Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice

Author: Bill Browder

The story starts out innocently enough – a smart guy finds his footing in the investment world by stumbling upon Eastern European privatizations after the Soviet Union collapsed.

Then it gets a little more interesting as he must compete with the local Russian “investors” who covet the same assets and play by a different set of rules. These Russians are the oligarchs, and there are other great stories written about how they basically stole Russia in the 90s. (this one is good)

But then things get hairy. As Vladimir Putin brings the oligarchs to heel, his interests are suddenly aligned with theirs. Aligned against the impetuous Western foreigner who keeps trying to extract investment profits from Russia.

And so begins the real story of this book – the story of Russians at their scummiest. A conspiracy born of and shielded by government officials from local police all the way up to President Vladimir Putin. Stealing hundreds of millions of tax revenue from the government, torturing and eventually murdering the mid-level Russian tax lawyer who discovered the fraud, and working tirelessly to ignore all evidence and stand behind the cover-up. Yikes.

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10% Happier

Author: Dan Harris

The subject of this book is meditation. It’s a personal story written by Dan Harris, a TV media personality who’s been a journalist, a morning show host, and an anchor.

Dan’s story is especially interesting because of his early professional experience as a religion reporter. He was the stereotypical skeptic and cynic. He spent much of his time on the road scouting out stories of people with (seemingly) bogus beliefs and shining bright media sunlight on them. So the fact that someone like this was sucked in to the world of meditation and mindfulness by characters like Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle is interesting.

Since I read this after having become a believer in the power of mindfulness (based on research presented mostly in The Science of Mindfulness), it didn’t do much to influence my thinking on the topic. It was just a neat story. But if you’re still on the fence, Harris does a nice job of detailing his personal experience with mindfulness.

One part that I found novel and interesting was his journey to a 10-day silent meditation retreat. Hope you enjoy it!

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Built from Scratch: How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew The Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion

Authors: Bernie Marcus, Arthur Blank, Bob Andelman

I was very excited to read the founding story of The Home Depot! Though I have never had an inside look before, I always believed this was a remarkable company. Everywhere I looked while growing up, there was a Home Depot. When I was in the contracting business, our guys in the field would swing by one for supplies seemingly daily. In my adult life, the company’s stores have plainly been a fact of life. In one word: ubiquitous.

As with most memoirs written by successful entrepreneurs, a big chunk of the book is used for self-back-patting and my-side-of-the-story-context. As readers, we must forgive this because the authors have indeed built something great.

I loved learning about the turbulent beginnings of The Home Depot, the deals that fell apart, and the ones that ultimately catapulted the company toward greatness. The story should be an inspiration to any entrepreneur, as well as a keen insight into Home Depot for those who works in retail or the buildings materials industry.

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