There are over 1 million new books published in the U.S. each year. Many cover ground already saturated by other books but a handful strikeout to new territory. Here are a few useful concepts from some current books. Below I’ve highlighted 7 concepts and will follow later this year with others.
- The position of honor belongs to The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel. This well-written book is so full of actionable concepts it’s difficult to pick one (or two as we will quote another concept in Part Two of this blog). “Most financial advice is about today. What should you do right now? But most of the time, today is not that important.”
- Another excellent writer, Seth Godin, published his 20th book last year titled The Practice. The book is a series of very short vignettes dedicated to a particular topic. One of my favorites is The Process and the Outcome- “Focusing solely on outcomes forces us to make choices that are banal, short-term, or selfish. It takes our focus away from the journey and encourages us to give up too early.”
- Square One is a very interesting read by neurosurgeon Dr. Joseph Maroon. Dr. Maroon weaves a compelling story about burnout and balance. “Another casualty of the domino effect of stress and depression: relationships. When poor health knocks out your mental abilities, another inevitable element to topple is your ability to interact with others in a healthy, positive, meaningful way.”
- While Dr. Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal was written a few years ago, in the time of COVID-19 it has renewed interest. It’s an eloquent book focused on how medicine needs to rethink “progress” and reimagine how it deals with the end of life. “Modern science has profoundly altered the course of human life. People live longer and better than at any other time in history. But these advances have turned aging and dying into medical experiences, managed by health care professionals. And we in the medical world have proved alarmingly unprepared for it.”
- No list of actionable concepts would be complete without including one from author Nick Murray. Most of his books are written for advisors but one, Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth was written for individual investors. “Misperception of risk actually takes two forms and most investors fall victim to both of them. First, people greatly overestimate the long-term risk of owning stocks. Second, and much more insidious, people seriously underestimate the long-term risk of not owning stocks.”
- The next spot belongs to Matt Hall, author of Odds On- the making of an evidence-based investor. “Just like a decent tennis player who occasionally makes a killer shot, an investor might sometimes pick a big winner or get out of the market just before a big decline. But such bets will fail more often than not because the odds against winning them are in fact very high. And the consequences of losing those risky bets are a lot more serious than losing a tennis match.”
- Author Annie Duke’s latest book How to Decide provides a solid toolkit for the components of making good decisions. “There are only two things that determine how your life turns out: luck and the quality of your decisions. You have control over only one of those two things.
All the things surrounding doing well with money boil down to what you believe and how you behave. I find that reading books like those mentioned above helps counter the often lazy, erroneous narrative in the media. Start there. Ready for a real conversation?