Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth: How You and Your Financial Advisor Can Grow Your Fortune in Stock Mutual Funds
The book that changed my life is Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth. We give this book to every single client we onboard to our firm. The retirement planning model that so many advisors and retirees are using to make their decisions is based off a dated formula that no longer makes sense. Far too much attention is paid to minimizing volatility. Not enough focus is placed on mitigating the two biggest risk for retirees: inflation and longevity. The feedback we get from clients who read the book is that it completely changed their perception of what “risk” means in retirement.
- “Smart people, in general, and good investors in particular, realize that you can never find the right answers until you’re sure you’re asking the right questions.”
- “Wealth isn’t primarily determined by investment performance, but by investor behavior.”
- “The real risk of equities is not owning them.”
- “Set formal, written goals; make them date-specific, dollar-specific. Exactly how much capital will you need, and exactly when will you need it?”
- “No one can plan for the future – much less invest successfully in it – without believing in that future. And this becomes my working definition of optimism; an abiding faith in the future.”
O’Keefe Stevens Advisory
A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas
What makes an effective question? The ability to ponder and inquire, to think deeply and differently, are strengthened in our ability to ask great questions. A More Beautiful Question changed my life in the way it made me inquire about my work, my interactions with clients/prospects as well as the world around me. My general curiosity, desire to question the financial industry’s status quos and be a lifelong learner were heavily influenced by this book which had a profound effect on me.
- “A beautiful question is an ambitious yet actionable question that can begin to shift the way we perceive or think about something—and that might serve as a catalyst to bring about change.”
- “Most creative, successful business leaders have tended to be expert questioners. They’re known to question the conventional wisdom of their industry, the fundamental practices of their company, even the validity of their own assumptions.”
- “One of the hallmarks of innovative problem solvers is that they are willing to raise questions without having any idea of what the answer might be.
- “Part of the value in asking naïve questions is that it forces people to explain things simply, which can help bring clarity to an otherwise complex issue.
Director and Wealth Advisor
Round Table Wealth Management
Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business
Setting the Table changed my life in two ways, First, it reminded me that everyone makes mistakes, so the key is not to try and completely avoid mistakes, but rather to manage them well. As Meyer says in the book, “The road to success is paved with mistakes well handled.” A mistake is actually an opportunity to create a positive client experience when the situation is well handled. It tells clients you care about them. Second, it helped me see a better way to hire people. Focus on intangible and in many cases untrainable “51 percenter” skills, and then train people on the technical skills they need to do their jobs. The book describes the traits of 51-percenters: optimistic warmth, intelligence, work ethic, empathy, self-awareness, and integrity. Most advisors hire the other way around and miss out on important skills that contribute to a winning client experience.
- “Make new mistakes every day. Don’t waste time repeating the old ones.”
- “We don’t believe in pursuing the so-called 110-percent employee. That’s about as realistic as working to achieve the 26-hour day. We are hoping to develop 100-percent employees whose skills are divided 51-49 between emotional hospitality and technical excellence. We refer to these employees as 51-percenters.
- A hallmark of our business model is to continually be improving. I need to stock our team with people who naturally crave learning and who want to evolve—people who figure out how each new day can bring rich opportunities to do something even better.”
President of Family Office
The Godfather, fundamentally, is not about organized crime, but about a family business. The book resonates because I represent the second generation of our family firm. Generation three is well on its way. Perhaps the most famous quote from the book, the first on the list below, speaks to the fact that successful investing is 90 percent about controlling behavior and emotions. Rational business-oriented decisions rather than emotion-driven ones produce better long-term performance. The second quote speaks to the fact that when you choose to invest, you cannot complain about the ups and downs of the stock market. You need go in with open eyes to the underlying risks. The third quote reminds me of something a client explained to me: equitable is not equal. Just as Don Corleone had five children, he needed to treat them all differently.
- “It’s not personal, it’s strictly business.”
- “This is the business we have chosen.”
- “I have a sentimental weakness for my children, and I spoil them, as you can see. They talk when they should be listening.”
- “You can do anything you want, but never go against the family.”
President & CEO
Drucker Wealth Management
New York, NY
The Psychology of Money
Isn’t control and freedom what we are all seeking? This book is very insightful. It really rang true to me on a personal basis as our family tried to control me through money when I was growing up. I hated it. That experience has driven me to change the narrative around money since I was old enough to start earning. The Psychology of Money teaches that the great intrinsic value of money is its ability to give you control over your time. I have witnessed first-hand the wonderful long term results for clients who have been with us for decades and the difference that this has made for their families.
