The Best and Worst Investment (and other) Books of 2021
It has been my tradition to informally rate the investment-related books I read in the past year. I have also included some novels and books of general interest. Here is my list of winners and losers.
Opinions about books are very personal, so these ratings reflect my tastes and opinions, which might be very different from yours.
In The Law of Innocence, Michael Connelly brilliantly captures the desperation of a lawyer-turned-defendant facing a long stretch in a prison full of people with scores to settle. Narration in the first person, showing a canny legal mind working furiously to hit on the right legal play, calibrates the suspense to an unbearable, read-in-one-sitting level. —Vannessa Cronin, Amazon Book Review
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and global energy expert, Daniel Yergin offers a revelatory new account of how energy revolutions, climate battles, and geopolitics are mapping our future
From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.
“There is nothing wrong with you for dying,” hospice physician B.J. Miller and journalist and caregiver Shoshana Berger write in A Beginner’s Guide to the End. “Our ultimate purpose here isn’t so much to help you die as it is to free up as much life as possible until you do.”
We've all had to fight our way through administrative sludge--filling out complicated online forms, mailing in paperwork, standing in line at the motor vehicle registry. This kind of red tape is a nuisance, but, as Cass Sunstein shows in Sludge, it can also also impair health, reduce growth, entrench poverty, and exacerbate inequality. Confronted by sludge, people just give up--and lose a promised outcome: a visa, a job, a permit, an educational opportunity, necessary medical help. In this lively and entertaining look at the terribleness of sludge, Sunstein explains what we can do to reduce it.
From Wall Street Journal columnist Spencer Jakab, the real story of the GameStop squeeze—and the surprising winners of a rigged game.
From the author of the #1 bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky comes a new historical novel inspired by one family’s incredible story of daring, survival, and triumph. In late March 1944, as Stalin’s forces push into Ukraine, young Emil and Adeline Martel must make a terrible decision: Do they wait for the Soviet bear’s intrusion and risk being sent to Siberia? Or do they reluctantly follow the wolves—murderous Nazi officers who have pledged to protect “pure-blood” Germans?
Seven-year-old Chellamuthu's life--and his destiny--is forever changed when he is kidnapped from his village in Southern India and sold to the Lincoln Home for Homeless Children. His family is desperate to find him, and Chellamuthu anxiously tells the Indian orphanage that he is not an orphan, he has a mother who loves him. But he is told not to worry, he will soon be adopted by a loving family in America.
Jack Reacher races to solve the perfect crime in the fourth novel in Lee Child’s New York Times bestselling series.
In Noise, Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein show the detrimental effects of noise in many fields, including medicine, law, economic forecasting, forensic science, bail, child protection, strategy, performance reviews, and personnel selection. Wherever there is judgment, there is noise. Yet, most of the time, individuals and organizations alike are unaware of it. They neglect noise. With a few simple remedies, people can reduce both noise and bias, and so make far better decisions.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Jack Reacher returns in another fast-moving, action-packed, suspenseful book from Lee Child. You can leave the army, but the army doesn’t leave you. Not always. Not completely, notes Jack Reacher—and sure enough, the retired military cop is soon pulled back into service. This time, for the State Department and the CIA.
Fan-favorite heroes Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers join forces on a deadly maritime case in the remarkable new novel from #1 New York Times-bestselling author John Sandford. An off-duty Coast Guardsman is fishing with his family when he calls in some suspicious behavior from a nearby boat. It's a snazzy craft, slick and outfitted with extra horsepower, and is zipping along until it slows to pick up a surfaced diver . . . a diver who was apparently alone, without his own boat, in the middle of the ocean. None of it makes sense unless there's something hinky going on, and his hunch is proved right when all three Guardsmen who come out to investigate are shot and killed.
The Complete Family Office: A Guide for Affluent Families and the Advisors Who Serve Them, 2nd Edition represents the newest update to an essential series. This book prepares the members of wealthy families to collectively manage, sustain, and grow their wealth across multiple generations. It also assists professionals who advise families to better serve their needs.
