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As you might imagine, we do a substantial amount of reading in our work of managing the financial and personal affairs of families of wealth. This includes quarterly investment letters, political think pieces, global trends and, of course, topics in family wealth management.

In light of that, I thought I would share a small selection of the more interesting articles, newsletters, and white papers that we have read in the last quarter. The list below covers everything from artificial intelligence to autocracy, and includes some new articles and some classics. The common theme is that they are interesting, insightful and of significance for us, and perhaps for you too.


When you’ve Made Enough Money to Cause Family Tension

Interesting read on how the transition from running a successful business to managing family wealth requires a change in mindset for the wealth creator.


How to Build an Autocracy

Former Republican speechwriter David Frum describes how America could slowly transition from democracy to autocracy in the current political climate.


The Confounding Bias for Investment Complexity

A fascinating look at why the investment industry continues to develop and sell complex investment strategies despite the benefits of a simple approach.


Shawn Michallef’s Frontier City, reviewed: Can Toronto Fulfill its potential?

Renowned urban designer Ken Greenberg reviews Shawn Michallef’s new book on the changing face of Toronto. A thought provoking read for anyone invested in the future of the city.


The Five Derailers of Effective Succession

Great examples of the main problems that derail family business succession plans, and instructions on how to plan ahead to avoid these common problems.


Exactly How to Spend the Last Hour of your Workday

A useful read on how to operate effectively in your final hour at work each day. I enjoyed the specific instructions for each day of the week.


The Power of Family Culture

A worthwhile read on what contributes to a ‘family culture’, and how wealth can impact it. An important reminder of how to change a negative family culture.


How Global Families Negotiate Change across Generations

In an increasingly globalized world it is important to recognize that Western models don’t always translate to other wealth cultures. Jim and Dennis do a good job of outlining the three different global cultures, and how they impact a family’s outlook on wealth.


Read at your own Risk

A quick read on the dangers of basing your investment decisions on the short term forecasts of well-known investors.


The AI Threat isn’t Skynet. It’s the End of the Middle Class

A different type of take on what artificial intelligence could do to Western economies. I found the increasing use of artificial intelligence in white collar professions interesting.


As a lifelong learner, I am always interested in reading material that broadens my horizons, challenges my thinking and provides all-important context for the decisions we make. As a result, I’d also be interested in hearing what you’ve been reading lately. If you’ve come across any particularly insightful articles, please feel free to send them to me at


Tom McCullough

Tom McCullough is Chairman and CEO of Northwood Family Office, which looks after the investments and integrated financial affairs of wealthy families with $10 million or more. He teaches ‘The Management of Private Wealth’ in the MBA program at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, and is also co-author of the books, Family Wealth Management and Wealth of Wisdom: The Top 50 Questions Wealthy Families Ask.

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