- “Good investing isn’t necessarily about earning the highest returns, because the highest returns tend to be one-off hits that can’t be repeated. It’s about earning pretty good returns that you can stick with and which can be repeated for the longest period of time. That’s when compounding runs wild.”
- “Doing well with money has a little to do with how smart you are and a lot to do with how you behave. And behavior is hard to teach, even to really smart people.”
- “You can build wealth without a high income, but you have no chance of building wealth without a high savings rate.”
- “Money’s greatest intrinsic value is its ability to give you control over your time.”
Haverford Trust Company
MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom
This book really emphasizes a holistic approach to every aspect of your life, whether that is your mindset or your financial situation. Robbins breaks down finances in different ways, such as how to build wealth through investments and different strategies. The book taught me to roll with the punches and not to be fearful of the challenges that are thrown my way. In order to draw wealth and be successful, it is important to give. In order to manage and build wealth, you need to have a positive mindset or come from a positive place, so you have a healthy relationship with your finances. Standing guard of whatever negative thing is happening in your life and making sure you aren't allowing it to interfere with your way of thinking is crucial.
- “Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
- “The secret to wealth is simple: Find a way to do more for others than anyone else does. Become more valuable. Do more. Give more. Be more. Serve more.”
- “Every day, stand guard at the door of your mind, and you alone decide what thoughts and beliefs you let into your life.”
- “Knowledge is not mastery. Execution is mastery. Execution will trump knowledge every day of the week.”
The Ambitious Legacy Firm
Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in Markets
Prior to my career as an advisor, I was in academic economics. Advising on money often relies on using what we know from the past to make smart decisions about the future, but so much of what is industry-standard about applying statistics can be naive and lead to big mistakes. Taleb's book gave me an appreciation of how to structure my own life and practice to insulate against the unexpected, plus humility about how much we can know about markets. Those tools to communicate with clients about investing more intelligently have become the core of my livelihood.
- “Imagine taking a test knowing the answer. While we know that history flows forward, it is difficult to realize that we envision it backward.”
- “My lesson from [George] Soros is to start every meeting at my boutique by convincing everyone that we are a bunch of idiots who know nothing and are mistake-prone but happen to be endowed with the rare privilege of knowing it.”
- “Surviving traders . . . trade on ideas based on some observation (that includes past history) but . . . they make sure that the costs of being wrong are limited.”
- “We have been getting things wrong in the past and we laugh at our past institutions; it is time to figure out that we should avoid enshrining the present ones.”
Bormann Wealth Management
Being Right or Making Money
In their day, big financial service companies shunned any investment analysis methodology that wasn’t home grown. I began to think there might be a better way to grow client wealth than just sell-side research. I read many good books (on this theme), but the most impactful to me was Being Right or Making Money. This book legitimized other market analysis methods—technical, macro, behavioral—to go along with fundamental analysis. Ned’s work was pure common sense because it is written in the universal language of arithmetic. Ned Davis coined the phrase “follow the data” before algorithmic trading was a thing. The book was years ahead of its time. It might still be”
- “It wasn't long before our minds started filling with phrases that to this day remain crucial to successful investing: Don’t fight the tape, don’t fight the Fed, and beware of the crowd at extremes.”
- “By using objective, quantitative information and testing its predictive value against historical data, an investor can avoid making decisions based on emotion, gut feel, or the pronouncements of the market guru du jour.”
- “A model with a variety of indicators, which individually have value in highlighting risk and reward, can offer a more stable, predictable, and reliable reflection of the market than any single indicator can. Such a model can anchor the investment/asset-allocation process.”
Michael Tierney Jr.,
Managing Director & Principal
New York, NY
The Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
The Mindset has been critical to my career because it reinforced the idea of having a growth mindset. The book defines a growth mindset as someone who thrives on challenges and doesn't see failure as a setback but as a catalyst for growth. This is important because in most careers, there will be some type of setback. At different times in my career when I’ve had setbacks, I thought back to the lesson in The Mindset to use the failure as a growth opportunity. This mindset is also transferable in other areas of life. The book discusses how a growth mindset can assist in child rearing, athletics, and your personal life.