A wealthy banker is dead, shot once in the chest during a hunting trip. There are many reasons for him to be killed, and many people who would do the deed. But who did? Lucas Davenport has an idea. But this routine murder investigation is about to turn into something different. A cat-and-mouse game with a killer who does not hesitate to take the fight to Lucas himself. And those he loves…
Don't miss this “sexy, bloody thriller"(Publishers Weekly) in #1 New York Times bestselling author John Sandford's Prey series... The first body is of a young woman, found on a Minneapolis riverbank, her throat cut, her body scourged and put on display. Whoever did this, Lucas Davenport knows, is pushed by brain chemistry. There is something wrong with him. This isn’t a bad love affair.
Years ago, Lucas Davenport almost died at the hands of Clara Rinker, a pleasant, soft-spoken, low-key Southerner, and the best hitwoman in the business. Now retired and living in Mexico, she nearly dies herself when a sniper kills her boyfriend, the son of a local druglord, and while the boy's father vows vengeance, Rinker knows something he doesn't: The boy wasn't the target-she was-and now she is going to have to disappear to find the killer herself. The FBI and DEA draft Davenport to help track her down, and with his fiance deep in wedding preparations, he's really just as happy to go-but he has no idea what he's getting into. For Rinker is as unpredictable as ever, and between her, her old bosses in the St. Louis mob, the Mexican druglord, and the combined, sometimes warring, forces of U.S. law enforcement, this is one case that will get more dangerous as it goes along. And when the crossfire comes, anyone standing in the middle won't stand a chance.... Filled with the rich characterization and exceptional drama that are his hallmarks, Mortal Prey proves that John Sandford just keeps getting better.
The #1 New York Times bestselling Lucas Davenport novel from John Sandford. Two people are found hanging naked from a tree in the woods of northern Minnesota. What makes the situation particularly sensitive is the bodies are of a black man and a white woman. Lynching is the word everyone’s trying not to say, but as Lucas Davenport begins to discover, the murders are not at all what they appear to be. And there is worse to come—much, much worse.
A comprehensive and easy-to-understand guide to maximizing the benefits of IRAs and retirement assets. Retire Secure! Third Edition offers unbeatable recommendations for addressing the #1 fear facing most readers: Running out of money. Retire Secure! Third Edition also shows baby boomers nearing retirement how they can save tens of thousands to over one million dollars by paying taxes later.
Aloysius Archer, the straight-talking World War II veteran fresh out of prison, returns in this riveting #1 New York Times bestselling thriller from David Baldacci. The 1950s are on the horizon, and Archer is in dire need of a fresh start after a nearly fatal detour in Poca City. So Archer hops on a bus and begins the long journey out west to California, where rumor has it there is money to be made if you’re hard-working, lucky, criminal—or all three.
Hailed as "breathtakingly suspenseful," Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Plot is a propulsive read about a story too good not to steal, and the writer who steals it. Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written―let alone published―anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.
Very Good (13)
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Jack Reacher is back! The “utterly addictive” (The New York Times) series continues as acclaimed author Lee Child teams up with his brother, Andrew Child, fellow thriller writer extraordinaire. “One of the many great things about Jack Reacher is that he’s larger than life while remaining relatable and believable. The Sentinel shows that two Childs are even better than one.”—James Patterson As always, Reacher has no particular place to go, and all the time in the world to get there. One morning he ends up in a town near Pleasantville, Tennessee.
Lucas Davenport tracks a prolific serial killer in this nail-biting #1 New York Times-bestseller from John Sandford. Clayton Deese looks like a small-time criminal, muscle for hire when his loan shark boss needs to teach someone a lesson. Now, seven months after a job that went south and landed him in jail, Deese has skipped out on bail, and the U.S. Marshals come looking for him. They don't much care about a low-level guy--it's his boss they want--but Deese might be their best chance to bring down the whole operation.
The thrilling and addictive prequel to The Pillars of the Earth--set in England at the dawn of a new era: the Middle Ages "Just as transporting as [The Pillars of the Earth] . . . A most welcome addition to the Kingsbridge series." --The Washington Post It is 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages. England is facing attacks from the Welsh in the west and the Vikings in the east. Those in power bend justice according to their will, regardless of ordinary people and often in conflict with the king. Without a clear rule of law, chaos reigns.
