Curious about my background?

I get emails from time to time asking about my background or how I got started investing.  I recently did an interview with Tim du Toit of Eurosharelab where we discussed how I started investing, how I manage my portfolio and a few other things.

I want to thank Tim for taking the time to interview me.

Interview with Tim du Toit from Eurosharelab

When readers email me with questions about my background a related question is usually if I could give a book recommendation or two.  I will occasionally mention books on the blog, but I've never formally recommended any.  I thought the link to the interview went well with a list of books I've enjoyed reading that I think readers might find useful.

If I had to make a recommendation it would be to skip anything related to finance and head to the books I have listed under niche and other.  Of course since I write a finance blog readers want to know what finance books I like so I've included them in the list as well.

Security Analysis 1940 - The classic investing book from Benjamin Graham, I prefer this edition.
Creative Cash Flow Reporting - Security Analysis covers the income statement and balance sheet, this book covers why cash flow is so important and how it can be manipulated.
Billion Dollar Lessons - Everyone likes to read books about success, but success is hard to repeat, failure is not.

General Finance
Lords of Finance - This book reads more like a novel than a history lesson from the early 20th century.
When Money Dies - Great book about the hyperinflation experienced by Germany in the 1920s, a great followup to Lords of Finance.
Manias, Panics, And Crashes - Everyone thinks a particular crash is unique, Kindleberger looks back through history and shows that even financial history repeats itself.

Niche Books
And The Wolf Finally Came - Excellent book on the death of the steel industry in the US.  The book takes place in Pittsburgh so I was able to relate with a lot of the places.  The sub-theme here is labor relations, neither management or labor can take the blame, they worked together to destroy themselves.
Merging Lines - A book about the growth industry of 100 years ago, the railroads.  The book follows the railroad book and regulation and then consolidation of the industry.  This and the sequel book really give the complete lifecycle of the railroads in America.  The book isn't heavy on train details, but more on corporate history.
The King of California -  A book beloved by pink sheet investors.  This book profiles JG Boswell and his agricultural empire in California.  I was almost convinced to pick up a few shares of BWEL for sentimental reasons after reading this book.

The Spirit of St. Louis - Sounds cliche but this is a follow your dreams do something impossible type of book.  As Charles Lindberg shows having the best laid plans aren't always what brings success.
In Search of Powder - Close to my heart (I love to ski) this book talks about the changes aging baby boomers are having on ski resorts, and how money has really changed the industry.  Ski bums are becoming a lost species.
Ordinary Lives of North Koreans - Probably the best book I read last year.  The book takes the reader through the lives of North Koreans who had escaped to China discussing what life was actually like there.  I couldn't put this book down, incredibly sad but fascinating.
Monongahela National Forest Hiking Guide - If you live on the East Coast or Mid-Atlantic do yourself a favor and get to the Monongahela National Forest for a weekend.  There are some beautiful areas such as Dolly Sods along with miles of unspoiled wilderness.

Disclosure: I get a small commission if you purchase an item through using the links above.  The price for each item is the same regardless if you enter through my site or directly.


  1. Hi Nate,

    Thanks for the reading list! I actually just purchased Billion Dollar Lessons and When Money Dies.

    I also have about 10 books on North Korea in my Amazon cart. One day I'll pick one or two and read them-- I saw a documentary on North Korea a couple years ago called "The Red Chapel" (it was Dutch, something like "Roet Kapel" or something), it was heartbreaking but, as you said, absolutely fascinating. How could multiple generations of people grow up in a massive gulag of a country and never fight back, even though many know they're in deplorable conditions imposed by tyrant overlords?

    I have CCFR as well, but haven't cracked it open yet.

    I think your list is missing one thing, and it's something I encourage all value investors to spend a little time with: economics. Most of Warren Buffett's success comes down to harnessing the power of economic reality (looking for competitive advantage, for example). There are HUGE lessons to be learned, both in what to look for, and what to avoid. I've seen so many value investors get wiped out by value traps they could've spotted if they understood economics better.

    For this, I highly recommend daily/weekly reading of, the web's GO-TO source for top notch, easy to understand economic learning, from beginner to scholar. And the best part is, everything is free. Read a Daily Article or the blog, or download Ludwig von Mises's "Human Action" and read the entire thing (an experience every intellectual should treat themselves to at some point in their life)-- the choice is yours and the cost is the same.

    Looking forward to listening to the interview!

  2. Oh, duh... I meant "reading the interview". Thought it was audio for some reason.

  3. Hi Nate, great blog. Wondering what your thoughts are on JG Boswell. Do you like it here? They have been selling off parts of their business over the last year.