What Did I Just Read?

Against the Gods by Peter L. Bernstein

The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist… to name a few ravers. It comes as no surprise. Friends and associates of Bernstein urged him for years to write this book. It appears those friends and associates missed the meeting in which Bernstein settled upon a thesis.

Observe the book cover. The depiction is an attempt to portray Jesus and his disciples in the midst of a storm; at least, I think it is. Now, observe the subtitle. The Remarkable Story of Risk.

With these two things in mind, where does your mind go? Do you think you are about to immerse yourself in one of (or some of) the best biographies you’ve read in quite some time about risk takers who come out on top? Or do you at once see a web of financial history anecdotes peppered with nonfinancial history narratives that have seemingly no correlation to the financial pieces?

If you chose the latter, well you have a gift. You are spot on!

Yea, yea… I know… “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, I have news for you! I judge books by their covers!

And this one had me excited, so excited, even, that I placed the other seven books received as Christmas gifts on the backburner in order to focus my attention on this gaze-grabber.

I try to be as learned as I can possibly be in finance, but while I don’t believe myself to be unfortunate, I have been blessed with a mind that is more disciplined than skilled. Therefore, the intricacies of finance can become quite overwhelming rather quickly. I read this book because a previous book told me to, and that book was considerably convincing in its motif. How could I say no?

While there are plenty of page folds and documented “return to-ers” (as I call them), this book was simply a scramble. I still don’t know what the author is trying to tell me.

After considering it for a bit, I’ve determined that Peter L. Bernstein was most likely one the most intelligent men in his field, his close acquaintances knew it, they convinced him to write this book, and he took everything he knew and put it together in timeline form.

So, yes, I might have stored a bit more information than I had before, but at what cost?! Though present, the story-telling is minimal and separated by long, incomprehensible filler permeated with abstruse vernacular. Mr. Attention bids adieu, and Lady Slumber invites herself in.

She is welcome, my friends. She is welcome.

Grow Your Mind, Keep Your Mind, Read A Book!

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