Blackdot’s top book and podcast picks have just landed

 

Blackdot’s top book and podcast picks have just landed

Blackdot’s top book and podcast picks have just landed

As we approach the end of year and retreat from our desks for a much-needed break, we asked our people to share their all-time favourite books or podcasts that have influenced them, changed their outlook on life, or simply made them want to keep reading.

Spanning topics from true crime, history, entrepreneurship, digital transformation and more – we’ve curated a list of Blackdot’s ultimate recommendations from our team around the globe. So, whether you’re a senior enterprise leader looking for something new, or a student trying to find your feet, get your eyes and ears ready – as we’ve got you covered with our top picks this holiday season!

Ben Frederiksen

Managing Director, APAC

Book: How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book was originally written back in 1936 but is still incredibly relevant today. It reminds people about people – which is the reason why I love it.

Podcast: Masters of Scale by Reid Hoffman

I’m very passionate about innovation and growth, so this podcast provides me with great insights and inspiration.

Leonie Brawn

Senior Manager

Book: A new Earth by Eckart Tolle

Eckart Tolle’s teachings about how identifying with our own mental positions can make us more or less effective when interacting with others – have been so useful for me in getting to know myself and others better.

Book: Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

Brene’s work about values-based leadership was life changing! I love her message around the importance of authenticity, and the way we show up authentically is to live our values.

Podcast: Maya Shankar

Maya is a behavioural scientist, and in this podcast, she has intimate conversations with lots of interesting people who reflect on a time of change for them – with Maya giving us insights as to why.

Matt McLaren

VP, Americas

Book: Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

Podcast: Pivot by Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway

This podcast provides a balanced look into the latest updates, excesses and culture of Silicon Valley, and the broader business world.

Daren Hill

Director

Book: Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki

I read this story with my 7-year-old son, and it’s forever changed the way he and I talk about gratitude in a world full of excess. It’s given us an entirely new language about fears, anxieties, and the impact our feelings have on our behaviours. It’s made me a better parent and taught me that children are quite capable of grappling with complex emotions if given the right framing and guidance.  

Ceren Gumus

Consultant

Book: The Stranger by Albert Camus

This book introduced me to Camus’ existentialist and absurdist lens, which claims that life itself is meaningless and absurd, and it is you who should add meaning to it. The main character (also the narrator) is highly unlikeable and is an anti-hero, but his story after his mother dies is a page-turner, and his actions show that human beings are irrational, among other revelations.

Podcast: Pivot by Scott Galloway and Kara Swisher

I enjoy listening to Swisher and Galloway’s raw and fun convo about the worlds of business and the news. Sometimes they’ll have guests from big brands speaking about their marketing / organisational strategy which always provides great insights.

Christian Bates

Head of Sales

Book: Monash by Roland Perry

Most famous for his success in war, he helped build the Anzac spirit. He’s also a famous engineer whose bridges still stand today – and when his business needed to better understand law, he took it up himself and was part of major court cases whose judgements are still quoted today. What I especially enjoy is his commitment to learning and hard work.

Book: Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

It provides insight into an interesting time of human history where the recent invention of the printer had meant all people could better access knowledge. This book taught me to spend time noticing what is happening around me and that the simplest observation may have profound benefit.

Xavier Tang

VP, Americas

Book: Range by David Epstein

As consultants, we often develop as jack-of-all-trades type of professionals. We typically come across deep industry experts and in comparison, we may feel inadequate with our diverse toolkit. This book really helps to put into perspective the power of developing a wide range of skills and why such individuals can succeed, and be integral to business and society.

Podcast: 99% Invisible by Roman Mars

A wonderful podcast for design nerds that love going deep on obscure topics – covering fascinating backstories on everyday matters, generally with a design or architectural overlay. It helps provide the perspective that nearly everything in our daily lives has some level of design or forethought placed to it at some point in history. It also reminds us that we can consciously create or change almost any element of our world. Roman is a wonderful storyteller, his voice pulls you in.

Katherine Pranic

Content Manager

Book: Will by Will Smith 

A thoroughly engaging biography – I think audiobook is the way to go with this one because you get to enjoy it told by a natural storyteller.

Podcast: Changing How People Help People with Josh Reid Jones – by The Good Chat with Anita Anabel

I’ve been following Josh Reid Jones – a social impact entrepreneur – on social media for quite a while now, and love his message of helping people.

George Clarke

Commercial & Capability Lead

Book: Be More Wong: How Failure Makes You an Outstanding Leader by Colin Hunter

This book stands out from other leadership books in that it is deeply personal, authentic, with plenty of “a-ha!” moments.

