7 Books for Every Family Office

There are a number of books that address the unique ecosystem of the family office. Any discussion of family office administration has to consider the complex relationships between elder and rising generations, trustees and beneficiaries, advisors and family members. The following books are not the only books on the subject, nor are they ranked in any particular order of importance. We are constantly reading new books–these are current favorites, but expect a periodically updated list!

Complete Family Wealth, 2nd Ed. by Hughes, Massenzio, and Whittaker

Complete Family Wealth by James E. Hughes, Keith Whitaker, and Susan E. Massenzio explores the concept of family wealth and its management with a timeless philosophical approach. This book provides an excellent overview of how to ensure a positive legacy for future generations. The authors believe that true family wealth goes beyond just material and financial assets and is about much more than shrewd investing and tax-avoidance strategies. They present the principle of the “five capitals” of family wealth—human, intellectual, social, spiritual, and financial. The book also helps readers gain an appreciation for the responsibilities each family member has in the family enterprise. The goal is to preserve all of the family’s assets and ensure they are passed down through the generations.

Wealth 3.0 by Grubman, Keffeler, and Jaffe

Wealth 3.0 is an engaging read that advances the concept that the Family Wealth Industry should address true family flourishing. Of all the books in this list, Wealth 3.0 is not the most practical (it is not a “how to” on running a family office), but it is visionary in its efforts to advance a new paradigm of wealth. The book is primarily intended for advisors, but family elders would likely find it helpful as well. Below are some points that the book addresses, and which make a concerted effort to change the industry.

1) Reinforce the good that clients are doing already
2) Don’t make dynasty an artificial endpoint, if the family has another vision for its wealth
3) Develop the industry and make it truly interdisciplinary

Legacy by Richard Orlando, Ph.D.

Your legacy is defined by how you live, not merely what you leave behind. Regardless of the size of one’s family wealth, legacy carries emotional weight, presenting both unique opportunities and challenges. Legacy stands at the crossroads of money, values, and family dynamics. Decisions around Legacy become increasingly intricate as wealth grows. In Legacy Dr. Richard Orlando delves into the critical family wealth decisions that shape our lives, legacies, and relationships. He weaves together wisdom, anecdotes, and actionable guidance to align these decisions with our deeply-held values, purposes, and spiritual capital. From leading a fulfilling life to preparing the next generation for the nuances of wealth, Orlando addresses it all. For those grappling with these topics or advisors guiding clients through them, Legacy is an indispensable read.

The Myth of the Silver Spoon by Kristen Keffeler

Of all the books in this list, The Myth of the Silver Spoon is oriented towards the rising generation of wealthy families. It provides practical and philosophical advice for navigating the challenges and pressures that come with affluence. Author Kristin Keffeler uses new research, storytelling, and actionable concepts to guide readers through the process of overcoming negative thinking and behaviors related to wealth and money.

Through a seven-step process, Keffeler shows readers how to address the root causes of these challenges. These include entitlement and feelings of helplessness. She gives wisdom on how the rising generation can find and sustain their own vision for a fulfilling, impactful life. Overall, this book is an essential read for not only the rising generation of the wealthy, but also their families and the professionals who influence them. The Myth of the Silver Spoon offers a compassionate discussion and a roadmap for creating thriving and impactful lives for the next generation of the wealthy.

Borrowed from Your Grandchildren by Dennis Jaffe

In Borrowed from Your Grandchildren, Dennis Jaffe draws on research and interviews with “Generative Families.” Generative Families are able to sustain and grow their wealth across generations. This book studies what makes Generative Families succeed across multiple generations. The common thread across time and place is that these families have not only achieved financial wealth and business success but have also developed responsible future generations and expressed their values in everything they do. Borrowed from Your Grandchildren is not just theoretical. It contains extensive graphs, questionnaires, and specific advice for families and family offices.

Advising Ultra-Affluent Clients & Family Office by Michael Pompian

Advising Ultra-Affluent Clients and Family Offices may appear dated in some of its terms and references. However, its comprehensive information, detailed expertise, and no-nonsense approach make it a valuable book in the collection of any family office. Author Michael Pompian has decades of experience in private wealth investment consulting. The book covers both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of advising Ultra-Affluent Clients (UACs). He describes the attitudes, goals, and investment habits of UACs, and outlines effective investment strategies. He also explores the benefits and considerations of multigenerational family advising. Lastly, the book delves into specialized topics such as family governance, philanthropy, and asset protection.

Family Legacy & Leadership by Mark H. Daniell & Sara S. Hamilton

Family Legacy and Leadership provides readers with a well-rounded perspective on the subjects that shape the future of families. Although it was published last decade, its practical approach is still relevant for families who want to gain a deeper understanding of their legacy and the role of family leadership. Moreover, the authors emphasize that true family wealth is about much more than just money and that legacy is about both the past and the future. The book highlights the importance of consensus and commitment among family members and leadership teams in managing risks and opportunities. This book is a valuable resource for families looking to preserve their wealth and pass on a lasting legacy.