Wherever this investment manager goes, a book is sure to follow

Longtime investment manager Maceo Sloan credits his mother, an avid reader, with instilling him with a love of books.

“I don't go anywhere without a book,” said Sloan, whose NCM Capital in Durham is among the nation's 10 largest African American owned asset management firms. “I don't feel comfortable unless I have a book.”

He'll read books on just about anything – mysteries, investing, sports, sci-fi, history, economics – but no romance novels.

Recent reads include golf researcher Dave Pelz's “Short Game Bible.” His nightstand held both books by presidential hopeful Barack Obama: “Dreams From My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope.”

The magazine stack routinely includes such staples as Forbes, Fortune, Time and BusinessWeek, as well as most golf reads and a few on tennis and aviation, from his days as a jet owner. Daily, he reads Raleigh's News & Observer (a sister paper to the Observer), as well as the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Sloan loves his iPod, which he has loaded with jazz, oldies and gospel. His three children have added songs they like.

“You get to put on whatever kind of music you want,” he said. “No one knows what you're listening to.”

He's relied on three pieces of advice: Trust your instincts. Surround yourself with people of like values. Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.

And he has this word for investors: Only invest in things you understand.

A family trip to the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle presaged his investment career that began in 1973. Looking at the exhibit of 1 million silver dollars, he thought, “One day I'm going to be able to do that for myself. It took me awhile, but I could do it if I wanted to.” Stella M. Hopkins