What Books did I read in 2009?

Preparing for our yearly book club at The Intelligent Investor, I decided to write a list of the books that I read in 2009.

Fiction
  1. The Road, Cormac McCarthy
    1. I loved this book. It was very difficult to put down and was very enjoyable to read. Whilst “not alot happens” in the book, it got me thinking about a bunch of things that I found interesting. Set in a world post some sort of world destruction event, the story is about a boy and his father walking towards the West coast of the US.Search for The Road on amazon
  2. The Picture of Dorian Grey, Oscar Wilde
    1. Super witty. I had my highlighter / pen out on almost every page. It offered some great insights into early 20th century thinking (perhaps not too different to today’s), human nature and greed. Really enjoyed it.Search for The Picture of Dorian Grey on amazon
  3. 100 Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    1. This is my favourite fiction book of the year, recommended by my favourite second hand bookstore owner. It is the first book to make me think about generational differences and similarities. It is very nicely written and great for long plane trips and strangely enough, solitude.Search for 100 Years of Solitude on Amazon
  4. Love in the time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    1. I read this after a recommendation from a friend and after reading 100 Years of Solitude. This book feels as if it were written by someone who has lived 10 lives and is now sitting down above them all looking back over them with maturity, wisdom and hindsight. Again, highly recommended.Search for Love in the time of Cholera on amazon
  5. Notes from the Underground, Dostoevsky
    1. A very quick little read that was hard to put down and very enjoyable.Search for Notes from the Underground on amazon
  6. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
    1. I really enjoyed how this book was written. Highly recommended again.Search for Lolita on amazon

Non Fiction

  1. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell
    1. The first of my NY Times bestsellers this year, this book takes you through a range of social psychology experiments to draw some conclusions about the key drivers of epidemics. It attempts to analyse why certain crazes spread. It was a quick read (though somewhat repetitive and aggravating).Search for The Tipping Point on amazon
  2. Blink, Malcolm Gladwell
    1. Similarly to The Tipping Point, the book presents a large amount of other psychologists’ research to draw some interesting conclusions; this time about the decisions we make in an instant. Again, it was a very quick and repetitive read but I am very glad I read it as it gives some very interesting insights into how we are wired.Search for Blink on amazon
  3. The Consolations of Philosophy, Alain de Botton
    1. This was very close to my favourite book of the year. One of the first books to make reading about philosophy appeal to me, it takes you through the works of several ancient and more recent philosophers (Socrates, Seneca, Montaigne, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and Epicurus from memory). But he manages to do it very interestingly by addressing general questions that we all think about from time to time (unpopularity, love, fear, inadeqaucy, frustration, difficulty). I didn’t find his consolations particularly persuasive but I enjoyed learning about the philosophers themselves. Highly recommended.Search for The Consolations of Philosophy on amazon
  4. An Intimate History of Humanity, Theodore Zeldin
    1. This is again very close to my favourite non-fiction book for the year. Over 500 or so pages, Zeldin takes you through at least 30 individuals he has interviewed and explains their lives, desires, personal philosophies, issues, dramas, likes, hates and loves. Split into 30 chapters, each about a different aspect of life (e.g. losing hope, toleration, compassion, curiosity), he then explores how various civilisations and individuals of history have dealt with exactly the same issues. A very very original and highly researched book.Search for An Intimate History of Humanity on amazon
  5. The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton
    1. I didn’t love this book and still have 25 pages left to read but it still offered some interesting insights into why people travel. It also encouraged me to get out amongst nature a little more.Search for the Art of Travel on amazon
  6. The Architecture of Happiness, Alain de Botton
    1. This book changed the way I look at architecture. I think. Didn’t love it but it was quick and I’m glad I read it.Search for The Architecture of Happiness on amazon
  7. Influence, Robert Cialdini
    1. This is a must read for all people in sales and marketing. Again, a collation of social psychology experiments targeted at improving how persuasive you can be. It looks at 8 different factors that he believes are crucial to improve your persuasiveness.Search for Influence on amazon
  8. The Accidental Investment Banker, Jonathan Knee
    1. I bought this from a market in Singapore not expecting much when I was considering going into banking. It gave me a decent insight into what it might be like to work in banking in New York and provided a good history of the industry.Search for The Accidental Investment Banker on amazon
  9. The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What it Means, George Soros
    1. This book reads like Mr Soros has a chip on his shoulder from being told he is wrong by critics for so long. He has however been told he is right by the Stock Market though to the tune of 7 billion dollars. That said, except when it became far too hard to understand without really thinking about it, I enjoyed the book.Search for this book on amazon
  10. Free: The Future of a Radical Price, Chris Anderson
    1. Absolute must read for all people interested in why everything is free on the internet, whether newspapers will survive and how best to profit from charging nothing for products. Highly recommended.Search for FREE on amazon
  11. The Intelligent Investor, Benjamin Graham
  12. My Life in Advertising, Claude C Hopkins
    1. It includes some great insights into marketing techniques and copy writing.
  13. Scientific Advertising, Claude C Hopkins
  14. The Language of Mathematics, Keith Devlin
    1. This book is an excellent combined history and summary of a range of mathematical principles. I skimmed it but still enjoyed it.
  15. The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki

6 thoughts on “What Books did I read in 2009?”

  1. I finanlly read “the intelligent investor” wish I read it first rather than all the terrible rehashings that have followed.

  2. This will be a very heavy imagination that you are supplying and you hand it away for free. I relish seeing websites that view the value of rendering a prime resource for free. I truly enjoyed reading your Wiley Post. Thanks!

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