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Poverty, by America – Matthew Desmond
Non-fiction / 1st November 2023

Introduction Poverty, by America is the author’s attempt to answer this question: Why is there so much poverty in America? It is a book about poverty that is not just about the poor but also how the other half lives, about how some lives are made small so that others may grow. I would like to know the answer to the author’s question. Author Matthew Desmond is an American sociologist and the Maurice P. During Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, where he is also the principal investigator of the Eviction Lab. Contents Poverty, by America has a prologue, 9 chapter and an epilogue. The chapters are 1) The Kind of Problem Poverty Is 2) Why Haven’t We Made More Progress 3) How We Undercut Workers 4) How We Force the Poor to Pay More 5) How We Rely on Welfare 6) How We Buy Opportunity 7) Invest in Ending Poverty 8) Empower the Poor 9) Tear Down the Walls Review In Poverty, by America, the author discusses the persistent poverty in the United States, despite its abundance. Definitions The technical definition of poverty is that a person is considered “poor” when they cannot afford life’s necessities. However, poverty is more than that. Poverty is…

Storyselling for Financial Advisors: How Top Producers Sell – Scott West, Mitch Anthony
Non-fiction / 14th October 2023

Introduction Storyselling for Financial Advisors teaches the readers to tell the financial story. The authors want to show how the top advisors sell. As I am starting my financial planning business, I would like to know more about soliciting clients. Author Scott West is Head of Consulting for Invesco Van Kampen Consulting. I could not find much information about him on the internet. Mitch Anthony is a financial services advisor, author, speaker and consultant, and the developer of MyFLPTools, a subscription-based service that provides a suite of discovery tools for financial services professionals. Contents There are a preface and 13 chapters in Storyselling for Financial Advisors. The chapters are Part One: How to Put Half of Your Client’s Brain to Sleep 1) Why Statistics Don’t Sell and Stories Do 2) Learning to Speak the Language of the Right Brain 3) What’s Your Gut Feeling? How Decisions Really Get Made Part Two: Becoming a Better Storyseller 4) Reading and Leading Others: The 30-Second Body Language Read 5) How Socrates Can Help You Reach Your Sales Quota: Getting Others to Tell Their Story 6) How Self-Deprecation and Wit Will Get You Further Than Self-Promotion 7) Making the Intuitive Leap with Your Client 8)…

The Allocator’s Edge: A Modern Guide to Alternative Investments and the Future of Diversification – Phil Huber
Non-fiction / 4th September 2023

Introduction The Allocator’s Edge is about alternative investments. The author writes this book for financial advisors and investment professionals who want to do better than status quo. This book is recommended by a columnist on Forbes website. I would like to know what alternative investments are available and how they may fit into my investment portfolio. Author of The Allocator’s Edge Phil Huber is the chief investment officer for Savant Wealth Management. He has been involved in the financial services industry since 2007. He worked for Huber Financial Advisors from 2008 until it joined with Savant in 2020.  Contents The Allocator’s Edge contains an introduction, a How to Use This Book, and 12 chapters. The chapters are divided into 3 parts, namely The Allocator’s Dilemma (3 chapters), The Past, Present and Future of Alternative Investments (6 chapters), and Building Better Portfolios (3 chapters). The chapters are: 1. Hindsight is 60/40 – The Impaired Vision of Traditional Portfolios 2. Alternatives – The Most Loaded Word in Investing 3. How Investors Got to Now – The Evolution of Asset Allocation and the Democratisation of Alternatives 4. Too Big to Ignore – The Usual Suspects of Alternative Investing 5. When Alpha Met Beta –…

