Books and podcasts we’re enjoying

What we’re reading and listening to…

Views expressed are those of the authors and are subject to change. Other teams may hold different views and make different investment decisions. The value of your investment may become worth more or less than at the time of original investment.

Each year, we curate a list of some of our favorite book and podcast suggestions. We hope our 2020 recommendations offer insights and entertainment amid today’s uncertain and challenging environment.

In addition, for books, videos, and podcasts focused on the issue of ongoing racial injustice, read our Insurance Team’s recent summer reading list.


Book — Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis

by Jared Diamond

“This book discusses how six nations overcame their own historical crises and attempts to draw lessons for the challenges facing the world today. As an emerging markets investor, I enjoy reading about the histories of the countries in which I invest. The lessons this book offers are especially relevant for building a framework to understand the potential outcomes for developing countries in crisis.”

Suggested by: Philip Fan, CFA, Equity Research Analyst, Hong Kong

Cara Lafond

Book — The Beauty in Breaking

by Michele Harper

“This inspiring memoir by emergency room physician Michele Harper is an illuminating and timely read. The author’s honest observations of injustices she faces, and her ultimate journey of self-healing, remind us of the importance of facing the truth even when it may be easier to overlook it.”

Suggested by: Cara Lafond, CFA, Multi-Asset Strategist and Portfolio Manager, Boston

Book — How Democracies Die

by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

“Two Harvard professors describe how democracy can be hollowed out by the abuse of governmental power. Drawing on examples from history, they analyze the recent path of democracy in the US and beyond and are alarmed by the undermining of crucial norms of mutual tolerance and institutional forbearance. They conclude with recommendations for how the democratic process can be strengthened again.”

Suggested by: Mahmoud El-Shaer, CFA, Fixed Income Portfolio Manager, London
Yolanda Courtines

Book — Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit

by Alex Edmans

“This book takes a refreshing and modern look at capitalism and highlights why a focus on all stakeholders need not be concessionary to returns. Alex Edmans reviews the value of long-termism and the benefits of focusing on social values and corporate purpose in the pursuit of profit, backed up by academic research and real-life examples.”

Suggested by: Yolanda Courtines, CFA, Equity Portfolio Manager, London

Nick Samouilhan

Book — Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries

by Safi Bahcall

“This book explains the importance of creating an institutional setup that nurtures and balances both the creative part of a business (the pirates) and the efficient part (the navy), as it is imperative to not only run things properly but also to innovate to stay ahead. Given the challenge of efficiently managing money according to a process in a fast-changing and uncertain world, I thought the insights were fantastic — especially on managing the tension between these two opposite forces.”

Suggested by: Nick Samouilhan, PhD, CFA, FRM, Multi-Asset Strategist, Singapore

Carolina San Martin Headshot

Podcast — Columbia Energy Exchange

“Given my ESG research coverage of the energy sector, I follow several podcasts regarding the intersection of energy, climate change, and capital markets. There is a lot of great work happening on the topic, but if I had to pick one, this would be it. The hosts bring together energy company CEOs, global policymakers, and others on the front line of the energy transition. Together, they discuss the complex dynamics of this global trend — one which is well underway and will be with us for years to come. ”

Suggested by: Carolina San Martin, CFA, Director of ESG Research, Boston

Eugene Khmelnik

Book — Shantaram

by Gregory David Roberts

“This book is based on the reportedly true story of an Australian convict who escapes prison and flees to Mumbai, living in the city’s slums. I found it to be a captivating depiction of a man in exile, surviving in a chaotic environment.”

Suggested by: Eugene Khmelnik, Global Industry Analyst, London
Mary Pryshlak

Book — Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice

by Bill Browder

“This nonfiction account of Bill Browder’s career is a thriller. It is a riveting read of what it was like to build a hedge fund in Russia in the early 1990s and the challenges one faces when trying to expose widespread corruption.”

Suggested by: Mary Pryshlak, CFA, Head of Investment Research, Boston
Tom Bok

Book — How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

by Jordan Ellenberg

“An approachable and fun collection of vignettes that use simple mathematical intuition in real-life situations to deliver surprising insights. Living up to its name, it illustrates numerous inference pitfalls and shows you how math can help you avoid them. The chapter on Bayesian inference was my favorite.”

Suggested by: Tomas Bok, PhD, Director of Investment Data Science, Boston
Janet Perumal

Book — A Little Life

by Hanya Yanagihara

“I could not put this book down (over 700 pages!) from the moment I opened the cover. The author tells the story of four friends, following their journey upon graduation from a small college in Massachusetts to life in New York City. It is a heartbreaking novel of friendship, trauma, and support which stays with you long after you finally do put the book down.”

