012-2020 7 skills for the future

Title: 7 skills for the future

Author: Emma Sue Prince

Hi there fellow readers,

it seems another week has come to pass, another week with another good book done and dusted.

This is a book I picked up in the store, only after the third time of seeing it in the store. Even though it did catch my attention when they first displayed it, I didn’t see the value in it as I do now.

The book (as the title gives it away) lists 7 soft skills that the author believes need to be honed by every one of us in order to cope better in the new environment we find ourselves in. These skills are the following seven:

  • Adaptability
  • Critical thinking
  • Empathy
  • Integrity
  • Optimism
  • Being proactive
  • Resilience

The structure of each chapter is as follows:

  • Giving us the definition of what the skill means, and what it’s all about;
  • Listing reasons why the skills was selected as being necessary for the environment we live in these days;
  • Methods and steps we can adopt to apply the skill better in our daily life; and
  • A hypothetical case study of a person who is not utilizing the skill described in the chapter; explanation how this is not helping the person; and then a glimpse of the person’s life a few weeks/months later after the person made the conscious choice to improve that skill for themselves

As you read it it sounds like another one of those self-help books. Those where you feel inspired after reading a few chapters, and then also after finishing the last page. Then, a few weeks/months have passed, and we didn’t apply the principles of the book (or we haven’t applied them consistently to have grown a new habit). Then you take up the next one, just to get that inspiration again.

I didn’t immediately get that perception from this book. It stresses the importance of making conscious effort to keep the habit, and skill, part of our lives.

As I read through the individual chapters, I tried to reflect on how I might be experiencing a lack of these skills in my daily life, and whether I could potentially improve upon that area in my life. The one I’ll share, is the one that really hit me the hardest recently, adaptability.

  • I moved to another country, and believed that I could fit in without much effort. Turns out, this was not the case. The culture, work ethic, and people are quite different, and therefore I had to learn that the only way to really have this work out is to make an effort to adapt to this environment.
  • You cannot move somewhere and expect someone to change for you. If you came to them, it is you that needs to adapt.
  • I learned this the hard way, but at least I became self-aware of my lack in this area, and I have then made effort to change and work to fit in with how the rules and customs works in this country.

One good thing about these skills is that once you adopted them, you can work on teaching them to your own children (once you have some), and then make it a little easier for them. But first you must put in the effort to work on yourself, and that is the parting message I wish to leave with this book.

Summary:

The skills noted in the book are very important to be learnt, especially in the environment we are living in, and what it may become in the future. The author writes the chapters in a methodical way, and give clear explanations for each skill. The book gets my 4.75/5

I hope you learn as much as I have from this book if you do decide to get yourself a copy!

Until next time, have a great day!

011-2020 7 Secrets to investing like Warren Buffet

Title: 7 Secrets to investing like Warren Buffet

Author: Mary Buffett & Sean Seah

Good afternoon everyone,

Today, I give you a review of a book that a friend recommended to me a while ago, which I haven’t previously gotten around to reading yet. We regularly exchange information on companies we feel have the potential for growth, as well as what we think could be something we should be looking out for in the next few years. I would say he is the first member of my Master Mind Group. (if you want to find out where that reference comes from, I would recommend the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill)

The book is split between two topics, intentionally. Between becoming a person (habits and mindset) that is happy, healthy and up for the game of investing ; and then of course the investment strategy part.

The order in which the chapters were structured are clear, because they wish to get you to understand that you can change small things to get into a good state of mind before taking part in the game of investing. Then they introduce you to the term ‘value investing‘, which itself is the strategy adopted to approach buying shares in companies.

The idea of applying a strategy of course is to approach a situation as best prepared as we possibly can be, and mitigate the risks as much as possible, rather than going in unprepared and exposed to the full impact of all risks combined.

With this favoured approach, you are taught a whole bunch of lessons, some of which you may have even heard from interviews with Warren Buffet. Among them are the following:

  • Circle of Competence
  • Economic Moat
  • Financial Statement Analysis
    • Is the Equity growing over time?
    • Does the business have huge debt? (Debt-Equity ratio)
    • How consistent are the company profits?
    • Is the company using its returns efficiently? (Return on Equity)
    • What is the Net cash from Operating Activity position?
    • What is the Free Cf position of the company?
  • Valuation
    • Net – Net Valuation (current A vs current L)
    • Price to Book Value (stock price vs company book value)
    • PE Ratio (stock price relative to latest earnings)
    • Dividend Yield (dividend pay-out relative to stock price)
    • Graham’s Growth Formula (calculate value to include earnings expected of the future)
  • Margin of safety
  • Portfolio Risk Management
  • etc.
  • They also have a website where you could advance you training, which I haven’t tried but just thought I can mention as a bonus (www.buffettonlineschool.com – search for the name in Google and you should be able to find it)

