A Song of Ice and Fire is magnificently complex, thrilling and entertaining!

I have been hearing of George R.R. Martin for many years, but never checked out his books because he was always described to me as “the American J.R.R. Tolkien”, and I am not a fan of fantasy. From my perspective, The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are too slow with uncompelling lead characters and fantasy elements that overwhelmed the story. When I saw the ads for the HBO Series Game of Thrones, I expected more of the same and did not check the TV show out for the greater part of the year. The overwhelming critical acclaim ultimately… Read More

The Hunger Games Will Satisfy You

By Anne Hamilton If you are anything like me, when you first heard of The Hunger Games two years ago you pictured a group of hormonal teenage vampires playing paintball while eating attractive young coeds. I admit that is what I thought until someone forced me to watch the trailer for the movie and encouraged me to read the book. Unlike the teen soap operas on the market such as Twilight, Collins’ novel is Greek in form and scope: it is a sophisticated, well-structured story that delivers on its premise and leaves you feeling satisfied. The action takes place in… Read More

Ready Player One is a must read for gamers and fans of the 80s!

Ready Player One takes place in the mid-21st century. The world has essentially gone to hell and most of humanity spends its time working, playing and essentially living in OASIS which is an immersive massively multiplayer game. On his death, James Halliday, the founder of the video game and the wealthiest man in the world, organizes a virtual treasure hunt giving away his fortune to the first individual lucky enough to find the “egg” he hid somewhere in OASIS. The catch is that each devilishly complex clue is rooted in an intimate knowledge of 1980s pop culture. We follow Wade… Read More

Eat People makes great points but ultimately falls short

I loved How We Got Here, Andy Kessler’s last book. That book was essentially the entrepreneurship and capitalist equivalent of Bill Bryson’s A Short Story of Nearly Everything. I was really looking forward to reading Eat People: And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs. The book is essentially a cross between my 9 business selection criteria and an entrepreneurship and capitalist manifesto. Unfortunately the book is too preachy and angry to make the point that wealth creation comes from entrepreneurship and innovation very effectively. In many ways it falls prey to the same errors the zero sum anti-growth… Read More

The Fall of the Roman Empire is a must read for Roman history buffs!

Peter Heather has managed the inconceivable: to displace Gibbons (for me at least) as the reference when it comes to explaining the fall of the Western Roman Empire. He very convincingly argues that the rise of the Huns and Goths brought down the Roman Empire rather than internal conflicts and moral decline. He disputes that the Christianization of the Empire had a real impact on the running of the Empire. It brought about a cultural revolution, but did not impact the running of the Empire: “only the nomenclature was different.” Likewise, he argues that splitting the Empire in Western and… Read More

The Upside of Irrationality is a must read!

Given my blog post on How to minimize human misery in recessions or the macroeconomic implications to hedonic adaptation, this review should not come as too much of a surprise. I had loved Dan Ariely’s original book Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality is a worthy successor. In this book Dan analyzes a wide range of counter-intuitive results in diverse subject matters ranging from our innate desire to revenge to the market failure in online dating to why bonuses can be counterproductive. As usual in behavioral economics books the anecdotes make the story. In this… Read More

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