The beginning of each year is often a period of reflection and learning. With this in mind, we asked our team at Mawer for their top book recommendations for 2014. These are not necessarily new books, nor investment books for that matter, but each one provided the reader with valuable insights. We hope that they may provide you the same.
How Will You Measure Your Life?
Author: Clayton M. Christensen
Drawing from his business research, and written in a refreshing and entertaining style,
Mr. Christensen offers guidelines for finding happiness in life.
Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success
Author: Matthew Syed
Society has a tendency to assign words like “genius,” “naturally gifted” and “prodigy” to people who achieve success and excellence. Syed presents a case that challenges the theory of natural talent and provides evidence that excellence is primarily down to sustained and purposeful practice.
Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All
Author: Tom and David Kelly
This book undermines the myth that some people are creative and others are not. It argues that creativity is innate to everyone and provides practical steps to unlocking your own creative potential.
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin
This biography offers fresh insights into Abraham Lincoln’s leadership style and phenomenal mastery of men.
Author: Kahlil Gibran
A collection of wonderful poetic essays about life and the human condition.
Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
Author: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
As human beings we don’t get randomness. We look for patterns where there are none, we fail to prepare for extreme events and we confuse skill with dumb luck. This can be disastrous, especially to our financial health. Taleb’s book and its outstanding bibliography won’t fix us, but they can help us better prepare our minds for the world we live in.
Competition Demystified: A Radically Simplified Approach to Business Strategy
Author: Bruce C. Greenwald
The author believes that not all of Michael Porter’s forces are created equal and focuses his book on what he deems to be the most important force; a barrier to entry. The book classifies barriers into three categories; supply advantage, customer captivity and economies of scale. The concepts in the book provide a solid foundation for individuals trying to determine whether a company is likely to have a competitive advantage.
Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal: How I Went from CEO to Whistleblower
Author: Michael Woodford
Woodford’s account of the fraud at Olympus sheds light on the corporate culture at a major Japanese firm, in which values such as harmony, face, and deference took precedence over honesty, shareholder alignment, and the law. As investors, it is important to consider the impact of such cultural factors when evaluating investment opportunities.
One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com
Author: Richard L. Brandt
A glimpse into the tenacity, single-minded vision and meticulous planning that was required to build Amazon, and a good example of traits that define strong entrepreneurs.
From Third World to First, The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew
Author: Lee Kuan Yew
An insightful history of Singapore and the pragmatic leadership of Lee Kuan Yew, one of the most influential leaders in Asia.