by Scott Ronalds

Summer is just around the corner. It’s gonna look a little different this year though, courtesy of COVID-19: social distancing, empty ball parks, face mask tan lines, and staycations. But so be it. There will be no better time to rediscover your backyard, search out wide open spaces, soak in some Vitamin D, and crack open a good book.

That’s where our annual reading list comes in. As we do every year, we’ve put together a diverse mix for 2020, spanning business and culture.

Rethink the Business of Creativity, by Ian Grais, Tom Shepansky and Chris Staples. Tom Bradley, our Chief Investment Officer, recommends this book which was written to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Rethink, one of the leading advertising and design agencies in Canada. In it, the three founders share what they learned while managing Rethink to the top of the rankings and what disciplines they’ve put in place to stay there. It’s about the business of creativity, but the lessons apply to management in most other fields. Don’t mistake the fun, bright, informal approach as being lightweight — there’s plenty of meat here.

21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act, by Bob Joseph. Salman Ahmed, our Portfolio Manager, puts forward this National Bestseller, which is the essential guide to understanding the Act and its repercussion on generations of Indigenous Peoples. In Salman’s words: “You can’t fix something without first understanding the problem. This book explains some of the structural challenges indigenous Canadians face. To me, learning about these issues is the first step toward reconciliation.”

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, by Samin Nosrat. Lisa Guo, one of our Associate Investor Specialists, recommends this book. It’s a New York Times Bestseller about mastering the elements of good cooking (something we’ve all been doing a lot of lately). The author teaches how each element (salt, fat, acid and heat) affects your cooking, how much and when to use them, and what kitchen/pantry essentials everyone should have. Lisa tells me she had little interest or appreciation for cooking, but after reading this, she’s changed her tune. The book has also inspired a four-part Netflix series starring Nosrat.

The Ride of a Lifetime, by Robert Iger. This one’s my pick. Disney’s chief executive wrote this book late last year on the principles necessary for true leadership and lessons learned from his 15 years at the helm. I found the chapters on the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm particularly interesting, as many people thought these were bad deals at the time (they’ve made billions for Disney). What also makes the book interesting is that Iger announced he was ready to leave the company earlier this year (pre-COVID-19). Disney, however, is taking it on the chin now as most of its theme parks are closed, live sports are on hiatus (Disney owns ESPN) and motion picture production is suspended. In the face of it all, Iger has changed course and is back to effectively running the company again as executive chairman.

How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. David Toyne, our Chief Development Officer, recommends this book on how to succeed in your business and personal life. First published more than 80 years ago, it’s gone on to become one of the best-selling books of all time with more than 30 million copies sold worldwide. David wishes he had read this book when he was 25 and starting his career. In his words: “The lessons I learned/re-learned from the book are definitely helping me in my work and life on many dimensions including working with colleagues, clients, prospective clients, family, and with some home renovations underway, our contractors!”

Radiant Shimmering Light, by Sarah Selecky. This breezy read comes courtesy of Lori Norman (one of our Investor Specialists). Lori notes that it’s a fun, satirical book (“although probably not for everyone”) that explores the self-improvement movement, consumerism, and the distracting power of social media, with a twist of spirituality for good measure.

The Art of Happiness, by Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler. Chris Stephenson (one of our Investor Specialists) recommends this one — the original book on happiness. He suggests it’s a good read if you’ve taking to heart B.C. Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice to “be kind, be calm, and be safe.” And in Chris’ words, “Just looking at the cover with the Dalai Lama’s smile, where it looks like he’s about to break out into a belly laugh, can only make you calm.”

Lastly, a bonus pick for those with roots or an interest in Northern Ireland. Say Nothing by Patrick Keefe is a non-fiction page-turner on the bitter conflict known as The Troubles, which devastated Belfast and the rest of the country from the late 1960’s to the late 90’s. Say Nothing was named one of the Top 10 books of 2019 by The New York Times and The Washington Post and lives up to the praise in my opinion.

If you’ve come across a great read lately, we’d love to hear about it. Let us know in the Comments section below.