[Reviews] February 2018 Books Reviews

Image result for Alibaba The House that Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark

For this month’s book readings, I decided to add a rating system because the list is made of books I sadly did not enjoy as much as I hoped. Although it is up to the reader to try and see if they will enjoy the content (no two readers will have the exact same view), I thought that this would help me convey both positive and negative opinions without sounding too harsh. Here, I am introducing two books about two successful businessmen: Alibaba’s Ma Yun and Omaha’s Warren Buffet.

Alibaba The House that Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark

Rating: 3.5/5

Alibaba is without a doubt the most well-known e-commerce company based in China. It has completely changed the way Chinese middle-class are spending money from the recent years of mainland economic success. The book itself has been recommended by many people to get a good grasp of the mindset behind this giant establishment. I myself started reading with hope of better understanding and a bit of enlightenment. After all, Jack Ma is a commoner, a man who started from nothing and succeeded tremendously with hard work and conviction. Sadly, the author wrote this book as a mixture of biography and novel and the end result is a book that is neither this nor that. Paragraphs are going on and on about details that are not relevant to the chapter’s main message, the sentences are written in such simple wording that it feels like it is addressing a 12 years old who is learning to read. I felt in the book a lack of research about the main character described. It felt like Ma gave Clark the subject to cover (his favorite movies, his favorite quotes, some letter of him learning English) and the latter did exactly that, without going beyond the material given. Overall, this book made me realize that Jack Ma is a hardworking person who has the dedication to make the world a better place and has enough innovative vision to make his business a success. However, I also left the book without feeling a deeper connection to his mindset.

My Warren Buffett Bible by Robert L.Bloch

Rating: 3.75/5

Overall better than the Alibaba book, but still felt underwhelming. The author obviously shows a lack of efforts as he simply compiled all famous quotes from mister Warren Buffett. There is no ordering by topics or time and it is hard to navigate through the book. If you hope to find inspiration and advice from Buffett’s long and successful career, this is definitely not the book to start with. The quotes are simply written without context. It would have been much wiser if the author chose to give some examples and descriptions to make the book more enjoyable. It could be a good book for veteran traders who can nod their heads as they read the quotes and reminiscent their own experiences. Some of the good quotes:

  1. When investing, pessimism is your friend, euphoria the enemy.
  2. Problems in a company are like cockroaches in the kitchen. You will never find just one.
  3. I’d rather have a $10M business making 15% than a $100M business making 5%.
  4. We have a wonderful system that eventually is self-cleansing and always move forward.
  5. You know.. you keep doing the same things and you keep getting the same result over and over again.
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