Archive for April, 2015

Hellooooooo, everyone!

It’s been a while since I published an e-book, but now there’s a new addition to my growing e-book empire. Ladies and gentlemen and all the conscientious objectors to the binary gender code, I humbly present to you my latest (and greatest!) e-book: Buffett’s Biggest Blunders: The Greatest Investor’s Greatest Mistakes.

Warren Buffett is without a doubt the greatest investor of our time. A humble, down-to-earth man with a talent for mathematics and analysis, he’s managed to build a $350 billion empire known as Berkshire Hathaway in 50 years. He’s a voice of reason, a paragon of patience, the living proof that one can attain wealth without day-trading or memorizing arcane formulas.

His successful trades, business purchases and arbitrage maneuvers have been analyzed time and again. Most Buffett fans know about his brilliant investment in See’s Candies or his lifelong love affair with Geico insurance. At the same time, however, there’s relatively little focus on the investments and business deals where he ended up losing.

It’s impossible to truly understand one’s investing strategy without examining one’s mistakes alongside the successes. They are two sides of the same coin. Both must be studied in order to get a full picture. Instead, even though Buffett has been remarkably open and candid about the mistakes he’s made along the way, very few pay attention to them and learn by analyzing his actions.

Did you know, for example, that once upon a time Warren Buffett paid his shareholders a dividend? That he briefly invested in Disney but then changed his mind? That he tried and failed to corner the market on stamps – and chose not to become a car collector? Those are just a few of the 30 investing blunders contained within this book.

This book collects 30 summaries of Warren Buffett’s investments that went awry. With summaries, charts and commentary from Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger themselves, “Buffest Biggest Blunders” provides an excellent opportunity to learn from the greatest investor’s greatest mistakes – and to become better investors by learning about the missteps of the Oracle of Omaha.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about his investing methods and foibles, this is the book for you. (Or, if you’re more of a 1,000-page book person, I highly recommend Buffett’s biography “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life” by Alice Schroeder.) If you’re new to investing and don’t want to lose your hard-earned cash, “Buffett’s Biggest Blunders” might just save you from making egregious investing mistakes. Or, if you’re going to join me at this year’s 50th annual shareholder convention in Omaha (also known as “Woodstock for capitalists”) and don’t want to be lost when Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger start reminiscing about their mistakes, you’ll probably want to skim my book and learn all about it.

And did I mention that it’d make an excellent present for your business-oriented loved ones? If they don’t have a Kindle, they can still read the book on a Kindle app. I have it on good authority that it works on any device that has a screen and an Internet connection. (And pretty soon, the screen will be optional!)

I’m always interested in hearing from my readers, so if you buy my book and love it, I would enjoy getting a 5-star review from you on my book’s Amazon page. I hope you enjoy reading my book every bit as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Happy reading!

“Writers of the Future Volume 31” is this year’s collection of 13 best sci-fi stories by new writers. The stories (most of which are quite enjoyable) are interspersed with occasional essays on writing by L. Ron Hubbard, Orson Scott Card, etc. Overall, the collection had some nice gems and should give every sci-fi fan hours of enjoyment. (Or days, if you’d like to stretch it out!) Each story has an amazing illustration to go with it. The artists are featured alongside the authors, so who knows – maybe this book will be the big break they need.

Brief reviews:
“Switch” by David Farland – a cop using mental performance-enhancing drug is on the case to find the drug’s manufacturer after a series of violent crimes. Interesting if you’re into police stories and action movies.

“The God Whisperer” by Daniel J. Davis – what if people had minor gods as pets? Funny and creative story – shame it was so short, because there’s definitely enough potential for a book.

“Stars That Make Dark Heaven Light by Sharon Joss – a teenage girl from a space colony of genetically modified humans discovers an intelligent lifeform in her backyard. The story has a Young Adult feel to it and it’s beautifully written.

“When Shadows Fall” by L. Ron Hubbard – a 1948 story about three men’s attempts to save a dying, suffocating Earth in the distant future. An enjoyable yet unusual story written more like a parable.

“A Revolutionary’s Guide to Practical Conjuration” by Auston Habershaw – a teenager acquires a magical book to, well, learn magic and right the wrongs in his society (and his gang). Creative and entertaining, with a great twist at the end.

“Twelve Minutes to Vinh Quang” by Tim Napper – a deal between a Vietnamese gangster and a young woman who wants to smuggle some people through the border suddenly gets very complicated. Short and sweet, with a badass heroine but not a lot of action or plot development.

“Planar Ghosts” by Krystal Claxton – a kid wanders the scorched steppes of the futuristic, post-global-warming world, with a strange purple ghost of a girl as his companion. Interesting idea, but the execution could be slightly better.

“Rough Draft” by Kevin J. Anderson & Rebecca Moesta – a bestselling sci-fi writer who stopped writing receives a novel written by himself – from a parallel universe. The story deals with practical applications of milking the multiverse for new content by artists and writers – and how it affects the creators who are still alive in this universe.

“Between Screens” by Zach Chapman – a gang of teenagers livng on a space station teleport around the universe and hijack telescopes to watch other worlds get destroyed by natural disasters. Gloomy and disturbing, if you’re into that kind of thing.

“Unrefined” by Martin L. Shoemaker – a metal refining station in deep space gets destroyed. Told from the point of view of the station creator’s bodyguard, the story is mostly about flying around and trying to save a collapsing station, followed by a story of the employees pulling themselves up by bootstraps. If you’re an Ayn Rand-loving engineer, you might enjoy it.

“Half Past” by Samantha Murray – a magician’s daughter who creates “echoes” of herself during emotional outbursts learns something very disturbing when she decides to move out on her own. An interesting slow-paced tale of emotion, magic and different stages of growing up.

“Purposes Made for Alien Minds” by Scott R. Parkin – a malfunctioning android who can only speak and think in 5-word sentences is sent to an alien world to discover why the aliens are killing off human colonists. Strange but overall enjoyable story.

“Inconstant Moon” by Larry Niven – late at night, a freelance writer suddenly realizes that the ridiculously bright moon means something really, really bad is coming. A fun story about a guy and his girlfriend enjoying their last night on earth.

“The Graver” by Amy M. Hughes – in a world where super-powered people can suck out your soul, a widower is trying to protect his teenage daughter. Dark but creative.

“Wisteria Melancholy” by Michael T. Banker – a man who gets as heavy as lead when he feels sad moves into a clinic for other psychomorphically unstable people (mostly kids). Interesting concept, well written, contains some great quotable stuff.

“Poseidon’s Eyes” by Kary English – something about a struggling artist, her magical redneck friend who lives on the beach, some ghosts, etc… If you enjoy very slowly developing stories, this might be the one for you – I ended up skipping to the end when I was halfway through.

Score: 4 stars

Pre-order on Amazon (release date: May 4, 2015)