With the new year around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to recap the streaming series I watched and books I read this year. In 2020, I set a personal pandemic goal to catch up on reading more books, which was a previous hobby, and a goal to read 50 books during the year. I came up short but still enjoyed a busy year of reading many great books in addition to having a waiting list to get through this year.
It seemed that streaming series had a notable uptick this year after a period in late 2021 where there was less available due to the pandemic and filming schedules. I also caught up on some earlier release series that others had recommended, which I had missed.
Since it is very difficult to compare books on different topics or shows of various genres, instead of presenting a top 5 in order, I have presented in bold some of my favorite reads of the year. With books, as there are so many good novels and a seemingly ever growing backlog to get to, if a book does not grab my attention early on, I tend to move on to the next novel that is waiting. Similar with a series, if I finished watching a series, I obviously thought it was enjoyable viewing, regardless of whether it was ‘top 10’ or just a pretty good viewing experience..
A summary of books I read in 2021:
- Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
- Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou – A nonfiction book about the rise and fall of Theranos, a multibillion biotech startup. Carreyrou weaves through early days of Theranos to the unravelling many years later and how many well known individuals and investors were duped by Elizabeth Holmes.
- The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly
- Billon Dollar Loser by Reeves Wideman
- The Sentinel by Lee Child and Andrew Child.
- Lights out: Pride, Delusion and the Fall of GE by Thomas Gryta
- Picking Winners: The Inside Story of Scott Fraser by Peter Hadekel - Fraser founded the legendary investment firm with Stephen Jarislowsky and then, 20 years later, walked away without receiving a dollar for his equity. When the business was eventually sold to a big chartered bank for $950M, Fraser was left with nothing. Instead, he used his quiet, back-to-basics investment strategy to deliver a 19.5% annual compounded return every year since 1990. Fraser, who largely stayed under the radar, shares his Canadian investment successes and stories.
- Beyond Diversification by Sebastien Page
- Agent Sonya by Ben Macintyre
- Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose - A detailed account about the ordinary men who became the World War II’s most extraordinary soldiers: Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, US Army. From their initial gruelling training regime to their time spent in combat with difficult assignments and challenges.
- Range by David Epstein
- The Delusions of Crowds by William Bernstein
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- A man for All Markets by Edward O. Thorp
- Unknown Market Wizards by Jack Schwager
- 100 Baggers by Christopher Mayer “100-baggers” are stocks that return $100 for every $1 invested. It sounds like an outrageous quest with a wildly improbable chance of success. But when Mayer studied 100-baggers of the past, he noticed patterns that emerged. Mayer reviews the key characteristics of of these companies that will test an investor’s patience in search of some of the markets biggest winners.
- The Premonition by Michael Lewis
- The Hard Things about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
- The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
- Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev
- Richer, Wiser, Happier by William Green – A different view from many other investing books, Green spent time getting to know many well-known and a number of unknown successful investors, and their keys for building wealth in addition to dealing with challenges that all investors face.
- Willful Blindness by Sam Cooper
- Burke’s Law: A Life in Hockey by Brian Burke
- The World for Sale by Javier Blas - The World for Sale tells the story of the modern-day commodity traders, largely unknown to the public. Commodity traders are the last swashbucklers of global capitalism: willing to do businesses where other companies don't dare set foot, thriving through a mixture of ruthlessness and personal charm - and often shaping global politics, from Cuba to Iraq, and from Russia to Libya. The book profiles companies such as Glencore, Cargill, Vitol and Trafigura. It also shows how commodity traders play a critical role in modern finance, facilitating the flows of raw materials that keep the world's populations fed, its factories supplied, and its ships, planes and automobiles fuelled.
A summary of series watched in 2021:
- Bosch – Created by Michael Connelly (one of favorite authors), Harry Bosch is a homicide detective in the Hollywood Division of the LAPD. He is faced with myriad challenges as he investigates suspicious deaths and follows trails of corruption in his relentless pursuit of the truth.
- Mandalorian – Looking forward to Disney’s Boba Fett series, premiering later this month.
- Only Murders in the Building – Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez star in this comedy mixed with true crime and suddenly find themselves wrapped up in one. The trio start a mystery podcast as they attempt to solve a murder in their building as they seek investigate the truth.
- Squid Game – A wild tale of gamers accept an invitation to compete in children’s games for a huge prize with deadly stakes.
- Ted Lasso – Many laughs as a small-time American football coach Ted Lasso (Jason Sudekis) is hired to coach a professional football club in England, despite having no experience coaching football.
- The Crown
- The Morning Show
- The Shrink Next Door
- The Sinner
- Sons of Anarchy
- Narcos Mexico – The third and final season, explores the turmoil and the violence as the cartels battle with each other and where corruption is everywhere.
- Wanda Vision
- Yellowstone - A drama series, starring Kevin Costner as the patriarch of a powerful, complicated family of ranchers. He operates in a corrupt world where politicians are compromised by influential oil and lumber corporations and land grabs make developers billions. Amid shifting alliances, unsolved murders, open wounds, and hard-earned respect, Dutton's property is in constant conflict with those it borders -- an expanding town, a Native reserve, and America's first national park.
What series and books did I miss watching and reading in 2021 that should be on my list for next year?
In the meantime, wishing everyone a relaxing and happy holiday season!
Favorite recent reads:
Levkovich's List: The Montreal diamond dealer who captured notorious Nazi war criminals writes his next chapter Holocaust-survivor Jose Levkovich never says 'no' when asked to speak, and never asks for anything in return, beyond the hope people will listen