The Perspective Blog
Reading List

The Northwood Spring Reading List - 2024

Brad Jesson

Welcome to our Spring 2024 Reading List.

There is a lot going on in the world. Some great, some kind of scary.

In our corner of the world (ultra high net worth families), one significant trend we have noticed in the past several years is the substantial and growing demand by wealthy families for integrated advisors who offer objective advice and sit alongside families to help them navigate their often-complex financial lives.

But, in some ways, the landscape continues to be complex and increasingly confusing for families to navigate. Last fall, a Canadian publication listed 78 multifamily offices in Canada. We struggle with this statistic and are certain there are not 78 true multi-family offices in Canada. A family office exec in the US told me: “I don’t even think we have 78 established multi-family offices in the US with 10 times the population”.

This simply creates confusion for families searching for a ‘real’ family office. Unfortunately, there are no commonly accepted standards yet, so families are reliant on the information they can cobble together. Think tank organizations like the Ultra High Net Worth Institute ( are actively working on this, but it will take time.

Tom’s article in the summer 2023 edition of the Journal of Wealth Management – “The Rise of the Integrated Advisor” - is included in the article list below and adds some perspective to this topic.

Another respected resource - The Family Wealth Alliance – helpfully defines a multi-family office as one that:

  1. Focuses on large, complex families with a median size of at least $30 million, with the firm having at least $1B in assets under management.
  2. Offers all or most of the 10 core services (integrated planning, portfolio management, tax and estate planning, philanthropy, family dynamics, governance etc.), mostly internally or accessed externally and overseen.
  3. Is client-centered, transparent, has open architecture, customized, has definable processes, and provides fee disclosure.
  4. Has experienced multi-disciplinary professional staff, stable ownership, a minimum three years as family office, and adheres to professional standards.


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

Oaktree | The Indispensability of Risk

This Howard Marks piece talks about why understanding and handling risk is so important in investing. It's like the secret sauce for long-term success, but it's often overlooked.

Atlantic | A Very, Very Expensive Emoji

Most of the world now uses emojis, so it’s not completely surprising they have made their way into legal disputes. This article discusses the rise of disputes involving emojis in corporate communications and examines the challenges of interpreting emojis in court.

New York Times | Ask These 11 Money Questions Before Moving In With Your Partner

A great article for rising gens on exploring how discussing money matters can strengthen relationships. It offers advice on navigating financial conversations with partners and highlights the importance of communication and mutual understanding in managing finances within romantic relationships.

Silver Bulletin | It's time for the White House to put up or shut up

Nate Silver article on why its concerning that Biden isn’t doing more interviews and running a conventional campaign.

Harvard Business Review | Use Strategic Thinking to Create the Life You Want

The article suggests using strategic thinking to shape the life you desire, offering insights on how to plan and achieve personal goals effectively.

Substack | Seconds to Strategy: How Your Relationship with Time Shapes Your Career

This piece hits nicely on the importance of strategy in personal relationships, emphasizing how communication and intentionality can strengthen connections and foster mutual understanding.

Brown Brothers Harriman | Ten Strategies for Raising Kids with Wealth

This article from last year provides ten strategies for parents to effectively raise children in wealthy households. It offers practical advice on instilling values, managing finances, and fostering a healthy relationship with wealth to help children develop a strong sense of responsibility and financial literacy.

Noahpinion | Tokyo is the new Paris

This article argues that Tokyo is emerging as a new cultural capital, rivaling traditional hubs like Paris, due to its vibrant food, fashion, and entertainment scenes. It suggests that Tokyo's unique blend of tradition and innovation, coupled with its diverse and dynamic atmosphere, is reshaping global perceptions of urban culture.

World Happiness Report

A report led by Canadian researchers highlights a concerning trend: young people are generally less happy nowadays. Canadian youth, in particular, rank among the least happy in the G7, possibly due to factors discussed above.

New Yorker | Being Nice Isn’t Really So Awful

This Malcolm Gladwell article explores the notion that being nice is often undervalued or misunderstood and, offers insights into the complexities and benefits of kindness. It challenges the idea that niceness equates to weakness and argues for a more nuanced understanding of interpersonal dynamics.

