Book Recommendations

Proven In The Trenches: 11 Principles to Maximize Advisor Value and Transform Your Firm’s Future


by Ron Carson, CFP®

The face of financial services has evolved – and, along with it, the very nature of financial advice. In an increasingly complex world where people are starving for someone they can trust, the time has come for financial advisors to rise to the occasion and reinvent the value they provide to better serve their clients. Of course, to make this evolutionary leap, advisors require a proven, time-tested strategy.

Buy “Proven In The Trenches”

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff About Money


by Richard Carlson, Ph.D.

Replete with fascinating ideas and new concepts for everyone from businesspeople to those who manage the money in their households, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff About Money reveals how to live a life that’s more wealthy, productive, and carefree.

Buy “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff About Money”

The Millionaire Next Door


by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D. and William D. Danko, Ph.D.

Most of the truly wealthy in the United States don’t live in Beverly Hills or on Park Avenue. They live next door.  In fact, the glamorous people many of us think of as “rich” are actually a tiny minority of America’s truly wealthy citizens—and behave quite differently than the majority.

Buy “The Millionaire Next Door”

Millionaire Women Next Door


by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D.

Millionaire Women Next Door presents a variety of groundbreaking concepts involving the personality, lifestyle, motives, beliefs, and spending habits of economically successful American businesswomen.

Buy “Millionaire Women Next Door”

The Starbucks Experience


by Joseph A. Michelli

Filled with real-life insider stories, eye-opening anecdotes, and solid step-by-step strategies, this fascinating book takes you deep inside one of the most talked-about companies in the world today.

Buy “The Starbucks Experience”

The Last Lecture


by Randy Pausch

A combination of humor, inspiration and intelligence, this book reminds us that leaving a legacy is about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment – it’s about living!

Buy “The Last Lecture”



by Malcolm Gladwell

In this stunning book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

Buy “Outliers”

The Ultimate Gift


by Jim Stoval

What would you do to inherit a million dollars? Would you be willing to change your life? The journey may be a better gift than a million dollars.

Buy “The Ultimate Gift”



by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Levitt and Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they explore the hidden side of . . . well, everything.

Buy “Freakonomics”

A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes


by Rodrigo Garcia

Even before starting to read, I had an intuitive feeling that this book would leave me moved and heavy-hearted. It’s both an account of reckoning with Rodrigo’s father’s growing dementia and eventual death (followed a few years later by the death of his mother Mercedes) as well as a glimpse into what it is to wrestle with the various personas of his father. But more than anything, it talks about how death can impact a family. How every person, close or not, is affected by a person’s death. Filled with humor, mysticism, and poetry, this book is not to be missed. This is an honest and sincere account of witnessing a parent’s death, mourning the loss, and surviving the crushing pain that follows.

Buy “A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes”

See Debbie’s feature in InvestmentNews’ below!



On a More Personal Note



By Tara Westover 

Educated, written by Tara Westover, has been on the best seller list for 26 months and deservedly so.  It is a memoir documenting the struggles (and ultimate success) of a girl raised in an anti-government and radical extreme Mormon family.  She suffered all kinds of physical abuse, various forms of torture, mysogeny, and a continual onslaught of denigration.  And through it all, not only did she amazingly survive, but she eventually arrived at Harvard to pursue a very successful academic career (with no formal education whatsoever). The entire time you’re rooting for Tara to beat back the beasts so that she can live another day and possibly escape from the mountain that they lived on.  And she does!

The Giver of Stars


by Jojo  Moyes

One of may favorite reads from 2019 and it is based on a true story.  The book is set in Kentucky in 1937 and centers on a few intrepid women who started the Packhorse Library, delivering books by horseback primarily to housebound women and children in eastern Kentucky during the Depression.  At its height, the Packhorse Librarians delivered books to more than 100,000 rural inhabitants.  The Giver of Stars is an amazing story about the bravery of five women, their friendship, their love for each other and their community, and the sacrifices that they endured on their quest to educate their neighbors and make a difference in the lives of those around them.  It is an amazing read that will have you cheering on those courageous women and crying tears of sadness and then joy at their resilience and their ability to overcome against many odds.

