Books

I read a lot of different genres. Below is a list of some of the books that I’ve read recently which you may enjoy. I will update this page periodically.

Business

Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street. (Sheelah Kolhatkar)

An intriguing and somewhat deflating story of the unsuccessful attempt to put Stevie Cohen in the can.

The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron (Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind)

Illuminating case study on corporate greed, a flawed management team and Wall Street.

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco (Bryan Burrough and John Helyar)

Detailed examination of KKR’s takeover of RJR Nabisco, providing insight into the role of deal fever and egos in M&A.

The Fish that Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King (Rich Cohen)

Fascinating biography of Samuel Zemurray, who rose from a banana peddler to a business titan. A story of entrepreneurship, politics and foreign policy. Bananas used to be so exotic they were sold by the slice!

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Nassm Nicholas Taleb)

The first book I read that really made me question how I think and what I truly know. Taleb is a bombastic, argumentative and truly unique writer. If you are interested in investing or business this is a must read. He even tells you which chapters you can skip if you are not into hard math.

History & Society

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging (Sebastian Junger)

Thought provoking polemic on tribal versus modern society by renowned conflict reporter and non-fiction author Sebastian Junger.

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanche Tribe (S.C. Gwynne)

A brilliant, at times brutal read about the Comanche Tribe and settler life. It’s not as simple as indigenous = good, coloniser = bad.

Bolivar: The Epic Life of the Man Who Liberated South America (Marie Arana)

Riveting story on the rise and decline of Simon Bolivar. How one man brought together indigenous tribes, Spanish settlers and slaves from across South America and drove the Spanish out.

Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America and the New Face of American War  (Evan Wright)

Front row seat to the invasion of Iraq during the second Gulf War, through the eyes of former Rolling Stone correspondent Evan Wright. Stunning, at times amusing, portrayal of the madness and reality of war. Read the book, and then watch the HBO miniseries.

Travel

A.A Gill is Away (A.A. Gill)

A.A. Gill talked about “interviewing places”. This collection of articles, with at times biting insight and wit, puts a spotlight both on the places he visits and broader society.

Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World’s Worst Places and Asks “What’s Funny about This”  (P.J. O’Rourke)

Sometimes rambling, sometimes very very funny collection of articles by P.J. O’Rourke from his time as a foreign correspondent in the 1980s. Written before identity politics and political correctness went bananas. Aspects of these articles would never be published today in a left wing magazine.