Great Company

by Scott Ronalds

It’s been a long two years, but the world is slowly getting back to normal and for many, travel is in the cards this summer. Whether it’s a great Canadian road trip, lounging by the hotel pool, or jet-setting somewhere exotic, a holiday is always made better with a good book. Enter our annual Summer Reading List.

Our team has curated a list of titles this year that run the gamut. There are stories on business, culture, money laundering, healing, and our first two-time selection. Plus, a generous offer from our co-founder.

Wilful Blindness: How a Network of Narcos, Tycoons and CCP Agents Infiltrated the West, by Sam Cooper. Neil Jensen, our CEO, recommends this Globe and Mail Bestseller. The controversial book, hailed as a “wake-up call and must-read,” exposes Canada as a haven for international organized crime networks looking to launder money through real estate. It’s based on meticulous research and suggests that government officials not only ignored the warning signs but in fact cheered on the illegal activity. A gripping, yet infuriating read in Neil’s view.

Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century, by Tim Higgins. This one is my pick. It’s written by a Wall Street Journal tech and auto reporter and tells the history of the electric vehicle company from its inception as an unlikely idea in 2003 through to its apex as the world’s most valuable automaker in 2021. It’s an engaging account of the Tesla story, and the madness and genius of Elon Musk. Readers are given a window into his personal and business life, where there’s never a dull moment. Regardless of how you feel about Musk, his accomplishments are impressive. He’ll tell you so too on Twitter.

What Strange Paradise, by Omar El Akkad. Our Co-Chief Investment Officer, Salman Ahmed, has high praise for this Egyptian-Canadian author. Salman wasn’t much of a fiction reader until he read El Akkad’s previous book, American War, which made the BBC’s “100 novels that shaped our world” list. What Strange Paradise is a story about the global refugee crisis, told through the point of view of two children. Salman notes that the author has a brilliant way of fictionalizing present-day challenges with twists and turns that make us question our own views of the world.

Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell. Chris Stephenson, one of our Investor Specialists, recommends this highly acclaimed “intellectual adventure” by the bestselling Canadian author. The book focuses on miscommunication and its profound effects on our lives and society. Gladwell highlights real events to make his case, including the Bernie Madoff scandal, the trial of Amada Knox, and Neville Chamberlain’s exchanges with Adolf Hitler. In Chris’ words, “It’s your classic Gladwell, where he’s able to draw out all these esoteric academic theories in a conversational style and make you think twice.”

Daisy Jones & The Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Lori Norman, another one of our Investor Specialists, recommends this NYT Bestseller. It’s the story of an iconic (fictional) 70’s rock band and their striking lead singer. “A glimpse into a world so far away from our world of finance, math and early mornings,” notes Lori. “A refreshing drop into a time without the internet, emojis, and social media, when Whisky a Go-Go was the place to be.” A must-read if you’re a fan of the 70’s L.A. music scene. The book is also the subject of an upcoming Amazon Prime miniseries.

This I Know, by Terry O’Reilly. David Toyne, our Chief Development Officer, recommends this book on marketing lessons from one of Canada’s most trusted voices in the ad game. If this sounds like déjà vu, it is. David also put forward this title on our 2019 list. He re-read the book this year in anticipation of some messaging work we’re currently doing around our value proposition. David remains a big fan of the book and insists it’s not a default selection because he hasn’t read anything else this year! He’s currently deep into the latest Apple saga, After Steve, and is thoroughly enjoying it. You might see it on the list next year. And three years after that.

Grace Drifts In, by Mary Ellen Chown. Tom Bradley’s pick (our Co-Chief Investment Officer and co-founder) is as timely as it is out of character. Grace Drifts In is far from the business and sports pages he regularly devours. It’s a book of poems written by Mary Ellen Chown and illustrated by Andrea Nairn. As Tom puts it, “The book is a perfect elixir for these troubled, frantic times. I’ve read the poems multiple times and they never fail to settle me and reset my perspective.” Note: The book can be ordered online here or even better, we’ll send a complimentary copy to the first 25 people who are looking for a reset. Send us an email to if you’re interested.

Happy reading!