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Year-end reading list ’21

7 December 2021

The latest edition of our year-end reading list features a diverse selection of material with one thing in common: it surprised us by the profoundness that lurks beneath the surface.

Our first entry blows the usual social media self-help listicles out of the water. 12 Rules for Life dives deep, both philosophically and psychologically. Two rules build upon Danish existentialist philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s thinking. But worry not, there is a rule that encourages you to let your child skateboard, too.

Have you ever considered cutting sugar and processed food? Instead of spending countless hours suffering through cardio exercise only to sin on calories afterward senselessly, that is. We all know that sometimes less is more, yet Subtract uses science to explain why our intuitive approach to challenges often increases clutter and confusion. It demonstrates with powerful examples why a systematic approach to reduction can be surprisingly rewarding in life.

Our love of books shows in The Midnight Library, a beautiful and capturing example at the intersection of fantastical fiction and philosophy. Our protagonist, stuck in a rut, explores a magical library that lets her live the alternative lives she could have lived had she made other decisions in the past. Without giving the plot away: the ending will both surprise and enlighten you.

Like Shakespeare’s Sonnets, there are literary works that reveal new facets every time they are re-read. They show their magic in conjunction with the changing context and life situation. One up on Wall Street, Peter Lynch’s primer on investing is such a classic must-read. Keeping with our tradition of featuring one investment book, we urge you to read or re-read it.

In any case, please let us know what gems of wisdom, or at least entertainment, you discovered in this year’s selection. We look forward to comparing notes!

Courtesy of Penguin Books

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Jordan B. Peterson

In a world of turmoil and unpredictability, how should we live? This is book one in a two-book series by ‘the most prominent public thinker in the Western world right now,’ according to the New York Times.

In this No 1 Sunday Times best-seller Peterson gives twelve deep and practical principles to live by, based on his own experience as a clinical psychologist and teachings from humanity’s oldest myths and traditions. 

12 Rules for Life has been called a raft designed for rough seas: ancient wisdom applied to modern problems. It’s deep, fulfilling, and instructive.


Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less

Leidy Klotz

Whether we are making Lego models or cities, grilled-cheese sandwiches or devising strategies, our thoughts tend to add before subtracting. Subtraction can be difficult to do because a variety of biological, societal, and economic influences push us toward more. 

You will meet subtracting exemplars in these pages: design geniuses, Nobel Prize winners, rock stars, and everyday heroes who have subtracted to eliminate bigotry, progress knowledge, heal the earth, and simply make better jokes. Subtract has been called a paradigm-shifting book that teaches us how to locate more of the possibilities we’ve been missing and encourages us to pursue them.

Courtesy of Cannogate Books

The Midnight Library

Matt Haig

Nora’s life has been spiraling downward. Then, at midnight on her final day on Earth, she finds herself transported to a library. There, she is offered the opportunity to undo her regrets and experience each of the other lives she may have had. Which begs the ultimate question: with an endless number of options, what is the optimal way to live?

Called “beautiful” by fellow writer Jodi Picoult,  “absorbing” by the New York Times, and “thought-provoking” by the Independent, this second Sunday Times No. 1 bestseller in this year’s roundup has been crowned Readers’ most loved book of 2021.

Books can change lives, and this work of art celebrates that notion with humour and kindness.

Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

One Up On Wall Street: How To Use What You Already Know To Make Money In The Market

Peter Lynch

Thierry Borgeat is an Investment Manager at Tramondo and a member of the Investment Committee.

The former star manager of Fidelity’s multibillion-dollar Magellan Fund believes that if you invest for the long term, your portfolio will reward you.

For our colleague Thierry Borgeat, this book belongs to the Olymp of investment literature. “Selling your winners and holding your losers is like cutting the flowers and watering the weeds” is one of Lynch’s quotes that has stayed with him from the first day he took up investing.

Lynch provides simple instructions for separating the long shots from the no-hopers by studying a company’s financial statements and determining which figures truly matter. He lays out the rules for investing in cyclical, turnaround, and fast-growing businesses.

Lynch’s timeless wisdom has helped to make One Up on Wall Street a #1 best-seller and investing classic.

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