One book that gave me plenty of food for thought was My Journey at the Nuclear Brink by William Perry, a former Secretary of Defence of the U.S. Perry started his career advising on the Cuban Missile Crisis, he was involved in crafting a defence strategy in the Carter Administration to offset the Soviets’ numeric superiority in conventional forces, and presided over the dismantling of more than 8,000 nuclear weapons in the Clinton Administration.
His book gives a tremendous insight into the dangers of nuclear war and the impact it could have on mankind. More importantly Perry, as a key figure in decision making, shows us how easily mistakes can be made and how one human error could bring the world to nuclear destruction.
I recently visited Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan. A terrible reminder of the incredible power of nuclear bombs. Today the scale of nuclear weapons has increased dramatically and so has the need to keep aware of the dangers of nuclear warfare.
The other book I recently read was The Wizard of Lies by Diana B. Henriques about Bernie Madoff and the scandal that erupted around his funds that resulted in billions or dollars of losses to investors.
This book provides an excellent lesson for investors because it shows how easy it is for fraudulent actors in the financial world to operate freely for a long period of time without being detected.
It shows how even financial regulators like the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission could be hoodwinked despite being warned by some whistle-blowers regarding the illogicality of Madoff’s operations.
Henriques’ book teaches us never to be afraid to ask questions regarding our investments. And to keep asking. It also underlines the importance of minority opinions which go against all supposedly reasonable sentiments but might turn out to be correct in the end.