Paperback readers: the team’s summer reading lists
World in Motion – Global equities blog

Paperback readers: the team’s summer reading lists

We asked the Global Equities Team what books they will be devouring this summer, and as ever it’s an eclectic collection with something for everyone. See how many you’ve read!

Neil Robson – Head of Global Equities

The Premonition by Michael Lewis. He has never written a bad book. In this he gathers a series of real-life characters together and examines American preparation for the Covid pandemic and the political machinations that get in the way of protecting lives. From a teenage girl’s science project that became the model for social distancing, to secretive Wolverines working behind the ineffective Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Trump administration. What else do we not know about this time?
Still Life by Louise Penny. This was first published in 2005, so it’s hardly a fresh recommendation – but the good news for someone who likes crime is that there are 18 books in the series, all featuring Chief Inspector Gamache of the Surete du Quebec, a softer and more considered detective. This one features a cast of interesting characters in rural Canada in the village of Three Pines. For those that don’t like reading, the series is being produced for Amazon Prime Video with Alfred Molina in the role of Gamache.

Natasha Ebtehadj – Portfolio Manager

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates. For anyone who would like a climate change 101 into why all this matters and what we can do about it. The book helps frame what we are working towards on the environmental part of ESG, told in a very direct and factual way – but also in a very personal way that shines a light on Gates as a person and his values. His pragmatic approach to any problem – gathering facts and looking at engineering solutions – will help us all to focus on solutions to a big problem and also gives a glimpse into why he has been so successful in building one of the biggest companies in the world.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I’ve just finished rereading this, which is excellent but on reflection really macabre. If you break rules and are not the right shape you’ll get sucked into the chocolate pipe like Augustus Gloop. Probably would get cancelled now.

Alex Lee – Portfolio Manager

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Froer. Highly recommended. It gives a lot of really interesting information on where our food comes from and how its modern day production impacts us and the world. It also made me look at a few companies in a new light.
Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith and Weedon Grossmith. This is great, a very easy, very amusing read written in the 19th century.

David Dudding – Portfolio Manager

Nazi Billionaires: The Dark History of Germany’s Wealthiest Dynasties by David de Jong. This pretty much does what it says on the tin in terms of underlining how complicit various family controlled businesses were with the Nazi regime from early on in the 1930s, and how there has been very little subsequent recognition of much of their activities during this period. It shouldn’t be enjoyable because of the subject matter, but it’s very engaging
Oceans of Grain: How American Wheat remade the World by Scott Nelson. Another title that gives the game away straight off the bat. Having just got back from a trip to the Midwest, and with wheat in the news as commodity prices soar and Russia invading Ukraine, Europe’s breadbasket, this is a timely read. And I am sure Union Pacific and the railways will have a walk-on part. Perhaps we’ve been lulled into a false sense of security with our utopian belief in all-things digital and cloud-related, when what will really matter in the future, as ever, is control over physical assets which underpin global economies. For wheat in the 19th century read rare earth metals in the 21st?

Pauline Grange – Portfolio Manager

Atomic Habits by James Clear. Some great tips on how to replace negative habits with positive behaviour by making small life changes.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. An easy read with a positive message – don’t live your life in regret.

Georgina Hellyer – Portfolio Manager

The Intelligence Trap by David Robson. I’m not sure about the title, but it’s a good book. A great reminder of the importance of intellectual humility and self-awareness in making good decisions. More useful, in my opinion, than a lot of the investing books I’ve come across.
Inferior by Angela Saini. A kind of meta-analysis of what science does and does not show about the differences between men and women. It is balanced rather than politicised, and highly readable. Should be required reading for anyone with a daughter – or a son for that matter.

Jonathan Crown – Portfolio Manager

Prisoners of geography by Tim Marshall. A book worth reading as globalisation goes into reverse and security tensions rise. How does your geography shape decisions? The US is the lucky country with great resources, location and friendly neighbours. Africa’s infrastructure is terrible with rivers that are hard to navigate, while Russia will always be concerned about attacks through the great expanse of flatland that is the Great European Plain – which brings to mind current events.
Friday Night Lights by HG Bissinger. A warts-and-all view of high school football in West Texas where they spend more on the football team than on books. It will help to like sports books, but it’s so much more than a book on American football: it also tackles social and racial inequality in an economy that is as volatile as the oil price! It’s been made into a film and a TV series – the book is the one to go for.
– Plus Roger’s Profanisaurus Rex. Purely for reference, of course.
15 July 2022
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July 2022
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