Fun Books, Including The Leftovers

If you are looking for fun books, I have some suggestions. First, check out Tom Perrotta’s book The Leftovers.

Here is the set up in The Leftovers: 2% of the population vanishes. No one understands why or what happened. Of course, theories abound. Was this biblical, or something else?

But the book is not about the vanishings. It is about the folks who are left behind who must go on. People go crazy, of course. And other supernatural, or semi-supernatural things start happening. I am only about half way through the book, and I really have no idea where the story is going. That makes it fun. I can’t and won’t give any spoilers away, but I am really enjoying it so far and recommend it.

The book reminded me a little bit of Children of Men. There the set up is people quit having children. World wide. And governments start planning for the end.

In both books, the authors have a lot of fun creating worlds where they can explore how people might live in the event a true calamity befell them and everyone else.


If you are looking for other potentially fun books, here are some suggestions:

Children of Men by P.D. James

You Deserve Nothing by Alexander Maksik

A Marker to Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Talent is Overrated by Geoffrey Colvin

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Books Recommended by Dan Levitan

Thanks to Buzz Bruggeman, I had the good fortune to interview Dan Levitan of Maveron yesterday.

Again, thanks to Buzz, we filled the room.

Dan is a great public speaker, with really great things to say. If you ever get the chance to hear him talk, don’t miss it.

There were a number of things that Dan said that were really profound to me. I plan to blog about those later. But I wanted to share Dan’s book recommendations.

When I asked Dan what books he liked recently, he gave these three.

I have read Mindset, and that is a great book.

I haven’t read the other two, but I am going to put them on my list.

Thanks to everyone who came yesterday, and thank you Dan and Buzz!

Good Words on the Accredited Investor Issue

I listened to the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee hearing. I had the same reaction Georgia Quinn had, which she described in her recent blog post (which I recommend reading in its entirety).

What struck me the most in listening to the committee discuss the definition and its purpose, was that while it must have been said at least fifteen times that the definition “was broken” or “didn’t work,” no one provided an example of how it had failed or the harm being caused. Furthermore, one of the proposed “fixes” was raising the thresholds to $500,000 and $700,000 (with spouse) for income and $2.5 million in net worth, without citing any current harm or the potential detrimental effects of such a change.

I agree. I previously blogged some specific quotes from various members of the committee. It appears the committee is acting in the dark without sufficient information to make an informed decision. The committee should not make a decision at all to recommend an increase the standards until the economic consequences are well understood. To quote one of the new members of the committee again:

Could I just make a broader general point that I think is important for the staff.  You know, this is an area where there’s a surprising lack of even basic…statistics… And it seems that if we want to do the best possible job for all participants in the process, for the companies that are offering securities pursuant to Reg. D, for the investors that are buying, and for the intermediaries in the market, it would behoove all of us to get some of this basic data.  And the only way we’re going to be able to get it is unfortunately if the Commission rolls up its sleeves and does, you know, survey work in this area.

And then I really liked this quote:

In your comments you alluded to the fact that there could be an economic effect if there was a straight inflationary increase in the limits. I like to just second what Joe said about the importance of research. It would be good to do some economic research on what would be the effects if we made any changes at all on the economy; I think there would be some economic effects. I just want to say I think that the SEC tries to be diligent in these efforts but in general frequently in the dark about economic effects. I think it is important for the SEC to look at those kind of things. Here is a perfect example where we can do research, not just in the areas that Joe talks about, but in broader economic terms. I think that should be a strong part of the recommendations; we shouldn’t make changes unless we know what the effects are going to be or get a pretty good estimate of what they are going to be.


It seems absolutely critical that before the SEC acts they do an economic analysis of the impacts of increasing the financial thresholds.