Kaiju Preservation Society – John Scalzi
Fiction / 9th August 2023

Introduction Kaiju Preservation Society is a science fiction. I saw this book being recommended on a website and decided to give it a read. Author John Scalzi is an American science fiction author and former president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.  Content Kaiju Preservation Society has a total of 28 chapters. Review Kaiju Preservation Society follows the journey of Jamie Gray to an alternate earth inhabited by kaiju. Kaiju If you watched Godzilla or Pacific Rim before, you will be familiar with Kaiju. Kaiju is a giant monster. Science Since it is a science fiction, it surely involves some sciences. However, I am just not too sure if the theories are correct or not. But anyway, this is a fiction, so who cares? At first, the story mentions that every kaiju has parasites which I thought is wrong due to their relationship with the host. Nonetheless, the author corrects it through a character and uses the term commensal relationship which I think is more accurate. So, some science parts do tally with the real world. Action The story also has quite some fighting scenes, which exceeded my expectation. Mystery The main mystery of this story is the disappearance of…

The Million-Dollar Financial Advisor: Powerful Lessons and Proven Strategies from Top Producers – David J. Mullen, Jr.
Non-fiction / 1st August 2023

Introduction The Million-Dollar Financial Advisor is about developing a successful financial advisory business. This book provides a glimpse into the best practices that make the top producers so successful. The author writes this book for financial advisors who want to take their business practice to the next level. As I am interested in the financial planning industry, I want to see what these best practices are. Author David J. Mullen, Jr. is a 30-year industry veteran and former Managing Director at Merrill Lynch, where he trained more than 500 financial advisors. The success rate of his advisor training programs have been significantly higher than the industry average. Contents There are an introduction and 16 chapters in The Million-Dollar Financial Advisor. The chapters are divided into 2 parts. The first part is The Lessons which contains 13 chapters. Part 2 is Putting the Lessons Into Practice and contains the remaining chapters. The chapters are 1) Lesson #1: The Top Advisor Mindset 2) Lesson #2: The “Leverage of Size” Principle 3) Lesson #3: Professional Development 4) Lesson #4: Specialisation 5) Lesson #5: Relationship Focus 6) Lesson #6: Marketing Best Practices 7) Lesson #7: Professional Referral Networks 8) Lesson #8: Nonprofit Organization Involvement…

Winning the Loser’s Game: Timeless Strategies for Successful Investing – Charles D. Ellis
Non-fiction / 16th July 2023

Introduction Winning the Loser’s Game is a book that makes a case for indexing. This is my last unread recommended book from Richer, Wiser, Happier. The author wants the readers to understand the realities and know how to take appropriate action to convert the usual loser’s game into a winner’s game in which every sensible investor can and should be a long-term winner. I would like to see if there is any new thing in this book. Author of Winning the Loser’s Game For more information about Charles D. Ellis, you may refer here. Contents Winning the Loser’s Game contains a preface, an introduction, 28 chapters, and 3 appendices. The chapters are: 1. The Loser’s Game 2. The Winner’s Game 3. Beating the Market 4. Mr. Market and Mr. Value 5. The Investor’s Dream Team 6. Investor Risk and Behavioural Economics 7. Your “Unfair” Competitive Advantage Indexing 8. The Paradox 9. Time 10. Returns 11. Investment Risks 12. Building Portfolios 13. Whole Picture Finance 14. Why Policy Matters 15. Playing to Win 16. Challenges with Performance Measurement 17. The Dark Matter of Investing 18. Predicting the Market – Roughly 19. Individual Investors 20. Selecting Mutual Funds 21. Phooey on Phees 22….

A Man for All Markets: From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Beat the Dealer and Market – Edward O. Thorp
Non-fiction / 5th June 2023

Introduction A Man for All Markets contains Edward O. Thorp’s life story and his wisdom. This book was recommended in Richer, Wiser, Happier. The is my fourth book from its recommended book list. The author hopes his story will help the readers think differently about gambling, investments, risk, money management, wealth-building, and life. I would like to see if I can learn new things in this book. Author For more information about Edward O. Thorp, you may refer here. Contents A Man for All Markets has a preface, a foreword by Nassim Taleb, 30 chapters, and an epilogue. The chapters are: 1. Loving to learn 2. Science Is My Playground 3. Physics and Mathematics 4. Las Vegas 5. Conquering Blackjack 6. The Day of the Lamb 7. Card Counting for Everyone 8. Players Versus Casinos 9. A Computer That Predicts Roulette 10. An Edge at Other Gambling Games 11. Wall Street: The Greatest Casino on Earth 12. Bridge with Buffett 13. Going into Partnership 14. Front-Running the Quantitative Revolution 15. Rise… 16. … And Fall 17. Period of Adjustment 18. Swindles and Hazards 19. Buying Low, Selling High 20. Backing the Truck Up to the Banks 21. One Last Puff 22….

