Monday, August 4, 2008

Follow the Leader

What ever happens to our heroes and heroines? Most, if not all, kids have heroes that they look up to and want to be when they grow up. Whether it's a superhero, a character on a television show, a sports figure, or someone they know.

As kids grow up, they lose sight of their heroes, probably because most of them mature and wouldn't want to be seen carrying a Batman or Scooby-Doo toy, understandably. But regardless, everyone needs a hero to model for different aspects of their life. It's easy to attempt to be the best at something when you are doing things like the best. If you want to enhance your life, take lessons from the people that are the best at it.

If I want to be a good investor, I look to greats like Warren Buffett, Benjamin Graham, Eddie Lampert, Bruce Berkowitz, Monish Pabrai, etc. If I want to be a more generous person, I look to philanthropists like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and John D. Rockefeller. If I want to be a great public speaker I look to Dale Carnegie, Steve Jobs, and Steve Ballmer. If I want a good sense of humor I look to George Carlin, Dennis Miller, and many others. Modeling these people will help you drastically and makes life a lot easier. They have found a way to be excellent at something and can be your teachers as you grow.

Some suggestions I would suggest on how to learn how your heroes did it would be to read their biographies, wikipedia, websites, books that they have stated they have read or are reading, atricles and books they have written, online videos, and DVDs.

It's not really that hard to be good at something. You just need to be passionate and focus and model what the greats are doing or have done.

Friday, August 1, 2008

My Recent Book Readings

I have completed reading a few books over the last few months.
  1. Security Analysis (Classic 1940s Edition) by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd
  2. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
  3. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham (my second time reading it)
Security Analysis (Classic 1940s Edition)
To date, Security Analysis (Classic 1940s Edition) is my most accomplished reading. This 841-page behemoth is a work that any investor would respect. Co-written by the father of value-investing, Benjamin Graham gives in-depth insight to the world of value investing. Reading this book is on par, in terms of technicality, with many of the college textbooks I have used. Written originally over 80 years ago, this book still had amazing validity in the stock market today. The basic premise of value-investing is still intact and the theory remains much the same. It's amazing the knowledge I have learned through reading it and I will definitely apply it to investing. Many great investors have followed Graham-style investing including Warren Buffett, Eddie Lampert, Monish Pabrai, among many others.

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich - My Thoughts
Great book about outsourcing your life. Probably not relevant to many people due to the fact that Tim talks a lot about getting rid of your 9-5 job, starting a successful, non-demanding business, and traveling the world, working 4-hours a week on the business that runs itself. What I really got out of the book was traveling while you're young and not waiting until retirement to start traveling. Tim refers to his travels or vacations as "mini retirements" and details many of the adventures that he has been on. These adventures struck a nerve in me and made me want to act on my ideas for traveling and doing adrenaline-pumping activities.

Other things that I took from the book were the ability for anyone to hire a virtual assistant for $5-$10 an hour from India to assist you if you need anything. They will research a topic, pay your bills, reply to emails, etc. for a minimal charge and most of these virtual assistants have MBA's and are incredible educated. This maybe something worth looking into.

The Intelligent Investor
Referred to as the best investment book written by Warren Buffett, this is a great book for controlling your emotions in the stock market. The theory of Mr. Market in the book depicts that the market is full of people's emotions and prices wander to cheap or expensive levels, in which intelligent investors can capitalize on. The book believes holding great companies for the long-term. If you are truly interested in the stock market and the pschology of human emotions, I highly recommend it.