Books We Love in Times of Transition

The last few years have been characterized by a steady stream of transitions. Whether it’s going back to the office, keeping up with changing health guidelines, or even joyfully reacquainting ourselves with old routines, our ability to remain flexible and resilient have become vital. To help hone that skillset, I tapped into our Morgan Stanley leaders to share books that they’ve found particularly poignant on those topics. As of late, truth has often been more riveting than fiction - the following recommendations reflect that and feature a treasure trove of non-fiction works that have challenged me to think in new ways. I hope they do the same for you.

- Wendy Cohen, Executive Director, Head of Reserved Living & Giving

Jennifer Freeman

Managing Director, Head of Field Engagement, Morgan Stanley

Jennifer’s Recommendation:

Boys in the Boat

Daniel James Brown

This is the true story of the tumultuous road the U.S. Olympic rowing team took to reach their goal of competing in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The journey of these college students demonstrates the epitome of resiliency when the odds are stacked against you. What resonated with me most was the team’s utter perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, giving me the inspiration to tackle situations I may feel are beyond my reach.

Leslie A. Walters

Branch Manager/Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Senior Vice President

Leslie’s Recommendation:

Everything is Figureoutable

Marie Forleo

‘No matter what you’re facing, you have what it takes to figure anything out and become the person you’re meant to be.’ The author’s spirit and positivity are very inspiring. She reminds us all that we can figure out whatever we need to – we HAVE what it takes to find and make the best versions of ourselves. Her messaging reminds me that we just need to believe – believe in ourselves and in others! In Forleo’s words, ‘Yet there can be no significant change in the world unless we first have the courage to change ourselves. In order to change ourselves, we must first believe we can.’

Katie Flaherty

Managing Director, Complex Manager, Morgan Stanley

Katie’s Recommendation:

The First 90 Days

Michael D. Watkins

This is my favorite book to revisit every time I take on a new role in life. It is about how to effectively transition into new roles and why doing so is critical to achieving long-term success. The concepts within the narrative have helped me develop my own 90-day plans and highlighted the importance of listening on several occasions.

Gerty Simon

Vice President, Wealth Management, Regional Diversity Officer

Gerty’s Recommendation:

From Strength to Strength

Arthur C. Brooks

A dear friend recently reached out to me, stating that, ‘we as women, Black women specifically, need to step into our powers.’ She shared the belief that this is the time to advance to whatever it is we want and encouraged me to read this book. The book speaks to those of us who are overachievers, success addicts and tired strivers, who know we can’t keep it up forever, and provides a roadmap on how we can build a life/work balance that only gets better with age.

Andrea Zaretsky

Managing Director, Chief Marketing Officer, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Andrea’s Recommendation:

The Beauty in Breaking

Michele Harper

The Beauty in Breaking is a page-turning memoir from Michele Harper, an emergency room physician who grew up in an abusive home. Harper reflects on her experience as a Black woman in medicine while poignantly articulating how a life dedicated to serving others taught her to heal herself. Michele’s story provides all of us with an inspiring example of triumph over adversity.

Krystal Barker

Managing Director, Head of Financial Wellness

Krystal’s Recommendation:

Think Again

Adam Grant

Adam Grant’s latest book is particularly relevant for the current environment that we are collectively navigating. According to Grant, ‘in a rapidly changing world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn.’ This book inspired me to press on in encouraging my sense of curiosity, while challenging myself to learn from a range of perspectives to ultimately expand the lens with which I view the world.

Michelle Morris

Executive Director, Head of Business Development – Diverse Asset Managers, Investment Solutions

Michelle’s Recommendation:


Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama graciously shares her personal journey of finding her voice in her memoir, Becoming, and shines a light on all women seeking to find and use their voices ‘to build a better reality.’ She encourages each of us to continue our individual paths to self-discovery, while lifting others up with the affirmation ‘that they matter.’

Nicole Sams

Senior Vice President, Branch Manager

Nicole’s Recommendation:

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration

Isabel Wilkerson

This book tells the compelling story of Black Americans who fled the United States’ Southern region to the Midwest, Northeast, and West from approximately 1915 to 1970 in search of better lives. This exodus of almost six million people permanently altered our cities and our country and definitely left me with a new definition of resiliency.

Annie Diamond

Executive Director, New England Regional Sales Manager

Annie’s Recommendation:

Miracle in the Andes

Nando Parrado

The true story of a Uruguayan rugby team’s plight to survive a plane crash in the Andes mountain range, Miracle in the Andes, is a first-hand account written by Nando Parrado, one of the crash’s 16 survivors. This book epitomizes the importance of resilience and being resourceful; faced with unimaginable circumstances, the survivors banded together in an effort to survive to ultimately return home. This book resonated with me, not only because of Parrado’s riveting and candid writing style, but also because of his reflective nature on the importance of family, love and hope.

Lisa Golia

Managing Director, Head of Wealth Management Strategic Services

Lisa’s Recommendation:

Turn the Ship Around

L. David Marquet

This is the story of a Navy officer who was newly appointed to become captain of a nuclear-powered submarine. One pivotal day, he unknowingly gave a bad order, and his crew tried to follow it rather than challenge him. He realized that he needed to change the traditional top-down approach to leadership and empower his crew to make critical decisions. This resonated with me because, oftentimes, leadership means admitting you don’t have all the answers and creating an environment where others are empowered to make decisions.


The opinions expressed are solely those featured. The authored books shown in this material do not constitute an endorsement, authorization, sponsorship by or affiliated with Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley has not reviewed the books for approval and is not responsible for the information contained therein.

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CRC 4744405 06/22