apple Music):

  1. Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker — Helped him be less depressed and realized the arc of history bends towards justice, and things are getting better if you look over the long term.

Ashton Kutcher (Actor, Founder, Sound Ventures):

  1. The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Mind by Michael Lewis — About Daniel Kahneman and his research partner Amos Tversky. If you liked Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, you will like this.
  2. Scale: The Universal Laws of Life, Growth, and Death in Organisms, Cities, and Companies by Geoffrey West
  3. Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell by Eric Schmidt

Rahul Vohra (CEO, Superhuman):

  1. The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses by Jesse Schell — He was previously a game designer and says the bar for product design has risen to such a degree that it has essentially become game design. He strongly suggests that any product designer studies game design in significant detail.

Mike Maples (Venture Capitalists, Managing Partner, Floodgate):

  1. Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers by Geoffrey A. Moore — If he could name one book that every startup founder should read, it would probably be this. When he read it, it literally changed his view on technology marketing.

Paul Krugman (Economist, New York Times Columnist, Bestselling Author):

  1. An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume — About the philosophy of David Hume and how skepticism and demanding evidence makes a big difference. Krugman realized years later he was probably the first modern economist, even before Adam Smith.

Jim Davies (Cognitive Scientist):

  1. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt — Excellent book that gives an interesting theory: some of the political divides we see are based upon differences in emotional response, and a lot of that is genetic (how we feel disgust and fear).

Jim Chanos (President, Kynikos Associates):

  1. The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry by William Black — Provided Chanos with a governance model for looking at frauds. The book is the story of the S&L and banking crisis in the late 80’s and early 90’s when thousands of bank executives went to jail. The model’s concept is that fraudsters use the corporation as both a weapon and a shield.
  2. The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, The Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals by Frank Portnoy — One of the best business books ever written and Chanos uses the book as reading for the course he teaches at Yale on financial history.

Jim O’Shaughnessy (Chief Investment Officer, O’Shaughnessy Asset Management):

  1. Prometheus Rising by Robert Wilson — It does an excellent job simplifying the idea that perception is reality. Every human brain has two components: a thinker and a prover. The thinker is the part that creates beliefs and is involved with speculation, and the prover does everything in its power to say that you are right. The takeaway is that we see what we’re looking for.
  2. Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell — Really interesting and he brings up that through evolution, we have a default to honesty.

Anthony Pompliano (Co-founder & Partner, Morgan Creek Digital):

  1. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It by Kamal Ravikant — He says he has had a lot of people on his podcast talk about their books, but he highly recommends people go get this book.
  2. Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim Grover — Grover played college basketball and wanted to train NBA players. He became Michael Jordan’s trainer and later became the trainer for Kobe Bryant. He says there are three types of people: 1) Cooler — satisfied to be in the NBA, 2) Closer — tells the coach give me the ball and if I am open, I will take the shot, and 3) Cleaner — the guy is taking the shot to win the game no matter what and no one questions it. The people in the third category realize practice should be harder than the games and that’s what makes them successful in those big moments.

Emmett Shear (CEO, Twitch):

  1. Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities by Alain Bertaud — It’s about the tension between transit and housing and how cities work. If you care about how to improve the modern American or global city, it’s worth reading.
  2. The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging by Charles Vogl — He would recommend it for anyone interested in building a strong community.

Zach Kanter (Founder & CEO, Stedi):

  1. An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management by Will Larson — His big takeaway from the book is that you really need a team of 6–8 engineers in order to make progress on a very complicated problem within a company.

Austin Rief (Co-Founder, Morning Brew):

  1. The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Bob Iger — Incredible and fascinating book.
  2. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport — The basic idea is in today’s society, the most valuable skill you can have is the ability to learn things quickly, and the best way to learn things quickly is to get to deep work as fast as possible.

Garett Jones (Economics Professor, George Mason University):

  1. Managerial Dilemmas: The Political Economy of Hierarchy by Gary Miller — He has said it is one of the books that has influenced him most. It applies classic public choice to the questions regarding organization of the firm.

Chip Wilson (Founder, Lululemon):

  1. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber — About how to set up a company to be franchised so it’s able to grow exponentially. Helped him plan how to train his employees from their first day at the company.

