As you head off to the beach, the mountains or enjoy an upcoming stay-cation this summer, here is my annual list of books that I have enjoyed in the first six months of the year. Before you say, “There’s no way that I am reading a money-related book during July or August,” I encourage you to check out these top picks—they are interesting page-turners! As a bonus, I have interviewed all of the authors on my podcast, “Better Off," so feel free to listen for a preview.
Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke
Your financial life requires a number of decisions, some of which contain an element of luck that you can’t control, not to mention information that is hidden from view. In her easy to read book, poker champion turned business consultant Annie Duke teaches you how to become more comfortable with uncertainty and make better decisions as a result.
Duke argues that by shifting your thinking from a need for certainty to a goal of accurately assessing what you know and what you don’t, you’ll be less vulnerable to reactive emotions, knee-jerk biases, and destructive habits in your decision making.
Presence by Amy Cuddy
Have you ever left a nerve-racking challenge and immediately wished for a do-over? Maybe you felt like you flubbed a job interview, a performance, or a difficult conversation. If so, you are (a) human and (b) someone who should read Amy Cuddy’s bestselling book, which was released in paperback earlier this year.
Cuddy notes that the very moments that require us to be genuine and commanding can instead cause us to feel phony and powerless. To help, she offers techniques to liberate us from fear in high-pressure moments, perform at our best, and connect with and empower others to do the same.
When the Wolves Bite: Two Billionaires, One Company, and an Epic Wall Street Battle by Scott Wapner
It’s hard to imagine how an argument between two billionaires could make for a gripping and compelling book. But CNBC host Scott Wapner took a live television brawl between Wall Street titans Carl Icahn and Bill Ackman (over multi-level nutritional supplement company Herbalife) and turned it into a page-turning tale of money, power, pride and greed.
Wapner gained unprecedented access to the players and unravels this remarkable war of egos, showing the extreme measures the participants were willing to take. The dispute became a years-long feud, complete with secret backroom deals, public accusations, billions of dollars in stock trades, and one dramatic insult war on live television.
I Love Capitalism!: An American Story by Ken Langone
As a legendary financier, co-founder of Home Depot and philanthropist extraordinaire, Ken Langone’s memoir might seem like a just another ego-infused tomb, but in a series of captivating stories, he shows how a working-class boy from Long Island struggled in academics, broke into Wall Street and scrambled for an MBA at night.
Langone says that “Absolutely anybody is entitled to dream big, and absolutely everybody should dream big. I did. Show me where the silver spoon was in my mouth. I’ve got to argue profoundly and passionately: I’m the American Dream.”
What Would the Great Economists Do?: How Twelve Brilliant Minds Would Solve Today's Biggest Problems by Linda Yueh
Did you snooze through Econ 101? Did you skip it entirely? No need to worry, because Linda Yueh has written a wonderful book that recounts the theories of 12 of the most famous economists, as she explains their influence on our lives and also determines whether or not their ideas can help us with the policy challenges that we face today.