My Summer Reading List

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A couple years ago, I read an article about Mark Zuckerberg that said he reads two books a month. He even started a Facebook book club called “A Year of Books.” It seems to have worked out well for him, so why not me?

Now, I’m not one of the 704,675 people who joined his book club. I did, however, start keeping a journal on my iPad, and I’ve met my goal every year. (I occasionally cheat and read a James Patterson beach read.)

I am partial to historical fiction and nonfiction. I love every series by Ken Follett and I’ve enjoyed “The Fall and Rise of China” by Richard Baum. I will warn you: these books are about 4,000 pages, which can be a Herculean task. I recommend listening to them on tape.

But my true passion is books about our presidents. I actually have a section in my office dedicated to all the presidents who have shaped our country.

In case you were looking for some suggestions, I’ve compiled a list of books that have stuck with me over the years and transformed the way I think about finance, economics and politics.

“The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America” by David Stockman. Written by President Ronald Reagan’s budget director, who left politics for Wall Street, this book offers a great perspective on capitalism, greed and the inner workings of our government. It truly makes one think.

“The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else” by Hernando de Soto. This book provides fascinating insight into the unique challenges facing the Middle East and emerging and third-world countries. Spoiler alert: the answer is property rights.

“Liar’s Poker” by Michael Lewis. Honestly, I would argue any book by Michael Lewis is worth reading. But this book is a fun ride down Wall Street, giving an insider’s account of how greed can disrupt the markets.

“James Madison: A Life Reconsidered” by Lynne Cheney. This biographical account of the man behind our Constitution puts the reader in Madison’s head while he wrote our founding document.

“The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves” by Matt Ridley. If you really want to understand the way Donald Trump thinks, read this book.

“Dealing with China: An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Superpower” by Henry Paulson Jr. This book delves into China’s economy and demonstrates how far China must go to catch up to the United States.

“Dark Money” by Jane Mayer. Chronicling the birth of the radical right and the rise of big money in politics, this book is a frighteningly informative read both for Democrats and for Republicans.

“The Ten Truths of Wealth Creation” and “Take Back Your Money” by John Girouard. Last but not least, these books are a written compilation of everything I’ve read and I experience daily in my practice. Enjoy!

John E. Girouard is a registered principal of Cambridge Investment Research and an investment advisor representative of Capital Investment Advisors in Georgetown.

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