Our Views

Newport’s summer reading list

Looking to indulge in some quality downtime with summer reading at the beach or cottage? Here is a list of recent favourite reads from the Newport team. There’s something for everyone – a diversified mix of history, politics, business, sports, comics and behavioural finance.

Last Hope Island by Lynn Olson

When the Nazi Blitzkrieg subjugated Europe in World War II, London became the safe haven for the leaders of seven occupied countries — France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Norway, Czechoslovakia and Poland — who fled there to avoid imprisonment and set up governments in exile to commandeer their resistance efforts. The lone hold-out against Hitler’s offensive, Britain became a beacon of hope to the rest of Europe, as prominent European leaders like French general Charles De Gaulle, Queen Wilhelmina of Holland, and King Haakon of Norway competed for Winston Churchill’s attention while trying to rule their embattled countries from the precarious safety of ‘Last Hope Island.’

Recommended by Doug Brown, CEO

The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger & How to Save It by Yascha Mounk

A timely, insightful and infinitely readable book that argues that liberal democracy stands at a critical point. The book does a great job of describing the phenomenon of populism – -how we got here, the impact of technology, economics, and identity, and what we need to do now. The book provided both historical and current context, made important linkages and perhaps most importantly (for me) hope and proposals to turn the tide.

Recommended by Kelly Baird, CFO & COO

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Founder of Nike by Phil Night

A riveting story of sheer determination and entrepreneurial grit. It’s part suspense-thriller, given the precarious struggles, mistakes and obstacles along the path to business success. Knight could have given up multiple times – and most people would have – before ultimately building one of the world’s most iconic brands. Amazing and real.

Recommended by Mark Kinney, CIO

Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II by Vicki Croke

I really enjoyed this fascinating and unusual story of Lt. Col. James Howard Williams and his Company of elephants. It’s set in the 1920s in Burma, where Williams first encounters the elephants, develops an uncanny rapport and sets up a school and hospital to care for them. By 1942, Japanese forces have invaded Burma and Williams leads the elephants in a dangerous exercise of transporting supplies and people during the war. The book is well written and has great character development, including the animals! Reading this book, you really get a sense of the intelligence of elephants and in this case, how they provide lessons in courage, trust and gratitude. The book is part adventure, part biography of a fascinating life and part war chronicle.

Recommended by Don Lenz, Managing Director

Super Hero Ethics by Travis Smith

Which superhero embodies the kind of ethical character we should strive to emulate in today’s society? Whether in comic books or on movie screens, superhero stories are where many people first encounter questions about how they should conduct their lives. Although these outlandish figures—in their capes, masks, and tights, with their unbelievable origins and preternatural powers—are often dismissed as juvenile amusements, they really are profound metaphors for different approaches to shaping one’s character and facing the challenges of life. But, given the choice, which superhero should we follow today? Who is most worthy of our admiration? Whose goals are most noble? Whose ethics should we strive to emulate? To decide, Travis Smith takes ten top superheroes and pits them one against another, chapter by chapter. The hero who better exemplifies how we ought to live advances to the final round. By the end of the book, a single superhero emerges victorious and is crowned most exemplary for our times.

Full disclosure, the author is my cousin. Full disclosure 2, I am not a comic book fan but I found this hugely enjoyable.

Recommended by Kyle Smith, Portfolio Manager

The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel

Not a book but a thoughtful and well written article. In fact, perhaps the finest article I have read in my 35 years in the investing business. The author identifies 20 flaws, biases and causes of bad behavior that too often get in the way of investing success. But one line in the article says it all, “… managing money isn’t necessarily what you know, it’s how you behave.”

Recommended by Peter Churchill-Smith, Managing Director & Portfolio Manager

A Good Time to be a Girl by Dame Helena Morrissey

A short, well-written account of the unique and impressive career path of the CEO of a £53 billion wealth management firm – who also happens to be a woman with nine children. Having achieved professional, personal and material success, she sets a new purpose in working towards a “truly, inclusive modern society” based on gender balance and diversity in the workplace. Her ideas about how to achieve this are refreshing, data-driven as well as experiential, rooted in economic prosperity and decidedly non-threatening. An easy yet thought-provoking read for anyone in the working world.

Recommended by Kelly Willis, VP Marketing & Client Relationships