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Hard Drive: Bill Gates And The Making Of The Microsoft Empire

wealthymattersThis is a biography of Bill Gates by James Wallace and Jim Erickson.It focuses on the early years of  Bill Gates and Microsoft.

I have just now finished the book and recommend it if you are interested in his early formative years in Lakeside,his early moneymaking attempts,his forming  a software company with Paul Allen during his Harvard days,his early tendency to just get a product out of the door etc, you might find the book useful.

The book also highlights Bill’s weaknesses such as his squeaky voice,dandruff,poor personal hygiene,poor people skills,a compulsive need to win no matter the cost and no matter the trivialness of the contest.etc

The book will also allow you to glimpse the drive and determination that made Microsoft what it is today and propelled Gates to the top of the Forbes List.With Bill business always came first and you will get to see the hard ball Bill played to make Microsoft numero-uno in software,

But be warned,the book is dated and stops with Windows 3.0.So read it for the focus on the eairly years.

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Gone Fishing With Buffett

wealthymatters Warren Buffet follows his own investment method and has stuck to it through thick and thin to made a lot of money. The key principles of this investment method, as described by Sean Seah in his book Gone Fishing with Buffett are as follows:

1. Investment Rule Number 1: Never Lose Money
Investment Rule Number 2: Never Forget Rule Number 1.

2. Risk comes from ignorance.

3. Buy businesses with good and exceptional economics and buy them at a sensible price. Repeat until wealthy.

4. The stock market is the only place where people who drive BMWs take advice from people who take the train.

5. If you need complicated maths for investing, Buffett would probably be distributing newspapers today. Read more of this post

JP Morgan Summer 2013 Reading List

Since the post on last year’s list is still popular ,I thought I’d do one on this year’s list too.

Following are the titles that made it to this year’s list:

WealthymattersCreating Room To Read: A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy is by John Wood called the Andrew Carnegie of the developing world.John Wood left Microsoft determined to put books—and learning—within the reach of every child. In this book, Wood shares his business model for making a difference. From launching the Room to Read nonprofit to navigating the process of translating books into dozens of languages, the challenges of running one of the world’s top NGOs are deftly tackled by the man who has helped millions discover the joy of reading. Read more of this post

Chetan Bhagat – One Night @ The Call Centre

wealthymattersLast week I joined a new library and this was the first book I checked out. Chetan Bhagat is the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history and he was featured in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2010.Fast Company USA numbers him among the 100 most creative people in business. Chetan is today a very successful motivational speaker.After a mechanical Engineering degree from IIT Delhi and an IIM (A) MBA,Chetan worked in Hong Kong as an investment banker with Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank.He quit investment banking to start writing to make change happen India.His is believed to be the voice of India’s rising entrepreneurial class.After reading the book I can see why Chetan is India’s paperback king.Do read the book if you get a chance.Till then,here are my takeaways from the book:

“So, to impress you I have to break the same laws of physics I made?”-God

The most important call in the world – The inner call,the little voice inside that wants to talk to you.But you can only hear it when you are at peace. The voice tells you what you really want.It is easy to ignore-because you are distracted or busy or just too comfortable in life.You can ignore it until life brings you to a dead end and there is nothing ahead but a dark hole.Sometimes the voice isn’t subtle,it shouts and bites you. Read more of this post

Strategic Giving


Adam Grant, 31, is the youngest-tenured and highest rated professor at Wharton.He is the author of a new book titled “Give and Take – A Revolutionary Approach to Success” which will be released on April 9.

Grant’s research divides people into three categories:

  • Givers: Give without expectation of immediate gain; they never seem too busy to help.
  • Matchers: Go through life with a master chit list in mind, giving when they see how they will get something of equal value back and to people who can help them.
  • Takers: Seek to come out ahead in every exchange; they manage up and are defensive about their turn

Most people fall into the matcher category — but givers, Grant says, are over represented at both ends of the spectrum of success: they are the doormats who go nowhere or burn out, and they are the stars whose giving motivates them or distinguishes them as leaders.

Much of Grant’s book sets out to establish the difference between the givers who are exploited and those who end up as models of achievement. The most successful givers, Grant explains, are those who rate high in concern for others but also in self-interest. And they are strategic in their giving — they give to other givers and matchers, so that their work has the maximum desired effect; they are cautious about giving to takers; they give in ways that reinforce their social ties; and they consolidate their giving into chunks, so that the impact is intense enough to be gratifying.


Life-Style Design

wealthymatters.comTimothy Ferriss ,an entrepreneur and angel investor,in his bestseller The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich  talks about “lifestyle design”.He repudiates  the traditional “deferred” life plan in which people work grueling hours and take few vacations for decades and save money in order to relax after retirement.He advocates mini retirements instead.His ideas make sense because the present is our only reality.While it is great to provide for the future, what about those of us who will not be round in the future or might not be as fit and able tomorrow to do the things we really want?Also happiness is as transitory as time and neither can be saved up for the future.

He advocates the acronym DEAL .It stands for Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation.

Definition means figuring out what you want, getting over your fears, seeing past society’s “expectations”, and figuring out what it will really cost to get where a person wants to go.And he shows us how it doesn’t cost so much to have and do the the things we want as long as we think flexibly.As he puts it:The rules of reality can be bent. It just requires thinking in different terms. Read more of this post

The Richest Man In Babylon


‘The Richest Man In Babylon’  is a book by George Samuel Clason,first published in 1926, which teaches simple lessons in financial wisdom through a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon.

The book is well deserving of its status as a personal finance classic and is an extremely easy read both for adults and children.The parables have the power to make an indelible impression on the mind and teach lessons for life.I feel the book should join all the childhood classics such as Cinderella,Sleeping Beauty,Snow White, Aesop’s fables et al. After all it is so much easier and fun to learn financial wisdom from parables than through bitter experience.

Copies of the book can be bought online and in book stores easily and they make excellent gifts.It is also an excellent title for your personal library.Alsoyou can get free copies legally as it is off copyright.Here is the link to a free copy.

The following are my favourite excerpts from the book:

“…a man’s wealth is not in the purse he carries. A fat purse quickly empties if there be no golden stream to refill it. Arkad has an income that constantly keeps his purse full, no matter how liberally he spends.”

“Thou makest me to realize the reason why we have never found any measure of wealth. We never sought it. Thou hast labored patiently to build the staunchest chariots in Babylon. To that purpose was devoted your best endeavors. Therefore, at it thou didst succeed. I strove to become a skillful lyre player. And, at it I did succeed.” Read more of this post

The $100 Startup

wealthymatters.comBusiness interests me and big business,should I be the founder or promoter, I suspect would interest me more.However I understand the need to start as a solopreneur or to start a micro-business, if for no other reason  than that my risk capital might be small or that I might not be sure enough of my skills to pull the venture off or that I might wish to test a business model or its component systems or that I need to limit the risks of launching an untried product or service.This sort of inclination naturally draws me to bootstrapping.I guess at heart I am a Dhandho Investor (http://wealthymatters.com/2011/03/06/the-dhandho-investor/).I find venture fund driven start-ups wasteful of capital and think they unnecessarily increase the chances of a business failing by  trying to do to much too soon, before systems and products are fully tested.My personal take is that venture funds are the product of a society with not many good investment opportunities and  a lot of excess financial capital hoping to turn some returns any which way. Read more of this post

The High Beta Rich

Robert Frank’s new book “High-Beta Rich-How The Manic Wealthy Will Take Us To The Next Boom,Bubble And Bust” is based on interviews with more than 100 people with net worths (or former net worths) of $10m or more. These include the Blixseth family, former billionaires who had to lay off all 110 staff in their enormous residence; the Siegels, who had to abandon the largest private house in the US before it was completed; and Jack Warner, who built a fortune from various business, but ended up a penniless handyman.It is also a tale of how the financial crash of 2008 has affected the US more generally. It includes numerous unemployed former butlers, unoccupied mansions and falling tax revenue for fiscally-pressed state governments. In addition, Frank tells the story of upmarket repo men who specialise in repossessing planes, yachts and the like from indebted millionaires.So basically Frank revisits the lives of the people he profiled in Richistan, and follows up on what has happened to them in the years since he wrote the book in 2006. By 2011, some of these rich people have since gone from riches to rags, or merely to less affluence. His follow up on the people whose jobs it was to serve the needs of the rich shows how many of them are now finding it hard to secure stable jobs from the rich since the 2008 .Since the book with vivid sketches of how the rich, and the formerly rich, really live  is a sequel to Richistan, published in 2007, in which he profiled the lives of the rich before the recent financial bust, do read it before starting on this one. Read more of this post

Robert Frank On Richistan

wealthymattersRichistan: A Journey Through The 21st Century Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich” is a book by Robert Frank who writes “The Wealth Report,” a Wall Street Journal weekly column and  blog.The book is an eye-opening, educational and at times amusing summary of Frank’s years of analysis of the “new rich”.They came to his attention in 2003 when he noticed that statistics from the Federal Reserve Board showed a curious pattern: the number of millionaire households in the U.S. had doubled since 1995 and showed no sign of slowing.

So what is Richistan?  Frank  defines it as the domain–effectively an exotic country(stan)-of the world’s households that are worth $1 million or more.

So who are the denizens of Richistan?

According to Frank, less than 10 percent of Richistanis are from Old Money -the community of bluebloods whose ancestors made their money in the first Gilded Age-and only 3 percent are celebrities. The rest are: Read more of this post


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