This year, we’re doing our annual Christmas list differently. You can see some of the past book recommendation posts – 2021, 2020 and 2019 – for past reading ideas. Like most of you, however, our content consumption has proliferated into podcasts, audiobooks and some outstanding tv-series. So for 2022, we are going to recommend a bit of everything.
Here’s our top 11 recommendations to get you through your road trips, beach walks, plane time or quiet time. Let us know if there is anything else you would add to the list.
WeCrashed – This tv miniseries follows the story of married couple Adam and Rebekah Neumann who created WeWork. The shared-office company that Gareth Brown called the Uber of dumb investments reached a valuation of US$47 billion in 2019. It then crashed following financial revelations at the company. Starring Anne Hathaway and Jared Leto, streaming on Apple TV.
The Dropout – Another TV miniseries that follows Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Theranos, a biotech company that claimed to have revolutionised blood testing. In 2015, Theranos’s valuation had soared to US$9 Billion and Holmes was named the youngest self-made billionaire by Forbes magazine. However, in 2016 talk of potential fraud at Theranos surfaced following a series of investigations that showed doubts about the company’s claims. Holmes was then charged with deceiving investors by fraud in 2018. Starring Amanda Seyfried and streaming on Disney+. John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood is an excellent book on the same subject for those who prefer to read.
Inventing Anna – This series tells the story of Anna Sorokin, who posed as a wealthy German heiress named Anna Delvey whilst living in New York. Anna infiltrated the high society of New York and convinced them she was heir to a fortune. She then received thousands in cash, goods and services before being discovered in a sting operation and charged for grand larceny. The series stars Julia Garner as Anna and is on Netflix.
How the world really works – This book or audiobook by Vaclav Smil is “A scientist’s guide to our past, present and future” and follows seven of the most fundamental realities governing our survival and prosperity. It looks into energy supply, food production and the environment in an analytical way to change the way we see our past, present and future. Penguin books or Amazon.
Bad Sport – This six-part series follows different stories about sport and crime and why the people involved acted the way they did. Told from the perspective of the athletes, coaches and law enforcement officers associated with each case. The series is available on Netflix.
Tim Ferris interviews Ed Thorp – Podcast episodes 596 and 604 of the Tim Ferris show are interviews with legendary poker player, investor and inventor Ed Thorp. The 90-year-old polymath created a system to beat the casinos at blackjack, ran a hedge fund that generated returns of 20% per annum for 30 years and has plenty of advice on staying fit and healthy.
Good Night Oppy – This documentary film is about a NASA exploration rover called Opportunity that was sent on a 90 day mission to Mars. The rover ended up lasting 15 years. Good Night Oppy is on Amazon TV.
Stolen Focus – This book, by Johann Hari explains why our attention spans are reducing and what is to blame for this. He found that switching from device to device and tab to tab was a depressing way to live, so went on a mission to discover how our attention has been stolen. Buy the book on Amazon.
Why Copper Might be the Tightest Market the World has ever Seen – An Odd Lots Bloomberg podcast discussing why copper could be the big story of the next decade. Listen on Youtube or your favourite podcast provider.
The Rest isHistory – Hosts and historians Tim Holland and Dominic Sandbrook interrogate the past and attempt to de-tangle the present. We especially recommend episodes 200-203 on the American Civil War and 235-6 on China and World War II), but you won’t go too far wrong picking one at random. Also available through every podcast provider.
Cuba: An American History – this Pulitzer prize winner by Ada Ferrer ranges across the four centuries from Christopher Columbus’s first arrival (Columbus never set foot on what is now the United States of America) to today. It’s a fascinating history of a small but strategically important island’s fraught relationship with the world’s superpowers, first Spain and then the United States.
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