Christopher Davis (Chairman and Chief Investment Officer, Davis Advisors):

  1. Americana: A 400-Year History of American Capitalism by Bhu Srinivasan — It is a history of American capitalism and each chapter is the history a specific industry, the people who started it, the ideas around it, how it caught traction, and who financed it (Ritholtz has since tweeted it’s the most interesting book he’s read in a long time).
  2. Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder — About the corruption going on with Putin in Russia.
  3. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
  4. Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World by Bradley Hope & Tom Wright

Danielle DiMartino Booth (Former Federal Reserve of Dallas Employee, Founder, Quill Intelligence):

  1. Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed — This book had the greatest impact on her career.
  2. The Destroyers: A Novel by Christopher Bollen
  3. The Goldfinch: A Novel by Donna Tartt — One of the best written books she’s read and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Brian Deese (Global Head of Sustainable Investing, Blackrock):

  1. The Overstory: A Novel by Richard Power
  2. Uncommon Carriers by John McPhee — It is a series of vignettes of him traveling across the country with people who transport things, from barges that go up and down the Mississippi river to chemical tank trucks.

Sam Parr (Founder, The Hustle):

Two of his favorite biographies:

  1. The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy by David Nasaw
  2. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow

Niko Canner (Founder, Incandescent):

  1. The Millionaire Real Estate Agent: It’s Not About the Money…It’s About Being the Best You Can Be! by Gary Keller — One of the best business books he’s ever encountered, and the exact kind of business book title people would expect him not to read. It begins with some very conceptual strategic insights about what drives value in that particular business, and then breaks down the path from starting, to creating an agency that’s so successful it’s throwing off $1m/year in passive income to the owner. There are a set of eras you go through — in era 1 you need to be relentlessly focused on lead generation and the seller. Then as you solve those problems, you move to a next set of problems.

Josh Brown (CEO, Ritholtz Wealth Management):

  1. The Go-Giver, Expanded Edition: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg — Says it’s his Bible.

Raoul Pal (Real Vision, CEO):

  1. The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolf — Shows the humility we all have to have when we think we are geniuses or amazing. Humility in all things is actually what you should strive to achieve.

Ben Carlson (Director of Institutional Asset Management, Ritholtz Wealth Management):

  1. The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John Barry — Scared the everliving crap out of him. It’s about the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic but it traced back to a soldier in a small town in Kansas. The reason it got so crazy was because of the onslaught of people going to war in World War I.

Mark Hyman (Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine):

  1. Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming by Paul Hawken — Wonderful explanation of the top solutions that exist today that can drawdown carbon out of the environment. He unexpectedly found that the food solutions were the top solutions to fix climate change.

Esther Wojcicki (Journalist, Mother to CEO’s of YouTube & 23andme):

  1. The Pearl by John Steinbeck — It’s a short story that talks about a fisherman that managed to pull up an oyster with what was called the pearl of the world. The story talks about what happened to him as a result of having that pearl. Great book for everyone to read, especially young people.
  2. Failure to Launch: Why Your Twentysomething Hasn’t Grown Up…and What to Do About It by Mark McConville — Talks about some of the topics she covers in her own book, and the kids are what fail to launch as a result of the parenting problems going on today.
  3. Dark Horse: Achieving Success Through the Pursuit of Fulfillment by Todd Rose — Talks about the kids who are the non-conformists and the ones the parents are pulling their hair out about, and how those kids are the ones that really change the world.
  4. Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell by Eric Schmidt — About Bill Campbell, who was a coach to some of Silicon Valley’s CEO’s. His message is that you must trust and respect your employees, give them independence, promote collaboration, treat them with kindness and love them.

Meb Faber (CEO and CIO of Cambria Investments):

  1. Triumph of the Optimists: 101 Years of Global Investment Returns by Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh, and Mike Staunton — His favorite investing book.
  2. Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups — Timeless Advice from an Angel Investor Who Turned $100,000 into $100,000,000 by Jason Calacanis — Great introductory book on angel investing.




Here to bring you podcast suggestions. Twitter → @colby__donovan

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Colby Donovan

Colby Donovan

Here to bring you podcast suggestions. Twitter → @colby__donovan

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