About once a month we start an internal discussion on Basecamp about what people have been reading lately. It’s a great way to get suggestions for good books. So why not try to see how it’d work on this blog. Here are five of the best books I’ve read in the last few months:

  • The Intelligent Investor: Benjamin Graham’s immortal tome on value investing cuts right through the bullshit of the short-term stock market swings and valuation bubbles. He draws on examples from the stock market from the late 1800s until 1970s. The latest edition then contains chapter commentary with examples from the 2000s. It’s amazing how little has changed. As Graham says, “in the short term, the stock market behaves like a voting machine, but in the long term it acts like a weighing machine”. If you read just one book on the market or investing, make it this one.
  • The New Jim Crow: Heart-breaking account of how the American justice system has been perverted through the War on Drugs to lock up utterly disproportionate number of blacks and other minorities. It then details the hopeless life that awaits those who are branded felons for the rest of their life by excluding them from public assistance, jobs, and housing. The book is full of real-life case stories that should make even the most ardent drug warrior’s stomach in disgust. Quick read too and great writing.
  • Riding Man: Ad man decides to quit his job to follow his dream of racing the Isle of Man TT. Great story telling, great example of how it’s never too late to follow your dreams.
  • Why Nations Fail: A thorough look through history describing why some nations rise to prosperity and others linger in poverty. It’s a little slow to get going, but once you get rolling it’s hard to put it down.
  • Insanely Simple: Yes, there’s enough Steve Jobs hero worship tomes to last anyone a lifetime, but this one is full of specific examples that you can use in your own business. Written by an ad man who worked with Jobs on a number of projects.

What have you been reading lately?