Here I attempt to distill one important lesson learned from each of the books I had contact with it 2021. I didn’t read all of these to the end, also some of them I’ve read in previous years, and simply revisited this year.
However, if a book is on this list I spent enough time with it in 2021 for it to have left some kind of impression with me.
Here’s the summary.
Category: Money and Real Estate
- Alternative Investments – CAIA Institute
a. The efficient frontier is a very useful mental model for thinking about asset allocation.
b. Intangible assets are overtaking tangible assets
- The Changing World Order – Ray Dalio
a. History keeps repeating and all that changes are the clothes. One empire rises, another falls.
b. Education is a leading indicator, reserve currency is a lagging indicator of empire ascent/descent.
- The Fiat Standard – Saifedean Ammous
a. The money of a society directly impacts it’s time preference in all aspects. Soft money makes for soft people.
- Making it in Real Estate – John McNellis
a. Financial incentives are everything in business.
b. Specialize, if you want to be broad, be a serial specializer.
- Raising Private Capital – Matt Faircloth
a. OPM (Other People’s Money) is the ultimate form of leverage, but make sure you deserve to use it.
- The Complete Guide to Developing Commercial Real Estate – Robert Wehrmeyer
a. Even if you could fund a project yourself, don’t do it, go through the process of raising equity and debt for your project as the process of doing so will sure up any holes in your plan by getting other eyes to analyze it critically.
- Finding and Funding Great Deals – Anson Young
a. Building empathy with a seller is the best way to get a good deal.
- Real Estate no Brasil – Giuliano Cadaval
a. CUB * Effective Area + Developer Profit + Elevators/Pools = Cost of Construction
- Sold: RE Agent’s Guide to Profitable Business – David Greene
a. Look and act like a professional
b. Memorize the answers to all common problems
- The Millionaire RE Investor – Gary Keller
a. Treat your personal finances like a business of one.
- Buy then Build – Walker Deibel
a. Buying existing businesses and rehabbing/adding value is a better way to entrepreneurship for non-creative people (like myself) than starting a company.
- The Book on Negotiating Real Estate – Mark Ferguson
b. Never give anything for free.
c. Always look for ways to improve your financial position with non-financial gives.
Category: General Books
- The Great Mental Models vol 2 – Shane Parrish
a. Things are always evolving, you need to run just to keep up, that’s why if you spread yourself too thin, you’ll never get ahead.
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz
a. Growing a startup is sickeningly anxiety producing
- Courage is Calling – Ryan Holiday
a. It’s not just about feeling fear and acting, it’s also about acting even when you can justify it as not your concern.
- Zen Jiu-Jitsu – Oliver Staark
a. Control the space between you and your opponent
- Complexity: A Guided Tour – Melanie Mitchell
a. We don’t know shit. The world is way too complex to be modelled perfectly and always will be. So be humble in your attempt to control and predict complex systems.
- Four Thousand Weeks – Oliver Burkeman
a. Why are you trying to be so productive? Live life.
- Walden – Henry David Thoreau
a. I too want to live a part of my life in the woods in a cabin I build.
- Freedom – Sebastien Junger
a. It would have been very exciting to explore the frontier of the new America. Where to be free from society’s rules you could walk further west.
- At the Existentialist Café – Sarah Bakewell
a. People who use existentialism to say that they can be anything they imagine don’t understand the difference between authentic and inauthentic modes of being.
- 21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Harari
a. Political (and all other adaptive) systems change with the necessity of the times. It hasn’t always been this way and it won’t always be. Relax.
- The Almanack of Naval Ravikant – Eric Jorgenson
a. Leverage + Equity + Value = Rich
- The Laws of Human Nature – Robert Greene
a. Integrate your shadow, watch your biases, live your authentic passion, stop acting like you have a lot of time.
- Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
a. Jesus christ Nazi camps.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
a. No one cares about you. Ask people questions and let them talk about themselves, their own dreams, and goals.
- The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman
a. Physical touch, presence, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service.
b. Everyone needs love, give it to them in the language they understand, which my not be the same language you understand.
