Literary Christmas gift suggestions

David MoonBlog

Regardless of your preferred Winter Solstice celebration, there is a good chance that you’re buying gifts for someone this month. If your friends are readers, consider gifting some of these books. If your friends are not readers, consider getting some new friends.

I have two recommendations for the doom-and-gloomers on your shopping list. Factfulness is a well-documented study of worldwide living standards, finding that by almost every objective measure, worldwide quality of life is improving. Along those same lines, “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” explains why it seems the world is going to hell: our tolerance for suffering and injustice declines as the quality of our own lives improves.

Every football fan on your list will love “Squib Kick It to a Fat Guy,” a collection of Washington State head football coach Mike Leach’s stories and quotes.

Canadian psychology professor, Jordan Peterson, is a polarizing critic of political correctness. His 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” is a simple, yet provocative combination of psychology, philosophy and common sense. It is my favorite book of 2018.

My favorite fiction of 2018 was anything from Tesla, Inc. The transcripts of  Elon Musk’s interactions with analysts on quarterly conference calls are as good as any novel – and they’re free.

Howard Marks’ Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side,” is a fantastic detailed study of economic and asset valuation market cycles.

Ray Dalio’s “Principles” examines how our principals connect our values with our actions. And since the quality of our life is affected by the decisions we make, our principals are a primary determinant of the quality of our lives.

For almost 40 years, I have annually re-read Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich.” If I have ever given your high school or college-aged child a gift, it was almost certainly this book.

Bill Gates calls Steven Pinker’s “Enlightenment Now” his favorite book of all time. It’s 576 pages long, so give it to your friends who are more interested in trying to impress people with their choices of books rather than actually reading books.

If you know someone who is a parent or has parents, get them a copy of “Questions for My Father, by Vincent Staniforth. By an extra copy for yourself.

Two final suggestions are from the same author. “Thoughts Are Things,” a collection of 366 daily reading for children and their families, was named Juvenile Inspiration Book of the Year in 2014.  “The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese” is a compilation of useful and entertaining investment aphorisms. The admittedly biased author of each, David Moon, thinks both books are suitable for everyone’s stocking. (All proceeds benefit the Knoxville Children’s Theatre.)

David Moon is president of Moon Capital Management. A version of this piece originally appeared in the USA TODAY NETWORK.