The Perspective Blog
Reading List

Fall 2022 Reading List

Tom McCullough

It was a very busy summer for me personally and I know it was similar for many colleagues, family, and friends. This was the first summer since 2019 where there were no pandemic restrictions in Canada, and everyone took full advantage with celebrations and events. Now that the weather has cooled, we have turned our attention to our fall reading list.  

It’s predicted that the global population will hit 8 billion at some point in late 2022 – this is a great visualization of the breakdown. While the world’s population has doubled from four to eight billion in just under 50 years,  this UN report notes that it is growing at its slowest rate in 72 years. Over 60 countries can actually anticipate population decline over the coming decades.

These shifting demographics are very apparent here in Canada with record levels of retirements this year, and it’s only expected to intensify over the next few years. Where younger workers can’t fill the gap, there could be a loss of human capital and knowledge and it’s a major risk for organizations. The solution to combat this retirement wave in Canada could be immigration. While many countries around the world are tightening immigration policies (look at Sweden and Italy), Canada has thrown the doors wide open. 2021 saw record immigration and 2022 is on track to set a new milestone. As demographics shift globally, it will be critical for developed countries to ensure they have young minds ready and eager to step up to the plate.

2022 continues to be a year of uncertainty. Culture wars continue to rage, and there is significant economic turbulence due to war, inflation and surging interest rates. While it’s an uncomfortable period, we have been through this type of volatility before, and the period of extreme uncertainty will eventually end. This thoughtful article opines on why we feel like the world is falling apart, even though much of the data is very positive.

Toronto now ranks as the #3 tech hub in North America after the Bay Area and New York City and saw a staggering 44% growth in tech talent from 2016 to 2021. This has brought significant economic activity to the city but has also helped exacerbate housing prices. Housing affordability is a big topic these days as prices rose so dramatically over the last few years. A UBS report says Toronto is the “bubbliest housing market in the world” (who knows if that’s still true after recent pullbacks?). Rents are also rising at the fastest pace in decades in Canada. The impacts are far reaching - increased homelessness, climate change impacts of pushing people to suburbs, and lower fertility rates as high costs of living discourages families from having as many kids. This article - Why Your House Was So Expensive – is the best I have come across on this topic. After reading it, it’s not surprising to me that according to the construction industry, only around 5% of projects finish on time and on budget globally.

I really enjoyed reading the book Range: Why generalists triumph in a specialized world and listening to the David Epstein’s podcast: Never Underestimate the Generalist. At Northwood, our client facing team is made up of ‘expert generalists’ – everyone started their career specializing in areas like investments, tax, estate planning, or philanthropy but now advise families on in all areas, pulling in specialized experts where needed (acting as the general contractor for all things family wealth).

Finally, travel is back in full force. Globally, air passenger traffic is back to 74% of pre-pandemic levels according to the IATA (International Air Transport Association). On that note, we really enjoyed this list of “underrated, alternative travel destinations”.

Click on the titles below to see the full content.

Article Recommendations

Collaborative | Little Ways The World Works

Interesting read on linking various professional fields and the importance of stepping outside of your own.

Atlantic | A Profession is Not a Personality

A great article on objectification at work and how it lowers well-being. This is so relevant today – the success of a career or company should not be one’s defining, single characteristic.  

The Diff | Correlations go to One, in Good Ways and Bad

An interesting piece on market correlations (a bit more on the technical side).

Inc | 5 Questions the Most Interesting People Will Always Ask in Conversations

We all hate small talk, yet we find ourselves in these conversations all the time. These five questions skip the small talk and lead to great conversations.

Atlantic | The Return of Fascism in Italy

A summary of the first woman Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

The Harvard Gazette | Back to office? Stay remote? Go hybrid?

The battle of office vs. remote vs. hybrid continues to play out in front of our eyes. This thoughtful piece hits on why bosses shouldn’t just go with their gut feeling on this one.

Psyche | How to live and thrive with a chronic illness

This is a very meaningful read to those who have chronic illnesses, or family/friends who do.