From bestselling author David Nasaw, a sweeping new history of the one million refugees left behind in Germany after WWII In May 1945, after German forces surrendered to the Allied powers, millions of concentration camp survivors, POWs, slave laborers, political prisoners, and Nazi collaborators were left behind in Germany, a nation in ruins. British and American soldiers attempted to repatriate the refugees, but more than a million displaced persons remained in Germany: Jews, Poles, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, and other Eastern Europeans who refused to go home or had no homes to return to. Most would eventually be resettled in lands suffering from postwar labor shortages, but no nation, including the United States, was willing to accept more than a handful of the 200,000 to 250,000 Jewish men, women, and children who remained trapped in Germany. When in June, 1948, the United States Congress passed legislation permitting the immigration of displaced persons, visas were granted to sizable numbers of war criminals and Nazi collaborators, but denied to 90% of the Jewish displaced persons.
Jack Reacher finds himself in bad company in the second novel in Lee Child’s New York Times bestselling series. Jack Reacher is an innocent bystander when he witnesses a woman kidnapped off a Chicago street in broad daylight. In the wrong place at the wrong time, he’s kidnapped with her. Chained together, locked in the back of a stifling van, and racing across America to an unknown destination for an unknown purpose, they’re at the mercy of a group of men demanding an impossible ransom. Because this mysterious woman is worth more than Reacher ever suspected. Now he has to save them both—from the inside out—or die trying...
In this illuminating guide to living a financially healthier, and happier, life, bestselling author and financial journalist Andrew Hallam demonstrates how you can optimize your income for maximum happiness by investing responsibly and living according to your values. You’ll find tips for using robo investors, insights for investing in socially responsible funds, and how to craft a personal budget that aligns your spending with what you hold most dear.
This book will help you think more analytically. Doing so will enable you to better understand the world around you, to make smarter decisions, and to ultimately live a more fulfilling life. It draws on the maxims of Richard Zeckhauser, a legendary Harvard professor, who has helped hundreds of students and colleagues progress toward these goals. These maxims, one-sentence nuggets of wisdom that capture key principles for clear and effective thinking, are illustrated with practical examples from Richard’s colleagues and students. From these examples, you will learn how one colleague saved money on her wedding by thinking probabilistically, how Richard and his wife Sally made an agonizing health decision that significantly boosted Sally’s survival probabilities, and how the prime minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, used a maxim he learned from Richard 40 years ago to understand and deal with COVID-19 in his nation. This book provides vital insights for anyone who wants to think more effectively about the world. The author, Dan Levy, teaches at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he has been a close faculty colleague and mentee of Richard Zeckhauser for more than 15 years.
Virgil Flowers will have to watch his back--and his mouth--as he investigates a college culture war turned deadly in another one of Sandford's "madly entertaining Virgil Flowers mysteries" (The New York Times Book Review). At the local state university, two feuding departments have faced off on the battleground of science and medicine. Each carries their views to extremes that may seem absurd, but highly educated people of sound mind and good intentions can reasonably disagree, right?
In this #1 New York Times bestselling thriller from Harlan Coben, a dead man's secrets fall into the hands of a vigilante antihero—drawing him down a dangerous road. Over twenty years ago, the heiress Patricia Lockwood was abducted during a robbery of her family's estate, then locked inside an isolated cabin for months. Patricia escaped, but so did her captors — and the items stolen from her family were never recovered.
When a pseudonymous programmer introduced “a new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party” to a small online mailing list in 2008, very few paid attention. Ten years later, and against all odds, this upstart autonomous decentralized software offers an unstoppable and globally-accessible hard money alternative to modern central banks. The Bitcoin Standard analyzes the historical context to the rise of Bitcoin, the economic properties that have allowed it to grow quickly, and its likely economic, political, and social implications.
Jack Ryan, Jr. would do anything for Ding Chavez. That's why Jack is currently sitting in an open-air market in Israel, helping a CIA team with a simple job. The man running the mission, Peter Beltz, is an old friend from Ding's Army days. Ding hadn't seen his friend since Peter's transfer to the CIA eighteen months prior, and intended to use the assignment to reconnect. Unfortunately, Ding had to cancel at the last minute and asked Jack to take his place. It's a cushy assignment--a trip to Israel in exchange for a couple hours of easy work, but Jack could use the downtime after his last operation.
Michael J. Mauboussin and Alfred Rappaport suggest that an investor start with a known quantity, the stock price, and ask what it implies for future financial results. After showing how to read expectations, Mauboussin and Rappaport provide a guide to rigorous strategic and financial analysis to help investors assess the likelihood of revisions to these expectations. Their framework traces value creation from the triggers that shape a company’s performance to the impact on the value drivers. This allows a practitioner of expectations investing to determine whether a stock is an attractive buy or sell candidate.
