Here are the best books I read in 2019 broken down into three different categories: Business/Investing, Novels, and Management. This last category was more of an emphasis for me as I was fortunate to receive a leadership opportunity at work.
The Little Book of Value Investing by Christopher H. Browne
We are value investors at our firm. This short book written by a great value investor does a nice job explaining the key concepts behind a successful value investing approach.
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
I have yet to talk to anyone who read this book and disliked it. Knight is a captivating storyteller who provides a revealing look at the struggles and milestones in building a mammoth brand.
Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger, Expanded Third Edition by Peter D. Kaufman (Editor), Ed Wexler (Illustrator), Warren E. Buffett (Foreword), Charles T. Munger (Author)
If you are not already familiar with Charlie Munger, I won’t do this book justice in a few sentences. Munger is best known as the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett’s long-time partner Wikipedia – Charlie Munger. He’s a brilliant man and legendary investor who has spent much of his adult life lecturing, hectoring, and pleading with people about improving their decision making and increasing their wisdom. Here’s a short clip with ten of his rules for success Munger’s 10 Rules.
Poor Charlie’s Almanack is modeled after Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac, and is a collection of Munger’s writing and speeches over the years. It is a big and expensive book and should take a lot of time to get through. It’s also a master class in investing, business, and self-improvement.
The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership by Bill Walsh
Bill Walsh was a football guy who turned a laughingstock franchise into an NFL dynasty through applying the principles of leadership and team building shared in this book.
Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr
A successful venture capitalist explains a goal-setting principle developed at Intel in the 1970s that helped companies like Intel and Google dominate their competition. OKR’s stands for objectives and key results. Objectives are what you are trying to achieve, and key results are the specific and measurable actions you will take to accomplish them.
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
You probably have to like sci-fi and long books to enjoy this one. It starts with the moon’s destruction and the steps the human race takes to evacuate the planet and survive in outer space. I’ve enjoyed other books by Stephenson, but was reluctant to dive into an 880 page novel. Bill Gates’s strong recommendation Gates Recommends Seveneves convinced me to take a look. I’m glad I did.
Stoner by John Williams
An American literature classic I had not heard of before last year, Stoner is a story about a farmer in the 1940’s who becomes an English professor. I know it couldn’t sound any more boring, but it was quite good.
I hope you enjoy something on this list.
Suggested Further Reading
My Favorite Books This Year (2020)