Business Builders’ Bookshelf: Essential Reads for Strategic Success
1:34 – Author Nick Shaw's poignant and insightful "My Teacher, My Son," is a book that promises to transform your perspective on life and leadership
My Teacher, My Son: https://www.amazon.com/My-Teacher-Son-Lessons-Life/dp/B0CH7F5MGW
5:06 - Dive into the intricacies of technological advancements with Managing Partner Scott Estill's picks, "Chip Wars" by Chris Miller and "AI 2041" by Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan
Chip Wars: https://www.amazon.com/Chip-War-Dominate-Critical-Technology/dp/B09TX24J5Y/
AI 2041: https://www.amazon.com/AI-2041-Ten-Visions-Future/dp/B08SFL53HL/
9:50 - Gain historical business insights from private equity operating partner Joe DeLuca’s favorite, “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” by Richard Rhodes.
The Making of the Atomic Bomb: https://www.amazon.com/Making-Atomic-Bomb-Richard-Rhodes/dp/1451677618
13:00 – Entrepreneur and attorney Scott Becker emphasizes the significance of team building with “Good to Great” by Jim Collins and the importance of health and longevity with “Outlive” by Peter Attia.
Good to Great: https://www.amazon.com/Good-to-Great-Jim-Collins-audiobook/dp/B003VXI5MS/
16:25 – Private equity partner John Kirk reminds us of the power of collective success over individual correctness through “Us” by
19:48 – PE operating partner Brit Yonge explores the sovereignty of choice in Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.”
Man’s Search for Meaning: https://www.amazon.com/Mans-Search-for-Meaning-audiobook/dp/B0006IU470/
23:35 – Private equity managing director Doug Horn provides a glimpse into the future of industry and geopolitics with “The End of the World is Just the Beginning” by Peter Zeihan and celebrates American entrepreneurial spirit in “Americana” by Bhu Srinivasan
The End of the World is Just the Beginning: https://www.amazon.com/End-World-Just-Beginning-Globalization/dp/B09CS8FRRD/
26:41 – PE managing director Mohit Kansal underscores the value of data over narrative with “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis.
28:23 – Private equity managing director Marshall Phelps draws leadership lessons from "Washington" by Ron Chernow and delves into the intrigue of "Conspiracy" by Ryan Holiday
32:35 – Private equity managing partner Doug McCormick offers a refreshing perspective on global progress with "Factfulness" by Hans Rosling.
Join us as we explore these diverse and thought-provoking works that have shaped the minds of business leaders and will undoubtedly influence your approach to business and life.
Welcome to the Karma School of Business podcast about the private equity industry, business best practices, and real-time trends. This is a special episode where we're collecting some of my favorite topics discussed during our podcast, all in one, what I call, need to eat treat. We're discussing the books that have made a meaningful impact on many of the best business builders in the world. As an aside, one of the common things I've observed over my career in private equity and business is that top business leaders are voracious readers, collectors, and sharers of books. They know that you can leapfrog growth and development by learning the hard-earned lessons of others while not trying to recreate the wheel each time. Today, our guests are sharing great ones for your collection.
This episode is brought to you today by BluWave. I'm Sean Mooney, BluWave's founder and CEO and your nasal and congested sounding host today. BluWave is the go-to expert of those with expertise. BluWave connects proactive business builders, including more than 500 of the world's leading private equity firms and thousands of leading companies to the very best professional service providers, independent consultants, and interim executives for their critical variable on-point and on-time business needs. Enjoy.
First up is episode 42 with author and co-founder of the Mirrorbox Leadership Labs, Nick Shaw. Nick shares some profound perspectives from his book, My Teacher, My Son, and life lessons he gained from the tragic loss of his son. The book and my conversation with Nick candidly gave me a whole new outlook on life and the appreciation to live more in the moment. I think it's a massively recommended listen and a read of his book that will pivot your mind, not only as a human, but also as a parent if you are one and/or as a business leader.
Nick Shaw (02:13):
We do make things harder than need to be for ourselves, and then what happens then is you make it harder for others. I do think finding a way to positively reframe a situation, taking some time to actually pause and reflect on how to do that, I think all of that, it all ties together.