Not giving away too much, a brief summary from my side of some of the topics listed above:

  • You shouldn’t follow with the crowd and invest in what everyone else is investing, just because that’s what the crowd is doing. You should invest in what you believe holds the greatest value, and will continue to do so. That said, you generally can only make such a call if you understand what the product/service is that they are offering.
  • Since an investment holds some risks, it would be ideal to know of some factors that mitigate those risks to support you to move ahead with the decision to invest.
  • As much as it is important to consider the factors above (qualitative factors), we cannot conclude on a big decision without also performing some sort of financial analyses, to establish whether the company is able to carry on with its trading activities.
  • Finally, when a decision was made to invest, we need to further consider whether we hold that same belief in the coming years, for all the companies we invested in. We check back in our portfolio to see whether the value we expected the company to have still exists present day, and whether the future prospects are what is in line with our investment approach.

I had already read some other finance material in the past, and thus even wondered if I would gain more financial insight if I read this as well, or whether it would just be a refresher of what I already knew. However, I believe it was of benefit to read this little booklet as well, as the authors really broke down the finance jargon into easily understandable lingo, and even made some clarifications to some of the jargon that I had previously over-complicated.

Summary:

Good intro read for anybody that is interested to get started with investing in the stock market. Chapters are short and straight to the point, without long complex explanations. The book for me deserves a good 4.5/5, since it is very good to help a large audience to enter another industry, vital for anyone that wishes to improve their financial independence.

Until next time, happy reading!

010-2020 The Infinite Game

Title: The Infinite Game

Author: Simon Sinek

Good day fellow readers,

this is my first read of a book published by this author. Before, I had only watched a clip on Facebook where he was interviewed on a show where he discussed something about why the young generation today was failing with something. That some will blame it on the parents for not having raised their children the right way. But that in fact it wasn’t the kids or the parents who were to blame, because we are all growing up in a different kind of society (where technology dominates more of our lives than when our parents were raised) and that the parents therefore didn’t have an idea how to raise them in such a different society.

It was something great to listen to, and when I find it I’ll add the link right here.

Anyway, coming back to this book, I already had a good opinion of the author and was therefore excited for this newly released book of his.

The book first introduces you to the concept of ‘The Infinite Game’. A ‘Game’ that is actually our daily life among everyone else in society. Whereas a normal game as we know it has a time zone, a set of rules all players have to follow, and then at the end of the game one player wins. The Infinite Game is different because it is not bound by time or rules or players.

Then it jumps to the next page, where he wants to make you familiar with the concept in the business world. Since the business world is ongoing, it represents one such ‘Infinite Game’. There are new players that can enter at any time, and others that will leave if they don’t adapt. The way you conduct business is somewhat regulated by the laws of the country, however, they don’t restrict you or direct you on how and what you may sell…….. Are you seeing the pattern?

Next we’re getting into the real good stuff on what the book is really on to.

If you haven’t noticed it before, I hope you will notice it after this. Companies have for a very long time focused very much attention on solely making profits and high returns for their companies, more specifically their shareholders (the owners of the companies). However, there is a shift that has been going on for while in the business world. Companies are changing their business in that they have come to see it as a social responsibility to give back as well to the community, and not only create profits for their owners.

Have you noticed any of these social projects? One big one is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It’s quite a large one, but not the only one. Other smaller companies are also doing their part by doing community service and teaching children from poorer communities with some school subjects, or with computer technology.

If you ask me, this shift is one that comes at a good point in time since in many countries the inequality gap has advanced much too far, and in poorer countries the living conditions are truly troubling. So, companies that have made the decision to include such projects in their business model are true models for new entrants and current players of our age.

But, how could a company implement such a change in their business?

Step in, the book.

The book gives you great suggestions that the leadership teams can look at and think through, and use to develop one of their own social responsibility projects. You need to consider all of them, and in the order that the author has listed them, because I believe it’s crucial to clearly understanding how each of them comes together.

They are: 1) Find a Just Cause ; 2) Building Trusting Teams ; 3) Finding a Worthy Rival ; 4) Being open to a Existential Flex and 5) Having the Courage to Lead.

I don’t want to give too much away what each one is about, but I’ll give you few small bits to hopefully get you interested in this book.

