The COVID-19 pandemic has offered a unique opportunity for reflection and self-improvement, and many of us have been using this time to up our games, whether it’s making sourdough bread, taking on DIY projects, or finally spending the time to ensure our gardens have never looked better.

But while you are hustling and bustling, don’t forget that summer is still the season of relaxation and a great time to dive into a good book. There’s nothing like sitting outside on a long sunny day with a cold drink and a story you can lose yourself in. We asked five thought leaders at TD Wealth to share their most inspiring reading recommendations.

Courtesy HarperCollins Canada

Ingrid Macintosh

Vice President and Executive Sponsor, TD Women and Wealth program

The Alice Network By Kate Quinn

Paperback, 503 pages Published 2017, Harpercollins Canada

What it's about:

This historical novel pivots between the First and Second World War, highlighting the network of female spies that supported the war efforts. It's a captivating story of strong women working in unique ways to create remarkable and surprising outcomes. Their power and effectiveness ultimately lay in the fact that they were seen to be harmless due to their gender.

Why I love it:

As the executive sponsor of the TD Women and Wealth program, I can't resist a story about women going beyond what anyone and everyone expected of them, and acting with bravery and genius. And there is a good old love story in there too!

Courtesy Simon & Schuster Canada

Al Ramsay

Associate Vice President, Sales and Strategy and Head of LGBTQ2+ Business Development

How to Win Friends and Influence People By Dale Carnegie

Paperback, Special Anniversary Edition, 288 pages Published 1998, Simon and Schuster (first published October 1936)

What it's about:

A timeless bestseller, packed with wisdom that has carried many to success in their business and personal lives, this book lays out great leadership skills and attributes that stand to this day. The most important lesson from this book is to make those around you feel special and important. Always try to show a genuine interest in people and connect authentically and you will win friends and supporters.

Why I love it:

This book transformed my thinking and had an enormous impact on my life when I was younger. I had no idea at the time that it had seeped into mind and shaped a lot of how I live my life today, both personally and professionally. I was fairly young living in Jamaica, maybe early in my teens, when I saw my Dad reading this book and carrying it around with him. I idolized my Dad so I copied everything I saw him do.

Courtesy Penguin Random House Canada

Brad Simpson

Chief Wealth Strategist

The Undoing Project: A friendship that changed our minds By Michael Lewis

Paperback, 368 pages Published 2017, W. W. Norton & Company

What it's about:

In the 1980s, psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original papers that invented the field of behavioural economics. Their friendship began a revolution in Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, and led to a new approach to government regulation. The Undoing Project shows how their Nobel Prize–winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality.

Why I love it:

The problem with most investment behavioural books is they are written in social science jargon which makes them either hard or boring to read. This book is the exception. The Undoing Project is a fun entryway and provides a good starting point to understand the basics of behavioural finance in a human way.

Courtesy Harpercollins Canada

Kim Parlee

Vice President, Strategic Editorial Content, and host of MoneyTalk

Washington Black By Esi Edugyan

Hardcover, 334 pages Published 2018, Harpercollins Canada

What it's about:

Washington Black is an eleven-year-old field slave who was born and raised on a Barbadian sugar plantation. This book details his friendship with one of his masters, a fierce abolitionist who risks everything to save his manservant. What follows is their flight along the eastern coast of America, and finally to a remote outpost in the Arctic, where Washington must invent another new life, one which will take him places he's never been.

Why I love it:

This book pulls you into an incredible tale. Born into slavery, Washington is inspirational as he escapes unspeakable hardships, and creates a life which is awe-inspiring, tragic and ultimately, peaceful. I couldn’t put it down. My book club has really opened up my world and recommends books I wouldn’t normally pick up. I naturally skew to science and the markets but this book is a captivating piece of fiction that has me thinking in different ways.

Courtesy Penguin Random House

Dave Kelly

Head of Private Wealth Management and Financial Planning

The Little Book of Lykke: The Danish search for the world's happiest people By Meik Wiking

Hardcover, 288 pages Published 2017, Penguin Life

What it's about:

Denmark is often called the world's happiest country. Some people say it's the equal parental leave for men and women or maybe the free higher education, but Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, believes we can learn a lot from the Danes about finding fulfillment. In this captivating book, he takes us on a treasure hunt to unlock the doors to true contentment. This is the ultimate guide to how we can all find a little more lykke in our lives.

Why I love it:

In this era of COVID-19, I have been thinking a lot about gratitude and what drives happiness, and this book was a great quick read. It was a good reminder to focus on being grateful for who you have in your life.

DENISE O’CONNELL

MONEYTALK LIFE

ILLUSTRATION

VERONICA PARK