Atlantic | Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun

A scary read on the threat of democratic collapse in the US.

Atlas Obscura | Why Do Canadian’s Say ‘Eh’?

A fun read on the history and use of ‘eh’

Mauldin Economics | Pension Sandpile

Why it would be wise to not rely on pension promises for your retirement.

Book Recommendations

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress | Steven Pinker

A great read where Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the headlines and doomsday scenarios, which play into our psychological biases.

Shoe Dog | Phil Knight

In this fascinating memoir,Phil Knight (the founder of Nike) tells his story details his crushing setbacks and thrilling triumphs.

The Devil in the White City| Erik Larson

This is a historical non-fiction book that reads like a thriller novel. (The author is Erik Larson who wrote the Churchill biography called the Splendid and the Vile.) The book tells the story of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, focusing in on the architects who designed and ran the fair (Daniel Burnham and Frederick Olmsted), as well as a serial killer who operated in the city during the fair (H. H. Holmes).

Never | Ken Follett

“Never” is a classic Ken Follett thriller about a global political crisis, but one made infinitely more dangerous by the worldwide proliferation of nuclear weapons. The resulting portrait of a world stumbling toward the unthinkable is credibly detailed and alarmingly plausible.  (Wash. Post)

Reader Suggestions:

The History of Socialism and Capitalism | Niall Ferguson and Victor Davis Hanson

A great read which dives into how by the 1980s socialism had largely failed, but there is a strong revival of interest in socialism among young people today (but they see it in a different light).

The Revenge of Power: How Autocrats Are Reinventing Politics for the 21st Century | Moisés Naím's

The rise of autocracy and the related loss of freedoms may be the single biggest issue facing the world. This book draws out the ugly state of the political world today.

Streaming Recommendations


Wealth of Wisdom Podcast | An Introduction to the New Wealth of Wisdom Book and Podcast Series

Co-authors Tom McCullough and Keith Whitaker are interviewed by Scott Dickenson on their new Wealth of Wisdom book. This podcast is a great overview of what the book is about, who it is for, and some of Tom and Keith’s favourite chapters and practices from the new book.

Wondery Presents | Persona: The French Deception

What does it feel like to pick up the phone and scam someone out of $50 million? This is the story of Gilbert Chikli, one of the greatest con artists of all time. Host and award-winning journalist Evan Ratliff investigates how Chikli duped some of the world’s most powerful people into handing over their fortunes.  

McKinsey Podcast| How to master the seven-step problem-solving process

Of all skills needed to succeed in life, problem solving should be near the top of the list. This podcast is good for anyone, regardless of the stage of their career.

Movies / TV

Rollings Stones | The 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time  

Shetland Season 7


The Plot Against America


House of Gucci

As a lifelong learner, I am always interested in reading or listening to material that broadens my horizons, challenges my thinking, and provides all-important context for the decisions we make. This is true for the entire Northwood team.

We’d also be interested in hearing what you’ve been reading or listening to lately. If you’ve come across any particularly insightful books, articles, shows, or podcasts, please feel free to send them to me at Thanks to the many people who have already shared their ideas.

All the best,



Tom McCullough

Tom McCullough is Chairman and CEO of Northwood Family Office. The combination of his background, along with his own family’s desire for a truly ‘comprehensive, customized and confidential service, led him on a search for a multi-family office. Tom is a frequent speaker on issues relevant to families of wealth and is the co-author of Wealth of Wisdom: The Top 50 Questions Wealthy Families Ask and Family Wealth Management: Imperatives for Successful Investing in the New World Order and the soon-to-be-released Wealth of Wisdom: Top Practices for Wealthy Families and Their Advisors. He is an adjunct professor and Executive-in-Residence at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management MBA program. He is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Western University’s Ivey School of Business and a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Wealth Management. He was recently awarded ‘Best Individual Contribution to Thought Leadership in the Wealth Management Industry’ by the 2020 Family Wealth Report Awards.

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