  • Finding a Just Cause – this incorporates that your business doesn’t operate solely for the purpose of producing and selling products, but that generating money should be an enabler for you to be able to give back to society.
  • Building Trusting Teams – This concerns working with people who will help you advance the Just Cause, who have a stronger interest in helping the firm to achieve its goals than only receiving their monthly paycheck.
  • Finding a Worthy Rivals – Here, it concerns itself with finding a company, not to measure yourself against financially, but who challenge you to up your performance.
  • Being open to Existential Flex – This factor links closely with the last factor, because it is a one that can be quite significant. When your business is conducted, but slowly goes off the path that follows a Just Cause, your firm needs to consider changing its conduct to come back to the path it had initially laid out to follow.
  • Having Courage to Lead – This factor brings all of the factors together, because it is the leadership team that need to make decisions to keep up on the path of the Just Cause.

I hope that slowly more businesses will change their business models to all incorporate some social responsibility in their business conduct, and that more of society can benefit and maybe even advance to something better.

Summary:

This book introduces a powerful shift in the business environment that will hopefully make a lasting impact on all our societies. When a government is overwhelmed or not doing their work the private sector is showing that they can make an impact from their side.

The guidelines introduced by this book are true value adders, and are something that other businesses could consider looking at if they wish to implement such a project for their firm. The book for me gets a rating worth 4.8/5.

Until next time, happy reading!

009-2020 I will teach you to be rich

Title: I will teach you to be rich

Author: Ramit Sethi

Hello my dear fellow readers,

I know it’s been a while since I posted a book review on my page. Let me tell you a little where this is coming from…

Usually, when we were going about our daily lives (before COVID-19 put a halt to us strolling to work every morning) I would go to the tram and commute to work, during which time I would read up on a chapter or two. Weekends I would also indulge in a few more chapters whilst visiting the local coffee shop.

Now, I don’t have that commute time in my schedule, which is what has caused the dent in finishing the book as timely as I usually manage.

But, moving away from that, and right back to the book we’ve been sitting on edge about.

In our modern day most people want to strive to become rich. Some become it by inheritance, some become it by working their way up, and some just try and get there but just stay out of reach.

Before I carry on, I want to ask you a very important question that you should keep in mind throughout reading the rest of the review: What does “being rich” mean to you?

  • Does rich mean being in possession of a large volume of assets?
  • Does it mean being financially independent?
  • Does it mean being richer than the next person?
  • Can you put a number ($) to what would be rich for you?

Really sit back and think about this, because when someone wants to teach you how to become rich, you should know what that (being rich) actually means to you.

Going into the book, I have some background to investing in shares, and also do not enjoy spending excessively. Also, I wasn’t a big fan of having a credit card, because that is just me.

Then I came about this book in the store and looked at the index, and thought this could be something new to try out. The reason is that most other finance books try and sell you an idea of building a portfolio (mostly shares or real estate), and because we may not go into more detail to learn about these things, we end up not following the advice from the book.

Switch to this book, where the author comes down to a level of things you know about (credit cards, bank accounts, budgets on what to spend money on weekly/monthly) and suggests ways for you to change some mechanics here and there to start you off on becoming more conscious what is happening to your money, and how you can actually save money from silly things (ie. late fees). He also brings in the reminder that you can make contributions to your pension plans where your employer also makes a contribution, and how you can get your employer to make a larger contribution, by changing your contribution rate to increase from the minimum that can be contributed.

Then, after you have become a little psyched that you managed to reduce some of your outflows, he comes in with the introduction to share portfolio (as one example) into which you can invest those (and other) savings, to build your assets, and thereby become little by little richer.

So, he says these are the areas you need to look at to utilize them in the most efficient way, and where you need to become money-conscious:

  • Credit Cards – with points and service right for you
  • Bank Accounts – with the right bank for you
  • Pension Fund contributions – increase the value that you’re contributing, so that your employer contributions become bigger as well
  • Conscious Spending (*my fav) – really dig deep into your spending habits and cut spending in useless spots

The points mentioned above are things that pretty much most people have been exposed to in their working life, and therefore I strongly support his approach to point out that there is a way to get these costs under control, and to work to your benefit.

Then he jumps to the next level which many of us dread to talk about because the lingo can be confusing at first. But, he breaks it down nicely, saying that you need to look at what method you think is best for you to follow to become rich and protect your assets. This is an important building block to your asset portfolio.

However, I won’t try and break it down, because trying to summarize it all in a small paragraph might just make you even less convinced to follow through with this.

Summary:

Enjoyed the writing style. Believe that the author took a clever approach to get the audience’s attention, by talking to them about something they do know well enough (reeling them in), explaining to them how they can optimize those financial tools and maybe even getting them to get to the point that they consciously decide to make a change and improve their asset portfolio. The structure is well thought through.

For this reason, I believe the rating of 4.7/5 is well-deserved.

For more book reviews, stay tuned for the next report. And if you cannot wait that long, indulge in anyone of my previous reviews 🙂

Keep well!!!