Sean Mooney (02:31):
100%. So I think this has been incredibly impactful for all of us. One of the takeaways I have is, and it's probably a bad metaphor, but this whole, I think we all live in cocoons in our everyday life and then sometimes in really tragic situations. And I think what you've portrayed here, no matter who you are, is this way that you can kind of break out and live every day as the first day of the rest of your life. And that was always a saying we had as kids, like first day of rest of your life, and some ways that's what also put me on this hamster wheel. So it's not perfect metaphor.
Nick Shaw (03:13):
No, and I think it all requires balance, right? I think it's okay to be driven, to be motivated, I mean none of that is bad. And it's also good every so often to maybe step off the hamster wheel and just check in with yourself and ask the question, is this the way I want to live every day for the rest of my life? And I even say it in the book, I think asking these types of questions at different intervals in one's life or even through the course of a year are important because it's when we don't ask those questions that we just get stuck on the wheel and then life passes by and oftentimes that leads to some form of regret.
Sean Mooney (03:53):
I think that's incredibly wise. And the last thing I mentioned from I think was a wonderful, wonderful book is that there's this beautiful poem on the last page of the book called My Wish for You, and I wrote it down and it's actually sitting in front of my desk because it's really impactful. So I think when listeners get the book, I think they're going to like it too and so I hope that maybe like me with most books where I too often flip to the last page first, in this case it'll be a really good way to start as well. It's an incredibly uplifting, encouraging poem.
Nick Shaw (04:28):
Yeah, well, it's kind of cool, actually. So if that is your inclination, then you'll be met with a poem. I didn't intend it that way, but why not, right?
Sean Mooney (04:37):
Human nature. Like people flip to the back, oh, whoa.
Nick Shaw (04:41):
Yeah, My Wish for You, what is this all about? Yeah, no, that is my wish for my readers is to live their lives to their fullest, to realize that this life we have isn't forever. I say this to my clients all the time, this ain't no dress rehearsal, this is it. And so be intentional about the choices you make for you, your loved ones, and everybody you interact with.
Sean Mooney (05:06):
Next up, episode 37 brings us Scott Estill's recommendation of Chip Wars by Chris Miller and AI 2041 by Kai-Fu Lee. With the age of AI upon us, these are some insightful reads that will help all of us understand where the tech age came from and where it's going.
Scott Estill (05:29):
So I'm in a book club, that doesn't mean I sit around drinking Chardonnay, which is fine. So with a bunch of PE guys and hedge fund folks that are sort of interested in a whole bunch of different topics. And so a couple of them I guess that we've read have the same sort of mindset of like how do I learn more? There's this book, Chip Wars, I don't know if you've seen this by Chris Miller, but we all know, well, you know a lot about the history of microchips and how it started and Moore's Law and whatever.
Sean Mooney (05:59):
Only the paranoid survive, right?
Scott Estill (06:01):
Totally right. That's why we're friends, often paranoid. So that was a great book. I mean, you talk about like what's a nanometer. I mean, what the heck. I don't even know that... It's a billionth of a meter. So that one human blood cell is 7,000 nanometers in diameter. So you think about how 7,000 nanometers for one blood cell, and these are down to 3, 5 nanometers, these chips. So it's another way to think about it is that if the microchip's like the size of your thumbnail, just your thumbnail, it's got billions of transistors on it. So that was a great book because it was easy reading, it wasn't super dense talking about the history of sort of, I don't know, technology.
And then I guess riffing on that, there was a cool book called AI 2021. So it was written in 2021, surprise, surprise. But it was written by two guys that worked together at Google and one ended up being a venture capitalist and one ended up being a science fiction writer. Super interesting, but they co-authed this thing and so there's 10 short stories of how technology over the next 10 years and 20 years is going to change our everyday life. So 5 or 10 or 15 page, whatever, short stories, but it's, man, it's interesting and it's coming from the perspective of a bit authenticity of knowing where technology, not perfect because no one's crystal ball is perfectly aligned, but knowing what's reasonable and what's not. I don't know, things like that, those are cool books where it just has conversation starters amongst folks like is this real? Is that real? And how does that affect my business or my life or whatever. So two quick reads that are just fun and maybe people will find interesting.
Sean Mooney (07:54):
On the tech one, I'd be curious, or the second tech one since tech was... What was one of the more exciting or scary things in their prophecies of things to come in the visible future?
