SenateSHJ recommended reading: Christmas edition

18 December 2017 | 2:30 min read

We bring you the eighth edition of recommended reading from the SenateSHJ team, just in time for Christmas – because we believe one should always have something interesting to read over the summer break. 

The Museum of Modern Love, Heather Rose

This is an exceptional novel that reimagines Marina Abramovic’s 2010 performance of ‘The Artist is Present’, in which she silently encountered individual members of a larger audience of viewers while seated in the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The performance itself was an intensely compelling exhibition of the power of silence and vision, and Heather Rose develops a suite of intersecting characters, all visitors to the performance, all subject to their own daily routines, to the possibilities of conversation and restitution, to hope and bereavement, to a need for internal guidance and meaning. Heather Rose’s The Museum of Modern Love won the 2017 Stella Prize for Australian women writers. It has many layers and will make a great read for the holidays. Pennie Hablethwaite, Bookkeeper

All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class, Tim Shipman

A behind-the-scenes look at how Brexit unfolded, based on access to all the key players and politicians, including Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, George Osborne and Nigel Farage. A thumping read. Darren Behar, Managing Partner, Australia

Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite, Paul Arden

There have been many books written on good business practice. All eminently sensible. All based on logic, common sense and good manners. But for those wishing to break new ground, it is not enough. Logic and common sense have a habit of leading us to the same conclusions. If you are going to make your mark on the world you have to start thinking differently. To think differently, you have to think illogically. This book will help you unlearn stuff and look at things through a different lens. Craig Badings, Partner

Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World, Niall Ferguson

A brilliant insight into how Britain achieved the greatest empire in the world and why it was lost. Some very surprising stories which go against some of the myths and a must read if you have British ancestry – and even if you don’t. Peter Hehir, Independent Partner

Alan Bennett’s Diaries, Alan Bennett

A masterpiece in observation of the day-to-day life of an extraordinary character and national treasure. Must be read with a doleful and refined Yorkshire accent, though. Peter Hehir, Independent Partner

Exponential Organisations: Why new organisations are ten times better, faster and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it), Salim Ismail

Even though three years old now (which is forever in the world of digital transformation), this book is still the perfect introduction to what digital transformation means for businesses and how traditional organisations can harness its power. In ten chapters, the book provides a roadmap for entrepreneurs and executives who need to set up or steer their business to success in a world defined by exponential change, where ‘data is the new oil’ and new technologies are augmenting products and humans alike. In doing so, it also helps reframe the reader’s understanding of what digital business models actually are and how we need to adjust our thinking to remain competitive, both as individuals and organisations, in the future. Nina Schwarz, Client Director

Swing Time, Zadie Smith

Nominated for the Man Booker Prize last year, this book is an interesting exploration of the friendship between two women as they journey from being childhood friends to adults. There’s also some biting analysis of celebrity culture which makes for a great read. Louise Poppelwell, Client Manager

The Squiz (weekday email)

The Squiz is my 6.00am news hit every morning. It’s a weekday email featuring the news of the day with insights and observations. It’s targeted at women, uniquely Australian and lives up to its promise of being ‘free, filtered and fresh’. It’s the brainchild of a former corporate affairs client and I’m hooked. It’s news with soul. I’m also a big fan of The Moth Radio Hour which has a fantastic blog for anyone interested in storytelling and connecting people ( And if you’re planning your morning reading for 2018, you might like to also subscribe to The Conversation and Eureka Street, particularly if you’re interested in research and considered reporting on the issues we face as a society. Angela Scaffidi, Managing Partner, Australia

S-Town (podcast from Serial and This American Life, hosted by Brian Reed)

A heart-breaking masterpiece. Created by This American Life, S-Town follows the life of John B McLemore – a charismatic horologist from Alabama who writes to This American Life about a story of corruption and hometown murder. But the story is not just a whodunit – it reveals the devastating complexities and grey areas of life and loneliness. As John describes life ... “tedious and brief”.  Tessa Donovan, Senior Client Executive

Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari

This book takes a step back and looks at human history in spans of thousands of years rather than hundreds. The author examines the connectivity of events that sent history in new directions, and explores the stories that hold us together – like money, religion, family, happiness and freedom. The book is challenging, inspiring and disturbing in turn. Erin Leuschke, Partner and Head of Digital Practice, New Zealand   

The Rubin Report (political news talk show on YouTube)

This YouTube channel is hosted by a classical liberal, who interviews people from many different areas of the political spectrum in a free, open and uncensored environment. He has hosted academics, politicians, and cultural figures from all areas of politics (The Left, the Right, and the non-aligned). It is a good channel, especially in this age of widening political divides and ‘political echo chambers’. James Cuthbertson, Senior Client Executive

Chat 10 Looks 3 (podcast with Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb)

Two of Australia’s smartest people Leigh Sales (who anchors the Australian nightly current affairs program 7.30) and Annabel Crabb (political journalist and commentator) discuss what they're reading, watching, cooking, listening to or irrationally exhilarated by – all round excellent journalists. Jill Calder, Partner

True Red: The Life of an Ex-Mongrel Mob Gang Leader, Tuhoe ‘Bruno’ Isaac, Bradford Haami

The telling of True Red is an act of bravery in of itself. A child who grew up in an environment that influenced the direction he would take to become a chapter leader of the Mongrel Mob, before becoming Tuhoe ‘Bruno’ Isaac. With Bradford Haami he shares a litany of personal and confronting stories into gang life and his inner turmoil. But importantly, this is a story about the journey to confront this. A read that challenges the reader to think deeply about a number of complex issues. Hugo Shanahan, Partner

An Isolated Incident, Emily Maguire

This gripping Australian novel tells the story of a small town murder from the point of view of the victim’s sister. Chris works at the local pub, and as she struggles through the intense grief of losing her younger sister Bella to a violent murder, she begins to suspect the men around her.

With themes of violence against women, media ethics and grief, this is not your average thriller. It’s less about who did it, and more about the impact of the crime on those close to Bella, and those not so close. The novel draws into question the way the media reports on violent crimes against women, and explores the public obsession that follows in some cases. Those familiar with the Jill Meagher case will see similarities. Sally McMicking, Client Director

NextDraft, Dave Pell

My day always includes making time for NextDraft – a US-based blog that collects intelligent views on stories that matter, things you should know, and some things that are just fun to know. An essential read for anyone wanting more than Twitter length news about the USA and other interesting stuff. Spiro Anastasiou, Partner

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, Ta-Nehisi Coates

Regarded as one of the United States’ foremost writers on race and cultural issues, this is a collection of Coates’ essays for The Atlantic throughout the Obama presidency. They present a unique perspective on race in American society, including issues of a resurgent white nationalism and the role of a black president in the public imagination. Great if you’re a sucker for long-form essays, or after a greater understanding of the difficult intersection of race and politics in America. Tom Finlay, Client Executive

Thank You for Being Late, Thomas L. Friedman

The famous New York Times writer delivers his best column yet with a compelling analysis of the 21st century and how to cope with all its pitfalls and possibilities. A great read for those wanting to make sense of our rapidly changing world and our place in it. Raphael Hilbron, General Manager & Partner

Guest contribution from Calum Revfem, Proxima Global

Why the World Population Won’t Exceed 11 Billion, (Swedish physician Hans Rosling on YouTube)

In part five of a six-part lecture, Hans Rosling uses statistics to give an overview of population growth and an explanation of why the total human population will never reach 11 billion, as others predict and fear. I believe this Swedish physician is the best presenter of population and consumption messages.

A collection of great reads I often refer to on sustainability thinking evolution.

Silent Spring, Rachel Carson

A ground-breaking environmental science book published in 1962 that documented the adverse effects on the environment of the indiscriminate use of DDT and other pesticides, and laid the foundations for the environmental movement.

The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability, Paul Hawken

An important book of the 21 st century, it addresses the necessity of merging good business practices with common sense environmental concerns.

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism, Jeremy Rifkin

New York Times bestselling author Jeremy Rifkin describes how the emerging Internet of Things is speeding us to an era of nearly free goods and services, precipitating the meteoric rise of a global Collaborative Commons and the eclipse of capitalism.

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