Holiday content list: Gonski, Elliott, Atlas + more!

Holidays are almost here and it’s time to sit back and relax with a good book, podcast or Netflix series! Or catch up on something you’ve been claiming you’ve read…

To help fuel your inspiration, we asked ANZ directors and senior executives what they’ll be watching, reading and listening to this Summer!

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David Gonski - Chairman, ANZ

  • This year I immensely enjoyed Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Ruth Park’s book Harp in the South - great staging, excellent acting and adaptation. 
  • I also enjoyed the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ exhibition Masters of Modern Art from the Hermitage. The art is fabulous - including pieces not shown before in Australia and curated brilliantly. It is open into 2019 so plenty of time to go see it. 
  • I read East West St by Phillipe Sands, excellent and extremely well written. Presently I’m reading Fascism: A Warning by Madeleine Albright. Well written but scary.  

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Shayne Elliott – Chief Executive Officer, ANZ

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Ilana Atlas - Non-Executive Director, ANZ & Chairman, Coca-Cola Amatil

  • This year I have continued my obsession with the New York Times crossword app and added to it by also enjoying the NYT cooking app. I must emphasise: I do not cook. But I enjoy reading about others who do and fantasise that one day I might!
  • I loved the Mystery Road series. I had the privilege of spending a few days in the Kimberleys with Rachel Perkins, the director, and it really made the plot come to life. I enjoyed the three part mini-series about Jeremy Thorpe, the British Liberal Party leader in the 1970’s - A Very English Scandal. The title says it all. 
  • I was very taken with Tara Westover’s memoir Educated about surviving a survivalist family in Idaho and gaining a PhD from Cambridge. And a completely different memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast which is full of cartoons, photos and documents addressing the challenges of aging parents. A very funny take on a difficult time in our lives. I am in the middle of Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari - being one of the few people on earth it seems who has not read it. Big omission on my part. 
  • My first holiday book will be Tim Winton’s latest - The Shepherd’s Hut. I am a Perth girl and he perfectly captures the West Australian landscape and its effect on life. 

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Graeme Liebelt - Non-Executive Director & Chair, Risk Committee, ANZ

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Alexis George – Deputy CEO & Group Executive – Wealth, ANZ

  • This year like most (although few are prepared to admit it!) I could not help but watch The Bachelorette and of course The Bachelor - and the subsequent trials and tribulations!
  • I’m an avid reader so I always have three books on the go - this year’s favourites were Fear: Trump in the White House, Billion Dollar Whale and a book by a new Australian writer Bri Lee called Eggshell Skull. It is a true story of a young lawyer, following her journey as a judge’s assistant for a year and the impacts it has on her own story.
  • I have also been lucky enough to see the amazing Hermitage exhibition (from The Hermitage in St Petersburg) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
  • On a lighter note, I always love to finish the year with The Sydney Theatre Company’s Wharf Review – need a laugh after this year.
  • On the short break over the holidays I am doing a Maria Island walk in Tasmania and will be indulging in all the culinary and wine offerings of that state.

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Mark Hand – Group Executive – Australian Business and Private Bank, ANZ

  • Over Summer I will have the cricket and the Australian Open on the TV virtually the whole time - though it's often just background noise and the occasional distraction.
  • I have just finished a short UK series called Bodyguard - the quality of UK crime drama is excellent and everyone should watch Killing Eve if they have time.
  • I’m watching Escape at Dannemora but as a binge watcher I get frustrated that I need to wait for a week to see the next episode!
  • The latest book waiting to be read is Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss about the traits of high achievers. It was given to me by a friend which I took to mean I have many more development opportunities!

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Maile Carnegie – Group Executive - Digital, ANZ

  • I spent 2018 depressing myself by reading about the faltering of democracy with great books like The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis and Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas. I then tried to make myself feel better by re-reading Factfulness by Hans Rosling which makes a compelling case that we are failing to see the wonderful improvements humanity has made. 
  • Over the summer break I’m switching gears to spend time reading about the impact our current economic and political system is having on the vulnerable and marginalised.  Two books I have in my sights are Heartland by Sarah Smarsh, about working class poverty, and I Can’t Date Jesus by Michael Arceneaux, a series of essays about life as a gay, African-American, recovering Catholic. While I may not walk away feeling better about the state of the world, hopefully I will be reminded of the human versus just the academic impact.

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Richard Yetsenga – Chief Economist, ANZ

  • The End of Diversity As We Know It by Martin N. Davidson was lent to me by a friend, as part of an ongoing discussion on the topic. It opened my eyes to the phase shift we have seen. We have moved from a world where identified difference was used to repress and separate to a world where we tried to take difference out. Now we have recognised that also leaves a lot to be desired. We are in a new era, where difference is identified, but in recognition that we all bring something different to the table.      
  • Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari. If you want to appreciate the scope and possibility of the era in which we live, this is the book. Harari brings history, philosophy, technology and wisdom together in a way which is genuinely perspective altering.
  • Finally, Warlight by Michalel Ondaatje. While the English Patient was made into a nothing-like-the-book movie, all of Ondaatje’s books offer such poetic and insightful descriptions of the complexities of life they can be read and re-read. 
  • Over the break I am planning to get through season three of The Last Kingdom. The books are great escapism as well.

