8 Must-Read Books From Keith McCullough - books

If you've watched The Macro Show or read the Early Look, you know Keith McCullough is an avid reader. His ongoing goal is to read a book, start to finish, every 10 days.

Below are 8 of our CEO's recent favorites. 


By Neil Howe

About the book: Neil Howe, Hedgeye's Demography analyst and the visionary behind the bestselling phenomenon The Fourth Turning, looks once again to America’s past to predict our future in this startling and hopeful prophecy for how our present era of civil unrest will resolve over the next 10 years—and what our lives will look like once it has.

“The old American republic is collapsing. And a new American republic, as yet unrecognizable, is under construction.” - Neil Howe

Keith's read (from Early Look on July 24): And you thought I was bearish! I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working with the world’s best Demographer, Neil Howe, for almost 8 years now. I couldn’t be more proud of my Hedgeye Partner and his recent book.

In Chapter 1, “Winter Is Here,” Neil starts by reminding us that “in the mid-2000s, most voters still read the same news and trusted their government… then came the GFC, the rise of populism, and the pandemic…”

“79% of voters agree that America is falling apart. 76% worry about losing American democracy. 62% say the country is in a crisis.”

I guess that’s why my US GDP Nowcast has no economic recovery in it as far as my Quads can see!


By Steve Magness

About the book: Steve Magness, a performance scientist who coaches Olympic athletes, rebuilds our broken model of resilience with one grounded in the latest science and psychology. In Do Hard Things, Magness teaches us how we can work with our body – how experiencing discomfort, leaning in, paying attention, and creating space to take thoughtful action can be the true indications of cultivating inner strength. 

When we explore instead of avoid, we are able to integrate the experience into our story.” - Steve Magness

Keith's read (from Early Look on July 19): My 24-year-old career story is that I’m still building my #process and always evolving it. Consider the alternative: being an Old Wall chart guy who thinks a 1-factor Moving Monkey is economic truth!

Changing and evolving gets tougher for many as they get older, especially if their old ways keep getting them paid! Fortunately, for me, that’s not life in the Hedgeye fishbowl. Transparency, Accountability, and Trust: you can see me swimming around, every day.


By John Talty

About the book: Whether you want to build a winning culture on the football field or as a leader in a range of professional arenas, this book is a comprehensive guide to refusing complacency amid success and how to find the right people committed to building a legacy with you.

The Process is Saban’s life work, the culmination of his upbringing, personality, and what he’s determined is the best path to success.” John Talty

Keith's read (from Early Look on August 9): Sound familiar? At this stage of my career (24 years into it), I don’t have time to care about anything but evolving and improving the #process that I’ve built. Alongside my teammates (almost 100 of us now), I think we’re building the most exciting business platform we’ve ever built.

The aforementioned quote is from the best chapter in The Leadership Secrets Of Nick Saban. It’s called “The Process.” And it REALLY resonated with me. 

“The Process is the engine that powers the Alabama organization. The Process is many things; most importantly, though, it’s a daily way of living. It focuses on completing the task ahead of you at the moment and not worrying about what happened in the past. You can’t worry about what anyone else is doing.” (pg. 85)

4. COACH WOODEN, OnE-on-one

By Jay Carty

About the book: This book of 60 daily readings is the result of one-on-one conversations between basketball's legendary coach and teacher, John Wooden, and Jay Carty, former Laker and one-time Wooden assistant.

“My desire has been to walk the talk.” - John Wooden

Keith's read (from Early Look on June 13): I thought that was an important career quote from a book a subscriber sent me titled Coach Wooden, One-On-One. Wooden said that to Jay Carty when he was 92 years old.

I’m 48 years old. When I’m on the wrong side of the grass and not tweeting, writing, and/or coaching on The Macro Show, my desire will have been to walk the talk too. I will not chase. I will execute on the Full Investing Cycle #process.

What other people do is up to them. That’s what makes for a career in The Game. In my 24th year, I’ve never chased a “YTD” performance bogey. That’s probably why the most I usually lose is around -3% of my hard-earned pile when I’m “wrong."


