20 Books That Wall Streeters Are Reading Right Now

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Each year, Stifel Nicolaus ETF Trading Director Dave Lutz publishes a “Spring Break Reading” survey of all books his buy-side clients recommend reading.

They send in their picks, and then he sends back out the whole list.

The list is incredibly instructive for gauging the Street’s current mindset.

“I would ask you to do your own homework, to determine if the material is appropriate…I plan on buying dozens of these listed – some sound really great,” Lutz writes in his note accompanying the list.

We put together the titles that had three-or-more recommendations.

The numbers in parentheses represent how many respondents listed that book.

A Confederacy of Dunces

Author: John Kennedy Toole

Description: The Pulitzer Prize-winning swan song from Toole, who committed suicide in 1969, 'Dunces' is the story of Ignatius J. Reilly, the voluble Dr. Faustus of New Orleans' French Quarter.

No. of recs: 3

Buy it on Amazon >

The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports and Investing

Author: Michael J. Mauboussin

Amazon Description: In this provocative book, Michael Mauboussin helps to untangle these intricate strands to offer the structure needed to analyse the relative importance of skill and luck. He offers concrete suggestions for making these insights work to your advantage. Once we understand the extent to which skill and luck contribute to our achievements, we can learn to deal with them in making decisions

No. of recs: 3

Buy it on Amazon >


Author: Stephen King

Amazon Description: 'Life can turn on a dime--or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in a Maine town. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: 50 years ago, Harry somehow survived his father's sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away . . . but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake's friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession--to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner's storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke. . . . Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten . . . and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.'

No. of recs: 3

Buy it on Amazon >

The Art Of Fielding

Author: Chad Harbach

Amazon Description: 'At Westish College, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league until a routine throw goes disastrously off course. In the aftermath of his error, the fates of five people are upended. Henry's fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz realises he has guided Henry's career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life.'

No. of recs: 3

Buy it on Amazon >

Author: Bill O'Reilly

Description: A look at the two assassinations that changed American history through the eyes of Fox's most well-known and commentator.

No. of readers: 3

Buy them on Amazon >

The Signal and the Noise

Author: Nate Silver

Description: 'In keeping with his own aim to seek truth from data, Silver visits the most successful forecasters in a range of areas, from hurricanes to baseball, from the poker table to the stock market, from Capitol Hill to the NBA. He explains and evaluates how these forecasters think and what bonds they share. What lies behind their success? Are they good--or just lucky? What patterns have they unravelled? And are their forecasts really right? He explores unanticipated commonalities and exposes unexpected juxtapositions. And sometimes, it is not so much how good a prediction is in an absolute sense that matters but how good it is relative to the competition. In other cases, prediction is still a very rudimentary--and dangerous--science.'

No. of readers: 3

Buy it on Amazon >

The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success

Author: William Thorndike

Amazon Description: 'In this refreshing, counterintuitive book, author Will Thorndike brings to bear the analytical wisdom of a successful career in investing, closely evaluating the performance of companies and their leaders. You will meet eight individualistic CEOs whose firms' average returns outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of 20--in other words, an investment of $10,000 with each of these CEOs, on average, would have been worth over $1.5 million 20-five years later. You may not know all their names, but you will recognise their companies: General Cinema, Ralston Purina, The Washington Post Company, Berkshire Hathaway, General Dynamics, Capital Cities Broadcasting, TCI, and Teledyne. In The Outsiders, you'll learn the traits and methods--striking for their consistency and relentless rationality--that helped these unique leaders achieve such exceptional performance.'

No. of recs: 4

Buy it on Amazon >

Gone Girl: A Novel

The Game Of Thrones series

Author: George R.R. Martin

Amazon Description: 'Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavours to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.'

No. of recs: 4

Buy it on Amazon >

Boomerang: Travels In The New Third World

Author: Michael Lewis

Amazon Description: 'Michael Lewis's investigation of bubbles beyond our shores is so brilliantly, sadly hilarious that it leads the American reader to a comfortable complacency: oh, those foolish foreigners. But when he turns a merciless eye on California and Washington, DC, we see that the narrative is a trap baited with humour, and we understand the reckoning that awaits the greatest and greediest of debtor nations.'

