Book Review – “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator” by Edwin Lefevre

Title: Reminiscences of a Stock Operator

Author: Edwin Lefevre

Published: 1923

Number of Pages: 308

Price: Kindle – Rs. 60, Paperback – Rs. 890 (Amazon.in)

My rating: 3/5

This disguised biography of Jesse Livermore has been highly recommended by stock market pundits over the years. One can see why, given the fact that the observations about human nature and stock trading ring true almost a century after the book was written and first published.

What however might make this a cumbersome read is the fact that most of the practices and anecdotes mentioned here are no longer relevant today. Institutions have been replaced and there are strict rules against “manipulating” stocks.

The book does give you a glimpse into the kind of courage and daring required to make big bets in the stock market. Apart from that, for the general learning, I recommend reading through the quotes from the book on Goodreads.

Read more about ‘Reminiscences of a Stock Operator’ on Goodreads. Buy the book here.

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Book Review – “The Audacity of Hope” by Barack Obama

Title: The Audacity of Hope

Author: Barack Obama

Published: 2008

Number of Pages: 375

Price: Rs. 325 (Amazon.in)

My rating: 4/5

When Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States of America, he kindled hope not only in America but across the world. This book outlines the basis of that hope.

Obama argues that in spite of their differences, Americans want the same basic things: jobs, good education for their children and a safe, free environment. And then there are the challenges created by the ideological differences between the two major political parties, the manner in which laws are created and how the legislature works. Not to mention the social and economic challenges brought on by globalization. In ‘The Audacity of Hope’, Obama confesses to not knowing all the answers but does outline a road-map that he says can take everyone ahead.

What I particularly liked about this book are the lucidly explained ideas. Even as someone has never followed American politics in great detail, I was able to grasp most of what was being explained about the legislature. This isn’t a book heavy with details and complexities of how the legislature works but gives us a peek into the lives of U.S. Senators and how they try to align their personal, political and national interests.

I would also say that this is not necessarily an ‘American’ book. The challenges that Obama lists and the common aspirations of the people are a universal story and as applicable to us here in India as to the citizens of America.

Read more about ‘The Audacity of Hope’ on Goodreads. Buy the book here.

Book Review – “The Speed Reading Book” by Tony Buzan

Title: The Speed Reading Book

Author: Tony Buzan

Published: 2000

Number of Pages: 217

Price: Rs. 726 (Amazon.in)

My rating: 4/5

Tony Buzan lists out various techniques to speed read books, newspapers and magazines. Given that the book was written in 2000, there’s not much on how to speed read on mobile or computer screens.

Still, the book is helpful in order to get started on the speed reading journey. What I think is more important is to persist through all the techniques mentioned, which require regular practice and persistence. Scanning and skimming books and articles also might help to skip through portions which don’t necessarily help in building one’s knowledge base.

Overall verdict: definitely give this a read. I think of this book as a “building block” to reading other books and the benefits will start accumulating over a period of time.

Read more about ‘The Speed Reading Book’ on Goodreads. Buy the book here.

Book Review – “The Complete Guide to Memory Mastery” by Harry Lorayne

Book: The Complete Guide to Memory Mastery

Author: Harry Lorayne

Published: 2008

Number of Pages: 302

Price: Rs. 219 (Amazon.in)

My rating: 3/5

I have been wanting to read this book ever since I was in college. So to be able to finally persist and finish this book almost a decade later is a matter of no mean happiness.

Almost everyone I know wishes to have a better memory. More often than not, they tend to fumble over small things: little daily errands, remembering birthday and anniversaries, etc

What Harry Lorayne does in this book is give us little techniques that can aid us to remember things which we did not think were possible. For instance, the greatest help was linking numbers to words and remembering a mental image. It sounds complicated but is much simpler once you read it.

The book also describes various party tricks and also tricks to remember all the 52 cards in a pack; at one point, I do feel there is an overkill with the number of techniques he suggests. But I understand what he’s trying to do: give us a variety of options and let the reader choose whichever one works best for her.

The second half of the book, “The Secrets of Mind Power” feels more like a self-help book and I personally wasn’t interested in it at all. Still, I feel the first half of the book more than warrants the money one spends on it.

Read more about ‘The Complete Guide to Memory Mastery’ on Goodreads. Buy the book here.