Scott Estill (08:09):
Yeah, I mean there's a bunch of them that touch on regular everyday living to sort of conflicts to all the different things that technology can implement. But I mean just like little things of... What's an example? One of the short stories is a family in India and it's all over the world, different places, so it's all... But they track you, right? And so what you're doing, because technology is good at that, and are you doing things that are going to increase or decrease your insurance premiums as a family or whatever. So going to a dangerous part of town temporarily increases your insurance premiums or a love interest of someone who is more or less compatible or going to be good for you in the future increases or decreases your life insurance premium.
So it's super dramatic and scary and Orwellian, but you sort of see how technology, the unintended consequences can often come to bear here. So there's lots of ones like education and just things where technology you'd used to be. I remember when we were in finance there was like the internet group in banking. All right. Now everything, it's just like technology. It's 100% of the GDP has a technology bent to it to some degree. So that's something that is just going to continue to be part of our everyday life.
Sean Mooney (09:50):
In episode 34, Joe DeLuca, operating partner with NewSpring Capital discusses the incredible collaboration that occurred during the Manhattan Project as set forth in the book, the Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. Joe talks about parallels to business and life sharing no matter what the task is, there's a way to do it. For movie buffs, here you can also get the rest of the story.
Joe Deluca (10:15):
I draw a whole bunch of parallels from this book for life in general and business, but one of my favorites. And to be favorite, you have to be read at least three times in my house.
Sean Mooney (10:24):
There's lots of notes in the edges.
Joe Deluca (10:27):
The making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes is, according to me, it's unbelievable. It's a great book. So the first 350 pages are just a history of nuclear physics. So this is going back to Chadwick and Rutherford, Lise Meitner, like the real pillars of nuclear physics. It's really interesting and cool. And then the next 450 pages are the making of the atomic bomb and the Manhattan Project, and it's just, it's an awesome book. I mean it gives me goosebumps when I pick it up and I can just jump into it in any place and be just totally overwhelmed by the task that they had to accomplish. It's incredible.
Sean Mooney (11:08):
What were some of the takeaways?
Joe Deluca (11:10):
Okay, so here's one which is you've got this guy, General Leslie Groves, who from the government and the military is sort of in charge of Manhattan Project. And then you have the polar opposite in Robert Oppenheimer running the scientific and the technical aspect of the project. These guys pulled it off and they were completely opposites. I mean they were like the stereotypes. You've got a cigar chewing, belligerent sort of general, and you've got a really, you know, Oppenheimer probably weighed 120 pounds, 130. Just brilliant physicist, just a man of the world, and by a lot of regards, probably a communist. And they work together over the course of a couple years to put this thing together and make it happen. How does that ever happen? But it does. So one of the things that always is inspiring to me from that and a parallel to business is, no matter what the task is, there is a way to do it. There is a way.
I mean people, how do we build, how do we make this work? How do we get these people to work together? There's a way to do it if you really, really, really, really want to drive on it and spend the time. And these guys, they spent the time, they worked on it, and they got it done. So I think that that's a lesson for me at least I can use everywhere and it's inspiring. At least for a short period of time though, because they weren't going to be working together for five years, but if you put them in a room for two years, they can get this stuff done. The same with all the other people that were involved in that project, the tens of thousands of people that were involved. For a short period of time, they came together and got it done. I mean, they can't fix the potholes in the road around my house in two years, but they can build an atomic bomb in, whatever, 18 months. It's unbelievable.
Sean Mooney (13:00):
In episode 30, Scott Becker, partner with McGuireWoods and founder of Beckers Healthcare discusses the values of the books Good to Great by Jim Collins and Outlive by Peter Attia. Good to Great is my favorite business book of all time, and we give it to every one of our team members at BluWave. For those of you also watching time move by too quickly, i.e. myself and others probably my vintage and younger, Outlive is another great read about adding both life and years to your life.
Scott Becker (13:30):
I'll point to two books and one of them ties into another question that we're not going to focus on. So the two books are, one is Good To Great by Jim Collins. Jim Collins is one of the eminent business authors of our time. But what he really focused on, he had this concept that, not so much the culture eats strategy for lunch, which people all talk about has become the most used, overused cliche in the world, but not untrue but overused. But what he said is that people in teams are more important than strategy because if you could build the right people in teams, then you could pursue a lot of different strategies that work if you put the right teams in place, the right people in place. So I'm a huge fan of Jim Collins's thoughts around that. He was the most articulate on the concept, and so I love that concept.
