As promised, the first of our many instalments of cherished reads that either the team have read themselves or have been recommended by someone special. This list is compiled with thought, care and real recommendation, rather a list for lists sake.
1. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferranti (quartet series)
A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense and generous hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighbourhood, a city and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her two protagonists.
2. The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Emdu De Waal
264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them bigger than a matchbox: Edmund de Waal was entranced when he first encountered the collection in his great uncle Iggie’s Tokyo apartment. When he later inherited the ‘netsuke’, they unlocked a story far larger and more dramatic than he could ever have imagined. From a burgeoning empire in Odessa to fin de siecle Paris, from occupied Vienna to Tokyo, Edmund de Waal traces the netsuke’s journey through generations of his remarkable family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century.
‘The most brilliant book I’ve read for years… A rich tale of the pleasure and pains of what it is to be human’ Bettany Hughes, Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year
3. Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
“While the history books are filled with tales of obsessive visionary geniuses who remade the world in their image with sheer, almost irrational force, I’ve found that history is also made by individuals who fought their egos at every turn, who eschewed the spotlight, and who put their higher goals above their desire for recognition.” This is a beautiful book about the pathway to success. My favourite section of the book, by far, was the section on failure.
4. Unmistakable: Why Only Is Better Than Best by Srinivas Rao
This is a great book for anyone interested in creativity. The concept: don’t compete with anyone. Being “the best” is a lame pursuit. Instead, be “the only” one who can do what you do. You have unique talents, abilities, and background that position you perfectly for doing unmistakable and powerful work.
5. Being Human by Steve Hilton
In this powerful manifesto, Steve Hilton argues that the frustrations people feel with government, politics, their economic circumstances and their daily lives are caused by deep structural problems with the systems that dominate our modern world – systems that have become too big, bureaucratic and distant from the human scale. He shows how change is possible, offering us a more human way of living.