Thursday, March 30, 2006

Have A Good Read
Interesting Business Books for First Half Of 2006

I have a confession here, I don't read fiction. Not that I don't like good novels, just that there is so much good non-fiction in business journalism, and the fact that I have to get through so many business magazines and breezing through some research reports, that there is just little time left to read well. My all time favourite business books are easy to size up, as they are standouts by themselves. Everyone with a hint of interest in the business world MUST read the following two books (my all time favourite reads):

1) Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis
From the eyes of a trader at Salamon Brothers during the most heady times in the 80s. How financial product success brings power, how power leads to excesses and poor management. Very funny and a genuine writer at heart. The characters are so flamboyant, colourful and charismatic, and real at the same time.

2) Barbarians At The Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar
Riveting account of the tussle for RJR Nabisco. Corporate greed and ineptitude at RJR Nabisco was never seen again until Eisner joined Disney. The rise of KKR and their mindset, the egos and the lucrative fees. Real life much better than fiction, man. The start of leverage buyouts, now the RJR Nabisco deal looks tame by comparison.

For the first half of 2006, I would recommend the following biographies / business books:

Hedgehogging by Barton Biggs
Gives a good account of what hedge funds are and how they operate. in addition, his perceptions on various investment strategies were enlightening. Lots of colourful stories about "real investment pros" and how people always try to compensate money for lack of integrity, grace, class and character. Great read.

Rock Solid: The Corporate Career Of Tan Chin Tuan by Lee Su Yin
Read about the life and philosophies of the late OCBC Chairman. A surprisingly fair minded person for such a successful corporate person. Great strategic thinker and a man of integrity. Good guys sometimes do finish first.

Confessions Of A Wall Street Analyst: A True Story Of Inside Information and Corruption In The Stock Market by Daniel Reingold
Daniel was a top notch telecom sector analyst. Learn about the sordid business of research and investment banking. Right in the middle of companies (destined for destruction) such as Global Crossing and WorldCom. Learn how words are twisted, sales are ruthlessly made and how everyone's for sale at the right price.

Tan Chin Nam: Never Say 'I Assume' by Tan Chin Nam & Larry Parr
Great read, loved the fact that at least this one is still alive. Knows how to do business, and knows how to enjoy life too. Great horse lover. His discourse on his close relationships with some heavies are worth more than the price of the book already. Those not in the know, TCN is the owner /founder of Tan & Tan Developments, IGB, GoldIS, Wah Seong and is responsible for MidValley Megamall and the Sierramas enclave. Also the builder for Desa Kudalari (probably Malaysia's first condo) and the Shangrila Hotel in Singapore.

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