We think so much about businesses doubling down on great clients, great people, great niches, those three concepts, and Jim Collins was probably the most articulate about getting the right people with you and sorting out people is more important than anything. But he articulated a ton about both leadership and about the importance of building teams. So that's one book. The second book I'll point to is a recent book I've been reading or finished recently by a Dr. Peter Attia, and Peter writes a book called Outlive. And so one of the things, and you and I are probably on the same vintage, I'm probably a little bit older, but if you were going to talk about one thing I would tell my younger self is how do you make physical and mental health a priority for life? And Peter Attia, Dr. Attia talked about this concept of lifespan versus healthspan. And the concept is you might live to 85, but if your body and mind is gone at 75, your last 10 years of life are often going to be horrible.
So he talks about trying to get healthspan, your health to match up as well as possible with your longevity and your lifespan. And I think the concept's a brilliant concept and he talks about the four different big causes of death and deterioration and how you sort of fight those with nutrition, with exercise, with taking care of yourself mentally, all those kinds of things. So those are two books, Outlived by Peter Attia and then Good to Great and the different series of books by James Collins, that probably continue to resonate with me. Both, one more recently, but it's something we think about all the time and one more longevitywise that I've talked about, reverences the Jim Collins books.
Sean Mooney (15:52):
I love both those and, one, Jim Collins' Good to Great, that is I think probably the best cover to cover business book out there. And so he has so many things that he gets so right and we give every member of our team, it was four and now it's five books, when they start and Good to Great is one of the big four that they get. And I think if you could read that, that's 80% of your MBA right there and don't spend the money.
Next up in episode 28 is John Kirk, partner with Tuckerman Capital. John shares the book Us by Terrence Real. Us shares some really powerful insights into making any relationship more successful. One of John's great quotes in this episode is to be successful in any relationship, you have to be willing to put the collective before the individual. And that means listening more and talking less.
John Kirk (16:51):
The book that I reference is Us by Terrence Real. Jess and I actually just recently read it because it was recommended to us by a couple's therapist. And there's this really impactful quote in the book that was something to the effect, and I'm sure I'm going to butcher it, but would you rather be married or right? And I'm an optimizer. Decimals matter, I love to be factually correct, but people aren't spreadsheets. People have feelings and we do dumb things all the time like we've talked about and we're perfectly imperfect, and I think that's beautiful. And to be successful as a couple and to be successful within any relationship, you have to be willing to put the collective before the individual. And that means listening more, talking less. It means really trying to understand the other person's feelings as opposed to being right.
And if you can do that, you work through things, both people end up being happier, and once feelings are addressed, you typically end up having better outcomes and getting to better solutions as well. And this is something that, again, going back to business, it's business is really, in my eyes, not much more than a series of relationships. So I often say to folks, again, some version of the same thing, not would you rather be married to me or right, but.
Sean Mooney (18:16):
But it is a marriage. It's a three to eight year marriage, right?
John Kirk (18:20):
Yeah, it totally is. That's a very good way to think about it. It ends up being like, would you rather be on the team or would you rather be right? Would you rather be right or be successful?
Sean Mooney (18:31):
I think that's a very poignant kind of observation and certainly I can say I'm always right, no, I'm just kidding.
John Kirk (18:37):
I'm actually correct.
Sean Mooney (18:44):
I'm like an MLB baseball hitter. It's more like in the .300s, but I keep on swinging.
John Kirk (18:48):
I'm at .250 I think.
Sean Mooney (18:50):
So I'm definitely going to read that book and add it to my bedside pile, but I want to read it first so I can be more right when I share it with my wife.
John Kirk (18:59):
I was the one who brought this to the relationship.
Sean Mooney (19:01):
Wait, that wasn't your point. Wait, I've already butchered it. No, I'm going to read it. We'll read it together. Okay. See, I've learned, it's growth.
John Kirk (19:10):
One step at a time.
