Mawer's top 10 book recommendations for 2015

January 9, 2015 | Kara Lilly Print

Every year, our team pulls together a list of books that most influenced our thinking in the previous year. It is not an easy task, given the extent of the team’s reading. After much debate, here are the top ten books we’ve chosen for this year. Not all the recommendations are new books or relate to investing, but each one provided the reader with valuable insight. We hope they may provide you with the same. Happy New Year!

Zero to One: Notes on Start-Ups or, How to Build the Future

Author: Peter Thiel

Who better than legendary tech investor and co-founder of Paypal to provide fresh thinking on investing and business? This book is great for those looking to inspire innovation – in themselves or others - and introduces several useful mental models.


Author: Keith Richards

A solid, revealing read by a guy you may be surprised remembers this much. He includes cameos of people in his life written from their point of view and provides any curious musician with enlightening discussion on the technical aspects of music.

Flash Boys

Author: Michael Lewis

Last year it was hard to miss the media storm that Lewis created by shining a light on High Frequency Trading and the broken U.S. equity market micro-structure. Not only does Flash Boys exhibit Lewis’ trademark ability to translate highly technical financial ideas into easily-digestible concepts, it helped inspire widespread regulatory change.


Author: Marcus Aurelius

Sometimes you need to just reach for a classic. Meditations is a series of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from 161-180 CE, written in real-time when Aurelius was commanding the largest empire in the world. It is an excellent introduction to stoicism, a philosophy that our team uses time-and-time again to manage our cognitive and emotional selves. The Obstacle Is the Way: the Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

Author: Ryan Holliday

If the idea of reading something thousands of years old unnerves you, then The Obstacle Is the Way is another great reading on stoicism. What other philosophy can help one be happier AND a better investor? If there is one topic to explore in 2015, stoicism might be it.

Ben Franklin: An American Life

Author: Walter Isaacson

In this engrossing biography, best-selling author Walter Isaacson tells the fascinating story of one of America’s most formidable founders. A writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat and business strategist, Franklin is a historical figure that is both entertaining and illuminating.

Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion

Author: Sam Harris

Whatever your views on the controversial Sam Harris, this book is an engaging read on consciousness and the human mind. A neuroscientist that has also spent decades meditating, Harris reveals the practical benefits of mindfulness and meditation, artfully guiding the reader through what turns out to be spirituality for the secular individual. Whether you agree with him or not, Waking Up is a fascinating attempt to tackle the no-man’s land that exists between science and spirituality.


Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of Next Economic Miracles

Author: Ruchir Sharma

Breakout Nations by Ruchir Sharma is a good primer on emerging markets. He provides an overview of the recent economic/political histories for most emerging markets and then assesses how well each economy is positioned for future success.  Whether or not you agree with his opinions, he provides a useful introduction to each country.

The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains

Author: Barry Blanchard

Maybe it’s because we live near Canmore (where Blanchard lives), but we found this book impossible to put down. Blanchard chronicles his transformation from a poor Native American/white kid from the wrong side of the tracks to one of the most respected alpinists in the world.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There are No Easy Answers

Author: Ben Horowitz

A must-read for entrepreneurs and anyone creating something, Horowitz tackles many of the real problems and issues entrepreneurs face through his own backstory. A successful American businessman and investor, Horowitz tells his story in a brutally honest way, often speaking candidly about his own missteps as an engineer, founder and husband.




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