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Summer ’24 Reading List

3 July 2024

Welcome to the 2024 Tramondo Summer Reading List, where the world of high-stakes entrepreneurship meets the merciless dance of investment and legacy. This holiday season, we will explore the trials of titans who morph from daring entrepreneurs into shrewd investors while weaving a tapestry of enduring wealth and security for their kin.

We begin with the saga of the JP Morgan empire’s rise from obscurity to an unrivalled financial colossus, rich with lessons on safeguarding a legacy through turbulent eras. Having become familiar with entrepreneurial risk, we move on to investment icon Howard Marks’ latest exposition on risk from a professional investor’s perspective. It highlights why navigating the treacherous waters of market volatility is essential to protect dynastic fortunes.

Urging entrepreneurs and investors alike to look beyond today’s horizon to secure tomorrow’s prosperity, “The Future of Geography” propels us into the shifting sands of geopolitics and environmental upheaval. Michael Lewis’ latest work plunges us into a modern tempest of ambition and downfall, a cautionary tale that lays bare the perilous nature of high-flying finance. It forms a powerful lesson that good things take time, and anything flying in the face of it might be too good to be true.

We conclude with famous Swiss playwright and author Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s “Die Physiker” (The Physicists), a haunting, existential reflection on the moral labyrinth that ensnares those wielding great power. It is a stark reminder of the ethical compass needed to steward wealth and influence responsibly.

With these transformative reads, we’ll be equipped to navigate the uncertainties of this summer season. Dive in and let these masterful narratives guide you.

The team at Tramondo wishes you a relaxing summer break.


"The House of Morgan" - Ron Chernow

Welcome to the dazzling world of “The House of Morgan,” where the formidable J.P. Morgan and his successors planted the very roots of modern finance. This epic saga isn’t just a history lesson; it’s a riveting journey through the rise of one family that revolutionized American capitalism and influenced financial systems that still underpin today’s global economy.

Ron Chernow is a master historian and biographer acclaimed for his immersive narratives and meticulous research. He is best known for “Alexander Hamilton,” the book that inspired the blockbuster musical. Chernow’s forte lies in turning historical figures into vivid, complex characters you’ll ponder long after the book is closed.

In “The House of Morgan,” Chernow guides us through the labyrinthine corridors of J.P. Morgan’s banking empire. We witness the ambition, the tactics, and the balancing act of consolidating wealth while navigating ethical quandaries and political turbulence. From the Panic of 1907 to the creation of the Federal Reserve, this book unearths the gritty realities behind financial jargon and boardroom decisions.
As you dive deeper, Chernow introduces you to the Morgans’ personal lives, painting a rich tableau of their triumphs and trials. You’ll find lessons in their meticulous strategies of wealth preservation and familial unity—critical elements for any modern entrepreneur transitioning to investor status.
“The House of Morgan” received widespread acclaim and the prestigious National Book Award for Nonfiction. Critics hailed it as a “magisterial” work, with The Wall Street Journal calling it “a financial classic.” Chernow’s masterful storytelling keeps even the most complex financial concepts accessible and engrossing. This literary jewel found its place on The New York Times Best Seller list, captivating readers with its meticulous research and intricate narrative.

Why pick up “The House of Morgan”? This is not just the tale of one family but a masterclass in wealth creation, preservation, and the nuanced art of balancing ambition with responsibility. For those looking to bridge the gap between entrepreneurial dynamism and the measured prudence of investment, Chernow’s magnum opus is your essential guide.
Ex Libris

Step into the mind of one of the world’s most insightful investors with “The Indispensability of Risk” by Howard Marks. This Memo (you can also listen to it, if you like, link below) isn’t just about numbers; it’s a deeply philosophical exploration of how risk can be the cornerstone of genuine financial success when understood and managed correctly. Howard Marks invites you on a journey through the mind of a seasoned investor who has seen both dramatic gains and perilous losses.

Warren Buffett, the famed investor, has called Marks a rare bird in investing wisdom and a master of his craft. The author is the co-chairman and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management. Known for his client memos, which dissect market trends and investment strategies with unparalleled clarity, Marks’ wisdom is sought after by investors worldwide. His previous works, including “The Most Important Thing,” are lauded for distilling complex financial ideas into digestible lessons.

In “The Indispensability of Risk,” Marks dives into the essence of risk, highlighting its crucial role in wealth creation and financial stability. He argues that risk is not something to be feared but embraced with caution and intelligence. Through real-world examples and candid reflections, Marks demonstrates how calculated risk-taking can transform a successful entrepreneur into an even more potent investor.

You’ll learn about the psychological and emotional dimensions of risk, understanding how human behavior and biases can both undermine and propel financial decisions. Marks’ insights align perfectly with our summer reading list theme, offering entrepreneurs the tools to transition into seasoned investors while protecting family legacy and security.

Critics and readers alike have praised the Memo for its nuanced take on an often-misunderstood concept. The Financial Times lauded it as “essential reading for anyone involved in financial markets,” while Bloomberg called it “a masterclass in fact-based thinking.”

Why read or listen to “The Indispensability of Risk”? Because in a world fraught with uncertainties, understanding and managing risk is a superpower. Marks’ insights offer invaluable guidance for any entrepreneur looking to transition into the realm of investment. Embrace risk; don’t shy away from it. Marks will show you how, and this treat is for free.

