Goodbye 2019; We Had a Great Time

2019 had been a wonderful year. I finally graduated as the top of my class, learned so many things. I started enjoying finance, business strategy and innovation. I got into data science and started teaching myself R. I even earned a few Coursera certificates while doing so. I read 32 books, most during a year since I started counting in 2011. Majority of the books are non-fiction; philosophy and financial more precisely. I completely got rid of my gaming addiction. Was introduced to Stoicism. There were so many changes that I would need a whole post to list them all. Instead let me list some of the great things of the year.

What I liked

The Best Books I Read in 2019

The best way to start is to list my favorite books in 2019. Disclosure – by 2019, I mean I read in 2019. The books were not necessarily published in 2019. The books are listed in no particular order.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
Why do we prefer limited time offers but not abundance? How do we protect ourselves from undue influences? Why do best salespersons mimic us? There are so many densely packed eye-openers in this book that it made me overwhelmed. I promised myself that I will read this book once every single year till I can memorize the whole book.
The title sounds like a pop-science, self-help book. But trust me, it is much more than that.

Apology by Plato
This is written by Plato but this is all about Socrates. When Socrates was accused of corrupting the young minds in Athens, there was a trial. Apology is mostly the speech Socrates delivered to defend himself during the trial. Apology here indicates that Socrates is defending himself. The modern meaning does not apply here. This text is very powerful and you need to read it to understand why.
Disclaimer – I’ve linked the Jowett translation above. There are other translators and there are differences among them. Whatever you read, there will be biases or misunderstandings introduced by the translators. So, there is no one “best translation” and you should not worry too much because the text more or less remains the same.

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre
A man’s story of going from rags to riches and it’s based on arguably the most colorful trader in the history. If you don’t like finance, it’s a novel. If you do, it’s a textbook. There’s nothing like it.

The Best Films I saw in 2019

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Wow, just wow. Do me a favor and watch the glorious series in order. First was a masterpiece and came out of nowhere. Second one is the weakest in my opinion but still good. Third one blows the mind. I’ve watched it on big screen but you probably have to rent it since it’s not in cinemas anymore. This is the best action series of this century.

The Irishman
Well, this is a really slow burn film. It features many real characters in probably not-so-real settings. This Martin Scorsese masterpiece has only these two flaws, if you count the second one flaw that is. The rest is history. Go watch it. It’s exclusively available on Netflix since they funded it.

Other

I loved Gravity, the debut album of Gryffin. Good Faith is probably my album of the year, Madeon is a genius. I also enjoyed The Mandalorian. I’ve only watched like a few dozen hours of TV stuff this year so no benchmark to compare to.

What I did not like

I will only list one: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
It was mediocre and poorly written. The less said, the better.

What about me?

  • Well, for starter, I have graduated with the highest grades in my class. My major in MBA was finance. I am enjoying finance so much that I decided to go for CFA charter.
  • As I’ve already mentioned in the previous posts, I applied for the CFA program scholarship and received one. So I will sit for CFA level 1 this June.
  • I decided to learn data science and toyed with python and R for a while. I have basic experiences in python. But R just feels more intuitive with data. So I went with R. I don’t have much experience in data science so my opinion matters little.
  • I also read about Stoicism extensively during the year. I personally find it very interesting. I’ve been reading Seneca, Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus and it feels right at home. It makes more sense than Buddhist philosophy, which I am a big fan of. It should be mentioned that they are apples and oranges. They should not be compared directly.
  • I started to cure my digital addictions. Starting with social media, which I don’t use that much these days. I stopped playing Overwatch right around the time they started to get into politics. I deleted my entire steam downloads from my windows. I deleted the reddit app. Digital detox is going well so far.
  • I also started writing this blog if you haven’t noticed yet.

There are so many things I want to write about. But I prefer less clutter so I will stop here. I’m grateful for everything(good and bad) that happened to me during the year. It’s been a great year. Hope 2020 will not let me down.