The Perspective Blog
Summer 2022 Reading List
When I sit down every few months to write our latest reading list, it gives me time to reflect on what’s happened in the world. What continues to astonish me is the pace of change today. We continue to see dramatic changes and how society adapts to those changes in interesting ways. The number of confirmed COVID cases surpassed 500 million globally recently, but it does feel like the pandemic is finally somewhat under control (at least here in Canada). The broader concerns are now rising interest rates, soaring inflation, supply-chain chaos in China and the war in Ukraine which are all causing a wave of uncertainty to wash over the global economy.
Central banks finally reacted to the highest inflation seen in a generation in a meaningful way in 2022 with interest rate increases. The instability in Europe has pushed oil prices up 50%+ over the last year, helping driving inflation even higher. Lately though, even with unemployment at 3.5% in the US (the lowest reading since the 1960s), we have begun to see a complete reversal in sentiment. Global equity markets are down 15-20% depending on the day. US IPO volume is down significantly compared to last year. 2021 was an anomaly, but 2022 levels are still well below the 5-year average. And this is all happening while global debt sits at record levels above $300T - levels the IMF warned are “dangerously high”.
When I think about the current geopolitical tensions, Winston Churchill’s quote “never let a good crisis go to waste” comes to mind. In Ian Bremmer’s new book – The Power of Crisis – he talks about globalisation, populism and why the geopolitical architecture put in place after the Second World War is in drastic need of reform. I agree the response to the current global crisis’ will shape the future decades to come, in ways we may have not even considered.
2022 has very quickly reminded us of the importance of a patient, balanced investment approach. Our clients did not chase aggressive growth over the past several years and are now benefiting from that approach. Many young investors today have not experienced a major downturn before – this one will offer many lessons. Things can look bleak in the short term, but markets ultimately recover. There is something to be said about the adage: time in the market vs. timing the market.
Enjoy some quality downtime this summer with family and friends. Below is our summer reading list with articles, books, and other streaming content our team enjoyed over the past few months.
Click on the title below to see the full content.
Harvard Gazette | Good genes are nice, but joy is better
Harvard scientist followed 268 Harvard students in 1938 - one of the world’s longest studies of adult life (80 years). They dove into clues leading to healthy and happy lives.
The Atlantic | America Is Growing Apart, Possibly for Good
The author details the provocative conclusion of Michael Podhorzer – a long time political strategist – who lays out a detailed case for thinking of “red” and “blue” America as two fundamentally different nations sharing the same geographic area.
Macleans | Misinformation from the U.S. is the next virus—and it’s spreading fastAtlantic | How Crypto Disappeared Into Thin Air
A reminder that when a currency’s value is based on belief alone, it’s subject to the extremes.
New York Times | America’s Gun Problem
The recent Texas shooting put America’s gun problem front and center again for a few weeks. This article walks through three ways to think about America’s gun problem.
New Yorker | Google’s New Manhattan Groundscraper Bets on the Future of the Office
This interesting take highlights Google’s view of the future of the workplace.
Financial Times | Neglected Heirs: Widows Who Take Over the Family Finances
Demographic shifts are driving an unprecedented wave of spouse-to-spouse transfers in the baby boomer generation and there are calls for better support for surviving partners.
Washington Post | What is stagflation? Here’s why it matters and what you should know
We hear the word stagflation a lot these days – this is a good summary of current warnings around stagflation.
Vox | A good life is painful
A conversation with psychologist Paul Bloom on the importance of suffering.
Atlantic | How to Stop Caring What Other People Think of You
This article breaks down why the instinct to want the approval of others is woefully maladapted to modern life.
Resilience | ‘Collapse of Civilisation is the Most Likely Outcome’: Top Climate Scientists
A bleak, but important read. We may already be past the climate tipping point as 9 out of 15 known global climate tipping points that regulate the state of the planet have been activated.
Works In Progress | How We Fixed the Ozone Layer
The last article highlights the challenges faced around the environment. This piece highlights the story behind humanity’s greatest environmental success story which is often taken for granted.
Perell | Hugging the X-Axis (Long Read)
The author discusses the current culture of commitment phobia and hypotheses why more people are choosing to “hug the x-axis”:
Click on the title below to be redirected to the book.
Bad Blood | John Carreyrou
The fascinating story on the rise and collapse of the biotech startup Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes. Holmes was once considered the female Steve Jobs before her spectacular downfall.
Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take | Paul Polman and Andrew Winston
Paul Polman – the ex-Unilever CEO who drove significant shareholder value while leading Unilever to a #1 ranking for corporate sustainability – argues you can be profitable and make the world a better place.
The Lincoln Highway | Amor Towles
Set in 1954, it’s about two brothers who are trying to drive from Nebraska to California to find their mother when their trip is thrown off-course by a volatile teenager from the older brother’s past. Towles takes inspiration from famous hero’s journeys and seems to be saying that our personal journeys are never as linear or predictable as we might hope.
A new addition to the reading list. Click on the titles below to see the streaming options.
Some good episodes:
- The Four Ways That American is Polarizing
- The Four Biggest Myths of the US Economy
- Elon Musk is Person of the Year. Who is the Person of the Century?
Aswath Damodaran - Making Sense of the MarketFamily Wealth Integration with Tom McCulloughRevisited—Supporting Clients Through Life Transitions with Tom McCullough
Top Gun: Maverick
The Night Manager
The Parallels Between Business and Basketball | Michael Epstein shares his thoughts on the similarities he's seen between coaching high-level basketball and high-level business leaders.
The most bizarre grammar rule you probably never heard of, but have probably been following all of your life. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to the many people who have already shared their ideas.
All the best, Tom