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

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