What Bill Gates and I are reading over the Festive Season

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For many of us this is a time where we have a few days to pause and draw breath, consider the year that was and if you are like me (or maybe not) one of the many things I like to do is catch up on reading those books I gathered throughout the year but never found time to read. This is something I have in common with Bill Gates so I thought I would share with you what we are both reading over the Festive Season.

Bill’s List.

String Theory by David Foster Wallace: this book has nothing to do with physics, but its title will make you look super smart if you’re reading it on a train or plane. String Theory is a collection of five of Wallace’s best essays on tennis, a sport he gave up in his Microsoft days.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight: This memoir, by the co-founder of Nike, is a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like: messy, precarious, and riddled with mistakes.

The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee: doctors are deemed a “triple threat” when they take care of patients, teach medical students, and conduct research. Mukherjee, who does all of these things at Columbia University, is a “quadruple threat,” because he’s also a Pulitzer Prize–winning author. In his latest book, Mukherjee guides us through the past, present, and future of genome science.

The Myth of the Strong Leader by Archie Brown: this year’s fierce election battle prompted me to pick up this 2014 book, by an Oxford University scholar who has studied political leadership—good, bad, and ugly—for more than 50 years. Brown shows that the leaders who make the biggest contributions to history and humanity generally are not the ones we perceive to be “strong” leaders.

My List.

Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe: this is a book I have wanted to finish all year. I started reading it on the way to Uluru and ended gifting the copy I had to Leroy, a first people descendant and a really great story teller we met there. Pascoe puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for precolonial Aboriginal Australians. The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating and storing – behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag.

Y Size Your Business by Jason Ryan Dorsey: by 2020 it’s estimated Gen Y or Millennials will account for 42% of Australia’s workforce ; sorry to break this news to fellow baby boomers but our time in the sun is coming to an end. Millennials bring tremendous potential and timely skills to the workplace (just ask, they’ll tell you). Dorsey, a Millennial himself, delivers an insider’s view on exactly how to attract the best Gen Y employees, quickly develop their workplace skills, and then unlock their performance, motivation, and loyalty.

Wayside by Graham Long: this is simply a beautiful book in every sense. I have been a long-time fan of The Reverend Graham Long and every week I try to catch his letter to the Inner Circle that he shares on James Valentine’s program on ABC 702 each Monday. Long collaborated with acclaimed photographer Gary Heery who captures the most amazing black and white photographs of the visitors, volunteers, staff and friends whose paths cross at the Wayside in Sydney’s Kings Cross, and Reverend Graham Long through his words tackles profound truths about life, death, friendship, hardship and the redemptive power of love.

As we approach the end of 2016 and reflect on the year that was and ponder what 2017 holds, I wish everyone a very happy, safe and peaceful Festive Season with family and friends.

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