- The 4th Turning – William Strauss, Neil Howe
a. Most of your values come from your generational norms
b. Cycles are just repeating over and over, it’s all good. This time isn’t different.
- The Hero with 1000 Faces – Joseph Campbell
a. Mythology is a shared story of humanity trying to find it’s way through the life arc. Use these shared lessons. Go on a journey, discover something new, bring it back to share.
- The Prize – Daniel Yergin
a. I wish I had been in the oil industry in the 70/80s not the 2000s. Way more exciting and profitable.
- The Art of Negotiation – Michael Wheeler
a. Cooperate with people. Don’t try to cut throats.
- Never Split the Difference – Chris Voss
a. Your tone of voice and demeanor is way more important than anything else in influencing other’s behavior.
Category: More General Books
- The Origin of Species – Charles Darwin
a. Dude took like 30 years of pondering to build out these ideas. Take your time on what’s important.
- River Out of Eden – Richard Dawkins
a. Animals kill each other so much. Life is just a constant cycle of death. And for Dawkins this implies either no god or a very cruel god.
- Behave: Human Biology at Our Best and Worst – Robert Sapolsky
a. There’s no way anyone should believe we are 100% genetics or 100% upbringing. All evidence points to us being a combination of both.
- Ageless – Andrew Steele
a. Be healthy in all the normal ways + extra cardio to live long and well.
- Nudge – Richard Thaler
a. Nudging (incentives) are far more effective than bans and rules.
- The Art of Impossible – Steven Kotler
a. Live in flow habitually. What else is there, really?
- Breath – James Nestor
a. Breath through your nose, 5 seconds in and 5 out.
- Deep Play – Diane Ackerman
a. Is deep play not as important as deep work? If not, why not?
- Ordinary Men – Christopher Browning
a. WW2 was sickening.
b. A book about previously normal men taking jews into the woods and “efficiently” blowing their skulls to pieces with rifles and how it could happen.
- Why Don’t We Learn From History – B. Hart
a. Being a real historian is tough.
- A History of Western Philosophy – Bertrand Russell
a. All these Greeks built philosophy one on top of the other. Everyone adds a little and thus is the evolution of thought.
- The Art of War – Sun Tzu
a. The best warriors don’t need to fight to win a battle. They just demonstrate they are stronger and the enemy backs down.
- Lives of the Stoics – Ryan Holiday
a. Philosophers were really outcasts, but they’re remembered far longer than conventional socioeconomic winners.
- The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie – Andrew Carnegie
a. True rags to riches story of a kid that took every opportunity presented to him and ran like the wind with it.
- Titan: John D Rockefeller – Ron Chernow
a. Another dude who got after it.
- Infinite Powers – Steven Strogatz
a. The history of mathematics is like any other, ideas built on top of past ideas and refined over years and years.
- Breathe: A Life in Flow – Rickson Gracie
a. The Gracie family was a wild bunch.
Category: Daily Readers
- Meditations – Marcus Aerelius
a. “Those that remember and those that are remembered only last for a day.”
- Letters from a Stoic – Seneca
a. Best Letter: On the shortness of life
- The Daily Laws – Robert Greene
a. Great summary of mastery, human nature, power, and seduction
- Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu
a. key lessons: simplicity, unattachment
- The Daily Stoic – Ryan Holiday
a. Great everyday
- A Calendar of Wisdom – Leo Tolstoy
a. Interesting how he thinks of the Christian god in the same way that a philosopher would think of the cosmos, not as a man in the sky. Maybe that’s what religion is suppose to be about.
- Em Busca de Nos Mesmos – Pedro Calabrez / Clovis Barros
a. I really enjoy these guys
- Filosofia do Cotidiano – Luiz Ponde
- Microeconomics – MITx
a. Consumer / producer surplus and how it’s divided up
b. The advantages of monopolistic circumstances
- Adaptive Markets: Financial Market Dynamics – MITx
a. Markets aren’t rational they’re run by humans
- Game Theory – Coursera
a. Must figure out how to avoid lose-lose situations through cooperation