Sean Mooney (19:11):
It's a path. I'm an imperfect person. No, but I think that's a great point and a great life lesson that I think particularly people that are in this world are such high achievers and they've been successful because they've bet on their hunches. And so it's not always a natural inclination to do that, but it's so incredibly important, and this is all tying right into this whole conversation where you said this whole growth mindset, you're never always going to be right. And if you are, there's been very few people in this world who've always been red and actually I can't name one.
In episode 24, Brit Yonge, operating partner with Corsair Capital brings us Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Brit shares the lessons learned about the sovereignty of human choice and the empowerment of having agency. Really great perspectives when times are tough.
Brit Yonge (20:07):
My favorite book of all time is Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. Book's a bit dire, it's setting is a bit dire. It's about his experience in the Holocaust, but he's a psychologist and he talks, it's a book about his life, but also about psychology. And I think it's really just about the sovereignty of human choice and the empowerment of having agency even in the smallest things. And he has just story after story of where you can take a circumstance which is truly dire and really articulate the empowerment of being able to make your own choice. And we get through so much in the world, but certainly in the world of finance, that we don't get to choose.
Like we don't get to choose monetary policy, we don't get to vote on any of that. There's a lot of exogenous everything to what's going on, and you can spend a lot of time worrying about that and worrying about what the print was yesterday and what does it mean, but fundamentally, we're a bio shop, so we own these companies. So there's a lot of agency to be exercised within the portfolio within what we have in front of us and if you can tune out some of that noise or maybe curate it I would say, curate some of the noise in the financial ecosystem, there's a lot to be empowered by within our day-to-day.
There's a lot of choices that we do get to make. And asset prices aren't always rational and they're going to go in some directions and that doesn't change what we can do for our customers and our companies today. And I think that's... Viktor Frankl was a very accomplished psychologist and he created flavor of psychology that I think kind of became cognitive behavioral therapy, which is probably the most effective and tested form of therapy out there. So I think he's a credible person to look to and the mentality that can be constructive in the face of adversity and in the face of adversity that you don't really sign up for. Like no one signs up for COVID. There was a lot of diligences pre to 2020 where people were talking about recession planning and I remember those conversations pretty vividly and I don't remember anyone ever talking about a global pandemic. So there's a lot of empowerment and security from just understanding the choices that you do get to make and making those as well as you can.
Sean Mooney (22:37):
I think obviously Viktor Frankl's writing about a period of time that was incredibly awful and tragic and catastrophic, and you put that in perspective to what we all go through, it's kind of like, wow, everything's easy compared to that. But the takeaways that you're sharing I think are also incredibly powerful. We're dealt a hand in many different situations and you can fold or you can decide and act, and so I talk a lot about on this thing. Like one of the frameworks that I really love is this gentleman named Colonel John Boyd, this OODA loop. And it's just this whole idea of just take the step forward and take action and you're not just going there in perpetuity, you can take a left or a right, but just do something and own the outcomes. And I think that's incredibly empowering for really anyone.
Up next in episode 13, Doug Horn with Clairvest shares The End of the World Is Just the Beginning by Peter Zeihan and Americana by Bhu Srinivasan. The End of the World Is Just Beginning touches on deglobalization, and as Doug shares, quote, unquote, "Where the puck is going." Americana shares more on the power of US innovation and how it's impacting not only the United States, Canada, and North America, but also the world.
Doug Horn (24:03):
There's two that I've read recently that have been pretty interesting, just one is it's a book called The End of the World Is Just the Beginning by a guy named Peter Zeihan. And he talks a lot about, I mean the main topic is deglobalization and what does that mean for the world and individual countries over the next decades. He brings it back, all this complexity that we see on CNN and the New York Times, and he brings it back to really demographics and geography. Fantastic book, but one of the key takeaways is all about the strength of North America, the strength of the US based on both the geography and the demographics of the continent that we all live on, and its implications for different industries for people bringing manufacturing or nearshoring manufacturing for trade between Mexico and the US and other kind of themes that I think are relevant for really skating to where the puck is going with all the geopolitical risks that's out there.
