Books I Read in April

Here I will summarize and review investment and finance related books that I read for the month of April. Reading books is one of my favorite ways to learn about and stay interested in topics; especially investment and finance related topics!

The Book on Advanced Tax Strategies: Cracking the Code for Savvy Real Estate Investors

This is the second installation of a 2 part series delivered by CPAs Amanda Han and Matthew MacFarland. The book touches on fun topics such as accelerated depreciation, 1031 exchanges, seller financing, lease options, and a whole lot more in relation to real estate investing. This book is a pretty quick read but be warned, it always takes longer to read something about taxes than something on a different subject matter.

My favorite thing about this book is the ability of the authors to synthesize the topic into a very neat easy to read account of real estate taxation. The flip side of this is that at times the book oversimplifies some matters at hand. Nonetheless, I walked away satisfied with my purchase and even learned a thing or two! (E.g. I had no idea there was such a thing as a reverse 1031; who knew!)

Understanding Bitcoin: 

This book is a technical account of bitcoin. I found the book to be nearly impenetrable. It seemed to be almost written in a different language (i.e. the language of computer science and cryptography). The book delivers what it describes as a surface level introduction to the cryptographic and other innovations that secure bitcoin and these details went well over my head. However, I will say that I finished the book with a much deeper understanding of what bitcoin is than before I started the book; I also left with more questions than I have time to track down. All in all, the title was hilariously ironic (for me) and I wouldn’t touch this book unless you really plan to spend many hours with it.

The Bitcoin Standard: 

This book tells a captivating account of the role money has played in civilization to build a compelling case for bitcoin as a “digital store of value” in much the same way as gold has served as a physical store of value. This book is purportedly to be the reason why Michael J. Saylor, CEO of publicly traded MicroStrategy decided to put billions of dollars of company cash into bitcoin. This one is a real page-turner, and accessible to the average investor. The book dives into use cases for bitcoin, the government’s role in monetary history, and addresses questions about the future of bitcoin. It also took a weirdly “anti-Ethereum” stance towards the end of the book as if the two currencies were competitors (they are two totally different technologies). 

Ethereum: Blockchains, Digital Assets, Smart Contracts, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations: 

This is a technical account of Ethereum, beautifully synthesized for a general audience who may not be familiar with the Ethereum network. The book is written by IBMs official liaison to the Ethereum foundation. It has been translated so there are some minor typos and awkward phrasings. Other than that this book will lead you on a fantastic journey from the beginning to now. You will learn about things such as consensus algorithms, hashing algorithms, smart contracts, network latency and throughput, which all sounds boring but is presented in a way that will likely keep you interested. The book presents Ethereum as a sort of world computer capable of processing far more than just transactions (as in the case of bitcoin). I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the most successful second iteration of blockchain technology.

Blockchain Bubble or Revolution: The Present and Future of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies:

This is a popular account of the rise of blockchain technology written by Neel Mehta, Aditya Agashe, Parth Detroja of Google, Microsoft, and Facebook respectively. The book dives into the context surrounding the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, use cases of several interesting cryptocurrencies, risks facing the industry, the economics of cryptocurrencies, and questions about the future direction of the industry. Notably, it presents public blockchains (the basis of bitcoin) as the biggest innovation in the history of computer science. If you’re looking to dip your toe into the world of blockchains and cryptocurrencies, this is a great place to start.

That’s all the books I had time to read in April. Stay tuned for May!

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