- “True self-confidence is ‘the courage to be open—to welcome change and new ideas regardless of their source.’”
- “No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.”
- “Parents think they can hand children permanent confidence—like a gift—by praising their brains and talent. It doesn’t work, and in fact has the opposite effect.”
- “Mindset change is not about picking up a few pointers here and there. It's about seeing things in a new way.”
- “In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome.”
Outliers: The Story of Success
Like Malcolm Gladwell, I am a January birth year hockey player. [Gladwell argues in Outliers that of all the months, the best hockey players are born in January, giving young players more coaching and training practice.] I also happened to be in Colorado when cannabis became legalized. I happened to have a background in finance. I happened to have a risk tolerant, entrepreneurial father. Certain circumstances lead to success, like hard work, talent, ambition, and being born at the right time."
- “Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities.”
- “The question is this: is there such a thing as innate talent? The obvious answer is yes. Not every hockey player born in January ends up playing at the professional level. Only some do – the innately talented ones.
- “Achievement is talent plus preparation. The problem with this view is that the closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger role preparation seems to play.”
- “No one—not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses—ever makes it alone.”
- “The sense of possibility so necessary for success comes not just from inside us or from our parents. It comes from our time: from the particular opportunities that our place in history presents us with.”
Chief Investment Officer
The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming
This may seem like an unusual book for an investment advisor, but it is one of the most eye-opening books I’ve ever read, and deeply relevant to what I do as an investment professional. Wallace-Wells showcases the potential impacts of climate change on economies and globalization, illustrating the economic and social effects using peer-reviewed research to back up the potential consequences we could face in our and our children’s lifetimes. For me, reading this book reaffirmed my decision to focus on the impact investing space, as the alternative is truly terrifying. It is a wake-up call and guidepost to me in my work as an investment advisor who works with generational wealth.
- “Today, the crisis is political—which is to say, not inevitable or necessary or beyond our capacity to fix—and, therefore, functionally elective.”
- “Adaptation to climate change is often viewed in terms of market trade-offs, but in the coming decades the trade will work in the opposite direction, with relative prosperity a benefit of more aggressive action.”
- “We think of climate change as slow, but it is unnervingly fast. We think of the technological change necessary to avert it as fast-arriving, but unfortunately it is deceptively slow—especially judged by just how soon we need it.”
- “The global halving of economic resources would be permanent, and, because permanent, we would soon not even know it as deprivation, only as a brutally cruel normal against which we might measure tiny burps of decimal-point growth as the breath of a new prosperity.”
Business Development, Investment Advisor
The Alchemist is the only fictional book that has had a significant impact on my life. And it's not without reason. While it may not be based on facts, it is unquestionably true. This page-turning story follows a young shepherd on a quest to learn that there is more to life than meets the eye. At its core, this seismic tale is about transforming life's problems into opportunities to accept who you truly are. Gratitude, it turns out, is alchemy for the spirit, aiding in the healing of our deepest wounds and connecting us to the divinity inherent in all things.
- “We’ve been granted the mental capacities to make almost infinitely ambitious plans, yet practically no time at all to put them into action.”
- “Convenience culture seduces us into imagining that we might find room for everything important by eliminating only life’s tedious tasks. But it’s a lie. You have to choose a few things, sacrifice everything else, and deal with the inevitable sense of loss that results.”
- “Rendering yourself more efficient — either by implementing various productivity techniques or by driving yourself harder—won’t generally result in the feeling of having ‘enough time,’ because, all else being equal, the demands will increase to offset any benefits..”
- “The harder you struggle to fit everything in, the more of your time you’ll find yourself spending on the least meaningful things.”
- “If you try to find time for your most valued activities by first dealing with all the other important demands on your time, in the hope that there’ll be some left over at the end, you’ll be disappointed.”
New Delhi, India
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals
Four Thousand Weeks is an insightful book about time management that's also reassuring. It's a book that teaches me how to deal with the demands that modern life imposes and come out on the other side a little less overwhelmed. The book is a pleasure to read and so practical, I keep it within easy reach so I can refer to it for advice. It's a great addition to the bookshelf of anyone in a position of authority, as it demonstrates the way to lead with grace and empathy. [We selected Four Thousand Weeks as one of the 12 Business Books for Advisors in 2021.]
New York, NY