Here is my annual list of favorites in movies, books and shows that I read or watched in 2018.
Time is precious, so I thoroughly vet everything I read or watch from trusted sources.
The work has to have the potential to thoroughly entertain or intellectually enrich me, and the best do both.
Check out a few of these favorites and let me know how you liked them.
Big Debt Crisis by Ray Dalio: A must read for anybody even tangentially related to the financial markets. Dalio breaks down and provides detailed studies of every major financial crisis over the last 100 years.
The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Ancor: This book uses well supported research to show the impact of positive psychology. If you come from a place of negativity, as I once did, this book is a game changer.
On Grand Strategy by John Lewis Gaddis: Think of this as a manifesto on strategic thinking, by the renowned Yale professor.
12 Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson: Love or hate the author, this book is full of intellectual and spiritual wisdom. As I did, you will disagree with some of it, but what you take is well worth the time.
Everybody Lies: Big Data New Data by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz: The premise of this book is that mining big data tells us more about ourselves than any other method. The author shows us example of example in many different areas.
The Education of a Speculator by Victor Niederhoffer: One of the original hedge fund trading greats, this electing memoir is all over the place. However, if you “get it”, it’s pure genius.
Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss: Yeah this book is lazy. Ferriss sent an email to many different successful people he knows and printed their responses. My take: so what if he’s lazy? The nuggets on varied topics such as morning rituals, productivity, public speaking and decision making from uber-successful people is well worth the read.
Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke: One of the best books on decision making I have ever read. Duke is a professional poker player, which like trading, is a decision makers game. She offers a sound strategy in thinking of the world in terms of probabilities and risk.
Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb: This book continues Taleb’s writing on risk, ethics, intellectualism, black swans and common sense. At the end of the day, be a doer not just a thinker (Or as I like to say, be a trader, not an economist).
Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow: I’m a stand up comedy junkie, so obviously for the this book is gold. Apatow interviews dozens of well known comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock. You’ll be amazed not only at the comedy, but the advice on productive and self improvement.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Harari: Fascinating look into not only how humans dominated the Earth, but also implications of human progress.
Wind River: This movie haunted me long after viewing. Jeremy Renner’s defining performance.
Black Panther: Epic superhero storytelling with social commentary that doesn’t preach.
Avengers Infinity War: Peter’s emotional plea to Stark was unforgettable.
Robot and Frank: This movie will get you thinking about what it is to be human, aging, artificial intelligence and also make you wonder why Frank Langella isn’t more appreciated.
Annihilation: Chilling and thought provoking philosophical science fiction that’s almost as good as the director’s best work, Ex-Machina.
Ready Player One: Any 80s child will love this movie, even though the book was better.
Solo: I know some Stars Wars fanboys were not happy, but I was geeking out after seeing Han and Chewy meet for the first time.
Creed 2: Re-watch Rocky 4, then watch this directly after. If you don’t get goosebumps, I’m not sure we can be friends.
Aquaman: Trippy popcorn fun with insane visuals.
Andre the Giant: Documentary covering the life and struggles of a true wrestling icon.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor: Mr. Rodgers was like a family member and among greatest people of the twentieth century. This documentary proves the previous sentence is not hyperbole.
John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection: A study of a man obsessed with winning. I despised him when I was a kid heavy into tennis, but appreciate his approach as I’ve matured (ironic I know since he was framed as immature).
Man in the High Castle (season 3): Interesting, if flawed take on classic “what if Germany and Japan won WW2” Philip K Dick science fiction novel.
The Americans (final season): The final season of this spy thriller did not disappoint.
Stranger Things (season 2): 80s throwback. Great family fun.
Daredevil (season 3): Just as Nolan’s take on The Dark Knight is the definitive Batman, Netflix brought Daredevil to life from the comic pages in a way that seems plausable if super heroes did exist.
Better Call Saul (season 4): I’m dangerously close to calling it better than Breaking Bad. Who knew Saul had such an interesting back story?
Billions (season 3): I listened to a fascinating podcast with the show runners. The characters in this show are amalgams of actual billionaires and power brokers that they met and spend time studying.
Sacred Games (season 1): Narcos-like Indian drama.
Hasan Minhaj Patriot Act (season 1): Whether you agree or disagree with his liberal leanings, if you keep an open mind you will laugh and learn.
This is Us (season 3): The best thing about this show is the depth of it’s characters. You’ll grow to love all of them.
Basketball: A Love Story: If you are a basketball fan or purist, this is a must watch series.