Suggested by: Janet Perumal, CFA, Head of Hong Kong and Director of Investment Asia, Singapore
Campe Goodman

Book — Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America

by John M. Barry

“The best histories teach us about a specific period, perhaps one we didn’t know we cared about, while also helping us understand larger truths. This is a story of the causes and consequences of a colossal yet little-remembered disaster. Amazingly, its themes are exactly the issues we care about right now: environmental management, racism, and good and bad leadership — mostly bad, unfortunately. John Barry writes history like a storybook. You may not walk away optimistic about our ability to manage crises or treat others humanely, but you will enjoy learning about this chapter in American history, no matter where you call home.”

Suggested by: Campe Goodman, CFA, Fixed Income Portfolio Manager, Boston
Susanne Ballauff

Book — The Mirror & the Light

by Hilary Mantel

“This is the conclusion to the Thomas Cromwell trilogy which includes Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. It describes the fascinating rise of Thomas Cromwell, detailing his self-made journey to become one of the most feared and powerful men in the Court of Henry VIII.”

Suggested by: Susanne Ballauff, CEFA, Business Development Manager, Frankfurt
Hisamune Toshinori

Book — Business Cycles: History, Theory and Investment Reality

by Lars Tvede

“This is a book I’ve enjoyed reading over and over again to learn about economic and investment cycles. It offers a fascinating history of past business cycles through entertaining episodes, while introducing various economic themes all the way from the birth of capitalism to the present. I would recommend it to anyone who would like to learn more about the ‘big picture,’ and to understand financial cycles from an investor’s perspective.”

Suggested by: Toshi Hisamune, Representative in Japan and Associate Director of Investment Product & Fund Strategies APAC, Tokyo
sara carpi ogiony

Podcast— Stay Tuned with Preet

“This podcast, hosted by Preet Bharara, the former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, offers a legal insider’s view of the many political and legal issues that come up in the US from week to week. Recent topics have been as varied as a massive Twitter hack, the Roger Stone commutation, and the proposed revocation of international students’ visas. Preet provides valuable insights and has great rapport with an always-interesting lineup of guests.”

Suggested by: Sara Carpi, CFA, Global Industry Analyst, Boston

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<span>Top of Mind</span> Never assume and other tips for 2021
Multi-Asset Strategist Adam Berger stress tests the consensus views on four key issues: rising interest rates, high equity valuations, US market leadership, and the impact of slower globalization on China's growth.
February 2021
Top of Mind Never assume and other tips for 2021
Mission critical: The vital role of alternatives in pursuing investment success
Multi-Asset Strategist Cara Lafond considers three alternatives ideas for the current environment, including private equity vintages that coincide with market downturns; long/short directional strategies that may aid the pursuit of stability across the cycle; and long/short risk-mitigating strategies that complement other diversifiers.
February 2021
Mission critical: The vital role of alternatives in pursuing investment success
Power move: Why electric utilities may be the key to the energy transition
As the world consumes more electricity from renewable energy sources, the global power grid will need to be modernized. While renewables like wind and solar have attracted much of the attention from investors looking to play the energy transition, electric networks utilities may offer more upside today.
February 2021
Power move: Why electric utilities may be the key to the energy transition
Monthly Market Snapshot: January 2021
A monthly update on equity, fixed income, currency, and commodity markets.
February 2021
Monthly Market Snapshot: January 2021
Cookie cutter or custom? Rethinking fixed income in DC plans
A custom, multi-manager solution may provide some compelling benefits and enable DC plan sponsors to take their fixed income offering to the next level for plan participants.
February 2021
Cookie cutter or custom? Rethinking fixed income in DC plans
From globalization to a “zero-sum” game
Globalization has increasingly begun to backpedal amid rising populism and a renewed emphasis on global competition over cooperation. Fixed Income Portfolio Manager John Soukas and Investment Director Chris Doherty discuss the implications and the role of active management in this shifting landscape.
February 2021
From globalization to a “zero-sum” game
Three reasons for quality as a complement to value
Learn why we believe a quality allocation has the potential to offer diversification, to avoid unintended sector biases, and to help mitigate downside risks.
January 2021
Three reasons for quality as a complement to value
Rewriting the recovery playbook
Multi-Asset Strategist Nick Samouilhan and Investment Directors Andrew Sharp-Paul and Matthew Bullock outline a proposed new playbook for navigating an economic recovery unlike any other.
January 2021
Rewriting the recovery playbook