By Jim Paul & Brendan Moynihan

About the book: In this honest, frank analysis, Paul and Brendan Moynihan revisit the events that led to Paul's disastrous decision and examine the psychological factors behind bad financial practices in several economic sectors.

“It was 1968, and the stock market was booming. It was going straight up, and everything was wonderful. Everyone in the office was making money. Then, suddenly, it stopped going up.” - Jim Paul

Keith's read (from Early Look on August 31): I probably don’t have to remind you what happened after 1968, but … the 1970s happened. In our economic language, that was a decade of Rolling #Quad3 Stagflation. Every time the Fed backed off or eased, Inflation Re-Accelerated. Sound familiar?

The aforementioned quote comes from the book I cited last week: What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars. In case you haven’t, yet, there will be a time in your market life that you lose a lot of money too. It will be an expensive but valuable education.


By Rickson Gracie

About the book: Gracie’s classic memoir offers indispensable insights into martial arts, human performance, and how the connection between mind and body can be harnessed for success both inside and outside the ring.

“When I fought, I was neither emotional nor intellectual.” - Rickson Gracie

Keith's read (from Early Look on May 3): When I trade, I am neither emotional nor intellectual. Given how emotionally tilted I could be in a hockey game, this didn’t just happen for me. The pandemic trading period got my game to where it is today. Sitting in an empty office, just executing in silence, helped, a lot.

While Wall Street has a LOT of good Long Only and/or Levered Long Portfolio Managers that can sound intellectual about things like “Blockchain,” AI, and “the exponential age,” I’m just a low SAT scoring Mucker who grinds out The Cycle.

As Gracie goes on to explain in Breathe  A Life In Flow, “Orlando Cani taught me how to empty my mind and use intuition instead of my brain. This gave me a huge advantage in the ring. I never thought about strategy. I just allowed myself to connect with my opponent on a profound level. The moment the bell rang, I didn’t expect anything or plan anything.” (pg. 92)


By Tom Phillips

About the book: In Truth, Tom Phillips tells the story of how we humans have spent history lying to each other – and ourselves – about everything from business to politics to plain old geography. Along the way, he chronicles the world’s oldest customer service complaint, the Great Moon Hoax of 1835 and the surprisingly dishonest career of Benjamin Franklin.

“Quite a lot of the time, truth never even shows up to the fight.” - Tom Phillips

Keith's read (from Early Look on May 23): If you want a good #behavioral read on information vacuums, feedback loops, and the general “origin of the specious,” I recommend Truth: A Brief History of Total Bullsh*t.

“This all ties to a cognitive bias known as anchoring: our brain’s tendency to latch onto the first piece of information we get about any subject and give it far more weight than anything else.” Example: “AI”…

When there isn’t good information, crappy information will always flood in to fill the void… all of us have to rely on others for information… but it does come with some downsides. And one major downside is the bullsh*t feedback loop.” (pg. 33)


By Johnny Joey Jones

About the book: In Unbroken Bonds of Battle, Joey tells the stories of warriors, who for years have supported and inspired him on the battlefield and off. Through unfiltered and authentic conversations with American heroes in every branch of service, Joey tackles the big questions about life, loss, and, of course, hunting.

“The price of freedom has a name, and a story.” - Johnny Joey Jones

Keith's read (from Early Look on July 25): One of the more humbling #behavioral and #history books I’ve read this summer was Unbroken Bonds Of Battle. It’s a book authored by a man who lost both of his legs fighting for his country. But that’s far from the point of the book.

It’s clearly a book about uniquely American patriotism and bravery. But it’s also a book about friendships and bonds. MANY of the people who will die for your freedom come from VERY different economic situations than the USA described on Old Wall TV.

“Growing up for me was a time of learning absurdly simple, yet invaluable lessons. Growing up poor. Growing up in the South. Growing up the son of a brick mason and a house cleaner ... I learned to appreciate things, as we couldn’t afford many luxuries.”