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Reading List

The Northwood Q3 Reading List - 2023

Brad Jesson

Welcome to our Q3 2023 Reading List.

What’s going on in the world?

Shifting demographics globally will play a major role in reshaping economic dynamics, labour markets, and social structures in the coming decades. On the global stage, India passed China to become the most populous country in the world–China’s population actually fell for the first time in 60 years (the hangover setting in after decades of the one-child policy). The UN forecasts that many countries will experience population declines in the coming decades. India with its young and growing population, has an opportunity to be an economic powerhouse, but as the New York Times article below highlights, they will need to address a poor education system, get more women into the labour force and improve the overall business environment.

Here in Canada, the demographic shifts are also more evident than ever. Baby boomers continue to exit the workforce (or work less) and it’s leading to shortages of workers in many sectors, even during a period of economic uncertainty. While record immigration in Canada is helping to fill this void and sustain the labour force, it has also sparked a pressing housing crisis. It’s now a fine line for policymakers to balance accommodating a growing immigration population while alleviating the housing crisis. For Canada to continue to thrive, it will be pivotal to successfully navigate these challenges. We are seeing it firsthand at Northwood as we try to hire top quality new staff and as some of our younger staff struggle with the ability to buy their first home.

In terms of the economy and investing, there are a couple of interesting themes this year: (1)Inflation’s “last mile” and (2) the “AI Boom”. Inflation is now at around 3% in both Canada and the US, and economists have predicted that getting inflation down from 3% to 2%, or what they have coined the “last mile”, will be the hardest part of the inflation battle.  So, it’s anyone’s guess as to how the rest of the rate hiking cycle will go.

The AI Boom kicked off with the wild success of ChatGPT earlier this year. AI was already widely talked about before ChatGPT, but the investing mania took off in 2023.According to the Wall Street Journal, 1,000 companies mentioned AI in their quarterly reports this summer, up from only 80 references in 2017. Companies like NVIDIA (the largest global provider of graphics cards called Graphic Processing Units or GPUs) will no doubt benefit greatly from AI and that is why their stock is up 220% this year. Yet, as with any boom, FOMO often ensues, and valuations detach from reality. That is what is happening with the AI boom. There are countless AI investing opportunities but it’s important not to get caught up in the hype and maintain traditional investing discipline. Many people learned this the hard way in previous booms.

We’ve curated our latest reading list, including interesting books, articles, and some podcast options that might interest you. I hope you enjoy the selection of content below and wish you and your family a wonderful rest of your summer.

Click on the titles below to see the full content.

Article Recommendations

The Atlantic | The New Old Age

A great read on the stage of life the article calls the “Encore Years” or “Adulthood II” – a rewarding phase, but the transition into this stage can often be rocky for many. It dives into programs like Stanford’s“ Distinguished Careers Institute” for adults typically 50+ who are retiring from their main careers and are figuring out what they will do for the rest of their lives.

Harvard Business Review | The AI Hype Cycle Is Distracting Companies

The article argues that many organizations are investing in AI without a clear strategy or understanding of its potential impact (following the hype instead of solving real business problems with AI).  

New York Times| Wonking Out: Hitch Your Wagon to R-Star

A dive into the “natural rate of interest ”or r* and an opinion on whether it’s drifting up.  

Washington Post | COVID flipped the introvert-extrovert script. And I hate it.

This article touches on people’s waning interest in socializing and how introverts and extroverts must adapt.

The Atlantic | Aristotle’s 10 Rules for a Good Life

Aristotle defined happiness as “good spirit” – these are his 10 rules which research shows attracts the good spirit.

Time Magazine |Why Everyone's Worried About Their Attention Span—and How to Improve Yours

We all know that people are struggling to focus these days – this article touches on how we can train our focus like a muscle, with tools to help us focus better and be more productive.

Collab Fund | Rich and Anonymous

Good blog post on why some people choose to be rich and anonymous, rather than wealthy and famous. Some great examples of anonymous millionaires and billionaires, and how they use their money to pursue their passions and interests.

Unchartered Territories | Maps Distort How We See the World

Fascinating dive into how maps distort our perception of the world – and how some continents/countries are impacted more than others.

The Atlantic | This Is the Case

A good piece on the whole Trump indictment saga.

Wired | Do Everything Faster with These Keyboard Tricks

Some good tips to save time and there throughout your day.

Book Recommendations

The Great Believers | Rebecca Makkai

This Pulitzer Prize finalist has two timelines: (1) in the 1980s following a group of friends in Chicago’s gay community as they navigate the AIDS epidemic and (2) in the 2010s as one of the characters searches for her estranged daughter in Paris. It explores love, loss, unbreakable friendships and resilience in the face of adversity – it really humanizes the crisis. The book was a powerful reminder to me of the importance of my connections and friendships and the impact they can have on shaping my own path.