Podcast: The Learning Hack Podcast by John Helmer

It does a great job of exploring relevant and engaging ideas that have really enhanced my understanding of the way people learn, and how we can harness that.

Sanaz Amirifar

Consultant

Book: The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown

It gives a new perspective to life, understanding that hiding vulnerabilities is not the answer for fulfillment, but being at ease and in tune with it will allow you to live a more content life.

Book: Radical Love by Omid Safi

A wonderful collection of Middle Eastern poems from Sufi poets and philosophers.

Abhilash Javaji

Analyst

Book: Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom
Superintelligence looks at the storyline of non-human intelligence; where it came from and where it’s headed. If you enjoy extreme technical detail and evidence-based storytelling, you will enjoy this piece by Nick Bostrom.

Podcast: The End of the World by Josh Clark

This limited series looks at the many ways human existence could come to an end. His objective research paired with emotional storytelling make for a fantastic listening experience that I highly recommend, irrespective of your interest in the topic.

Federica Fiore

Consultant

Book: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

In this fast-paced century, where we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Kundera offers an enlightening glance into how to maintain “lightness” in our “heavy” lives filled with responsibilities. For those striving to maintain a happy and balanced life, this cannot be missed.

Podcast: The Psychology Podcast by Scott Barry Kaufman

This podcast hosts high-profile professionals discussing topics from ‘The Science of Happiness’ to the ‘Psychology of Persuasion’ – captivating topics and useful learnings to apply in everyday life!

Giovanni Saraceno

Manager

Book: The Alchemist by Paula Coelho

A must-read for anyone who has grand dreams or aspirations!

Podcast: As Per Podcast

Because I made it!

Robert Luo

Manager

Book: 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

An easy and fruitful read for building relationships with friends, family, clients, and colleagues. Some of the most “obvious” advice comes to life as the author uses lively examples. An outlook changer for the humble consumers who are eager to invest in effective communication and lasting relationships.

Podcast: Business Wars by Wondery

Great insight on company history and industry trends. Very awesome storytelling and puts companies into perspective of evolution and industry-wide shifts. Interesting episodes include Coca Cola vs. Pepsi, Boeing vs. Airbus and Adidas vs. Nike.

Shyna Kher

Consultant

Book: Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

An easy, quick read which is always helpful. This book provides a very different take on love, happiness, and death which resonates uniquely with each person.

Yousef Kahlon

Consultant

Book: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

This book does a great job of illustrating the effort, passion, and insanity that might be going on at your favorite restaurant! Bourdain provided me a new perspective on the restaurant industry as I ate my way across Japan and South Korea.

Podcast: Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend

A not-so-serious podcast that does a great job of making me laugh. Conan’s humor and wit, keep me engaged throughout most of his interviews.

Lewis Bustin

Marketing Consultant

Book: The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

I read this book when i was far to young to understand it and have revisited it many times since. Tolkien’s work really sparked my creative interest and influences all my creative endeavours.

Book: A Cookbook by Matty Matheson 

Matty Matheson is an entertainer and a chef. He has a past of mental health and substance abuse issues and his redemption out of that stage of his life helps shed a lot of positivity on any situation I find myself in.

Daniel Shade Silver

Consultant

Book: Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope

This book is a true story initially reported in 2015, centred around a man who by age 20 had begun figuring out how lies about his own background, combined with a deep understanding of the financial markets could help him pull off one of the biggest financial heists in history, exposing the elite wealth, banking, Hollywood, and politics.

Podcast: Stuff You Should Know by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant

This podcast is great for people who are interested in ‘random’ knowledge. The podcast is well-researched, and Josh and Chuck make it very easy to understand. They lead their audience to an ‘aha’ moment at the end of every episode and excited to hear the next random fact that comes your way.

Jenny Wu

Analyst

Book: Point Omega by Don DeLillo

Don DeLillo fully demonstrates artistry and a distinct literary voice in this easy-to-read yet time-consuming-to-digest novella. Exploring hindsight, dread, and timelessness, and providing the reader a profound sense of remoteness. It follows two men: a retired scholar who was asked to parse the words in classified documents and secret meetings to conceptualise war and form an intellectual justification, and a man who goes to an art installation that is playing the movie “Psycho” slowed down to fit a 24-hour playing time.

Podcast: Timesuck with Dan Cummins

I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts and Dan provides the most holistic summary of the perspectives, theories, and details. I’ve found that the pace for most podcasts in this genre is strange for an audience who is interested in thrill and page-turning information – but Dan has the perfect amount of entertaining-but-not-overly-exerting presence.

