by Scott Ronalds
Let’s face it, we’ve all watched too much YouTube and Netflix over the past year. My moment of truth came when I made it all the way through Season 3 of Selling Sunset.
If you’ve hit the end of the internet too, it’s a great time to pick up a book. With the weather turning, it’s high time to sink into your favourite outdoor chair, get your hit of Vitamin D, and tune out the world around you.
Our team read a lot this year and we’ve curated a list of recommendations we think will suit a wide range of preferences, spanning business, culture, technology, and how the future might unfold.
Never Split the Difference, by Chris Voss. Neil Jensen, our CEO, recommends this Wall Street Journal Bestseller. It’s written by the FBI’s former lead international kidnapping negotiator and takes readers inside the world of high-stakes negotiations. Voss shares several principles and strategies that you can use in both your professional and personal life. Neil stresses that it’s easy to read and full of interesting anecdotes. May even come in handy when bickering with your significant other over the remote.
The Future is Faster Than You Think, by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. Our Chief Development Officer, David Toyne, recommends this bestseller which is a “blueprint for how our world will change in response to the next ten years of rapid technological disruption.” The authors dive into how fast-accelerating technologies such as AI, robotics, blockchain, virtual reality, and digital biology will impact our daily lives and society in general. In David’s words: “I’ve encouraged all my family to read it, as well as many friends, for a better sense of how the future might unfold. As we all think about the future, we can learn a lot about the coming and converging impacts of technology.”
The Premonition, by Michael Lewis. This one’s my pick. Lewis is one of my favourite authors (some of his other titles include The Big Short, Moneyball, and Flash Boys), so I had to order a copy of his latest when it was released earlier this month. The Premonition is a nonfiction page-turner about the pandemic which “pits a band of medical visionaries against the wall of ignorance that was the official response of the Trump administration to the outbreak of COVID-19.” Some of the behind-the-scenes stories and government responses to the mounting threat the virus posed early on are shocking. Lewis is an expert at character development and storytelling and this book is no exception. Read it while recovering from your second jab.
Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari. Chris Stephenson (one of our Investor Specialists) recommends this follow-up to Professor Harari’s bestseller Sapiens. While the aforementioned explained how humankind came to rule the planet, Homo Deus looks at our future. More specifically, it examines “what might happen to the world when old myths are coupled with new godlike technologies, such as artificial intelligence and genetic engineering.” The Prof makes the case for a few intriguing predictions. Not surprisingly, they revolve around defying death, sadness and our mortal limitations. All in all, a fascinating look into the not-too-distant future.
The Last Days of John Lennon, by James Patterson. You don’t need to be old enough to have watched the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show to enjoy The Last Days of John Lennon. Our Chair, Tom Bradley (he is old enough), enjoyed the way Patterson took him through John’s (and the Beatles’) story over 68 short, well researched chapters. The Fab Four’s legacy is undeniable but isn’t nearly what it could have been if Lennon had lived beyond the age of 40. This is a book you can binge in the hammock or read snippets of while keeping an eye on the grill.
Hit Refresh, by Satya Nadella. This book written by Microsoft’s CEO is Salman Ahmed’s pick this year (our Co-CIO). Hit Refresh discusses the transformation happening inside Microsoft and how “people, organizations, and societies can and must transform and ‘hit refresh’ in their persistent quest for new energy, new ideas, and continued relevance and renewal.” Salman enjoyed the book because it’s part memoir, part business. He felt it was particularly interesting to hear Nadella’s perspective on Microsoft’s missteps on company culture — which at the end of the day, impacts everything.
Greenlights, by Matthew McConaughey, and Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Lori Norman, one of our Investor Specialists, couldn’t make up her mind this year, so she’s putting forward two titles. Also breaking from tradition, she recommends both in audio format. In Lori’s words: “The combination of these two books may seem unusual but the thoughtful, poetic nature of both have the same underlying thread — storytelling, life journeys and trusting your intuition.” And despite what you may think of McConaughey as an actor, his book is earning widespread accolades (alright, alright, alright).
A Letter from Paris, by Louisa Deasey. Looking for something to tug at the heartstrings? Sher Gray (another one of our Investor Specialists) has you covered with her selection. The book is a true story of hidden art, lost romance and family reclaimed. It's about the author's journey to find the hidden past of her father’s life in the 1940’s, taking her from her home in Melbourne to London to Paris and back. Sher tells me this book will stay on her shelf as a little treasure to read again someday (right beside It’s Really Not Rocket Science).
I was picking up some fish & chips the other night and saw an elderly woman on the restaurant’s small patio enjoying the last of her halibut with a fresh glass of house white and a paperback in hand. I couldn’t make out the title, but she was immersed in the book and had a delightful grin on her face. Utter bliss. I hope one of these selections puts you in her shoes.
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