No. of recs: 4

Buy it on Amazon >

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour De France

Author: Tyler Hamilton

Amazon Description: 'The Secret Race is a definitive look at the world of professional cycling--and the doping issue surrounding this sport and its most iconic rider, Lance Armstrong--by former Olympic gold medalist Tyler Hamilton and New York Timesbestselling author Daniel Coyle.'

No. of recs: 4

Buy it on Amazon >

How Will You Measure Your Life?

The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Defender Of The Realm

Author: William Manchester and Paul Reid

Amazon Description: 'Spanning the years of 1940-1965, THE LAST LION picks up shortly after Winston Churchill became Prime Minister-when his tiny island nation stood alone against the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany. The Churchill conjured up by William Manchester and Paul Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action. THE LAST LION brilliantly recounts how Churchill organised his nation's military response and defence; compelled FDR into supporting America's beleaguered cousins, and personified the 'never surrender' ethos that helped the Allies win the war, while at the same time adapting himself and his country to the inevitable shift of world power from the British Empire to the United States.'

No. of recs: 4

Buy it on Amazon >

Unbroken: A World War II Story Of Survival, Resilience And Redemption

Author: Laura Hildebrand

Amazon Description: 'From Laura Hillenbrand, the bestselling author of Seabiscuit, comes Unbroken, the inspiring true story of a man who lived through a series of catastrophes almost too incredible to be believed. In evocative, immediate descriptions, Hillenbrand unfurls the story of Louie Zamperini--a juvenile delinquent-turned-Olympic runner-turned-Army hero. During a routine search mission over the Pacific, Louie's plane crashed into the ocean, and what happened to him over the next three years of his life is a story that will keep you glued to the pages, eagerly awaiting the next turn in the story and fearing it at the same time. You'll cheer for the man who somehow maintained his selfhood and humanity despite the monumental degradations he suffered, and you'll want to share this book with everyone you know.'

No. of recs: 5

Buy it on Amazon >

American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History

Author: Chris Kyle

Amazon Description: 'In this New York Times bestselling memoir, Kyle shares the true story of his extraordinary decade-long career, including his multiple combat tours in Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and elsewhere from 1999-2009. Kyle's riveting first-person account of how he went from Texas rodeo cowboy to expert marksman and feared assassin offers a fascinating view of modern-day warfare and one of the most in-depth and illuminating looks into the secret world of Special Ops ever written.'

No. of recs: 5

Buy it on Amazon >

Team Of Rivals: The Political Genius Of Abraham Lincoln

Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin

Amazon Description: '10 years in the making, this engaging work reveals why 'Lincoln's road to success was longer, more tortuous, and far less likely' than the other men, and why, when opportunity beckoned, Lincoln was 'the best prepared to answer the call.' This multiple biography further provides valuable background and insights into the contributions and talents of Seward, Chase, and Bates. Lincoln may have been 'the indispensable ingredient of the Civil War,' but these three men were invaluable to Lincoln and they played key roles in keeping the nation intact.'

No. of recs: 5

Buy it on Amazon >

Thinking, Fast And Slow

Author: Daniel Kahneman

Amazon Description: 'Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities--and also the faults and biases--of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behaviour. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation--each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.'

No. of recs: 6

Buy it on Amazon >

No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden

Author: Mark Owen

Amazon Description: 'From the streets of Iraq to the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips in the Indian Ocean, and from the mountaintops of Afghanistan to the third floor of Osama Bin Laden's compound, operator Mark Owen of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group--commonly known as SEAL Team Six-- has been a part of some of the most memorable special operations in history, as well as countless missions that never made headlines.

'No Easy Day puts readers alongside Owen and the other handpicked members of the 20-four-man team as they train for the biggest mission of their lives. The blow-by-blow narrative of the assault, beginning with the helicopter crash that could have ended Owen's life straight through to the radio call confirming Bin Laden's death, is an essential piece of modern history.'

No. of recs: 7

Buy it on Amazon >


Author: Nassim Taleb

Amazon Description: 'Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumours or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls 'antifragile' is that category of things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish.'

No. of recs: 8

Buy it on Amazon >

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