2018 was a year of historical fiction for me. I became absolutely obsessed with the genre after reading All the Light We Cannot See. My book choices focused on World War II and the bravery of the many who fought during that time, as well as their families and communities. I learned about the French Resistance, spies, and the dedication and courage of so many Europeans, whether fighting on the front or not. My favorites were Beneath a Scarlet Sky, which is based on the true story of Pino who joins the underground railroad and then joins the German army acting as a spy. There is also a love story mixed in there. I also enjoyed The Tattooist of Auschwitz, and The Nightingale.

Love in the Time of Cholera


by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Many people know “Gabo” for his Nobel Prize winning novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, which was recommended to me by a dear friend and avid reader.  Although I enjoyed One Hundred Years of Solitude immensely (once I survived the first hundred pages), my favorite novel by Gabo is Love in the Time of Cholera.  It is a story about a young Florentino and Fermina who fall in love.  But, Fermina chooses to marry a wealthy man and Florentino, ever the romantic, reserves his heart for Fermina for over fifty years while engaging in some very peculiar behavior.  Her husband dies at last, and you need to read the book to find out the rest!  This book will bring tears to your eyes (it did with me), reminding all of us of the timelessness and endurance of love.

Another fun book by Gabo is Memories of My Melancholy Whores, a quick and easy read, also about passion and love, but in a most unconventional way.

Content in the above material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

The Nickel Boys


By Colson Whitehead

This is the second book I have read by Colson Whitehead, the first being The Underground Railroad, another book that I have recommended in this space. Both historical fiction books have won several prestigious awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (although to be clear, I read both books before they won any of their awards). This book is short and not sweet at all.  But it is a must read for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of racism, and about treatment of supposed black Juvenile Delinquents in the 1960s.

As someone else said, “This book broke my heart over and over again. This is not a happy tale and the first 8 pages warns you of this. If you continue on, you will learn that for some Americans, freedom does not mean freedom for all. You will learn of the atrocities that happened to the Nickel Boys. You will begin to understand what it feels like to be a young black man in the 1960s.”

And, this book serves as a constant reminder that one mistake, no matter how big or small, can destroy your life.  Particularly if you are in the wrong hands or the wrong color or the wrong gender.

The Kite Runner 


by Khaled Hosseini

This is probably one of the most moving books I have read in at least a year.  Kite Runner is an amazing novel originally  set in Afghanistan in the early 70’s, about a young boy and his friend growing up in Kabul. They say that one incident can change your life forever.  That is what happens here, and it is heartbreaking.

The Kite Runner is emotional and immersive, a story that is amplified with its spotlight on society and culture within Afghanistan.  I learned much about the day to day life of the people and the oppression they lived with for decades (and  still do).  I highly recommend!

The House of Broken Angels and The Devil’s Highway (with a shout out to Love in the Time of Cholera)


by Luis Alberto Urrea

Throughout the year, my children were telling me that my books are too depressing, so I did branch out to read The House of Broken Angels and The Devil’s Highway, both by Luis Alberto Urrea. The former is a lighter take on One Hundred Years of Solitude, and is a breezier read about an extended Mexican family and their celebration of life and love. The latter is a non-fictional account of 26 migrants trying to cross the border from Mexico, where only 12 actually made it. In today’s time where discussions of immigration are front and center in our political discourse, reading a book about the literal and figurative journey across the border was eye-opening and humbling all at the same time. And for those interested in Latino culture, my favorite remains Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Gabo), an epic love story.

Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption ( the book and the movie)

a short story by Stephen King

Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite movies, as I fall in love with the characters and their stories over and over again.  So much to learn and all the time in the World for our friends Red and Andy to teach those lessons of friendship, hope, and redemption to us.  Many do not know that Shawshank is based on the short story by Stephen King, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, from his 1982 collection Different Seasons, subtitled Hope Springs Eternal.

In this story, Andy is an unjustly imprisoned banker who seeks a strange and startling revenge after receiving a life sentence.  The book, like the movie, is a slow burn and builds up to a magnificent ending every time, and can be summed up in one of my all time favorite quotes: “Remember that hope is a good thing, Red, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”  Watching Andy methodically use the principles of geology, “time and pressure,” to accomplish his grand feat is a joyful relief for all those who believe in justice and dreams.  Andy admonishes us, “It always comes down to just two choices.  Get busy living or get busy dying.”  Need I say more?