Oaktree website (free memo download, listen to audio)

“The Future of Geography” takes you on a compelling voyage into the future, where geopolitical and environmental factors will redefine the landscape of opportunity and challenge. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for entrepreneurs and investors alike in a world where borders are becoming more fluid yet contested.

Tim Marshall is a seasoned journalist and author with decades of experience covering global affairs for Sky News and other international outlets. Known for his bestselling books “Prisoners of Geography” (covered in an earlier Tramondo Book Club edition) and “Divided,” Marshall has a knack for unpacking complex geopolitical issues in a manner that is both engaging and enlightening.

Marshall examines how emerging geopolitical trends and environmental changes will shape the future. Marshall dissects everything from the Arctic’s melting ice cap and untapped resources to space’s new frontier, offering a comprehensive overview of how these factors will affect global stability and economic opportunities.

This book offers a roadmap for the future of entrepreneurs transitioning to investors. It advises on where smart money should go in a rapidly changing world. It underscores the importance of understanding the broader global context to make informed decisions that ensure the security and growth of family wealth.

“The Future of Geography” has been praised for its insightful and timely commentary. The Guardian called it “a vital read for anyone interested in the future of our world,” while The Economist described it as “Marshall at his best—incisive, pragmatic, and thought-provoking.” The book has graced bestseller lists, including the Sunday Times and has been named one of the Financial Times’ best books of the year.

Why pick up “The Future of Geography”? The future is already reshaping the playing field, and those who grasp these tectonic shifts will thrive. Marshall’s insights are indispensable for entrepreneurs and investors aiming to secure their legacy and safeguard their family’s future. Chart your course wisely; the world is changing fast.

Ex Libris

Michael Lewis, the master storyteller of finance, returns with “Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon.” This gripping narrative plunges us into the high-octane world of a financial prodigy whose meteoric rise and dramatic fall are both a thrilling tale and a profound lesson.

The US author and financial journalist is celebrated for his ability to turn complex financial stories into compelling narratives. His bestsellers, including “Moneyball,” “The Big Short,” and “Flash Boys,” have not only informed but also entertained millions, with several adapted into major films.
“Going Infinite” chronicles the extraordinary journey of Sam Bankman-Fried, a young financial genius who seemed destined to become the next king of Wall Street. Through his innovative investment strategies and audacious risk-taking, this new tycoon built an empire that dazzled the financial world—until it came crashing down.

Lewis masterfully captures the tension between the thrill of entrepreneurial innovation and the perils of market hubris. The book is a stark reminder that maintaining wealth and power is often more challenging than acquiring it. For those transitioning from entrepreneurs to investors, it offers invaluable lessons on the importance of prudence, foresight, and ethical grounding.

Critics have universally praised “Going Infinite,” with many calling it one of Lewis’ finest works. The New York Times described it as “a tour de force—at once a thrilling financial drama and a cautionary tale.” Actor Ben Affleck called the book both captivating and enlightening. An early promoter of the “Crypto Bro” and reportedly digesting a personal loss of over USD 20m, NFL legend Tom Brady was unavailable for comment. The book, however, quickly ascended the New York Times Bestseller list and has been a fixture since its release, reinforcing its impact and relevance.

Why pick up “Going Infinite”? Because it’s not just a tale of rise and fall; it’s a mirror reflecting the volatile nature of high-stakes finance. Lewis’ insights are both a warning and a guide for anyone striving to evolve from entrepreneur to smart investor. Learn from the triumphs and missteps of others; your future depends on it.

Ex Libris

Enter the surreal and morally complex world of Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s “Die Physiker” (The Physicists), a play that compels you to ponder the profound ethical dilemmas faced by those who wield immense power and knowledge. Though not directly tied to finance, its themes resonate deeply with the responsibilities that come with great wealth and influence.

Friedrich Dürrenmatt was a Swiss dramatist and novelist known for his darkly humorous and thought-provoking works. His literary prowess shines in “Die Physiker,” a play that has intrigued and challenged audiences since its debut in 1962.

Set in a sanatorium where three physicists seem to have lost their minds, “Die Physiker” unravels into a tense and gripping exploration of morality, science, and power. As the story unfolds, you discover that the physicists are not mad but are grappling with the consequences of their groundbreaking discoveries. The play explores the ethical quandaries that come with knowledge and influence, asking whether it is possible to responsibly manage the immense power that scientific discovery—or, by extension, wealth—bestows upon an individual. This narrative mirrors the moral challenges those in financial power face, making it a perfect conclusion to our summer reading list.

“Die Physiker” has been hailed as a classic, performed in theaters worldwide. The New York Times called it “a brilliant interrogation of the human condition,” The Guardian praised it for its “unnerving and unsettling exploration of power and responsibility.” Arthur Miller, a legendary playwright at the time, said, “Dürrenmatt crafts a narrative that is both fascinating and terrifying, a masterpiece in ethical inquiry.”

Why pick up “Die Physiker”, or, in the case of many of our Swiss compatriots, read it again? It’s a haunting reminder of the ethical dimensions that accompany great power—whether scientific, financial, or otherwise. Understanding these moral landscapes is crucial for any entrepreneur transitioning into the role of an investor. Dürrenmatt’s play is a compelling guide through this labyrinth, urging you to ponder the weight of your choices and the legacy you shape.

Ex Libris (in German only)

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