Picking my summer reading list is always an adventure. I love to read, but given my work schedule, I typically only get through a couple of pages each night before dozing off. Such is the life of a small business owner!

However, the heat of summer gives me permission to slow down. I allow myself more time to read—whether it’s sitting by a pool, at the beach, or on top of a mountain. Summer reading feels somewhat indulgent – and like a real treat.

Below are a few books selected by our team. Several intersect with themes of living intentionally and managing money, while others are instructional.

At the top of my list are two that I believe to be particularly relevant to today’s world. Maria Konnikova is inspirational. As a professional poker player—of which only 5% are women—her book, The Confidence Game, highlights how we all get conned – and what to look for to avoid this destabilizing experience. In a world filled with con men (and a few con women), how do we spot people whose ultimate goal is to do harm? Next on the list is Nassim Taleb’s book, The Black Swan. This book discusses how we humans don’t think the unthinkable can happen—until it does—and how being dogmatic about our beliefs makes us blind to concepts that fall outside our personal paradigms.

Enjoy the summer list, and if you have any favorites, please share them with us!

The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time

– Maria Konnikova

While cheats and swindlers may be a dime a dozen, true conmen—the Bernie Madoffs of the world—are elegant, outsized personalities, artists of persuasion, and exploiters of trust. How do they do it? Why are they successful? And what keeps us falling for it, over and over again? These are the questions Konnikova tackles in her book, examining the very act of believing and how our sense of truth can be manipulated by those around us.

The Black Swan – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Black Swan discusses the impact of rare, unpredictable, and highly influential events known as “black swans.” These events have a material impact on our lives, economies, and history. Taleb advocates for an approach to life that embraces uncertainty. He argues that humans are inclined to be narrow-minded in their beliefs about the world. Once we have an idea about how the world functions, we tend to cling to it. For example, thinking that banks could never fail (but they did during the Financial Crisis) or that we could never be attacked on American soil (but we were on 9/11/2001).

Get Good with Money: Ten Simple Steps to Becoming Financially Whole  – Tiffany Aliche

You need to ask a lot of questions before engaging an advisor. Tiffany Aliche unfortunately learned this the hard way. Aliche was a successful preschool teacher with a healthy nest egg when a recession and advice from a shady advisor put her out of a job and into a huge financial hole. As she began to chart the path to her own financial rescue, the outline of her ten-step formula for attaining both financial security and peace of mind began to take shape.

The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness – Morgan Housel

Doing well with money isn’t necessarily about what you know. It’s about how you behave. And behavior is hard to teach, even to smart people. Money—investing, personal finance, and business decisions—is typically taught as a math-based field, but in the real world, people don’t make financial decisions on a spreadsheet. In The Psychology of Money, Housel shares 19 short stories exploring the strange ways people think about money and teaches you how to make better sense of one of life’s most important topics.

The Energy of Money: A Spiritual Guide to Financial and Personal Fulfillment – Mariah Nemeth, Ph.D.

The Energy of Money seamlessly weaves together insights from both Western and Buddhist psychology, presenting profound revelations about your relationship with money and, consequently, with life itself. Joseph Campbell’s words echo through the pages, reminding us that money is just another form of energy, holding within it life’s boundless possibilities—if applied well.

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – Deepak Chopra

Based on natural laws that govern all of creation, this book shatters the myth that success is the result of hard work, exacting plans, or driving ambition. Instead, Chopra offers a life-altering perspective on the attainment of success: when we understand our true nature and learn to live in harmony with natural law, a sense of well-being, good health, fulfilling relationships, and material abundance spring forth easily and effortlessly.

Thinking Fast & Slow – Daniel Kahneman

Do you think you are a rational person, making decisions through a rational, well-thought-out lens? Well, you may want to think again. Thinking, Fast and Slow is a masterful book on psychology and behavioral economics by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman. Behavioral economics is grounded in empirical observations that demonstrate that people do not always make rational or optimal decisions, even when they have the tools to do so. A good example of this is people delaying saving for retirement even if they work for a company that offers a 401(k).

We hope you find this summer reading list both enlightening and enjoyable. Whether you’re looking to gain new insights, find inspiration, or simply relax with a good book, there’s something here for everyone. Happy reading, and don’t forget to share your thoughts and favorites with us. Have a wonderful summer!


About the Author

Roberta Keller

Roberta is passionate about the intersection of money and social impact.  Her goal has been to build a business that integrates her institutional money management experience with her yoga and meditation practices.