There’s never been a time in history when so many of us have spent such copious amounts of time at home watching television and movies, reading or listening to audiobooks or bingeing our favourite podcast series.
Ahead of the upcoming festive season, we asked ANZ’s directors and senior executives to share their recommendations from the past year and what they are looking forward to relaxing with over the break.
Paul O’Sullivan – Chairman, ANZ
I like to use crime fiction to mentally travel and to switch off after a long day of reading business documents. Two of my favourite writers are Henning Mankell from Sweden and Andrea Camilleri from Italy. Both use their fiction as vehicles for social commentary - as well as being rattling great story tellers.
For more serious reading, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin at Optus loaned me a copy of The Socionomic Theory of Finance by Robert Prechter. As a former economics student I found it a confronting read as it debunks much of the established thinking on cause and effect in financial markets. She was being wonderfully mischievous knowing my increased involvement at ANZ!
On TV - you can’t go past the ABC’s Insiders on a Sunday morning.
Shayne Elliott – Chief Executive Officer, ANZ
I’m looking forward to a quiet summer to try get through a range of books I’ve wanted to read:
As for watching, my wife and I have loved the first seasons of US cop show The Rookie about a 40 year old who signed up as a trainee cop in the LAPD. It’s fiction but loosely based on a true story.
I also recently bought the Alfred Hitchcock movie collection – on DVD! - for my daughter and I to watch over the break. I’ll also enjoy the deluxe edition of Lawrence of Arabia. A magical movie which reminds me of my time in the Middle East - the romance and beauty of the desert. It also has a fabulous soundtrack.
Our holiday place doesn’t have wifi so I’m excited for no streaming and no podcasts! I feel like I’ve spent too much time on screens and with headphones on over the past two years so will instead be spending time walking outside with our dog Luca.
Christine O’Reilly – Independent Non-Executive Director, ANZ
I recently read American Marriage by Tayari Jones by mistake! I was actually supposed to have read American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld for my book club but couldn’t remember the title and read the wrong book! It was still a great read though!
I am a big fan of local Mornington Peninsula writer Garry Disher. His latest book The Way It Is Now is based in the Victorian beachside suburbs of Point Leo, Somers, Merricks Beach and Balnarring. Although I don’t think it was his best, I found it very evocative as I recognised locations throughout the novel and believe I can identify some locals woven into the plot! I’ll read some more of his over the holidays, great summer and beach reading.
Continuing the Australian theme, I am currently watching the second series of the ABC drama Total Control with Debra Mailman and Rachel Griffiths. I find it confronting but extremely good. Sadly, banks are not depicted well.
Finally, I have not yet had an opportunity to go to the cinema to watch the new James Bond movie No Time To Die but I will get there over the break! The Bond movies are very big in our household - normally it’s the one movie we all watch together but this time the others could not wait!
John Macfarlane – Independent Non-Executive Director, ANZ
I have a few books on my to-do list over the break:
I am not a binger of TV but I have just started watching Ted Lasso which is very enjoyable and contains some great messaging! Beyond that,TV watching will be dominated by sport! However, my favourite mid-year total relaxation choice is Gogglebox! It’s the only reality TV (other than sport) I can watch and enjoy!
This year turned out to be the year of the podcast for me. I almost feel like I’m permanently walking round with earpods in - either on the phone or listening to a podcast. I enjoy the various series produced by the Financial Times.
However, Real Vision has been the big winner for me in 2021. Founded by ex-hedge fund manager Raoul Pal, a “macro strategist” who grew up in the world of fixed income and credit but has since converted to the world of digital assets (watch Raoul’s Adventures in Crypto). His background and training mean the digital and financial world is seen through a lens familiar and understandable to me. The program hosts high quality guests who cover a broad range of topics and provide a wide array of views.
Antonia Watson – Group Executive & CEO, New Zealand, ANZ
Top of my list to read over the break is Ken Follett’s new book Never about a path to a World War III that’s apparently quite realistic. I love his books, they are incredibly well-researched and you always learn something while being told a good yarn.
Other good pieces of “airport fiction” I’ve read recently include:
Gerard Florian – Group Executive Technology, ANZ
In the run up to the much anticipated COP26 in Glasgow I read The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson, an eerily familiar climate fiction novel set in 2025. Life imitates fiction again.
I also enjoyed AI 2041, Ten Visions for Our Future by Kai-Fu Lee. The former president of Google China collaborated with celebrated novelist Chen Quifan to imagine how we will live with artificial intelligence through 10 short stories based in 2041.
I have been bingeing The Great on Stan – an occasionally accurate account of Catherine the Great which somehow threads the needle of acceptable material despite being very wrong. Huzzah!
I’ve been enjoying The Tim Ferriss Show recently, his episode on Web 3.0 is essential listening for those wanting to better understand what the fuss is all about.
