Brad’s 2016 Book Recommendations

One of the passions that I bring to my role as a financial advisor is being a continuous learner. I read extensively, particularly non-fiction. I’ve read most of the books below during the past year.

I strongly encourage reading Good for the Money: My Fight to Pay Back America,by Bob Benmosche. This book surprised me. I thought I knew the AIG story. I knew why they failed, but this powerful book tells how the CEO of AIG (after the government bailout) battled many forces to enable AIG to pay back the US government all its money and billions more. Memorable and more than a business book. There is way more to the AIG comeback than you probably good-for-the-moneyknow. 

The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, by Alex Epstein, should be read to understand the impact which fossil fuels play in our lives. A must read to understand our world, whether you agree or disagree with the author.

Michael Lewis’ latest book, The Undoing Project, tells the story of two psychologists who have greatly impacted psychology and behavioral economics. I’m not finished with this book yet, but it’s fascinating and very readable. It is much more than economics and decision making and filled with treasures of information.

As Lewis is also the author of Moneyball and other books, it is clear why his book is much more readable than Misbehaving, by Nobel economist Richard Thaler, which I started and have not finished. The latter is good, but a much more challenging book.

Essentialism, by Greg McKeown, shows you how to live by “less but better.” One of my favorite books of the past few years. Great concepts. essentialism

Deep Work, by Cal Newport, explores being more productive by really focusing. While relevant to many, I encourage you to recommend this to college age students or others who are addicted to our culture of short attention spans and multi-tasking.

An ongoing theme of our firm is that we are rationally optimistic, especially in the long term. Part of this philosophy comes from The Rational Optimist, by Matt Ridley, a dense and not always easy read, but an excellent analysis of progress throughout civilization. I have recently started Progress by Johan Norberg, which appears to be a more readable account of progress in 9 categories, such as poverty and the environment.

If you are interested in personal change in any aspect of your life, Triggers, by Marshall Goldsmith, or Get Momentum, by Jason and Jodi Womack** are both excellent. If you want to live better with a positive attitude about your success, I really enjoyed Million Dollar Maverick, by Alan Weiss. Despite the title, this is not about money.

One of the biggest influences of all the books and my learning over recent years has been the 4 book series by Ari Weinzweig, co-Founder of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses. I have started his just released fourth book, The Powers of Beliefs in Business. His books are long, dense and very worthwhile. I highly recommend all four of the books. They do not have to be read in order. (Available only from or their locations).

I began the year by reading Reagan, by H.W. Brands. It is a very readable and seemingly balanced history of his life and Presidency. I did not finish it, but only because wonderI kept buying other books. This is an example of learning from history, which is important, and the perspective which time, research and an excellent author can provide.

For children and young adults, I recommend Wonder and 365 Days of Wonder, by R. J. Palacio. The former is a wonderful novel and the latter is a daily book of sayings based on the original book. Both are outstanding.

To learn more about social media, technology trends, business and life perspectives, I really enjoyed #AskGaryVee, by Gary Vaynerchuk.

My biggest book purchase of the year weighed in at 17 pounds. What Does it Sound Like When You Change Your Mind is 800 pages of compiled blog posts by Seth Godin, whose daily blog posts are required reading for me every day of the year. This book will likely be in the office, so take a look when you are here next!


With our best wishes for a happy holiday season, filled with good times with your friends and family (and maybe a good book or two!).



**Jason Womack is my executive coach and we have a long-time personal relationship.





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