The second one may be more of a narrative, but it's a book called Americana by, I'll probably botch his name, Bhu Srinivasan. And each chapter is the story of a different industry that made America or made the United States. And our CEO has this saying that we're Canadians financing the American dream, and I read this book and it starts with the Mayflower and goes to Silicon Valley and basically every industry that we love to talk about has been built by inventors, financiers, managers, people who took risks and really kind of built these industries up. It's a pretty interesting historical view of really the power of US innovation, the power of US entrepreneurialism, and how enduring it really is. And I find it pretty inspirational that at Clairvest we can play some, I'll bet small role, in kind of helping create that next generation of great companies and great industries.
Sean Mooney (25:58):
Those books similarly sound terribly interesting. I've written them down. They're very timely in terms of the economy and where we're going and our past and all tying it in. Thanks for sharing those. I'm going to put those next up right after I read Setting the Table by Danny Meyer, which is a great book about hospitality. Is where I'm trying to teach our team here how to be, you know, treat you all like you're walking into the Union Square Cafe whenever you come to BluWave.
Doug Horn (26:27):
Next time you'll serve us hamburgers.
Sean Mooney (26:29):
I hope so. It's really good. We just receive news that In-N-Out's coming to Nashville and so we're super excited about both Shake Shack and In-N-Out now.
In the same episode 13, Doug's partner, Mohit Kansal, shares an analytics meets sports classic, Moneyball by Michael Lewis, and he talks about how the data doesn't lie. It's also, as a quick aside, it's one of the key analogies I use when people are trying to understand the difference between private equity and venture capital. Venture capital is swing for the fences, private equity is get people on base and move them around. So think about that when you're reading the book or watching the movie the next time around.
Mohit Kansal (27:10):
Thinking about Moneyball and thinking about one scene. Obviously read the Michael Lewis book a while ago, but this idea of data and this idea of peeling the onion back, the one scene that kind of stuck out at me that also just I feel like I have parallels in my business world is just like when Billy Beane's around the table with all his scouts and they're all just doubting him, right? They're all like, oh, that's not how it's done. This is how it is. And he's like, nope, the data's telling me this, right? And I'm like, okay, I've come across this before in a management meeting where you have the investment banker on one side, you got the company on their side, and they're just spewing stories. But no, what is the data telling you? What is the data? The data doesn't lie.
So this idea of, in all our lives, we're surrounded by incredible salespeople who could spin a story, but you got to look at the data, you got to peel the onion back, you got to understand is it fitting? And sometimes in our job, it's easy to forget that, to be frank, because you're just so busy and you're like, no, no, let me sit back. Let me really look at the data. What is it telling me? And a lot of times it doesn't match up. So that's just something that stuck with me and I got reminded of that last week when I was watching that on Netflix.
Doug Horn (28:17):
Great use of turn of page, introducing this question.
Sean Mooney (28:23):
It's a great movie. It's one that I often refer to actually when I'm trying to describe the difference between private equity and venture capital. And I'll ask them, have you seen the movie Moneyball? And for whatever reason, people have still seen that. I think it's the Brad Pitt kind of draw for like Gen Zers. And so just yesterday I was having this conversation with our new Vanderbilt interns and saying here's the difference, and if you've seen Moneyball, the private equity is Billy Beane, it's about get on first and second and third and bringing it home, venture capital is swinging for fences. And so I think that that example resonates for a number of reasons, but also just the whole data intensity and analytical nature of what you all do so well.
Next up we have a great recommendation from my friend, Marshall Phelps, managing director with MidOcean Partners. In episode 11, Marshall talks about a book called Washington by Ron Chernow and a litany of books by Ryan Holiday, including the book Conspiracy. You can't go wrong reading about founding father George Washington and there's also a lot to be learned from the Stoics. Here's Marshall's take.
Marshall Phelps (29:30):
I'm a big fan of biographies, I'm not a huge fan of business books, so I try to read as much biography as I can. Right now, currently going back in time and reading a book about our first president, George Washington, who I realized I didn't know much about and thought of as this kind of legendary figure who didn't lie and something about a cherry tree, I don't know. But turns out this was a real human and making real human decisions and frustrated by challenges and thrust into an incredibly challenging role managing multiple constituencies, whether it was his own people, including an incredibly headstrong but amazing Alexander Hamilton, but also dealing with his French allies, his Native American allies and enemies, and of course his enemies, the British. And then just really an expert, this is the Ron Chernow book, by the way, just an expert treatise on what leadership means and what it means to be a leader and how being a leader could be incredibly lonely. So that's just a book I'm reading right now, it's just kind of fascinating.
