Billionaire’s Reading List

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THE INTELLIGENT INVESTOR: A book by Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor was published in the year 1949 explaining “value investing” or buying stocks when they are low in cost. Graham is known as one of the world’s best investors with sound knowledge of how to strengthen businesses and investment scopes. It is fabled that multi-billionaire Warren Buffet accidentally read this book at the age of 19 for the first time. He then reread it six more times and the book still inspires his investment philosophies.

The book mainly seeks to explain the term “value investing” or seeking out undervalued shares in the marketplace that have the potential to do well in the long run. It is majorly a game for the long run and ignores short term profits or the daily rise and fall of shares believing that the marketplace overreacts to short term price changes. If the company is one that is doing well, then the author believes in going with it and buying up its shares on sale or reduced prices for long term gains. The book also personifies the market in an interesting allegory and shows its readers how to not give in to “Mr. Market” whimsically but to profit from its follies.

The other interesting thing the book talks about is determining the value of a company through some mathematical calculations, of course in order to find out whether or not their shares are worth buying up. Benjamin Graham is known as the father of value investing and this book has been polished five times since publication- once in 1954, 1959, 1965, 1973, and most recently in 2003 with a new revision.

 

THE SEAT OF THE SOUL: Written by Gary Zukav in 1989, The Seat of the Soul is a book that has inspired the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Mary Angelou. Spiritual teacher and bestselling author Gary scrutinizes the evolution of human beings with a scientific, spiritual, and philosophical perspective and helps readers to be their true selves. In the book, Zukav explains, in steps, how understanding one’s own intentions can help one find meaning and purpose in life, and find a more positive outlook on life and interactions with others.

Oprah Winfrey mentions that this book helped shape her personality to a great extent. She claims that before reading this book, she was, what she calls a “crowd-pleaser”, giving her audience what they wanted from the show. Upon reading this book, she felt like the show needed more than just the fun factor that the crowd so craved- that each episode, and later each season, should have a bigger idea and a “thread of truth”. She believes that the power of intention, as explained so well in the book, also helped her personal life. She was previously a person who struggled to say no to those who needed something from her.

The book made her realize that she needed to make decisions based on her intentions, and not because someone else wanted her to do such and such a thing. Oprah claims the book has a place on her bedside table and author Gary Zukav has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show more than 30 times since 1998.

PETER PAN: Peter Pan, written by J. M. Barrie is a somewhat atypical book to be read and recommended by a billionaire as it is widely known as a fairytale for children. However, the message provided in this book has drawn the attention of many a nostalgic adult. One such adult is Richard Branson, founder of an airplane and a space travel company, the mighty Virgin Galactic. Peter Pan is a story of a naughty boy who flies away with a girl and her siblings to a place called Neverland where there is everlasting youth and nobody ever grows up. There, they are faced with adventures galore. The book has inspired many who wish to remain young at heart and practice a lifestyle where each decision is based on freshness and youthful innocence.

Richard Branson says he read the book as a child and Peter Pan has since become his favorite character. He says that “thinking like a toddler” has helped him spot opportunities where others have seen only hurdles and hardship. Branson further mentions that the book also has a special place in his heart because along with youth, he also harbors a love of flying.

Sir James Matthew Barrie was a Scottish novelist and playwright, with Peter Pan being one of his best-written works. He is even credited for popularizing the name Wendy for the next few generations.

Factfulness: A book by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, and Anna Rosling, Factfulness is an optimistic text that explains why humans may have become pessimistic about the world and that things are not as bleak as they appear. The book also seeks to explain why humans often go with their own unconscious biases and ignore facts and data that are at their disposal. The book lists 10 natural human instincts or predispositions that prove to become hurdles in their understanding of the real world and also topics that seek to disillusion them such as things that scare us as humans or those that impress us with their size and scale.

The method of factfulness has inspired Bill Gates in his work. Gates mentioned that chalking out his own version of factfulness took him decades in global development and here was Hans, with an all but ready framework provided in his book and expressed in a crystal clear manner too.

Gates mentioned that his breakthrough regarding the work he has done on income/wealth groups around the world was inspired by this book as it was through this text that he founded his theory of there being more than only two wealth groups- rich countries and poor countries- in the world- a theory that was then widely accepted by the world.

Hans Rosling is a Swedish physician, academic, public speaker, and co-founder and chairman of the Gapminder Foundation. He has also appeared in a number of TED talks to promote the use of data to improve the work of the development sector. The book Factfulness was published posthumously in 2018 and went on to become an international bestseller.

 

 

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