Favorite Books of 2021

For selections from years past, please click here: 20202019201820172016201520142013.

The Key Man by Simon Clark & Will Louch

An engrossing read chronicling the rise and fall of Arif Naqvi and the Abraaj Group. It has the pace of John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood, but with an unbelievable cast of credulous characters who fell for a fantasy.

IndieBound | Amazon | Library

I spoke with Simon on the Portico Podcast.

This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends by Nicole Perlroth

An alarming book about the evolution of the market for zero-day exploits, and how we’re all doomed, basically. As an enthusiast of developments in the crypto space, I’ve not gotten comfortable with the meme that ‘code is law.’ This book hammers home that most software is shit, and the notion that individuals will interrogate lines of code to protect themselves is a joke.

Winner of the FT’s Business Book of the Year.

IndieBound | Amazon | Library

On the Medieval Origins of the Modern State by Joseph Strayer

A thought-provoking take on the development of states and institutions in Europe. All in 111 pages.

IndieBound | Amazon | Library

The Coming of the French Revolution by George Lefebvre

Another thought-provoking book from Princeton Classics. Shared a snippet from the conclusion here.

IndieBound | Amazon | Library

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

Extremely fun novel.

IndieBound | Amazon | Library

Power of the Dog + The Cartel by Don Winslow       

A history of the drug trade in the Americas told through novels. Loved the first book. Enjoyed the second. Gave up on the third.

IndieBound | Amazon | Library

A Reaction to Rory Stewart on Intervention

I recently finished Rory Stewart’s thought-provoking essay about Afghanistan in Can Intervention Work? It prompted many reactions, but I thought I’d share two:

See also:


USV’s Albert Wenger inspired me to scoop up a used ThinkPad, boot install Linux, and see if I could peel myself away from the walled gardens of Apple and Microsoft (for fun, if not for work).

It has been decades since I used the terminal / command line in MS DOS to search directories and run .exe files. But as tedious as it was to get started, the nostalgia is real, and it’s fun to be using new muscles.

Crypto is the future

Trying a new format for the new year to share some thoughts on why I believe crypto is the future.

The ‘ownership economy’ is the work of our generation and it should be pursued with alacrity.

It’s what I’m spending my free time thinking about, and I’m working on a new business idea in the space.

What do you think?


Eileen Appelbaum and Rosemary Batt, Private Equity at Work

Federal Reserve Bank of New York, “Is There Too Much Business Debt?” (Corporate debt issuance has primarily been used for acquisitions, dividends, and buybacks).

Financial Times, “Private-equity backed companies dominate lowest depths of junk

Financial Times, “Unions blast $47m bonus for GE boss after share price target lowered

Institutional Investor, “LBOs Make (More) Companies Go Bankrupt, Research Shows

Jesse Walden (@jessewldn) — The Ownership Economy

Favorite Books of 2020

Going to keep it brief this year. 

For selections from years past, please click here: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013

Continue reading “Favorite Books of 2020”