I also am a huge fan of a writer by the name of Ryan Holiday, and I've mentioned him to you before. I discovered Ryan because I picked up a book that he wrote a couple years ago called Conspiracy, which is about the Peter Thiel takedown of Gawker. And if you don't know this story, you should look it up. It is absolutely fascinating, it involves professional wrestling, digital media, libel and slander, intricate plots with billionaires, and it's just a really well-written book. I was curious about the author and have come to know Ryan more now as an incredible proponent of Stoic philosophy, which has meant a lot to me as I've navigated being a business professional, a husband and a father, and trying to have a right attitude towards life.
Ryan puts out a newsletter every day called The Daily Stoic, and then more important, one called The Daily Dad, which I just found to be incredibly thoughtful and channeling a Stoic philosophy into what it means to be a good man, a good husband, good father, and a good professional, good employee. And I think he's great. I'd encourage your readers to check him out.
Sean Mooney (31:36):
I think it's great. I'm going to sign up for both of those because heaven knows I could use help on all those fronts.
Marshall Phelps (31:43):
Sean Mooney (31:45):
Life's a journey, not a destination and I try every day, but.
Marshall Phelps (31:50):
I'll tell you, I'm not some massively dedicated Stoic, but I did think before I really got to read Ryan's stuff, I thought of it as like this almost martial military approach where you're unfeeling and everything's just unemotional, and it's really not that at all. It's a means of looking through the world with reason as your guide. We build our lives, we work in high pressure careers, we're trying to be good fathers, good husbands, good wives, good sisters, whatever it is, just simple, Stoic philosophies like do not suffer imagined troubles becomes incredibly thought-provoking, right? Don't make your world something that it's not. So anyway, it's a great resource for me.
Sean Mooney (32:35):
Last, but certainly not least, we have my friend Doug McCormick, managing partner from HCI Equity Partners, and his recommendation from episode three, Factfulness by Hans Rosling. This book talks about how we focus on process and the bad more than the good. Here's the 2 cents from Doug.
Doug McCormick (32:50):
I'll share a book with you that I read during COVID. It's called Factfulness, and it's 10 reasons we're wrong about the world and why things are better than you think. And so this was an interesting book for me and it's based on my belief that in today's world, curation of info that we consume is becoming more important than skills of comprehension. And so I do a horrible job of managing what comes through my newsfeed and I just read whatever is teed up based on somebody else's algorithm. And this book actually discusses how humans process information and highlights this basic fact that we tend to focus and process way more on the bad than the good and we have an inherent bias about how we process numbers in comparisons. And so it kind of gives you some tools to check yourself in terms of how you're evaluating that.
And so for me personally in the context of COVID and just what I perceive as just being inundated with negative news and negativity in general, this was kind of a self-help book for me. I think it helped me see the world and the current events and probably our trajectory in a more positive light. So anyways, if you're like me and you've had a tough couple COVID years and you're a nerd, this is a good fit.
Sean Mooney (33:58):
I think everyone who's experienced this world over the last couple of years could use the positivity and tools to navigate through it so I will be buying that book today. I've been saying this too shall pass for about two and a half years and so I think that'll be an excellent book to kind of equip everyone to kind of view the world in a positive way.
Doug McCormick (34:20):
I warn you, it's not an easy read. It's an intriguing read, lots of math. It was helpful for me.
Sean Mooney (34:25):
You know, you eat a whale one bite at a time, right? So I'll just read it one chapter a night.
Doug McCormick (34:29):
There you go.
Sean Mooney (34:38):
Thanks for listening. You can find links to each of the books discussed today in the episode notes. Please continue to look for us anywhere you find your favorite podcasts, including Apple, Google, and Spotify. We truly appreciate your support. If you like what you hear, please follow, rate, review, and share. It really helps us when you do this, so thank you in advance. In the meantime, if you need to be connected with the world's best in class, private equity grade professional service providers, independent consultants, interim executives, or anything else, please give us a call or visit our website at BluWave.net, that's BluWave.net, and we'll support your success. Onward.
BluWave Founder & CEO Sean Mooney hosts the Private Equity Karma School of Business Podcast. BluWave is the business builders’ network for private equity grade due diligence and value creation needs.
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