Summer is in full swing and many of you are taking that much needed vacation. Whether you are planning a staycation or time at the beach, here are some great picks for your reading pleasure. Be sure to let us know which of these books below you liked and if there is another book you have read that we should review.
Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are
By Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
Rating: 4.4 stars
The author of this book is a Harvard trained economist and a former Google Data scientist. In this book he tells us what people say and what people really think are at odds with each other. “By the end of an average day in the twenty-first century, human beings searching the internet will amass eight trillion gigabytes of data.” It is mind boggling to think how much of our everyday life is creating a digital footprint and what these big data companies are able to discern about us. This #1 best seller will give you a scary look into how big data’s influence is multiplying in the world.
Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success is (Mostly) Wrong
By Eric Barker
Rating: 4.7 stars
In this book the author discusses what actually determines success and how it may not be what everyone has been telling you all along. The author uses science as well as success and failure stories to help readers figure out what advice is actually helpful and what advice is not. It is an interesting book that will help you weigh the validity of self-help mantras and figure out for yourself what will work best.
Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought
By Andrew W. Lo
Rating: 4.3 stars
No one can definitively say how the market will react to big events. Still over half of the country has money in the market. How can we deal with such uncertainty while trying to manage our risk. The author draws on human psychology, biology, science, and artificial intelligence to discuss the theory of market inefficiencies. This excerpt from the book is one example of how he can relate the uncertainty of the markets to the theory of evolution.
“Financial markets don’t follow economic laws. Financial Markets are the product of human evolution and follow biological laws instead. The same basic principles of mutation, competition, and natural selection that determine the life history of a herd of antelope also apply to the banking industry, albeit with somewhat different population dynamics.”
The author delves into hedge funds, what happened during the 2008 meltdown, and what we can do to avoid another crisis.
Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley
By Antonio Garcia Martinez
Rating: 4.1 stars
This book reads more like a tell all gossip column than a history book but it is interesting to see the author’s inside look working for major companies like Facebook and Twitter. He discusses what his life was like both as a struggling startup and what it was like when he finally broke through to success. The reviews on this one are divided while some love it others hated it but if you are at all interested in learning more about what these social media giants are doing with your information it is worth the read.
Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend
By Mitchell Zuckoff
Rating: 4.5 stars
If you want to read about the most famous real estate swindle of all time, grab this book and take notes. It is a fascinating story of a very bright man who was always enticed by the next scam. As an appraiser pay attention to the sales pitch (aka MLS data today) and take heart in the knowledge that it is the appraiser who is the sole independent party to a real estate transaction. The next time someone suggests appraisers are going the way of the dinosaur invoke Ponzi’s name.