Augustus: The Life of Rome’s First Emperor by Anthony Everitt is enriching

As a self-styled Roman history buff who has always considered Augustus to be my role model because he essentially singlehandedly created the Roman Empire, I had to read his biography to get the detailed backstory. I had learned a lot on the topic from Edward Champlin’s fantastic lectures on the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire while at Princeton and had enjoyed HBO’s fantastic TV show Rome and was looking forward to learning more. The book is not nearly as well written or as enjoyable as Ron Chernow’s brilliant biographies, but I loved both learning more about Augustus’… Read More

The Metropolis Case is beautifully written and shockingly compelling

I am a bit at a loss for words when it comes to describing my liking of The Metropolis Case. I am not a huge fan of music, dislike opera and don’t particularly care for gay male leads. Yet, somehow, the intertwining tale of four characters connected by music over a period spanning from 1860s Paris to New York after 9/11, becomes slowly engrossing. I am not quite sure why the characters are so compelling. Their coming of age is predictable. More likely, the underlying, if secondary, issue of aging and its consequences resonated with me. I share the characters’… Read More

The 4-Hour Workweek is shockingly good and may change your life forever!

I had heard great things about The 4-Hour Workweek and actually met its author, Tim Ferriss, a few times, but the gimmicky title always kept me from reading it. Rave reviews for his new book The 4-Hour Body, with yet another annoying gimmicky title, convinced me to start at the beginning to see what all the fuss was about. Funnily enough the entire raison d’être of the book, to reduce the amount spent working because it is boring and meaningless, does not apply to me. I love being an entrepreneur and angel investor and thus fall more in the “love… Read More

Current Reading List

Non-Fiction: Why the West Rules–for Now by Ian Morris The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely Augustus: The Life of Rome’s First Emperor by Anthony Everitt The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms by Nassim Taleb How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakewell The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss Fiction: The Metropolis Case by Matthew Gallaw I will let you know what I think of them!… Read More

The Sherlockian is worthy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I was in the market for a good thriller or detective story when I came across a glowing review of The Sherlockian in Entertainment Weekly. The concept of a dual track detective story one taking place in Arthur Conan Doyle’s time and one in the present appealed to me and the book did not disappoint. The book covers a modern day fictional search for Arthur Conan Doyle’s lost diary which may explain why he chose to resurrect Sherlock Holmes from the dead after a multi-year hiatus. In parallel, the book imagines Conan Doyle’s life during the time period covered by… Read More

Great Discussion with Ron Chernow on George Washington

Ron Chernow is one of my favorite authors. He wrote amazing epic biographies on Alexander Hamilton and Rockefeller amongst others. He recently released a biography on George Washington called Washington: A Life. He spoke with Jon Meacham at the New York Public Library last September about his new book. My good friend Joyce Pustilnik recently pointed me to the fascinating podcast of that discussion which I am attaching for your listening pleasure. I have not bought his new book yet, but it’s definitely on my to-read list!… Read More

The Garden of Betrayal is a thrilling read!

I had not come across a great fun thriller since The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons a few years ago. The Garden of Betrayal was a welcome surprise. I had read the review in The Economist and was intrigued. Lee Vance, the author, is a former trader at Goldman Sachs. His insider’s perspective felt real and compelling. I was all the more engrossed as the material Mark Wallace, the protagonist, enters in possession of on Saudi oil reserves was very reminiscent of a Peak Oil article published by Clarium Capital that I had recently come across. The multi-layered… Read More

The Passage was disappointing

I had read that The Passage by Justin Cronin was the must read beach book of the summer. After one too many raving review, I downloaded it in the Kindle store to read on my iPad during my crazy business trip. I expected the book to be a dark, gritty and personal version of World War Z, a book I thoroughly enjoyed. In other words, I expected the book to be in the same style, but written from the perspective of a few individuals with all the lack of information and fear of the unknown that that entails. The Passage… Read More

A Prisoner of Birth is Jeffrey Archer’s best book in years!

I grew up loving Jeffrey Archer’s epic books – Kane & Able, A Mater of Honor, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, As the Crow Flies… I read all of his books including all of his fantastic short stories. However, during the past few years I have found his books wanting – cardboard characters, simplistic plots and mundane stories. Fortunately, A Prisoner of Birth reads much more like Jeffrey Archer’s earlier works and is highly entertaining! It’s a modern retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo. Like in most Jeffrey Archer books the story is utterly predictable and… Read More

The Big Short is fantastic!

Michael Lewis’ books have been hit or miss for me. Liar’s Poker provided a great social commentary on the insanity of Wall Street and was a great introduction, in my teens, to the world of high finance. Moneyball’s description of how statistical analysis helped Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland As, to defy conventional wisdom and win so much with the lowest payroll in Baseball was engrossing! The New New Thing, while attempting to portray the crazy “can do” ethos of Silicon Valley, somehow felt short probably because Michael Lewis chose the wrong role model in Jim Clark and… Read More