Three Must-Reads for Asset Managers

Shalini Kurukulasuriya

18 Oct 2021

I am a voracious reader on topics ranging from finance to philosophy and even the occasional murder mystery. Throughout my time in academia and the asset management industry, reading has opened my eyes to different ways of thinking, made me more curious and helped shed light on the multiple forces that shape the world we live in.


For asset managers, insights that come from reading help continuously refine and expand the mental models you work with. This supports a more nuanced understanding of the complex interactions in global capital markets, enhances decision making capabilities and ultimately enables you to better serve the varied needs of asset owners.


With millions of options out there, the biggest challenge can be knowing where to start.  So, I thought it could be fun to share a few suggestions for books that offer new perspectives for asset managers.


Grab your device or a paperback and enjoy! Here are my top picks for books that every asset manager should be reading right now:


Upheaval by Jared Diamond

From the author of Guns, Germs and Steel, Upheaval is an illuminating exploration of why some countries emerge stronger from crises while others crumble under the pressure.  Diamond draws parallels between personal and national crises to highlight common factors that are necessary to successfully navigate the turbulence.  This framework provides a useful lens for asset managers to identify countries for future investment as the global economy recovers unevenly from the pandemic.


The World for Sale by Javier Blas and Jack Farchy

The World for Sale gives readers a behind the scenes look at the ultra-private world of commodities trading.  As journalists, Blas and Farchy provide an analysis of how the actions of a few private firms and their billionaire traders have shaped the course of modern history.  Against the backdrop of rising demand for alternative investments, this book can help asset managers improve their understanding of these hidden forces in the global commodity markets.


You are Here by Astronaut Chris Hatfield

While some might consider this a surprising pick, in my opinion this is a must “read” book for anyone in asset management. The stunning photos taken from the International Space Station showcase remarkable landscapes and highlight the impact human settlement is having on the planet. As ESG considerations are increasingly shaping investment decisions, this perspective is a timely reminder to asset managers of their influence and role in purposeful capitalism.


There you have it -- my take on 3 books that every asset manager (or anyone in the industry) can enjoy and learn from right now. Let’s keep this list growing! What books are you currently reading?