SenateSHJ recommended reading: sixth edition

12 July 2016 | 2:30 min read


We bring you the sixth edition of recommended reading from the SenateSHJ team. Because we believe one should always have something sensational to read on the train* and elsewhere. 

Who are all these Trump supporters? George Saunders

This is a single article from The New Yorker, which came to me via NextDraft. As well as being superbly written, it provides some real insights into modern day politics, the level of engagement among voters, the level of discourse and how far the US presidential race has declined in that regard, and the role of rhetoric in shaping the public mood. It's a long read, but well worth it if you have even a passing interest in the US election, a keen interest in great long form journalism, or like thinking about what really makes people tick. Sam Prescott, Senior Client Director

All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

Set in the aftermath of WWII, this is a beautifully written tale of two characters fighting to survive. Marie-Laure is a blind French girl escaping the war with her father, and Werner is a German orphan who finds solace in the arms of the Hitler Youth. Although from opposite worlds, their paths are destined to collide with powerful consequences. Written in prose, the language truly transports the reader and entertains from the first page. Highly recommended! Briony Simpson, Senior Marketing Specialist

The Crimson Petal and the White, Michel Faber

This magical novel leads you through the gutters of London to the parlours of aristocracy, following the interwoven lives of Sugar – a clever prostitute with a vendetta against all men; William – a tortured dandy who takes Sugar as his mistress; and Agnes – William’s delicate and slowly maddening wife who believes Sugar is her guardian angel. The characters’ flawed humanity is unravelled, and we’re shown how easily people can be altered by their changing fortunes. The most surprising thing about this book is how much you will grow to care about these lost and mad characters, and how deeply you’ll be sucked into a complex world where nothing is as you assume.  Simone McKay, Client Executive

The Interregnum, Morgan Godfery

The Interregnum is a short book drawing on the knowledge of some of New Zealand’s brightest young minds. It’s a refreshing perspective from a generation that isn’t often invited to reflect on New Zealand society and culture. It is really compelling. Sarah Austen-Smith, Client Manager

Open, Andre Agassi

A quite brilliantly brutal account of his tormented rise to centre court on tennis’s global stage. Travelling a much troubled path, his ultimate journey of self-discovery plays a winning role in both his personal and sporting achievements. Did he really hate the game? Hugo Shanahan, Partner

Everywhere I Look, Helen Garner

I have accidently started reading a whole lot of powerful writing by women authors. This includes Australian writer Helen Garner who has just published a series of short essays called Everywhere I Look. Garner's writing shows the power of observation and the significance of everyday life - particularly to women. She writes about growing older, and her experience as a mother, grandmother and daughter.  Harriet Palmer, Senior Client Manager

Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It, Al Ries

Marketing expert Al Ries explains that long-lasting success depends on focusing on core products and eschewing the temptation to diversify into unrelated enterprises. He provides dozens of examples showing that companies that resist diversification are the most successful. A great read for any company leader who’s pondering a merger or acquisition, which might be logical, but not necessarily right. Raphael Hilbron, Partner

The Second Machine Age, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

This book takes the reader through the first machine age (the mechanisation of the workforce in the early 20th century) and then goes on to describe how the second machine age – the ‘thinking’ machine – is rapidly approaching. It cites a number of examples, from driverless cars to software which can diagnose patients better than doctors. This is an insightful and thoughtfully constructed book, which challenges our expectations of the future. Oliver Ibbetson, Client Executive

Creativity Inc, Ed Catmull

From the co-founder of Pixar, this a really interesting insight into how the company came about, and how it has managed to keep producing such great, creative and unique movies that stand the test of time – despite changes like being bought by Disney. It’s a great book to get you thinking about how you can stay or become more creative and, if you’re a manager, about how to get the very best out of your team. It blends practical business advice with fascinating stories and insights into the brains behind an inspiring company. Katy Thom, Senior Client Executive

The Prestige, Christopher Priest

This 1995 novel tells of a lifelong rivalry between two magicians, and the devastating effect of their feud on them and their families. This is an imaginative, complex, gothic thriller about the nature of illusion and secrecy, with a big reveal at the end. It was made into a movie directed by Christopher Nolan (of The Dark Knight series fame) starring Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Michael Cain. While I haven’t seen the movie, I understand it simplified the plot, omitting the current day timeline, focusing only on events in the Victorian era. Having read the story, with its dual timelines, I’d say the producers did the audience a disservice. The Prestige will appeal to magic buffs and those who love a ripping yarn with a healthy dose of escapism and fantasy. Brenda Newth, Associate Partner

Dreamers: Nga Kaimoemoea – Stories of the Hokianga, Susy Pointon

A collection of 40 short stories about the Hokianga and the people it attracts for various reasons and at different points in their lives. Although it’s fiction, the stories are inspired by local tales so for a girl who grew up there it has a lovely sense of familiarity. The collection accurately captures the Hokianga’s tendency to suit some, but not all. Marg Joiner, Senior Client Director

The Natural Way of Things, Charlotte Wood

In remote outback Australia, a group of women wake to find themselves taken prisoner. They don’t know why they’re there, but as they hear each other’s stories they find they’ve each been involved in a ‘scandal’ – they are women accused of causing the downfall of respected men, and they are being punished. This is a confronting story of power and survival, examining the disparities of where and how we place blame in our society. Wood’s tale is perhaps so disturbing because the reader knows it’s not too far outside our own reality. Sally McMicking, Client Director

We need to talk about Kevin, Lionel Shriver

This novel delves into the developing mind of a high-school killer through a series of letters written from his well-respected mother to his absent father. This dark novel discusses the social, emotional and psychological repercussions on Kevin's mother following his tragic actions in a fascinating way. Perfect for a gloomy winter’s evening. Amy Watson, Client Executive

The Inner Game of Tennis, Tim Gallwey

A book nominally about tennis, and the inner and outer game, really this is a book about overcoming self-doubt and anxiety to master yourself and perform at your peak. It’s a book for those that love tennis, all sport and are interested the right mental approach. Darren Behar, General Manager and Partner


*The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar WIlde

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