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Ideas to enrich understanding

A few reading suggestions to help take stock of the unprecedented situation we’re living through.

June 01, 2020

For many people, the current COVID-19 situation is proving to be an opportunity for reflection on a number of levels. Some are wondering what state their personal finances will be in by the end of the crisis, others are looking for inspiration about how to deal with the situation, and still others go so far as to question the economic development model disrupted by the pandemic.

Here are nine book recommendations to feed these reflections.

Taking control of your personal finances

  • The Latte Factor
    By Richard Bach and John David Mann
    In this bestseller, the authors use a practical example to demonstrate that people can aspire to financial independence even if their financial position, especially in terms of debt, wouldn’t seem to allow it. Also by co-author Richard Bach: The Automatic Millionaire.
     
  • The Wealthy Barber
    By David Chilton
    This popular personal finance classic could be a good place to start if you want to build – or rethink – your financial plan.
     
  • The Millionaire Next Door
    By Cotter Smith, Thomas J. Stanley et al.
    Question: what if accumulating substantial wealth wasn’t impossible, or even exceptional? This book offers a survey of ordinary people who have managed it and how they did it. Hint: they could be your neighbours.
     

Putting the pandemic in perspective

 

  • Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World
    By Laura Spinney
    The novel coronavirus epidemic has often been compared to the famous Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. This highly regarded work recalls that earlier pandemic in detail, along with its social, political and historical consequences.
     
  • The End of Epidemics
    By Dr Jonathan D. Quick
    In this book from two years ago, a Harvard researcher studies past epidemics to propose a set of concrete actions that could help to prevent the next one. Interesting exercise, in light of a crisis that the world was not able to prevent.
     

Understanding the world we live in

  • Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
    By Yuval Noah Harari
    The author of the best-seller Sapiens here offers his vision of how humanity will evolve over the next century and makes some provocative predictions. Do they hold up in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic?
     
  • Capital in the Twenty-First Century
    By Thomas Piketty
    This monumental and heavily documented work (close to 1,000 pages) prompted some lively debate when was published due to its critical view of the liberal economy and the concentration of wealth. Also by the same author: Capital and Ideology.
     

Facing adversity

 

  • Well Stressed: Manage Stress Before It Turns Toxic
    By Sonia Lupien
    There’s no denying that lots of people are getting a good dose of stress these days. Drawing on 20 years of research, the author explains the causes, symptoms and consequences of stress and offers some surprising suggestions for handling it.
     
  • Nudge: lmproving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness
    By Cass R. Sunstein and Richard Thaler
    Co-written with Richard Thaler, an expert in behavioural science and winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, this book answers an age-old question: why do we tend to make bad decisions? The authors of this 1.5 million-copy bestseller identify the biases that influence our decisions and suggest ways of getting people – and societies – to make better ones.

The following sources were used to prepare this article: 
All these works are available as books, e-books and/or audio books through most bookstore websites.