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Jane Halton - Non-Executive Director, ANZ & Chairman, Vault Systems

  • Over the break I hope to be enjoying Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s Everybody Lies - Big Data New Data and what the Internet Can Tell About Who We Really Are. It’s about what we can learn from our Google searches and why this can give us insights we cannot get in any other way – it certainly sounds like an intriguing read.
  • In a similar vein, I have been meaning to read Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright. The story of IMDB which certainly sounds like it will be riveting.
  • I am also intending to reread The Lady in the Van (and other stories) by Alan Bennett. It’s the true story of Miss Mary Shephard who lived in a van (actually several different vans over the years) in his driveway, one of which she famously painted yellow. Already a film, the stage play will be on in Melbourne next year staring Miriam Margolyes. For all those fans of Harry Potter seeing Ms Margolyes in another guise should be an excellent night out.
  • The break will give me a chance to listen to the Magic Flute in some spare moments. I am thinking of heading to Adelaide next year for the Adelaide Festival and specifically to see the Komishe Oper of Berlins production which has toured 25 cities and has had rave reviews. I have been lucky enough to see a couple of Barrie Kosky’s productions and they are amazing - never a dull moment and this one is described as a mix between Felix the Cat and Tim Burton.
  • Of course on New Year’s Day the ABC will no doubt broadcast the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo which has always been required viewing in our house. This year’s holiday viewing  will be a warm up to the full Tattoo which will be staged next October in Sydney complete with full size replica castle (stored in Newcastle I’m told).
  • Finally, a little closer to home for me will be a visit to the exhibition at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. Rome: City and Empire has 200 exhibits from the British Museum – it’s on until early February 

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Right Honourable Sir John Key, GNZM AC Independent Non-Executive Director, ANZ

  • I would recommend reading The Open by Andre Agassi –it’s a really interesting book about his life and the pressure his parents put on him to be the world’s greatest tennis player and all the things that he went through.
  • On Netflix there's a great little mini-series called Killing Eve. As well as Bodyguard.
  • A movie I would recommend (but I haven't seen it yet) is Mortal Engines because my daughter worked on it in as a costume designer. Funny story - when I was leader of the opposition going into the election campaign I was asked what would be my favourite movie. At the time I half tongue-in-cheek said Johnny English and the then Prime Minister, Helen Clark, said hers was about Che Guevara. Somewhat of a difference…!

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Paula Dwyer - Non-Executive Director, ANZ & Chairman, Tabcorp & Healthscope

  • My favourite book this year was Five Days in London, May 1940 by John Lukacs. A fascinating insight into the unfolding and historic War Cabinet debate in 1940 on whether to negotiate with Hitler or continue the war.
  • I loved my Melbourne Theatre Company subscription this year and saw three fabulous plays produced here in Melbourne including Twelfth Night, A Doll’s House, Part 2 and The Architect by Aiden Fennessey
  • I enjoyed the documentary Three Identical Strangers - a true and sad tale of an appalling social experiment rationalised under the banner of medical research.
  • I always find The Daily - the New York Times - podcast worth a listen and I love the Ottolenghi lifestyle podcast Simple Pleasures.

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Tony Warren – Group General Manager Communications & Public Affairs, ANZ

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John MacFarlane - Independent Non-Executive Director, ANZ

  • My three favourite books for the year were The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis - great insights on the Trump Administration and the challenges of US government; The Price of Fortune (The Untold Story of Being James Packer) by Damon Kitney; and Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope which covers the story of 1MDB - I would expect this will one day be made into a movie! I’m also reading Race Across the World by John Smailes, the story of the 1968 London to Sydney Car Marathon.
  • I’m working my way through some of Ray Dalio’s “volumes” which are in book form and podcasts. Very insightful but you have to have time and patience (both of which I am just a little short of).
  • I’m an avid reader (as I have been for a long time) of the Financial Times. The run into Brexit, the economics, the politics and way this process has developed is fascinating. Many books will be written on this as well.
  • I haven’t seen too many movies recently but, like many others, I thought both A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody were excellent.

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Sharon Zollner - Chief Economist New Zealand, ANZ

  • My favourite book this year was The Muse by Jessie Burton which skilfully weaves between 1960s London and civll war-wracked 1930s Spain, the plot shifting back and forward in time.
  • The best movie I watched was The Shape of Water which won a number of awards, including four Oscars topped by best picture – it truly was something very different! No wonder one Oscar was production design.

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Fred Ohlsson – Group Executive – Australia, ANZ

  • The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever by Mark Frost is probably the best sports book ever written. The best US amateur golfers challenging the best pro golfers (Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson) to an 18-hole best-ball match in the 1950s. It has an intriguing background story and takes place when times are changing for the game of golf - amateurs and ‘gentlemen’ are losing out to the growth and interest in professional golf. The actual match is played at Cypress Point (the best and most spectacular golf course in the world) on the Monterey Peninsula in California. A must read for any sports nut not just golf nut. 
  • This Christmas I’m looking forward to reading The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis about Trump and his impact on the US government bureaucracy. It sounds intriguing, depressing, fun and explosive all at once. Also anything by Michael Lewis makes it on to my reading list. He has written so many classics (Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Big Short, Flashboys etc).
  • I’m also going to read Heroes by Stephen Fry – a great English all-rounder and author.

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David Hisco - Group Executive & CEO New Zealand, ANZ

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Enjoy this list? You can see our recommendation from 2017 HERE.

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

editor's picks

13 Dec 2017

Content stocking: read, watch, listen

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23 Dec 2016

Summer content stocking: Elliott, Carnegie, Gonski

Shayne Elliott, Maile Carnegie, David Gonski | Chief Executive Officer & Group Executive Digital Banking & Chairman, ANZ

Reading lists are a fixture of the holiday period and BlueNotes’ list last year, sourced from ANZ directors and senior executives, was extremely popular. But this year we thought why limit the festive list to reading?