"I have known no wise people who didn't read all the time — none, zero." – Charlie Munger

ArchiveOctober 2017

The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success

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What makes a successful CEO? Most people call to mind a familiar definition: “a seasoned manager with deep industry expertise.” Others might point to the qualities of today’s so-called celebrity CEOs—charisma, virtuoso communication skills, and a confident management style. But what really matters when you run an organization? What is the hallmark of exceptional CEO performance? Quite simply, it...

The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters

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The Frackers is the story of how a group of oil and gas entrepreneurs went against the crowd to pursue unconventional oil and gas plays in the U.S. that the majors dismissed for years.  The story demonstrates how quickly an industry can change, making industry and government experts’ predictions seem foolish (in this case only a few years out) and also how the combination of reckless ambition and...

Superforecasting

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The U.S. intelligence community (IC) is estimated at over 100,000 people and has a budget of over $50bn.  Despite the vast resources, the IC has had several recent high profile failures, including the prediction that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  After the Iraq mistake, the leaders in the IC took unconventional action and engaged IARPA (Intelligence Advanced...

Shoe Dog

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Shoe Dog is the story of Nike told by its founder Phil Knight.  There have been many books written on Nike, but Knight has historically avoided the press and this is the first time that he has gone public with his side of the story.  Each chapter covers a year in the company’s history from the founding of the company after Knight graduated from Stanford Business school to the company’s IPO in...

Limping On Water

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Limping on Water is the story of Phil Beuth’s 40-year career at Capital Cities, the first employee hired by legendary Tom Murphy.  Although not a detailed history on Tom Murphy’s decision making and strategy, the book provides valuable insight (including employee testimonials) on the magic of the Capital Cities culture, which was built on ownership and integrity.  Buffett has said that Tom Murphy...

Dead Companies Walking

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Scott Fearon has studied and profited from business failure through his career managing Crown Capital. The book shares entertaining stories of his discussions with management at these companies over the years and provides a helpful list of failure categories to be mindful of in investing and operating decisions. Summary Scott has studied and profited from business failure through his career...

Creativity Inc.

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Pixar has a long history of changing hands and struggling to stay afloat, originally started by George Lucas with funds from Star Wars (his divorce forced the sale), narrowly escaping an acquisition by General Motors, then acquired by Steve Jobs, who poured millions into the company, and finally finding a more secure home at Disney.  For those who believe in long-term thinking, Pixar is an...

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

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Pennsylvania professor on what helps drive word of mouth, which can eliminate or significantly increase the effectiveness of marketing spend.  The book is well organized and has interesting examples from Berger’s research. I recently read Ogilvy on marketing and was surprised to find a very short section on word of mouth marketing in which Ogilvy notes that he has never understood what drives...

Capital Account

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The Capital Account is a collection of excerpts from client letters of Marathon Asset Management, a U.K-based fund that has outperformed the market by ~4.0% since 1986. The firm’s philosophy (as stated on the website) is that the prospect of high returns will attract excessive capital and vice versa and how management responds to the forces of the capital cycle and how they are incentivized are...

Bloomberg by Bloomberg

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BLOOMBERG BY BLOOMBERG: table of contents Detailed Notes Follow-Up Materials Bloomberg by Bloomberg is an excellent story of how Mike Bloomberg founded and built Bloomberg and provides very specific details on the company’s early strategy and culture.  Bloomberg worked extremely hard, but was also uniquely equipped to shape the financial services information and technology industry due to his...

"I have known no wise people who didn't read all the time — none, zero." – Charlie Munger

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