13 reads for financial advisors in the summer of COVID


This has been a summer unlike any other. It’s only fitting that our annual list of beach reads for financial advisors, based on recommendations from your fellow planners, executives and industry experts, covers a particularly wide range of topics and genres — from estate planning to racial disparities; from fraud to science fiction — with a particular emphasis on coping personally and professionally with our coronavirus-transformed lives, and the importance of diversity.

Read on for some engrossing and enlightening titles to add to your list before the summer is over.

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Dr. Jordan Peterson
Recommended by Andy Esser, financial advisor at Edward Jones

“Against the backdrop of COVID-19, uncivil unrest and market volatility, many people — including myself — are wending their way through 2020 facing a constant barrage of shock headlines and continued uncertainty. Left unchecked, this assault can lead to one drowning in an emotional morass, feeling despair and hopelessness. Each Rule is a paver along the path to better self-regulation and social conscientiousness. As a result, I find myself better able to understand clients' situations, empathize with their concerns and offer guidance that helps them focus on what they can control to stay on track to accomplishing their goals, regardless of what surprises 2020 may yet throw our way.”
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Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope
Recommended by J. Patrick Poling, managing director, Southern Oak Wealth Group, a Sanctuary Wealth partner firm

“Very interesting look at Jho Low, a Malaysian businessman, who was able to get his hands on government funds from East Asia and the Middle East in order to fund his lifestyle. He befriended Leonardo DiCaprio (even financed The Wolf of Wall Street), dated a Victoria’s Secret supermodel and bought a super yacht — all with the billions he squeezed out of government funds. It’s fascinating to see how far some people’s greed can allow them to overlook activity that most would find obviously criminal.”
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The Road Less Stupid by Keith J. Cunningham
Recommended by Julia Carlson, founder and CEO of Financial Freedom Wealth Management Group

“What I love about this book is the wise advice the author shares in a relatable way for business owners. He shares tips and strategies about how to avoid the dumb mistakes that sabotage growth, profits and business success. [The book’s subtitle], “Advice from the Chairman of the Board,” sets the book up for a mentoring type of experience as you read through it. I also love how it is broken down in small chapters relating to business wisdom on specific topics. It’s a great read and then a keeper as a good reference book to have on the shelf when new problems arise. Great book for the independent advisor or for advisors that specialize in helping entrepreneurs!”
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So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Recommended by Jamie P. Hopkins, managing director of Carson Coaching and director of Retirement Research at Carson Group

“I only have one book on my desk at the moment and that is ‘So You Want to Talk About Race’ by Ijeoma Oluo. The book is absolutely wonderful for anyone who wants to be better. Our industry needs to embrace learning more about inequality, racism, and inclusion. I really do believe everyone, myself included, in financial services should be challenging themselves to read and learn more and to be proactive in making our profession a better and more welcoming place for everyone. This is a great book if you just want to start down the path of having better and more honest conversations about racism in our profession and in our country.”
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The Motive by Patrick Lencioni
Recommendation by Dennis Bielik, managing director at TCG Advisors

“This is a book any advisor or leader of a team should read. Professionally we all want to grow our business or up in the organizational charts, but sometimes we forget to learn what responsibilities a leader has. This book will help you discover your ‘why’ as a leader, and to understand the responsibilities of different levels of leadership. It is a great reminder on how to lead a successful advisory team and not to fall into the traps most bosses fall into.”
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You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy
Recommended by Marguerita M. Cheng, CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth

“In a world where technology allows multiple opportunities to connect, no one is listening or even knows how to listen. If people aren’t listening, then people aren’t feeling heard. Kate draws upon her experience as a reporter to help us understand the science of learning (neuroscience, psychology and sociology). She infuses her storytelling with humor, so it’s a fun read. Last but not least, after reading this, we may no longer take listening for granted because how well we listen, to whom, and under what circumstances can play a significant role in who we become.”
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Deep Work by Cal Newport
Recommended by Thomas Burleigh, wealth advisor at CMH Wealth

“As Newport explains, deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task, allowing you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. For some of us, remote work has removed distractions and allowed us to focus more deeply while some may crave a break from their home and a return to the peace and quiet of the office. Either way, we need to find those focused periods to achieve meaningful work.”
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Our Money Stories by Eugenie George
Recommended by Jessica Bost, COO at Strategic Financial Management

“Do you ever struggle to onboard a potential client, because they just can’t seem to get past their fear of money? Or maybe you have a client whose plan is in danger due to their money habits, and even though you want to help, you’ve been unsuccessful with meaningfully connecting with them on how to change. You may even be someone looking for resources for how to shift your services toward diversity in your client base, but you’re uncertain about what to include and how to empower [people of color] with regards to understanding money and building their wealth. For all those reasons and more, you need to grab a copy of ‘Our Money Stories.’ George’s book takes you on a gut-punching, heart-wrenching journey that will change you from the inside out, a narrative that can ultimately help you do the same for your practice.”
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Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett, Ph.D.
Recommended by Alyssa Jennings, financial advisor at Edward Jones

“Permission to Feel’ offers a window into how our emotions impact what we say and do, and how we can support each other in a more productive way. As 2020 continues to push people to their maximum capacity, I've found Brackett's framework helpful in connecting with friends, colleagues and clients. We have more meaningful conversations when we can acknowledge all that we are carrying, rather than gloss over it.”
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Probate Wars of the Rich and Famous: An Insider's Guide to Estate Planning and Probate Litigation” by Russell J. Fishkind
Recommended by Jenny Daly, vice president of wealth management at Janney Montgomery Scott

“A great book that profiles the estate planning mistakes and ensuing probate litigation in the estates of various celebrities, including Michael Jackson, Prince, Brooke Astor and Jerry Garcia. It’s entertaining and informative, for both the layperson and seasoned planners. Each celebrity’s situation provides meaningful insight and actionable advice that can be applied in financial planning.”
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The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates
Recommended by Kirstin Turner, senior managing director at RBC

“I loved her stories about the amazing, cutting-edge work that she and her husband [Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates] are doing through their foundation. She also wove in stories about her growth as a woman, being married to Bill Gates and raising her kids. Her writing style is an easy read — it was as though you were sitting on a couch listening to her tell her story.”
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The Memo by Minda Hart
Recommendation by Melissa Joy, president at Pearl Planning

“This was my favorite business book of the last year. We all have a lot of work to do in providing access to careers in financial services for women and people of color. “The Memo” is an outstanding book on career management which will help you and your team, but it also gets very real about the journey of Black women in corporate America. We need to be reading this book now more than ever.”
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An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
Recommended by Luke Winskowski, head of Thrivent Advisor Network

“I have always been a fan of science fiction writing. It gives me a place to release and envision possibilities far beyond reality. As a genre, it can also pull us into uncomfortable places. Rivers Solomon is a rare science fiction author – black, lesbian and female. In a genre dominated by white men, and given that I am in an industry dominated by white men, I heard her speak on the radio and decided to pick up the book. It’s gritty, raw and uncomfortable. It’s a remarkably beautiful read during a time that I am trying to expand my perspective in a totally different way.”