The Wager | David Grann

Book about a British ship that got wrecked in 1741 during a war with Spain. The crew split into two groups: one that tried to sail back to England, and one that mutinied and faced a trial. The book tells the story of their survival, betrayal, and murder.

Recoding America: Why Government Is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better | Jennifer Pahlka

A book that explores the challenges and shortcomings of government operations in the digital era. It delves into how outdated systems and bureaucracy hinder efficient governance and offers insights and strategies for improving government functions in the age of technology.

Mythos| Steven Fry

The Greek myths are the greatest stories ever told, passed down through millennia and inspiring writers and artists as varied as Shakespeare, Michelangelo, James Joyce and Walt Disney. They are embedded deeply in the traditions, tales and cultural DNA of the West. Stephen Fry perfectly captures these stories for the modern age -in all their rich and deeply human relevance.

Making Numbers Count | Chip Heath and Karla Starr

Understanding numbers is essential—but humans aren’t built to understand them. Until very recently, most languages had no words for numbers greater than five—anything from six to infinity was known as “lots.” While the numbers in our world have gotten increasingly complex, our brains are stuck in the past. Author Chip Heath has excelled at teaching others about making ideas stick (Made to Stick) and in this book, he outlines specific principles that reveal how to translate a number into our brain's language.

American Nations | Colin Woodard 

A fascinating book! Woodard argues that North America is made up of eleven distinct nations(Yankeedom, El Norte, The Deep South, Greater Appalachia, New France etc.),each with its own unique historical roots. He takes readers on a journey through the history of our fractured continent, offering a revolutionary and revelatory take on American identity, and how the conflicts between them have shaped our past and continue to mold our future. 

Wealth 3.0 | Jim Grubman, Dennis Jaffe, Kristin Keffeler

More than four decades ago, the field of family wealth advising began to emerge as a challenge to the tradition of caring only about the money. We now stand at the threshold to the next major transformation, strengthening the focus on family while shedding the fears and flaws that invaded beliefs about the rich and determining what will be needed to establish a positive vision of family wealth. 

The Myth of the Silver Spoon | Kristin Keffeler

The next generation within wealthy families are often said to be born with a silver spoon in their mouths. But being raised in affluence brings a unique set of pressures and hidden tripwires. Inheritors commonly face intense familial expectations, public scrutiny and judgment, and confusing or debilitating self-narratives, under which many flounder. This book helps guide the next gen of the affluent, their families, and the ecosystem of professionals who influence them to identify and confront negative thinking and behaviors related to wealth.

Raised Healthy, Wealthy and Wise | Coventry Edwards-Pitt 

At a certain level of wealth, money makes parenting harder, not easier. Raised Healthy, Wealthy & Wise breaks new ground in the field of raising children amid wealth by hearing the success stories: real-life children raised with wealth now grown into happy, healthy, and productive adults. Coventry Edwards-Pitt draws interviews successful heirs and uncover what works--and what doesn't--in raising wealthy children to lead fulfilling and productive lives. 

Black Wave | Kim Ghattas

A modern history of the Middle East that combines all the elements of a page-turner, while still taking the time to educate you about the region. Starting in 1979, the book examines how the Middle East has changed drastically (and often negatively) over the last 40 years, and how the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran has contributed to so much of the turmoil in the region’s recent history.

Other Recommendations


Calvary - Brendan Gleason

Triangle of Sadness - Great cast, quirky!

The Son - Hugh Jackman

TV Shows

Bad Sisters - great Irish drama

Fisk - funny quirky Australian show

Jury Duty - from the producers of The Office!

The Bear Season 2 (Jeremy Allen White) - Be sure to watch the Berzatto Christmas episode….Fun? Stressful? Crazy?

Beef - Strangers get into a road rage incident that brings chaos to their lives

The Patient - serious Steve Carrell role

Highjack - Idris Elba

Favorite Visuals:

As lifelong learners, we are always interested in reading or listening to material that broadens our horizons, challenges our thinking, and provides an 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 us at or Thanks to the many people who have already shared their ideas.

All the best,

Tom & Brad


Brad Jesson

Brad is a member of Northwood’s family office advisory group, working with families in the areas of goals based financial planning, investment management, tax planning, and next-generation education. In addition to his work with families, Brad is actively involved with Northwood next generation education and regularly contributes to Northwood's Thought Leadership Newsletter.

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