Little differences over a long lifetime create big disparities. Making decisions slightly better than your cohort translates into a big difference over a long life. This is the nature of compounding.
Here are seven books that I think everyone should read.
Reading and understanding these will give you an edge, however slight, increasing the odds that things will work out to your satisfaction.
When you’re a rich billionaire because of this, just remember me, ok?
1. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Psychologist Robert Cialdini introduces the universal principles of influence: reciprocation, scarcity, authority, commitment, liking, and consensus. If you want the gist, spend an hour listening to this podcast. But if you want more details, buy the book. Why do you need to learn these? To paraphrase Publius Syrus, ‘He can best avoid a snare who knows how to set one.’
2. Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin To Munger
The last time I mentioned this book, Farnam Street readers flooded my inbox complaining about how expensive the book is. Ignorance is more expensive.
3. Letters from a Stoic
It’s clear from reading Seneca that he’s full of wisdom. His letters deal with everything we deal with today: success, failure, wealth, poverty, grief. His philosophy is practical and useful. Not only will reading this book help equip you for what comes in life, but it’ll help you communicate with others.
4. The Moral Sayings of Publius Syrus
A Syrian slave, Syrus is full of timeless wisdom. Want an example? “From the errors of others, a wise man corrects his own.” Here is another: “It is not every question that deserves an answer.” Ok, one more? “To do two things at once is to do neither.” And he didn’t even know of Facebook and Twitter. You can read this book in under an hour but spend the rest of your life trying to learn and apply his wisdom.
5. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Third Edition
In the Essays, Lawrence Cunningham thematically organizes Buffett’s own words. There is more than enough here to get a clear picture of the principles and logic of Buffett and Munger’s philosophy for business, life, and investing.
Perhaps no book has more wisdom per page than this one.
Learn how the best in the world position themselves for success, control the urges that get others in trouble, and think for themselves rather than letting circumstances think for them.