Book Review – Rich Dad, Poor Dad (Week 7 of 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge)

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

This week we take a look at Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. RDPD tells the story of an extremely successful businessman who preaches to be financial literate. Kiyosaki claims that even the most intelligent people in the world who have tons of education can be poor because they don’t learn how to manage money correctly and make money work for them, instead they spend their lives working for money.

To illustrate his points, Kiyosaki tells his own story of growing up with two fathers. One is his well educated father with several post graduate degrees and a wealth of knowledge from studying. He also happens to be his “poor” father (and his biological one). The father to his childhood friend is who he considers his “rich dad”, a man who didn’t even complete high school and wound up an incredibly successful and wealthy businessman by learning how to make his money work for him instead of the other way around. Kiyosaki grew up learning from both individuals, attributing his success to being able to balance the two and learn from both.

Kiyosaki preaches a lot of things in this book, and drives home some interesting concepts that are worth noting. One such thing is that Kiyosaki drives home the difference between an asset and a liability. Anyone who has taken a finance or accounting course should be able to tell you the difference. However, Kiyosaki suggests that most people know the definition, but don’t understand the true nature behind them and how to recognize assets and increase the asset column (which is the key to successful long term financial independence).

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Book Review – Who Moved My Cheese? (Week 6 of 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge)

Who Moved My Cheese?

This week we look at an incredibly short (I read it in 50 minutes), but effective book entitled Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal With Change..In Your Work and In Your Life, by Dr. Spencer Johnson. Who Moved My Cheese is heralded worldwide for it’s simplicity and easiness to understand. Even children can be told this story and understand the concepts and learn to appreciate the lessons taught.

I’ve also included the video version at the bottom.

Who Moved My Cheese is the story of four characters living in a maze, in search of cheese. Cheese in the book represents all of our desires. A good job, good family, good health, etc. Whatever it is you desire, it’s represented by cheese. The four characters are Sniff, Scurry, Hem, and Haw. They represent how we may act at times in our lives.

Sniff – sniffs out change early.
Scurry – scurries into action.
Hem – denies and resits change as he fears it will lead to something worse.
Haw – learns to adapt in time when he sees changing can lead to something better.

Everyone can be characterized as one of these four characters, and we can also learn to change if we’re a Hem into a Haw.

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Book Review – Good to Great (Week 5 of 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge)

Good To Great by Jim Collins

Ok, so it’s been a few weeks since I posted the last book. Technically this should be Week 7! But alas, delays happen and sometimes we must simply catch back up! And I will do just that! But for now, let’s talk about “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t.” by Jim Collins.

Published in 2001, this book is standing the test of time and is truly a magnificent read. I highly encourage anyone, and everyone, to read it. It’s not only great for those in business, but also for those involved in organizations, clubs, non-profits, teams, or anything of the sort.

Good to Great is an essentially a huge study into how 11 of the greatest companies in the United States transformed themselves from being good to great. The book runs about 300 pages, though the actual text itself (minus the apendix and extra stuff) is only about 210. So it’s not too long, but it’s crammed full of eye opening and enlightening information. It tackles these 11 companies head on with in-depth research and analysis and reveals key similarities that they ALL share.

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Book Review – The Little Book That Beats The Market (Week 4 of 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge)

The Little Book That Beats The Market by Joel Greenblatt

This week I read Joel Greenblatt’s The Little Book That Beats The Market. This is a great book for those that don’t anything about financial markets or investing. It’s also great for college students who have taken those basic financial courses but haven’t really thought about how they could apply those lessons they learned in Investment Analysis and Business Finance to their own lives.

Greenblatt does a fantastic job of taking complex topics and relating them in very simple terms so that anyone could understand. He uses simple stories involving himself teaching his children simple concepts in finance as a way of showing that even children can understand certain concepts involved in valuing companies and buying stocks.

And the best part? This book is ridiculously fast and easy to read. I read it in one afternoon. No reason you can’t finish this one in a week!

So what does Greenblatt cover really? Well basically everything. He gives you a broad overview of stocks, bonds, valuations, and his own “Magic Formula” for picking the best stocks to invest in. Wait a second, Greenblatt gives you a Magic Formula to beat out professionals at investing? It’s actually true. So why do professionals and hedge fund managers not use this strategy? Professionals and hedge fund managers often have certain marks they must maintain and meet on a monthly basis, so they can’t plan for super long growth portfolios. They need to ensure their portfolios will be more stable. Greenblatt’s strategy can have several down months in a row and when this happens, many investors question it and get out. If they would stick it for years, Greenblatt’s strategy suggests that they would turn things around and see better growth than ever.

And his formula isn’t complicated to understand. In fact most if it is down online at Greenblatt’s own website (or at least it provides an excellent starting point).

Considered “one of the best investment books of the last 50 years” by legendary investor Michael Price. Definitely pick it up.

Book Review – The Checklist Manifesto (Week 3 of 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge)

The Checklist Manifesto

Week 3 of the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge is in the bag! This past week I read Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto. For those not big on reading, this one is short and sweet. Honestly if you sat down with the intentions to do so, you could read it in one day no problem. I read it in about three days spaced over the week.

It’s important to note that this book is chalk full of medical terminology and stories from the operating table. But Gawande does a good job of relating everything in a manner that is easy to follow and understand. You don’t have to be a doctor to know what he’s talking about. But it’s not just the medical field where he advocates checklists, he also uses examples from airliners and the financial industry to support his claims.
Not a fan of checklists? Read this book and tell me you don’t want to start using them immediately.

Book Review – Outliers (Week 2 of 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge)

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

So this review is a little late, but last week was Week 2 of the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge! For Week 2 we look at the widely acclaimed best seller by Malcolm Gladwell.

Have you ever wondered why certain people are more successful than others? Why aren’t the smartest people always, without fail, the most successful? What made Bill Gates so successful? Was it just sheer grit and determination?

Why is it that you’ve probably never heard of Chris Langan, a man many consider to be the smartest man in the United States, with an IQ of over 190 (that’s 40 points north of Einstein).

And is there a certain threshold we should push for to truly reach greatness? Is there some kind of measure that we can use to separate the great from the truly remarkable? Something like say, 10,000 hours?

Gladwell delves into these questions with surprising observations and clear and concise reasoning.

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Join The 52 Books In 52 Weeks Challenge!

On September 20th, 2011 I decided to take on the challenge of reading 52 books in 52 weeks! Obviously this is a difficult task, but one worth undertaking and definitely capable of accomplishment with just a little dedication. I encourage all of you to take on this challenge with me expand your horizons.

Each week I will post my thoughts on the book of the previous week, and also state the next book I will be reading. I hope some of you will find these books worth your time and pick up some of them. And if you are so inclined, maybe you will even read the same books as I am during this time!

The books will generally be geared towards professional development, business, or finance. For more information, click the tab in the header, or click here.

Here’s a review/preview of the first three weeks.

Week 1: First Job, First Paycheck by Jeff Lehman
Week 2: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (review coming shortly)
Week 3: The Checklist Mainfesto by Atu Gawande

Check back often for updates on the challenge, new recommended reading, and my thoughts on the books I’m reading.

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