The Airbnb Story – Leigh Gallagher
The first few chapters of this book are absolute gold. Author Leigh Gallagher covers the story of each Airbnb found and beautifully documents how they all crossed paths in the early days of Airbnb. The first chapter is titled “The Hustle” and that’s exactly what it captures. Startups are full of uncertainty and in the case of Airbnb sometimes despair. Reading the story of how the three founders soldiered on to build such an incredible platform with such limited resources is worth the price of the book.
In later chapters the author covers how the company has matured, the struggles it faces and each founder’s role in Airbnb today. This company is unique that way; each founder is still involved in running the company. She discusses the real estate legal troubles that plague Airbnb, as well as culture challenges they’ve faced internally.
For a deep look into one of the valley’s brightest stars, this is definitely worth a read.
A Man for All Markets – Edward O. Thorp
Edward Thorp ranks up there in my list of people I admire. A few facts about him, he invented the most successful method of card counting and subsequently published a book to give it away to people. He forever changed the casino business with his methods (and his massive following that came from the book). He also pioneered the methods used what we now know as quantitative hedge funds. Thorp’s fund made money year in and year out for all of his investors thanks to his innovative use of computers and mathematics in valuing securities and derivatives.
Can you use Thorp’s methods to make a killing in financial markets? Absolutely not, his edge came from the fact that he was one of the first people EVER to use these formulas. Now everyone does and they do it much better than the average trader could ever dream of. Thorp’s story is more for entertainment and inspiration. If he could do it, maybe you can think outside the box and be first in the next wave of innovation. Financial or otherwise.
It’s rare to find books written by people that have accomplished as much as Edward Thorp has. If you have any interest in gambling or the financial markets then Thorp’s book is a must read.