Phil Huber is the Chief Investment Officer for a multi-billion dollar wealth management firm and acts as your guide on a journey through the past, present, and future of alternative investments. In this groundbreaking tour de force, he provides detailed coverage across the spectrum of alternative assets: their risk and return characteristics, methods to gain exposure, and how to fit everything into a balanced portfolio.
Casey Duncan is a homicide detective with a secret: when she was in college, she killed a man. She was never caught, but he was the grandson of a mobster and she knows that someday this crime will catch up to her. Casey's best friend, Diana, is on the run from a violent, abusive ex-husband. When Diana's husband finds her, and Casey herself is attacked shortly after, Casey knows it's time for the two of them to disappear again.
Unlike much of the world today, and most people who have ever lived, WEIRD people are highly individualistic, self-obsessed, control-oriented, nonconformist, and analytical. They focus on themselves―their attributes, accomplishments, and aspirations―over their relationships and social roles. How did WEIRD populations become so psychologically distinct? What role did these psychological differences play in the industrial revolution and the global expansion of Europe during the last few centuries?
When it comes to what we believe, humans see what they want to see. In other words, we have what Julia Galef calls a "soldier" mindset. From tribalism and wishful thinking, to rationalizing in our personal lives and everything in between, we are driven to defend the ideas we most want to believe—and shoot down those we don't.
In the 1930s, as official government expeditions set their sights on conquering Mount Everest, a little-known World War I veteran named Maurice Wilson conceives his own crazy, beautiful plan: he will fly a plane from England to Everest, crash-land on its lower slopes, then become the first person to reach its summit—all utterly alone. Wilson doesn’t know how to climb. He barely knows how to fly. But he has the right plane, the right equipment, and a deep yearning to achieve his goal. In 1933, he takes off from London in a Gipsy Moth biplane with his course set for the highest mountain on earth. Wilson’s eleven-month journey to Everest is wild: full of twists, turns, and daring. Eventually, in disguise, he sneaks into Tibet. His icy ordeal is just beginning.
We live in an extraordinary time. Technological advances are happening at a rate faster than our ability to understand them, and in a world that moves faster than we can imagine, we cannot afford to stand still. These advances bring efficiency and abundance—and they are profoundly deflationary. Our economic systems were built for a pre-technology era when labour and capital were inextricably linked, an era that counted on growth and inflation, an era where we made money from inefficiency. That era is over, but we keep on pretending that those economic systems still work. The only thing driving growth in the world today is easy credit, which is being created at a pace that is hard to comprehend—and with it, debt that we will never be able to pay back. As we try to artificially drive an economic system built for the past, we are creating more than just economic trouble. On our current path, our world will become profoundly more polarized and unsafe. We need to build a new framework for our local and global economies, and soon; we need to accept deflation and embrace the abundance it can bring. Otherwise, the same technology that has the power to bring abundance to us and our world will instead destroy it. In this extraordinary contrarian book, Jeff Booth, a leading mind and CEO in e-commerce and technology for 20 years, details the technological and economic realities shaping our present and our future, and the choices we face as we go forward—a potentially alarming, but deeply hopeful situation.
A seminal shift has taken place in the world of investing. A clear and overarching reality has emerged which must be solved: financial considerations must factor in sustainability considerations for ongoing societal success, while sustainability issues equally need to be driven by a business case. As a result, investment practices are evolving, especially towards more positive philosophies and frameworks.
Stories people tell―about financial confidence or panic, housing booms, or Bitcoin―can go viral and powerfully affect economies, but such narratives have traditionally been ignored in economics and finance because they seem anecdotal and unscientific. In this groundbreaking book, Robert Shiller explains why we ignore these stories at our peril―and how we can begin to take them seriously. Using a rich array of examples and data, Shiller argues that studying popular stories that influence individual and collective economic behavior―what he calls "narrative economics"―may vastly improve our ability to predict, prepare for, and lessen the damage of financial crises and other major economic events. The result is nothing less than a new way to think about the economy, economic change, and economics. In a new preface, Shiller reflects on some of the challenges facing narrative economics, discusses the connection between disease epidemics and economic epidemics, and suggests why epidemiology may hold lessons for fighting economic contagions.
