Read this book if:
- You long for adventure
- You love the thought of travel
- You like things with an international flair
- You like money/finance
This morning over my bowl of oatmeal I finished reading Riches Among the Ruins by Richard P. Smith. The book is non-fiction, but reads like a story and is about the Indiana Jones esque adventures of bond broker Richard Smith. I’ll come right out and say it from the beginning, I’m a huge fan of this book. I found it both highly entertaining and educational. Each chapter focuses on a specific country and Mr. Smith’s dealings within. For example, the first chapter is entitled El Salvador: Bullets, Bombs, and Bonds. A great chapter heading if I have ever read one!
One of the reasons I am so wildly attracted to this book, apart from its fabulous stories of daring financial madness, is that Richard Smith comes from a background very similar to my own. He was born to an upper middle class family who raised him to more or less follow in their upper middle class ways, but instead of following his family he decided to travel the world in seek of adventure and money. His pursuits took him to Vietnam, El Salvador, Turkey, Brazil, Iraq, Russia, and more. Mr. Smith, who is now in his 70′s, has the seasoned age to look back at his youth and describe the thought processes he used to break free of the life that he felt had been planned for him. Each chapter is full of details of not only how he made his fortunes in the far corners of the world, but also what he was thinking when he was there. In the book he tells you when he was making good decisions and also bad. He wasn’t afraid to be a good bit self-depricating at times.
In the end I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in finance, travel, or adventure. I got the book at Barnes and Noble because I had a gift card there, but you can get it from Amazon for $11 used or $16 new. Click the book image to go to the Amazon page for more details. I wish I could say go to your library, but it just came out in March and I don’t think many libraries have it sadly.
Seriously, read this book and tell me what you think. I know I can’t rave enough about it. I think it is my number one book of 2009.