Fortune’s Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System that Beat the Casino and Wall Street – William Poundstone
Non-fiction / 18th May 2023

Introduction Fortune’s Formula is mainly about the Kelly criterion. This book was recommended in Richer, Wiser, Happier. The is my third book from its recommended book list. I would like to see what be can learned from this book to apply in the stock market. Author William Poundstone is an American author and columnist. Contents Fortune’s Formula has a prologue (The Wire Service) and 6 parts. As these 6 parts contain quite a lot of chapters, I am not going to list them here. Part One is Entropy. Part Two is Blackjack. Part Three is Arbitrage. Part Four is St. Petersburg Wager. Part Five is RICO. Part Six is Blowing Up. Part Seven is Signal and Noise. Review Fortune’s Formula is more like a biography, rather than an investment book. It features a lot of people, either directly or indirectly involved in the stock markets, including Claude Shannon, the father of information theory, and Edward O. Thorp. It reveals the backers of Edward O. Thorp in Beat the Dealer which Thorp concealed in his book. The main thing that is discussed in this book is the Kelly formula. According to the author, it is the best strategy for a gambler as…

Good Money: Understand Your Choices, Boost Your Financial Wellbeing – Nathalie Spencer
Non-fiction / 4th May 2023

Introduction Good Money is all about personal finance. This is a book that my wife was reading and I finished it before her. Authors Nathalie Spencer is a behavioural scientist. She leads an in-house team, is a published author, sits on advisory boards, contributes to industry events and publications. Contents Good Money has an introduction, a How to Use This Book section, 5 chapters, and an epilogue. The chapters are: 1. Money and Us 2. Money in the Day to Day 3. Resilience 4. Long-term Planning 5. Better with Money Each chapter contains 4 topics and comes with a toolkit and further learning. Review Good Money defines financial wellbeing as making ends meet day to day, planning for the long term and being prepared for inevitable hiccups along the way. How we spend our money reflects who we are, our expectations and our values. While having more and more money does not make us happier, having insufficient money can make us unhappy. Our point of reference changes when we get used to new circumstances. The new becomes normal. Humans think of the value of products not in absolute terms but in relation to other products, which might be exploited to…

Five Stars: The Communication Secret to Get from Good to Great – Carmine Gallo
Non-fiction / 1st May 2023

Introduction Five Stars is a book about the art of persuasion. The author claims this book is the solution to the mismatch between human skills and computers. I have read one of the author’s previous book, Talk Like TED, a long time ago and stumbled upon this book in the bookstore. Thus, I would like to refresh my memory and see if there is something new here. Authors Carmine Gallo is a Harvard instructor, keynote speaker, and CEO communication coach for the world’s most admired brands. Contents Five Stars contain an introduction (Rise Up!), 16 chapters and a conclusion (Find the Tune That Makes Your Heart Sings) The chapters are divided into 3 parts. Part 1 is Why Great Communicators Are Irreplaceable and has 4 chapters: 1) Party, Power, and Moonshots 2) Winning the War of Ideas 3) Aristotle Was Right and Neuroscience Proves It 4) The Human Capacity to Dream Big Part 2 is Who’s Earned Five Stars and is made up of 5 chapters: 5) The Scientists 6) The Entrepreneurs 7) The Professionals 8) The Leaders 9) The TED Stars Part 3 is How to Get from Good to Great and contains 7 chapters: 10) The Pathos Principle…