As a Baby Boomer or older, you’ve managed the transition from career to retirement and now face a new transition, that of aging through retirement. What challenges should you anticipate, and how will you manage them? What opportunities await you, and how will you take advantage of them? Retired-Agers will help you answer these questions and guide you through a life planning process to increase the odds that you will be Thriving and Finding Meaning as You Age through Retirement.
In life she was a high-profile model. In death she is the focus of a media firestorm that’s demanding action from Lucas Davenport. One of his own men is a suspect in her murder. But when a series of bizarre, seemingly unrelated slayings rock the city, Davenport suspects a connection that runs deeper than anyone had imagined—one that leads to an ingenious killer more ruthless than anyone had feared...
Art history professor James Qatar has a hobby: he takes secret photographs of women to fuel more elaborate fantasies. When he’s alone. Behind locked doors. Then one day, he goes a step further and... well, one thing leads to another. Qatar has no choice. He has to kill her. And you know something? He likes it.
The new Cold War is about to go hot. #1 New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author Brad Thor is back with his most intense thriller yet. Scot Harvath is having his best summer ever. With a cottage on the fjord, a boat, and his beautiful girlfriend Sølvi, he’s got everything he could possibly want. But out of vacation days and long overdue back home, America’s top spy has a decision to make—return, or submit his resignation.
Promoters claim that bitcoin is a new type of money, reduces transactions costs by abandoning intermediaries and will become a safe asset that they call “digital gold”. In this book, we dissect these claims and explain what bitcoin really is. Economic theory states that money should reduce transaction costs for payments, loans, and relative valuations, which requires a stable value. We show that the extreme price volatility and the high transaction costs – especially the time component – make bitcoin almost useless as money. Bitcoin increases, instead of reduces, transactions costs. Furthermore, an intermediary exists – the miner – who charges a transaction fee.
Wall Street brokerage firms won’t be happy about this book. That’s because brokerage firms have built their businesses on profiting in the shadows, and they surely don’t want the lights to come on. After 25 years on Wall Street and another 10 years as a fee-only fiduciary RIA, Gil Baumgarten knows all the brokerage tactics that make your portfolio inefficient and put you at a disadvantage. He also understands the common, self-destructive tendencies that make every investor vulnerable to brokerage firm schemes.
You can have it all—not just more income to spend in your retirement years, but also the peace of mind that comes from knowing that, no matter what happens in the outside world, you’ve done all you can do to have a worry-free income for life.In this book you’ll find:• 9 steps to build a portfolio that will survive the Perfect Financial Storm, so you can stop worrying about the economy, the latest financial catastrophe, or what the market did today• 2 questions you must answer before you invest another dime• Why investing after you retire is radically different from investing while you’re still working• The life expectancy of 6 key types of investments—and what you can do to make them last as long as you do• The 10 essential questions you must ask a financial advisor—before you hire one• The exact amount of money you can withdraw without worry or guilt, knowing you’ve applied the best available research to ensure you’ll never run out of money“Thurman takes a subject that is often misunderstood, and provides you the reasons, the methods, and an understanding of what you can expect to achieve, so you can invest with confidence.” –Jimmy J. Williams, CFP®, CPA/PFSCEO/President of Compass Capital Management, LLC“A must for anyone thinking of retiring or recently retired!”–Stan Toler, bestselling author of The Secret Blend
Author Karl Sjogren utilizes highly approachable language, humor, and analogies, along with insights about capital markets. The result is an eclectic, yet inviting discussion that might occur in a graduate-level symposium on economics, finance and philosophy.
Moving Beyond Modern Portfolio Theory: Investing That Matters tells the story of how Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) revolutionized the investing world and the real economy, but is now showing its age. MPT has no mechanism to understand its impacts on the environmental, social and financial systems, nor any tools for investors to mitigate the havoc that systemic risks can wreck on their portfolios. It’s time for MPT to evolve.
We’re all wired to invest for the future, but when it comes to personal finance few of us know how. How much should I save? How much risk can I take? How does risk tolerance change with age? How can I get the most while risking the least? How complex does it have to be? Could I really do everything I need with just two funds? 2-Funds for Life is a quest to answer these questions and show definitively that simple approaches can match, beat, or even trounce more complex ones.
Larry Swedroe is the chief research officer for Buckingham Strategic Wealth and Buckingham Strategic Partners.