Sir John Key – GNZM AC Independent Non-Executive Director, ANZ
I have a few recommendations from this year, all on very different topics!
Emma Gray – Group Executive Data & Automation, ANZ
This summer I am going to try finish Between Two Hells by Diarmaid Ferriter about the Irish civil war. Not a lot of people realise it happened but it was very nasty brother vs brother stuff. I started reading it during lockdowns but always found Netflix got in the way!
I am also planning to re-read Working Backwards by Colin Bryar and Bill Carr. Both men are Amazon Web Services veterans and their story on how the organisation drove agile development is inspirational.
I’m also going to do some serious movie and series watching:
Mark Whelan - Group Executive Institutional, ANZ
I’m planning on reading three very different books this summer:
I’m also keen to see Belfast, a coming of age film covering the conflicts in Ireland through the late sixties and early seventies. I’ve heard it’s very confronting but laced with great Irish humour - a must watch.
Between all of this, I’ll be watching the series Yellowstone on Stan, a western drama about a ranching family in Montana.
Graeme Liebelt - Non-Executive Director & Chair, Risk Committee, ANZ
After watching all nine episodes of Squid Game on Netflix I was desperately in need of something a little more light hearted!
Like many, I had already watched and thoroughly enjoyed Ted Lasso so instead landed on Welcome to Sweden – a very funny series with eccentric characters highlighting the culture clash between the US and Sweden.
Ilana Atlas - Non-Executive Director, ANZ & Chairman, Coca-Cola Amatil
I have enjoyed a wide variety of content this year so it’s always tricky to narrow it down to just a few:
Kevin Corbally – Chief Risk Officer, ANZ
Throughout the year, I sent daily COVID-19 updates to our Australian staff and included a few words on what I was enjoying that week. The best part was staff would often respond and share their own recommendations so I now have a very long list to get through over the break!
Three of the more memorable books I have read this year have been:
I am also looking forward to sitting down over the holidays and re-reading Stephen Fry’s Mythos which is an entertaining re-telling of some of the great Greek myths and legends. I’ve been dropping hints to the other members of the Corbally family about books I wouldn’t mind reading over the holiday period, including one from the wonderful Australian crime author Chris Hammer titled Treasure and Dirt and the latest from Lee Child, and Michael Connolly. Fingers crossed I am on Santa’s ‘nice’ list!
Finally, I am really looking forward to sitting down and watching multiple re-runs of the Melbourne Demons wonderful 2021 AFL Grand Final victory over the Western Bulldogs! I have yet to get tired of watching that game and seeing captain Max Gawn hoisting the AFL Premiership cup after a very long 57-year wait!
Richard Yetsenga – Chief Economist, ANZ
I have consumed a lot of content over the past two years, so I have tried my best to hand out my “best of” awards fairly across the different categories!
Jane Halton - Non-Executive Director, ANZ & Chairman, Vault Systems
Given his recent passing, I am planning to listen to a number of Steven Sondheim’s soundtracks - particularly Sunday in the Park with George which was one of my father’s favourites. I’ll also be tuning into the 50 Things that Made the Modern Economy podcast from the BBC.
On my reading list there is a huge pile building up from a year of not having much time to read:
I also need to catch up on some good viewing so Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog will be top of the list.
Ken Adams – Group General Counsel, ANZ
Shayne Elliott recently gave me a copy of Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe. An extraordinary example of what can happen when a company doesn’t have a sound purpose and when the legal/regulatory system breaks down. There’s also a good documentary mini-series on the same story called Crime of the Century.
ANZ’s Executive Committee has been on a learning journey on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and issues. I learned a lot from reading Everything You Need to Know About the Uluru Statement From the Heart by Megan Davis and George Williams. This will be a key issue for Australia in coming years. If you are interested but only have a few minutes to spare, have a look at Paul Keating’s 1992 Redfern Speech.
Mark Hand – Group Executive Australia Retail & Commercial, ANZ
Two streaming series have really hooked me over the last year and – maybe because we’re in a global crisis which, as humans, we could’ve handled better – neither really paints humanity in the softest light.
Succession, a story of a truly dysfunctional media family in a time of technological revolution ruled by a despotic, immoral and ageing patriarch, is obviously fictional. There’s no character with whom it’s possible to sympathise, they’re all horrible. And that’s probably the attraction.
The other series to which – and I won’t say I’m addicted as it’s too serious for easy puns – is Dopesick. In my few decades in banking I’ve seen quite a few industries go awry but the horrific consequences of the opioid crisis in America, inflamed by organisations who lost their sense of purpose, is a terrifying morality tale and Michael Keaton is terrific.
Maile Carnegie - Group Executive Digital & Australia Transformation, ANZ
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Franklis is an oldie but it's one of my favourite books so I am going to re-read it (again) over the break as a reminder of the attitude I could and should take during the crazy times we are in.
Some of other interesting pieces I will be consuming over the break include:
The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.