The Intelligent Investor

Benjamin Graham

People who invest make money for themselves; people who speculate make money for their brokers

This seminal book on investing was written first in 1949 by Ben Graham, the teacher to the world’s foremost investor Warren Buffet and it is a treasure trove of knowledge. Still relevant 77 years later this is a must read for any investor ( not a trader ) or would be investor. Not delving into too much of the security analysis ( there is a seperate book for that by the same author ) Ben Graham paints an epitaph about the guiding principals that should ideally be etched into the mind of any investor who follows the principals of value based investing that Graham propagated. Reading this book the second time I found it an easy read which can be attributed to having picked the financial vernacular over the last few years. Gleaning over the examples put forth by Graham you will be shocked and abashed at the absurdity of individuals and organisations when it comes to dealing with Mr. Market. That is why Graham reminds you throughout the book that success in stock market is not only dependent on your financial know how but also your temperament during the inevitable vicissitudes of the market.

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman

Richard Feynman

Learn what the rest of the world is like. The variety is worthwhile.

If there ever was a curios person it was the Nobel laureate Richard Feynman. From playing musical instruments in a parade in Brazil, working on the atomic bomb to being in all fairness a well established artist this autobiography is a light hearted insight into one of the brightest and probing minds of the last century. Always one to delve into why something is the way it is Richard Feynman clearly extols the fact that curiosity and passion can take you places in life. His love for science is evident from the pages. But what really is a joy to read is his ability to learn things across a broad spectrum of things. And that too not at a beginner level. Apart from a few in depth scientific discussions this book is a very humorous read and will surely ignite or reignite your passion for the scientific way of life which I believe stems from curiosity.


Henry David Thoreau

The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.

The things you own end up owning you. Never has this maxim been truer. We are living in the age of excess. While I whole heartedly admit that the “things” do add to the quality of life but on the flip side the want of more does often make one a slave to comfort. Walden is the story of how author Henry David Thoreau went to live in the woods for two years. The simplicity, the beauty and the inert calmness of such a life hits you immediately as you are transported into the Walden woods, in a small simple cabin and a serene lake. I often wondered why one feels such a yearning for simplicity. I am sure being bombarded with troves of information in the age of the Internet adds to it. Reading this book won’t compel you to give up everything and head off to the woods, maybe it will, but it surely will inspire you to introduce some sense of simplicity in your life and reassess where you should focus your energy. Maybe like me you will find how you are spending time, which is already very limited on things which are very limiting.


Marcus Aurelius, Martin Hammond (Translator, Notes)

When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ..

The thing that really fascinated me most about this book is the power of the written word. Marcus Aurelius a stoic philosopher and a king in the first century wrote Meditations as his memoirs. To be able to read his thoughts, thoughts of a king after almost 1900 years or so is just fascinating. He talks about character, the world as a whole and death among other things. I found stoic philosophy having strands in common with Buddhism emphasising acceptance and living in the present moment. The account of his introspections will give you an insight into the mind of a strong ruler, his struggle to be humble, his constant inner dialogue about acceptance of death and the perfect randomness of life. You will surely not agree with everything but you have to remember the time period this book was written in. There is still a lot to learn here and surely can be a nice introduction to the stoics and there way of life.

Elon Musk: Inventing the Future

Ashlee Vance

I don’t want to be the person who ever has to compete with Elon. You might as well leave the business and find something else fun to do. He will outmanoeuvre you, outthink you, and out-execute you.

There will surely be many more biographies of Elon Musk in the years to come because I am sure his biggest contributions to humanity are yet to come to life. This book offers a good insight into how one of the greatest entrepreneur of the present generation came to be the man he is today. The drive to solve big problems and getting things done is very evident upon reading the text. At times it did feel like that Musk being a fan of Benjamin Franklin tried to control the narrative of his life story. But I think the author succeeded in giving an unbiased view showing us the weaknesses and vulnerability of Musk too. All in all the book is an inspiring read and will surely make you question that are you aiming big enough for whatever you are trying to do in life.