Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Jim Rogers – Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets

Jim Rogers Street Smarts

I recently came across Jim Rogers’ new book – Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets – and I’d figure some of you may enjoy reading a brief review of it.

For those of you who do not know who Jim Rogers is, permit me to give you his brief bio.  James Beeland Rogers, Jr. (born October 19, 1942) is an American investor and author. He is currently based in Singapore. Rogers is the Chairman of Rogers Holdings and Beeland Interests, Inc. He was the co-founder of the Quantum Fund with George Soros and creator of the Rogers International Commodities Index (RICI). Jim is a well-known investor who has appeared on numerous financial TV shows.

He has written several other books, some of which are: Adventure Capitalist, Investment Biker, A Gift to My Children, Hot Commodities, A Bull in China. I haven’t read any of his other books but I plan on grabbing a copy of each one soon.

Now on to the book. First of all I should mention that this book is not a “how to” guide on investing. Instead this books is part memoir, part investment primer, part history lesson, part travelogue, part sermon, and just an all around good read. Jim Rogers is a strongly opinionated guy and I for one can definitely appreciate and respect that. He has a wealth of investing experience so what he says is not a bunch of hot air or rehashed investment cliches. So if you get a chance to read the book (and I suggest you do) and you get to a parts where Mr. Rogers espouses his passionate opinions, take a deep breath and consider what he is saying before you react in a sort of “knee-jerk” fashion.

I’m not a literary critic by any means but if I was to comment upon how the book was written I’d say that Jim did a fine job. His language is simple, clear, concise, and empty of any jargon or run on sentences. Put simply, it is terse and pithy, which is precisely how a book should be in my opinion. It is also not a super long read either, so I think if you dedicate an hour tops per day you should be able to finish it in a week or two.

In this book Roger puts forth several personal viewpoints that I believe are worth considering. Some of them you may not agree with some of them you might. I found myself agreeing with quite a few of them. Some of them I can’t comment on as I do not happen to have the relevant background experience (such as the US educational system – I was not educated in the US , etc). Here are some of the interesting “core” ideas in this book:

  • The US is declining as fast as Asia is rising.
  • If you want to give your kids a good education, make sure they learn Chinese.
  • The best investment opportunities are in Asia.
  • The US spends twice as much on healthcare as the average nation and gets terrible outcomes.
  • High healthcare and litigation costs are the major reasons why American carmakers can’t compete globally.
  • The fourth leading cause of death in the US is hospital infection.
  • The US will go the way of Rome, Timbuktu, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Greece.
  • The cure for high prices is high prices.
  • Jim Rogers is always two or three years ahead of the curve.
  • Because governments are debasing currencies, commodities are the best investment.
  • Don’t believe government statistics.
  • According to government stats, there are more pets in Japan than children.
  • The school system in Singapore is far superior to any in the US.
  • Marco polo did not have a passport.
  • Throughout history, the most prosperous societies have been open ones.
  • In the US, the primacy of the individual has become subordinated to the state.
  • If you want to save America, change to a consumption tax, change our education system, institute healthcare and litigation reform, and bring home our troops (from over 100 countries.)
  • The only real failure is not to try; the only improper question is the one unasked.

What do you think? These ideas are definitely unconventional, but wisdom is rarely conventional – especially when one truly has a pioneering ideas. History will prove Jim Rogers right or wrong, and thus far he’s been right with a remarkable level of accuracy.  Let me know what you think of his ideas and if you get a chance to read his book let me know what you think.

So this concludes my humble review. Overall id’s give this book a score of 9 out 10. It is in my opinion a good read and I definitely recommend it. Now on to ebay and amazon to find me some copies of his other books.

Happy investing to you all!

Cheers,

Alan

Book Review – Entrepreneur Journeys: Bootstrapping: Weapon Of Mass Reconstruction by Sramana Mitra

Hello dear readers. Normally I do not do book reviews but I decided to give it a go this time, and if I get sufficient positive feedback I may do this on a regular basis (note to authors: get in touch with me to have your book reviewed – books related to the subject of business/trading or money making only please!)

As you can tell by the title of this blog post, the name of the book I am going to review today is “Entrepreneur Journey: Bootstrapping: Weapon of Mass Reconstruction” and it is written by Sramana Mitra. Although the title is in my opinion a bit clunky it is nonetheless pretty descriptive.

Before I go any further I must thank Sramana’s wonderful publicist for furnishing me with a copy of her book – thanks! I’ve been procrastinating a bit in finishing this review after I’ve read the book and for that I must apologize. I’m not much of a book critic/reviewer but for what it’s worth here is my best attempt at it.

A little bit about the author of this book – Sramana Mitra:

Sramana Mitra is a technology entrepreneur and strategy consultant in Silicon Valley. She has founded three companies and writes a business blog (hey we have something in common!) entittled “Sramana Mitra on Strategy” at http://www.sramanamitra.com. She has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (aka MIT).

Where I know her best is as a columnist for Forbes. I came across of few of her columns, although I must confess I’m not a regular reader as the subjects she usually discusses didn’t really interest me. This book though has peaked my interest in the world of entrepreneurship and venture capital to the point that I’m dreaming of coming up with the next so called “big idea” or the next “hot thing” that will set the tech industry a blaze. Who knows, my dreams just may come true – maybe then Sramana will use me as an interview subject in the next version of the “Entrepreneur Journeys” (you’ll get what I mean if you continue to read on) But I believe I’m digressing a bit here so let’s move on.

What this book is all about:

Bootstrapping: Weapon of Mass Reconstruction is Sramana Mitra’s second book in the Entrepreneur Journey series. It takes aim at a core issue that she believes is missed by most entrepreneurship books: bootstrapping as an essential route along the roadmap to startup success. Mitra uses an interesting narrative style to showcase a dozen entrepreneurs and their lesson from the “bootstrapping trenches.” Mitra’s analysis takes the reader through an interesting expedition into venture land, a territory she hopes will be claimed by many more in the years to come.

In a world battered by economic crisis, Mitra believes entrepreneurship is the only sustainable path forward, and I would have to strongly agree with her. Entrepreneurship has always been in my opinion the true engine of growth and prosperity and I’m glad to see that both Mitra and I are on the same page here.

Mitra structures Entrepreneur Journeys as a series of interviews with people who have started businesses and willingly (or unwillingly) went without massive funding for the first part of their histories. The range of personalities is rather wide; everything from veterans of startups who have “been there, done that” to youngsters who happened to be at the right place at the right time, and organically grew an idea into a money-generating website. Some of the individuals couldn’t get a venture capitalist to listen to them, and others decided not to go that route in order to retain control. But in all cases, these entrepreneurs were able to successfully negotiate that tightrope between growth and funding.

As you delve further into the book Mitra points out a number of flaws in our current VC (venture capital) mindset that cause many good companies to die off too early. Running a company for the first time is hard, and mentoring is even more valuable in many cases than money. Normal VC arrangements don’t do a good job in close mentoring. Instead, it’s a push to build up the value so the VCs can cash out. Angel investors are more likely to work closely with the business, helping them reach their potential without sacrificing the longer-term potential of the business.

The interview style used by Mitra may turn some people off, but I found myself rather liking it. The only that I didn’t like about this book are the parts where Mitra rants about Obama’s economic plan. I found these bits unnecessary, but some may beg to differ.

In  I’d say that If you’re starting your own business in the technology industry, Mitra’s book might well give you some perspective on initial funding that you may not have considered. And given what is at stake, it would be advisable to take the time to read this book.

If this book sounds like something you’d like to read you can grab a copy from Amazon.com by clicking below: