Summer Reading 2024

by Soctt Ronalds

A client told me the other year that right after we publish our summer reading picks, she goes out and buys every book on the list (if she hasn’t already read it). I loved hearing this. But talk about pressure. With her words in mind, I had a nervous feeling as I canvassed our team this year for recommendations: we better not disappoint.

I’m confident this year’s list delivers. As usual, it covers a wide variety of topics, spanning business, investing, culture, health, and the great outdoors. There’s sure to be a title that piques your interest — read one or read them all!

Same as Ever: A Guide to What Never Changes, by Mogan Housel. Our Chief Development Officer, David Toyne, recommends this book by the bestselling author of The Psychology of Money. Housel is a great storyteller and showcases his talents again in his latest collection of short stories about what never changes in a changing world. He suggests there are timeless lessons from human behaviour that are some of the most important lessons we can learn. In his usual style, Housel writes about the intersection of money and psychology with unique insights and wit.

Future Tense: Why Anxiety is Good for You, by Tracy Denis-Tiwary. Our CEO, Neil Jensen, applauds this radical reinterpretation of anxiety. The author, a professor of psychology and neuroscience, argues that “anxiety is an evolved advantage that protects us and strengthens our creative and productive powers. Although it’s related to stress and fear, it’s uniquely valuable.” Dennis-Tiwary suggests that we view anxiety as a tool, rather than something to be feared, and provides insights and a framework to support this new way of thinking. Anxiety impacts an increasing number of us every year and this fresh take on it is a great read in Neil’s view.

Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology, by Chris Miller. This one is my pick. The world is run on microchips, including the increasingly important field of artificial intelligence. Chip War is an account of how these small wafers came to play such an important role in everyday life and how America, the once-dominant designer and manufacturer, is in danger of losing its edge to Taiwan, Korea, Europe, and China. The stakes are huge, from economic success to military dominance. With companies like Nvidia and TSMC seemingly in the news every day and America emboldening its efforts to cut off China from leading-edge chips, the chip war continues to play out in front of our eyes.

Astor: The Rise and Fall of an American Fortune, by Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe. Paul McCrossan, one of our Operations Specialists, praises this story of the Astor family. If you’re not familiar with the name, the family first made a fortune in the beaver trapping business before building a real estate empire in New York (the Waldorf-Astoria hotel is one of their famous namesakes). The Astors were prominent figures in New York society, particularly during the Gilded Age, and extended their influence into American politics as well. A real-life soap opera of sorts, Paul couldn’t put the book down.

Knowing the Score: My Family and Our Tennis Story, by Judy Murray. Our CFO and avid tennis fan, Elaine Davison, picks this memoir by the mother of Scottish tennis champions Jamie and Andy Murray (Andy has won two Wimbledon titles and one U.S. Open while Jamie has won 37 doubles titles). Along with raising two exceptional athletes, Judy coached the Scottish national team, was Great Britian’s Fed Cup captain, and overcame a desperate financial situation and deep-rooted sexism to become a key figure in the tennis world. As the mother of a budding tennis star herself, Elaine found Murray’s personal story and insights especially compelling.

Three Worlds: Memoirs of an Arab-Jew, by Avi Shlaim. Our Chief Investment Officer, Salman Ahmed, endorses this memoir. Shlaim, an Oxford historian and professor, was forced into exile as a young child and fled Iraq with his family to the new state of Israel. The author draws on his experiences and research to provide readers with context of the world and influences around him that led to his family’s decisions. Many people may be surprised to learn that the Jewish community once flourished in Iraq, numbering over 150,000, but has essentially vanished today. The book “celebrates the disappearing heritage of Arab-Jews – caught in the crossfire of secular ideologies.”

John Clarke: Explorer of the Coast Mountains, by Lisa Baile. Chris Stephenson, one of our Investor Specialists, recommends this story about the remarkable life of a modest mountaineer who dedicated his life to exploring B.C.’s many peaks. Clarke, who was awarded the Order of Canada in 2002, has a mountain named after him near Powell River (at the head of Jervis Inlet), which I’m told offers stunning views. In Chris’ words, “I loved reading about some of the peaks in my backyard and this particular climber’s passion for getting out there.”

The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. Lori Norman, another one of our Investor Specialists, puts forward this decades-old international bestseller that’s been touted as the seminal book on the subject of creativity. The Artist’s Way has helped millions of people unlock their creativity, whether in art, at work, or in life. We’ve all got a creative side; Lori feels this book can help you make the most of yours.

Happy reading!

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