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Reading List - Q4 2019

Here are the books on my reading list this quarter. Enjoy!



Advice That Sticks: How to give financial advice that people will follow

The advice is sound; the client seems eager; and then… nothing happens! Too often, this is the experience that financial professionals encounter in their daily work. When good recommendations go unimplemented, clients’ well-being is compromised, opportunities are lost, and the professional relationship grows strained.


Advice that Sticks takes aim at the problem of financial non-adherence. Written by a neuropsychologist and financial change expert, this book examines the five main factors that determine whether a client will follow through with financial advice. Individual client psychology plays a role in non-adherence; so, too, do sociocultural and environmental factors, general advice characteristics, and specific challenges pertaining to the emotionally loaded domain of money. Perhaps most surprising, however, is the extent to which advice-givers themselves can foil implementation. A great deal of non-adherence is due to preventable mistakes made by financial professionals and their teams.


The author integrates her extensive clinical and consulting experience with research findings from the fields of positive psychology, behavioural economics, neuroscience, and medicine. What emerges is a thoughtful, funny, but above all practical guide for anyone who makes a living providing financial advice. It will become an indispensable handbook for people working with clients across the wealth spectrum.




Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Why do some products capture widespread attention while others flop? What makes us engage with certain products out of sheer habit? Is there a pattern underlying how technologies hook us?


Nir Eyal answers these questions (and many more) by explaining the Hook Model—a four-step process embedded into the products of many successful companies to subtly encourage customer behavior. Through consecutive “hook cycles,” these products reach their ultimate goal of bringing users back again and again without depending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging.


Hooked is based on Eyal’s years of research, consulting, and practical experience. He wrote the book he wished had been available to him as a start-up founder—not abstract theory, but a how-to guide for building better products. Hooked is written for product managers, designers, marketers, start-up founders, and anyone who seeks to understand how products influence our behavior.


Eyal provides readers with:


• Practical insights to create user habits that stick.

• Actionable steps for building products people love.

• Fascinating examples from the iPhone to Twitter, Pinterest to the Bible App, and many other habit-forming products.




Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know

Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Outliers, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers--and why they often go wrong.


How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn't true?


Talking to Strangers is a classically Gladwellian intellectual adventure, a challenging and controversial excursion through history, psychology, and scandals taken straight from the news. He revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, the suicide of Sylvia Plath, the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal at Penn State University, and the death of Sandra Bland---throwing our understanding of these and other stories into doubt. Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don't know. And because we don't know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world. In his first book since his #1 bestseller, David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell has written a gripping guidebook for troubled times.




Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs

Legendary venture capitalist John Doerr reveals how the goal-setting system of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) has helped tech giants from Intel to Google achieve explosive growth—and how it can help any organization thrive.


In the fall of 1999, John Doerr met with the founders of a start-up whom he'd just given $12.5 million, the biggest investment of his career. Larry Page and Sergey Brin had amazing technology, entrepreneurial energy, and sky-high ambitions, but no real business plan. For Google to change the world (or even to survive), Page and Brin had to learn how to make tough choices on priorities while keeping their team on track. They'd have to know when to pull the plug on losing propositions, to fail fast. And they needed timely, relevant data to track their progress—to measure what mattered.


Doerr taught them about a proven approach to operating excellence: Objectives and Key Results. He had first discovered OKRs in the 1970s as an engineer at Intel, where the legendary Andy Grove ("the greatest manager of his or any era") drove the best-run company Doerr had ever seen. Later, as a venture capitalist, Doerr shared Grove's brainchild with more than fifty companies. Wherever the process was faithfully practiced, it worked.


In this goal-setting system, objectives define what we seek to achieve; key results are how those top-priority goals will be attained with specific, measurable actions within a set time frame. Everyone's goals, from entry level to CEO, are transparent to the entire organization.


The benefits are profound. OKRs surface an organization's most important work. They focus effort and foster coordination. They keep employees on track. They link objectives across silos to unify and strengthen the entire company. Along the way, OKRs enhance workplace satisfaction and boost retention.


In Measure What Matters, Doerr shares a broad range of first-person, behind-the-scenes case studies, with narrators including Bono and Bill Gates, to demonstrate the focus, agility, and explosive growth that OKRs have spurred at so many great organizations. This book will help a new generation of leaders capture the same magic.

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