Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

The Best Books I Read This Year

By Morgan Housel – Dec 15, 2014 at 12:16PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

My top recommendations.

Looking for a great book to read over the holidays?  Here are 10 good ones about investing, business, and economics that I read this year. 

Empty Mansions by Paul Newell. It's the true story of a lady who inherited hundreds of millions of dollars and chose to live a life of compete seclusion, spending the last two decades of her life voluntarily checked into a hospital even though she was healthy. Fascinating. 

The Frackers by Greg Zuckerman. It's the story about how American oil production has nearly doubled in the last five years.

Risk Savvy by Gerd Gigerenzer. It's about how humans are bad at interpreting statistics and how that causes us to make bad decisions.

This Will Make You Smarter by John Brockman. It's a long collection of short (one-page) essays by some of the smartest people in the world who were asked the question, "What Scientific Concept Would Improve Everybody's Cognitive Toolkit?" You won't put it down. 

Scarcity: Why Having So Little Means So much by Sendhil Mullainathan. It's about the science of how we deal with scarcity, including how we become smarter and more efficient when we're running out of whatever we need. This changed how I think about stressors in life. 

Wait: The Art and Science of Delay by Frank Portnoy. This is the best book I've read on the most important investing skill that exists: your ability to wait. 

The Great Depression, A Diary by Benjamin Roth. Roth was a lawyer during the Great Depression, and kept a detailed diary about what life was like in America was like during the chaotic 1930s. His son published it in 2010, and it is the single best economics book I think I've ever read. 

Stumbling Giant: The Threat To China's Future by Tim Beardson. The consensus is that China will dominate the 21st century. This is the best book I've read making the counterargument, from pollution to demographics to corruption. 

The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life Joseph Kennedy by David Nasaw. If Joseph Kennedy's son never became president he'd still be one of the most fascinating businessmen of the 20th century. This is an amazing biography. 

Everything is Bullshit: The Greatest Scams on Earth by Pricenomics. It's collection of stories about how everything from diamond pricing to wine ratings to taxi medallions are, well, bullshit -- or at least manipulated by silly laws and unfair cartels. 

The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the Economy Bigger by Marc Levinson. Yeah, it's about shipping containers, possibly the most boring topic you can think of. But trust me, those big metal boxes changed the global economy more than almost anything over the last 50 years. This is an incredible story of how. 

More from The Motley Fool: Our retirement experts explain a straightforward way to increase retirement income. 

 

Contact Morgan Housel at [email protected] The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
339%
 
S&P 500 Returns
109%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 10/06/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.