September 11, 2019 | By Wisconsin School of Business | Back to blog

CFIB Books

Billion Dollar Whale
by Wright & Hope

Our Rating: ★★★★★
Amazon Rating: ★★★★1/2

Observations:  Exhilarating read about Jho Low (“Gatsby with a bigger bank account”) and the Malaysian 1MDB scandal where billions of dollars were stolen under the noses of Goldman Sachs and many other sophisticated law and accounting firms. Easy read that is difficult to put down! Our favorite part is when Jordan Belfort (scam artist from “Wolf of Wall Street” – a movie that Jho Low financed with 1MDB money) correctly identified Jho Low as a fraudster early on because “no one spends their own money like that.”

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco
by Burrough & Helyar

Our Rating: ★★★★★
Amazon Rating: ★★★★1/2

Observations:  Perennial favorite (and mandatory reading for our finance MBAs prior to business school) that expertly deals with many themes in finance – agency costs, financial innovation (i.e., junk bonds), the beginning of sophisticated private equity funds, the M&A and capital markets environment of the 1980s, duties that the Board owes to shareholders when selling a business, etc. It is also fun to think about how many CEOs today conduct themselves like Ross Johnson. A must read for finance enthusiasts!

The Model Thinker
by Scott E. Page

Our Rating: ★★★
Amazon Rating: ★★★★1/2

Observations:  An interesting idea that was not well executed – the author tries to explain 20+ models from various disciplines that potentially could be harnessed together to help people make better decisions.  For example, the Random Walk Theory in security pricing, Systems Dynamics Models, Game Theory Models, Network Models, etc. Nice idea, but too little time is spent on any given model that the reader only picks up the highest level information. And with 20+ models, it is difficult to keep all of them straight and in mind when considering a given problem.

Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe
by Steve Strogatz

Our Rating: ★★★★★
Amazon Rating: ★★★★1/2

Observations: Wonderful book for anyone that loves math.  This is not a technical book explaining how calculus works, but rather one that explains how calculus came about and what it does that underpins the world around us. We never knew calculus could be so engrossing!


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