Best Book of 2007

What was the best book you read last year, investments-related or otherwise? I know Steve Jobs says people don’t read books, but I sure see a lot of people reading something or another between covers. And speaking for myself, books matter to me more than ever. I’m hungry for narratives and synthesis, the sort of thing books do best.

So, what book did it for you in 2007? I’ll give my answer later.


  1. The Black Swan – Nassim Taleb

  2. What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism — Alan Krueger

  3. Epicenter by Joel Rosenburg helped me see the world’s irrational human behavior for what it is and the tumultuous economic road ahead for the US. Another fine read was Driven by Eternity by John Bevere which was an allegory about life after death and how important it is to do the will of God while I’m here. And finally, Doug Andrew’s ‘Missed Fortune’ educated me in the use of tax free financial instruments, leveraged arbitrage and revealed the deception behind government sponsored retirement plans like 401k and how I can redress my mistake.

  4. Flightpath.
    Easy read, but a great, gritty entrepreneurial story. Like a good shiraz with a great steak, this book is best paired with From the Top.
    Juxtaposed these two books clearly show why ACE’s culture is so different from WestJet’s.

  5. Good Calories, Bad Calories.

  6. Best book read, but not written, in 2007 was Twilight in the Desert by Matthew Simmons. Don’t know how anyone can discuss the topic of oil without reading this well organized book.
    Other favs were Black Swan, Demon of Our Own Design, More Than You Know, and Bull in China.

  7. Atlas Shrugged… Not my first time through it, but it’s still a darn good read. I ploughed through a bunch of biz books, but overall none of them inspire me in the same way as Atlas…

  8. Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes.
    The research and thought that went into the book are simply amazing. Will pretty much change everything you thought you knew about diet.
    How did so many get it so wrong for so long?

  9. A must read for the entrepreneurial crowd is “Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days” by Jessica Livingston.

  10. Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood. Highly inspirational and a nice reminder that there are some exceptional folks dedicating their lives to improving the world for the rest of us.

  11. The Black Swan

  12. The Money Game
    Adam Smith

  13. I’ll go with Spook Country by William Gibson. GPS, steganography on iPods, Patriot Act-abusing ex-spooks, Iraqi funds fraud… what could be better?

  14. Call me high-brow if you want, but I read Atonement last year, and it was one of the best books I’ve ever read. The movie’s good too, but doesn’t have quite the same impact.

  15. An American Hedge Fund by Timothy Sykes
    Very entertaining, especially for a finance book

  16. The Four Hour Workweek. Made me reconsider why I’m in finance…

  17. franklin stubbs says:

    Toss up: Either “Origin of Wealth” (Beinhocker) or “I am a Strange Loop” (Hofstadter)
    Black Swan up there too but already mentioned

  18. Brad Dixon says:

    The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics (Harvard Business School Press, 2006)
    Dense read (I think it is essentially his PhD thesis from MIT). Lots of excellent thoughts. Well worth the time.

  19. Before The Dawn by Nicholas Wade (NY Times Science writer). Best book in a few years.

  20. Santosh Srinivas says:

    The Black Swan .. Nassim Taleb
    Any yeah … regardless of prime or sub-prime!
    Please support me :-)

  21. The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout. Explains a lot about our government, not to mention people you’ve met and disliked, but didn’t understand why.

  22. What Customers Really Want – great book – the real deal!

  23. I read too many books to say what was the best. Good best business read last year:
    No one mentioned –
    Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and unknowns in the dazzling world of derivatives
    by Satyajit Das. (similar to A Demon of Our Own Design but in some cases more insight).
    Best Audio book:
    The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères
    Best 2007 book currently reading:
    The Halo Effect … and the Eight Other Business Delusions that Deceive Managers

  24. The best 2007 book I read was probably “How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read” by Pierre Bayard, or maybe the short story collection “No One Belongs Here More Than You” by Miranda July. Best older book was probably Stendhal’s “The Red and the Black.”

  25. Boom by Tom Brokaw
    Makes you understand how we got here re political hardening of positions, etc. Covers all spectrums.

  26. Aristotle’s Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Middle Ages
    Hands down, the most fascinating, detailed, “you are there” recounting of Aristotle’s life and the impact it had on Western society from Alexander, the Roman Empire, the early Church, the Scholastics, and the beginnings of the Renaissance. What makes it such a great read is the personal style of writing, connecting the reader to the lives of individuals at every stage of this historical period.

  27. Fantastic list, everyone. Great stuff.

  28. another shout-out for Taleb, for a biz book.
    Best book read in 2007: The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. Beautifully written counterfactual history. Wonderful use of language, great thematic explorations and a fabulous riff on noir.

  29. “Tree of Smoke” by Denis Johnson

  30. The Measure of All Things by Ken Adler. Great story set during the French Revolution of science, social change, and how global standards get implemented.

  31. The Four Hour Workweek
    also co-authored a book on Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

  32. Boomsday – sometimes it takes a radical idea to open their eyes to rational change.

  33. Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda by Sean Naylor
    It came out earlier, but I read in ’07. Continues to prove the adage that the best (and this wasn’t even close) war plans don’t survive the first exchange of fire…

  34. When Genius Fails – Roger Lowenstein.
    Black Swan is up there too, but it was a kind of a slow read. You can basically summarize that book into one or two sentences.

  35. “The Age of Turbulence” by Alan Greenspan. Ayn Rand FTW!

  36. An American Hedge Fund: How I Made $2 Million as a Stock Operator & Created a Hedge Fund by Timothy Sykes

  37. Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston and The Poker Face of Wall Street by Aaron Brown

  38. The Viking Manifesto – a refreshing analysis of brand building in the Web 2.0 era

  39. Paul,
    Where’s your update?

  40. Claes Andréasson says:

    To be woted as one of the most interesting book´s of 2007 makes me/us feel very good. The publishers have sold the book to many contries for translation. See or our homepages.
    Again thanks for positive remarks.
    All the best,