Journal of Wealth Management | The Rise of the Integrated Advisor

Over the past several decades, a new professional role has been emerging to address the complex, multi-faceted needs of wealthy families: the integrated advisor. This whitepaper touches on how this role grew out of the frustration families had with the traditional service models that were siloed and product-oriented, lacked a central strategy, and ignored the dynamics within the family.

Book Recommendations

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World | Melinda French Gates

This book is all about how empowering women can change the world for the better. It shares stories showing how gender equality makes communities stronger and happier.

Power and Prediction: The Disruptive Economics of Artificial Intelligence | Ajay Agrawal, Avi Goldfarb, and Joshua Gans

A great book on the disruptive force of AI. It highlights that while AI has already reshaped numerous industries globally, its journey towards providing more accurate and efficient predictions, driving strategic business choices, is just beginning.

Making Numbers Count: The Art and Science of Communicating Numbers | Chip Heath and Karla Starr

A favorite of ours, this book teaches you how to communicate numbers effectively. It shows you how to present data clearly and make it interesting for everyone. You'll learn how to use numbers to tell interesting stories that engage your audience.

One of our favorite business authors, Chip Heath, says that understanding numbers is essential—but humans aren’t built to understand them. While the numbers in our world have gotten increasingly complex, our brains are stuck in the past. How can we translate millions and billions and milliseconds and nanometers into things we can comprehend and use? He outlines specific principles that reveal how to translate a number into our brain’s language. This book is filled with examples of extreme number makeovers that take a dry number and present it in a way that people click in and say “Wow, now I get it!”

The Myth of the Silver Spoon: Navigating Family Wealth and Creating an Impactful Life |  Kristin Keffeler

Good for rising gens, this book explores the challenges and opportunities faced by individuals navigating wealth transitions within their families. It offers insights and strategies for managing the impact of inherited wealth on personal and family dynamics, providing guidance for creating a meaningful and fulfilling legacy.

The Voice of the Rising Generation: Family Wealth and Wisdom | James E. Hughes Jr, Keith Whitaker, and Susan Massenzio

A classic! This book delves into the unique experiences and perspectives of younger generations within affluent families. It explores their roles, challenges, and aspirations in managing family wealth and fostering intergenerational communication and collaboration.

Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity | Peter Attia

This book dives into the latest research on longevity and aging by Peter Attia, MD. It offers insights and strategies for extending lifespan and maintaining optimal health as we age, presenting a comprehensive guide to living longer and healthier lives.

Streaming Recommendations

Manhunt (Apple TV)

A conspiracy thriller about one of the best known but least understood crimes in history. This is the astonishing story of the hunt for John Wilkes Booth.

Shogun (Disney+)

The latest adaptation of James Clavell’s historical epic book on an Englishman marooned in 15th century feudal Japan.

The Insider (Disney+)

1999 thriller starring Russell Crowe and Al Pacino based on the true story of how CBS News and 60 Minutes worked to record and release an interview with a tobacco industry whistle-blower.

Past Lives (Amazon Prime)

Recent Best Picture nominee on childhood sweethearts who grow up together in South Korea before being reunited in New York City decades later.

The New Look (Apple TV)

An excellent series about how fashion icon Christian Dior and his contemporaries, including Coco Chanel, Pierre Balmain and Cristóbal Balenciaga, navigate the horrors of World War II and launch modern fashion.

The Billionaire, the Butler and the Boyfriend (Netflix)

How did a conflict between the world's wealthiest woman and her daughter spiral into national scandal? This riveting docuseries tells the whole story.


The Compound and Friends (Investing Podcast)

Join Downtown Josh Brown, Michael Batnick, and a rotation of their friends every Friday for expert insight and hot takes on the latest in business and investing.

Animal Spirits Podcast

Animal Spirits is a show about markets, life, and investing. Join Michael Batnick and Ben Carlson as they talk about what they're reading, writing, listening to and watching.

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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