What I’ve been reading

1. Richard Lapper, Beef, Bible, and Bullets: Brazil in the Age of Bolsonaro.  A very good country-specific book, it takes you from “Brazil is the country of the future and always will be” to “Brazil was the country of the future and maybe never will be again.”  Did you know that the Pentecostals and Evangelicals have five times the number of radio stations as does the Roman Catholic Church?

2. Graham Johnson, Poulenc: The Life in the Songs.  An A+ book if…you give a damn.  Here is one song by Poulenc.  Compare it to this also beautiful recording.  And this one.  The book also serves as an excellent biography of the composer, the songs making up for the fact that his life did not see amazing amounts of action and dramatic tension.

2. Alex Ferguson with Michael Moritz, Leading: Learning from Life and My Years at Manchester United.  Short, but nonetheless one of the very best books on leadership and also talent search.  You also don’t have to know anything about soccer, or care about soccer.  Recommended, and this one supports my view that the best management books are about sports and music, not “business management” in the mainstream sense of that term.

Adrian Woolridge’s The Aristocracy of Talent: How Meritocracy Made the Modern World is absolutely correct.  It is remarkable how many deeply wrong books the world has been generating about this topic.

Andrew W. Lo and Stephen R. Foerster’s In Pursuit of the Perfect Portfolio: The Stories, Voices, and Key Insights of the Pioneers Who Shaped the Way We Invest is a good look at the development of portfolio theory, starting with Markowitz.

There is William L. Silber, The Power of Nothing to Lose: The Hail Mary Effect in Politics, War, and Business.

I found rewarding Lily Collison and Kara Buckley, Pure Grit: Stories of Remarkable People Living with Physical Disability.

I have not had a chance to read Masaaki Shirawaka, Tumultuous Times: Central Banking in an Era of Crisis; he was Governor of the Bank of Japan from 2008 to 2013.


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