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3 minute read / Dec 13, 2022 /

My Favorite 10 Books of 2022

These ten were my favorite books of 2022. I was seeking parallels or theories to frame a mental model which explains why economics & history dominated the list.

  1. The Man from the Future. My favorite biography of the year, The Man from the Future begins in Budapest, the center of the financial & intellectual world circa 1900 profiling John von Neumann. von Neumann is the consummate polymath. He started his career by pushing pure mathematics forward with key papers, then moved into physics working on the Manhattan Project, developed the von Neumann computer architecture (most modern computers are still built this way), then developed game theory & wrote the seminal work on the topic.
  2. Bond King : Bill Gross, the Bond King, started a multi-trillion dollar asset management business with innovation. Working as a coupon-collector at an insurance company, Gross began to trade those coupons, previously illiquid instruments & pushed Pimco to preeminence.
  3. The Future of Money : A history of currency from barter to paper specie, this book pushes into the world of digital government currency called Central Bank Digital Coins & provides a multi-thousand-year perspective on currency that hint at web3’s potential impact on money.
  4. Amp It Up : Frank Slootman, CEO of Snowflake, imbues this book with the focused intensity that has propelled his companies to the zeniths of their respective industries.
  5. Statistics & Data Analysis for Financial Engineering : Luna, 3Arrows & FTX’s implosions dominated the web3 market this year. All were failures of risk management. This book uses R code to illustrate how to manage & calculate risk with techniques like multivariate statistical models, copulas (which define how various assets correlate - important in a bear market when most assets become highly correlated) & Markov Chain Monte Carlo analysis for scenario analysis using state machines. A technical but worthwhile read.
  6. The Man who Solved the Market : A history of the most successful quantitative trading shop in history, The Man who Solved the Market details the life of Jim Simons & the turbulent creation of Renaissance Technologies. RenTech hoarded trading data to leverage as a competitive advantage & has produced returns north of 50%+ for many year. That’s after a 4% annual management fee & 44% share of the profits.
  7. Silverview : Spy novels spice up my predominantly non-fiction diet. John Le Carre is a favorite of mine. So is Mick Herron & his Slow Horses series. Silverview is Le Carre’s last novel published posthumously & a novel whose suspense builds throughout, cresting to a satisfying crescendo.
  8. Physics for Future Presidents : If you became President tomorrow, you would need a deep enough understanding of science to ask trenchant questions about energy policy, climate change, space, & dirty bombs. After 384 pages, you’ll know enough to be commander-in-chief.
  9. The Lessons of History A husband & wife, both career historians, who have published many books & won the Pulitzer, collaborate for one hundred pages to summarize everything they’ve learned about humanity. A colossal undertaking & success.
  10. The Changing World Order : Ray Dalio’s book on the evolution of the financial markets draws on ideas from the Fourth Turning to explain the difficult economic future facing the United States in the next decade, and the sunny future after GDP levels rise enough to offset the inflation caused by the money printing machine of the last decade.

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