My top picks of books that informed my thinking and perspectives on impact investing:
- Capital, Thomas Piketty – an essential read to understand the role of capital, the difference between income from capital and income from labour, and the inequality that results.
- Prosperity Without Growth, Tim Jackson – can growth be sustained? What does prosperity look like with the assumption of economic growth?
- Spirit Level, Wilkinson and Pickett – excellent research on global inequality and what correlates with it.
- Weapons of Math Destruction, Cathy O’Neil – fantastic read on the impact of big data, mathematical models that go unchecked, and the inequality that results.
- Payback, Margaret Atwood – interesting perspectives on the role of debt.
If you’re interested in impact investing in startups
- The Lean Startup, Eric Ries – good primer on the lean startup approach.
- Business Model Generation, Osterwalder and Pigneur – helpful for familiarizing with different business models and evaluating them.
- The New Business Road Test, Mullins and Getting to Plan B, Mullins and Komisar – picks up where Business Model Generation leaves off. Helpful for investors to evaluate the team and environment (market and industry) around the venture.
For general investing knowledge
- The Intelligent Investor, Benjamin Graham – the authority on value investing.
Understanding the world around us
- Drive, Daniel Pink – for understanding what motivates people.
- Black Swan, Nicholas Nassim Taleb – for understanding the impact of improbable events.
- Banker to the Poor and The Social Business, Mohammed Yunus – written by the pioneer in microfinance.
- Gender Lens Investing, VanderBrug and Quinlan – Jackie VanderBrug is one of the leading voices of gender lens investing.
- Mind Set!, John Naisbitt – suggests ways to open your mind to understand today’s world and reveal the opportunities of the future.
- Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman – describes the two systems drive the way we think and make choices – fast, emotional, intuitive and slow, more deliberative, more logical.
- Blink, Malcolm Gladwell – an easy introduction to concepts of rapid cognition, intuition, and quick decision making.
- Between the Hour of Dog and Wolf, John Coates – provides insight on how our bodies and our physiology affects risk taking and decision making, with examples from the financial industry.
- Eyes Wide Open, Noreena Hertz – helps us be more discerning and empowered in our decision making.
- Basic Instinct, Pete Lunn – points out that altruism and fairness, not only profit-maximizing self-interest, have strong influences on economic decisions.
- The Intuitive Investor, Jason Voss – one of the rare sources that talks about mindfulness and spirituality in the context of money management.
Last, but not least, I invite you to read, the framework for making investment decisions that take care of the village. I wrote this book as a guide for people who want to get started in impact investing and also people already investing with an impact lens who are looking for a robust process to follow.
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