Influential Reads – August 2022

Reading Time: 4 minutes

“So much advantage in life comes from being willing to look foolish in the short term. ” – Farnam Street

Happy Labor Day.  After you read this, go outside and ride your bike or something.

Seven books last month!  And I spent some good time reading through aging articles on my list (see How I Read) and culling others to help make my list a bit more manageable.  I am also working on a categorization scheme to guide my reading & research prioritization in the months ahead.  More on that at some future date.

So, I found the John MacDonald Travis McGee series.  So, in the vein of these two thoughts below, I made up some ground on my reading goal.

“I think it’s good to read ambitious books. But if you only get ambitious books (or worse, you force yourself to finish them before reading fun ones) you’ll kill any potential joy for reading you might have. So always have “fun” books—light, easy reads that make you feel good in addition to weightier tomes. That way you can switch between styles depending on whether you want challenge or relaxation and never give up the habit of reading.” – Scott Young

“Yet, many people—even those with a voracious reading habit—make the same mistake: They hardly, if ever, read fiction. They even brag about it! They’re too busy. They don’t have time for “art.” There’s plenty of “real” stuff—the characters in fiction that bear little resemblance to the world we know? I don’t have time for it. But fiction, like all wonderful art, is filled with beautiful bits of insight about the human condition. It can change your life and teach you just as much as any non-fiction book. Actually, no, it can teach you more! It can shine a light on universal truths that non-fiction, bounded by the facts and figures of its specific world, often cannot (to say nothing of the research that connects literature with improved empathy, reduced stress, and hone social skills).” – Ryan Holiday

Here are a few highlights from the series:

  • “Savagery, venom and guile are good survival quotients.”
  • “There is as much danger in overestimating as in underestimating the quality of the opposition.”
  • “These are the slums of the heart. Bless the bunnies. These are the new people, and we are making no place for them. We hold the dream in front of them like a carrot, and finally say sorry you can’t have any. And the schools where we teach them non-survival are gloriously architectured. They will never live in places so fine, unless they contract something incurable.”
  • “Somebody has to be tireless, or the fast-buck operators would asphalt the entire coast, fill every bay, and slay every living thing incapable of carrying a wallet.”
  • “Being a beach bum takes money. If you want to do it with flair. If the money comes in regularly, then you’re working for it, and you lose your status. I have to come by it in chunks now and then, to protect my way of life.”
  • “The old city was being filled with these tall tasteless rectangles, bright boxes which diminished the people who had to live and work in them. People kennels. Disposable cubicles for dispensable people.”
  • “Self-evaluation. It is the skin rash of the emotionally insecure.”
  • “Temptation does not deliver most of us into evil, because temptation is a constant and evil is a sometime thing with most of us.”
  • “The incomparably dull tract houses, glitteringly new, were marching out across the hills, cluttered with identical station wagons, identical children, identical barbecues, identical tastes in flowers and television.”
  • “My friend Meyer, the economist, says that cretins are the only humans who can be absolutely certain of their own sanity. All the rest of us go rocketing along rickety rails over spavined bridges and along the edge of bottomless gorges. The man who believes himself free of any taint of madness is a damned liar.”
  • “The stars were bright. A dog-thing hollered a hundred miles away. Somebody walked over my grave.”

Here are my most influential reads for the month – in no particular order:

  1. Recession Is Already Here for Many Small Businesses – “That’s for good reason. Some analysts say that while a mild fall in demand has weighed on energy prices, the drop in gas prices is largely due to the government’s release of strategic petroleum reserves.”
  2. Finding persistent invisible systems – “But plastic persists as a commercial solution, because the system is invisible and resilient. Each member of the system does what they do, usually for good reasons.”
  3. Brain Food: Appearing Foolish – “To be a good manager, you want things to run smoothly. And insights are not ways of running smoothly. Insights are disorganizing and disruptive. And so, that’s a major reason that organizations, without even intending to, block the insights that come their way.”
  4. Brandon Sanderson’s Advice for Doing Hard Things – “I can do hard things. Doing hard things has intrinsic value, and they will make me a better person, even if I end up failing.”
  5. Latticework: The New Investing – “Hagstrom makes a case that a successful stock picker must be ready to shift models and look at the markets from different vantage points with the passage of time.”
  6. Welfare Queens – “The Inflation Reduction Act (“IRA”) is being hailed/hated as a climate bill, but it’s really just the most recent investment by Eagle Capital”
  7. The Climate Bill Is About to Reshape Global Energy – “The age of renewable energy, by comparison, is coming on with lightning speed.”
  8. I Beg to Differ – “The basic idea behind second-level thinking is easily summarized: In order to outperform, your thinking has to be different and better.” and “Readily available quantitative information with regard to the present cannot be the source of superior performance.”
  9. The Fed Is About to Ramp Up Balance-Sheet Shrinkage. It May Get Dicey. – “Starting next month, those caps will rise to $60 billion and $35 billion, respectively, meaning the pace of balance-sheet runoff is about to double”
  10. A Simple Way to Introduce Yourself – “That’s it for the self-introduction framework. Present, past, future. Eloquent and effective”

Note: This is based on when I read the article, not necessarily when it was first published.  Unfortunately, my backlog of things I would like to read always seems to dwarf the amount of time I can devote to reading.

Top clicks across the site last month:

  1. Financial Model vs. Operating Model
  2. Excel Templates & Other Free Stuff
  3. Solamere Trail Loop
  4. Operating Model Tips
  5. EBITDA Is Not A Good Proxy For Cash Flow

Updated stats:

Read ArticlesBooks