Life & Style

Our 10 Recommended Summer Reads

Diverse range of people reading. Image: Rawpixel.com (shutterstock)

Bookworms unite!

Are you looking for a book to sink your mind into? Well, I’ve got the list for you. I’ve scoured through the Hunter and Bligh headquarters, which also holds our parent company CoreData, to find the books we most enjoyed in 2017. Whether it’s a fantastic novel, an amazing autobiography, or even a non-fiction work of art, we bring only the best reads. Without further ado, and with no particular level of importance, allow me to start:

Room, by Emma Donoghue

“This novel is written through the eyes of a 5-year-old who lives (trapped) in a room with his Ma. Personally, the childish language made me hesitant. However, my Goodreads phone app was open as I browsed through the reviews of this book – something I was glad to have done that day. But while the language is very childish, the child is very curious, which makes details seem random but necessary. Unlike your conventional novel, where expressions, details and events are described and easily understood, this five-year-old offers factual points like, “after nap we do Scream every day but not Saturdays or Sundays. We clear our throats and climb up on Table to be nearer Skylight, holding hands not to fall.” You have to read between the lines to understand what is going on because this 5-year-old named Jack doesn’t understand the world like we adults do. To Jack, screaming at the skylight is just another activity, like running around the room or watching TV. To us, it’s a desperate call for help. You’ll be captivated by page 2 and hooked by page 10.” – Chris Kelly, Writer

I am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes

“I loved it because I didn’t expect to. The blurb sounded like it was too action-packed, unrealistic and too difficult to get into too much detail. I was wrong. It was captivating from the start, shocking at first, and I then realised I was addicted. The level of detail makes you question, is this really fiction? It was honestly a book that was written so well you feel as if you knew all the characters, whether you liked them or not, and that you were living in their world. Its focus is on current global issues, thus making it extremely relevant and immersive. If you love crime thrillers, constant surprises, wit and intelligence then this book is a must. Consistently enthralling and made 600 pages seem like a short novel, as you lost all sense of time. I honestly cannot wait until this is turned into a television series or movie, just to see it come to life. ” – Rebecca Cherote, Editor and Head of Brand and Strategy

How to win friends and influence people, by Dale Carnegie

“Funnily enough I bought the book after watching the Simon Pegg film ‘How to lose friends and alienate people,’ I read the book after realising the film was a kind of parody of the message it delivers. I like how the simple ideas of ‘mind over matter’ and ‘catching more flies with honey’ were relevant almost a century ago when the book was written, and ring true with a lot of scenarios in modern life. It’s an old book with some basic, timeless & universal advice on how to present your best self & converse with people on challenges & topics, in a way so everyone benefits (looking for a solution in a ‘glass half full’ kind of way). Lots of references & examples of the early 19th century, but still valuable advice for today.” – Tom Livingstone, Writer

The Dry, by Jane Harper

“I bought the book at the airport as when I saw the cover I recalled my mum raving about it; she’d heard the author do a reading at the Perth Writer’s Festival. It’s a murder mystery set in outback Australia. I liked it because it’s a real page-turner with cliffhangers at the end of each chapter that makes you want to keep reading. I must admit to loving a bit of crime fiction – both on screen and in books – and the characterisation in this book is done really well. I would recommend it to anyone with a love for crime fiction and mystery.” – Kristen Turnbull, Director WA

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, by Yuval Noah Harari

“Homo Deus is a look at the abilities which granted humans domination over other species in the world and how our society has developed through the ages. The most interesting aspect of Homo Deus was how it drew upon theories from a variety of fields, from economics, biology, psychology, political science and religion, to summarise the development of our society and the path forward. In particular, Harari forecasts two future implications based on our current trajectory of technological evolution. One, that these developments will increasingly obscure the meaning in human’s lives and two, that dataism, the worship of data and data-processing, will evolve to become a core aspect of our lives.” – Joe Cleaves, Research Consultant

E=mc2: A Biography of the World’s Most Famous Equation, by David Bodanis

“This book was ostensibly a ‘biography’ about the famous equation itself, but in unpacking all the elements within it actually became a biography of the many great minds (and not so great) that contributed to making Einstein’s insight possible. From what seems like a very dry mathematical formula we see humans arguably reach one of the pinnacles of their intellectual achievement and understanding of the universe. However, this was only made possible through many intertwining individual human stories over an extensive period of time. Driven by random chances, luck and bad luck , hubris, pride, competitiveness, depression, obsession, jealousy, greed, love, hate and just about every other human emotion you can think of – these philosophers, scientists, engineers and thinkers all contributed critical developments to our thinking that laid the foundation for the incredible intellectual developments we were to make in the 20th century. In summary: Even the biggest ideas have little people behind them (who it seems are often self-serving assholes). Our world is built on the cumulative brilliance of very few – but on no one person alone.” – Tai Rotem, Director of Research

Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight

“A memoir, detailing the story of Nike, tracking the success of the company from borrowing $50 in 1962, to purchase high-quality low-cost athletic shoes from Japan, through to the $30 billion empire that Nike is today. Shoe dog is a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like, it’s a chaotic journey riddled with mistakes, endless struggles and sacrifices. At the same time, I really enjoyed the great story about luck, grit, and the magic alchemy of a handful of eccentric characters who came together to build an empire.” – Josh Tucker, Head of Digital

Leading, by Alex Ferguson with Michael Moritz

“I’m a big football fan and although Alex Ferguson/Manchester United aren’t my favourite football manager/club, I think you aren’t a true football fan if you can’t appreciate his story and what he achieved over his many years at Manchester United, managing and leading it to consistent success. What I loved about this book is that it’s not just him talking about himself, it has loads of insights and stories of the players he managed and led and how he changed them, personally and professionally. And there is a lot of straight-talking in there, sometimes you do need to be tough and can’t sugar-coat things. For us mere mortals who aren’t football players or even not football fans, the book is a still a really good and inspiring read about how we can potentially replicate what he did in our own personal and professional lives and for some of us, how to be a better manager or leader.” – Fumin Rianto, Head of Operations

Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn

“Six years before the rise of the immensely successful thriller Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn wrote the equally haunting modern gothic, Sharp Objects. Flynn’s every word is loaded with piercing darkness, each plot twist is teased out over multiple chapters, and every character fights a personal battle while the small town of Wind Gap struggles to uncover who is responsible for the gruesome murders of two young girls. If the prowess of Gone Girl and David Fincher’s subsequent film is anything to go by, HBO’s upcoming production of Sharp Objects should once again prove Gillian Flynn’s masterful mind. I highly recommend Sharp Objects and all of Flynn’s novels to those enraptured by Gone Girl.” – Megan McClelland, Writer

Grit, by Angela Duckworth

“I bought it cause I liked her TED talk on the same subject, and it was interesting that she got a MacArthur fellowship for her work on Grit. She uses stories and colloquial language mixed in with her scientific research and personal anecdotes to create a well-rounded picture of what it means to have grit. The whole book was interesting, honestly – there are things about success in it that seem so obvious once you read them, but you would’ve never thought about them before. It’s an excellent book for motivating people to find and pursue their ‘ultimate goal’, and breaks down the psychological makeup of a successful person.” Rashmi Mohotti, Writer

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