Callum Corley

Analyst

Book: Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

This book challenges the way you think about what’s important in living a fulfilled life. I’d recommend reading ‘The Rum Diary’ by Hunter S Thompson afterwards if you want a different perspective!

Book: Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

As a big fan of Matthew McConaughey, this book gives an interesting take on his view on life, and his transition from RomCom hero to Oscar Winner.

Podcast: The Socially Distant Sports Bar by Steffan Garrero, Elis James and Mike Bubbins

This podcast was created in response to the lack of live sport during the pandemic and is an incredibly easy listen with 3 Welsh comedians (loosely) talking about sports. Perfect for WFH!

Ben Frederiksen

Managing Director, APAC

Book: How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book was originally written back in 1936 but is still incredibly relevant today. It reminds people about people – which is the reason why I love it.

Podcast: Masters of Scale by Reid Hoffman

I’m very passionate about innovation and growth, so this podcast provides me with great insights and inspiration.

Leonie Brawn

Senior Manager

Book: A new Earth by Eckart Tolle

Eckart Tolle’s teachings about how identifying with our own mental positions can make us more or less effective when interacting with others – have been so useful for me in getting to know myself and others better.

Book: Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

Brene’s work about values-based leadership was life changing! I love her message around the importance of authenticity, and the way we show up authentically is to live our values.

Podcast: Maya Shankar

Maya is a behavioural scientist, and in this podcast, she has intimate conversations with lots of interesting people who reflect on a time of change for them – with Maya giving us insights as to why.

Matt McLaren

VP, Americas

Book: Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

Podcast: Pivot by Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway

This podcast provides a balanced look into the latest updates, excesses and culture of Silicon Valley, and the broader business world.

Daren Hill

Director

Book: Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki

I read this story with my 7-year-old son, and it’s forever changed the way he and I talk about gratitude in a world full of excess. It’s given us an entirely new language about fears, anxieties, and the impact our feelings have on our behaviours. It’s made me a better parent and taught me that children are quite capable of grappling with complex emotions if given the right framing and guidance.  

Ceren Gumus

Consultant

Book: The Stranger by Albert Camus

This book introduced me to Camus’ existentialist and absurdist lens, which claims that life itself is meaningless and absurd, and it is you who should add meaning to it. The main character (also the narrator) is highly unlikeable and is an anti-hero, but his story after his mother dies is a page-turner, and his actions show that human beings are irrational, among other revelations.

Podcast: Pivot by Scott Galloway and Kara Swisher

I enjoy listening to Swisher and Galloway’s raw and fun convo about the worlds of business and the news. Sometimes they’ll have guests from big brands speaking about their marketing / organisational strategy which always provides great insights.

Christian Bates

Head of Sales

Book: Monash by Roland Perry

Most famous for his success in war, he helped build the Anzac spirit. He’s also a famous engineer whose bridges still stand today – and when his business needed to better understand law, he took it up himself and was part of major court cases whose judgements are still quoted today. What I especially enjoy is his commitment to learning and hard work.

Book: Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

It provides insight into an interesting time of human history where the recent invention of the printer had meant all people could better access knowledge. This book taught me to spend time noticing what is happening around me and that the simplest observation may have profound benefit.

Xavier Tang

VP, Americas

Book: Range by David Epstein

As consultants, we often develop as jack-of-all-trades type of professionals. We typically come across deep industry experts and in comparison, we may feel inadequate with our diverse toolkit. This book really helps to put into perspective the power of developing a wide range of skills and why such individuals can succeed, and be integral to business and society.

Podcast: 99% Invisible by Roman Mars

A wonderful podcast for design nerds that love going deep on obscure topics – covering fascinating backstories on everyday matters, generally with a design or architectural overlay. It helps provide the perspective that nearly everything in our daily lives has some level of design or forethought placed to it at some point in history. It also reminds us that we can consciously create or change almost any element of our world. Roman is a wonderful storyteller, his voice pulls you in.

Katherine Pranic

Content Manager

Book: Will by Will Smith 

A thoroughly engaging biography – I think audiobook is the way to go with this one because you get to enjoy it told by a natural storyteller.

Podcast: Changing How People Help People with Josh Reid Jones – by The Good Chat with Anita Anabel

I’ve been following Josh Reid Jones – a social impact entrepreneur – on social media for quite a while now, and love his message of helping people.

George Clarke

Commercial & Capability Lead

Book: Be More Wong: How Failure Makes You an Outstanding Leader by Colin Hunter

This book stands out from other leadership books in that it is deeply personal, authentic, with plenty of “a-ha!” moments.

Podcast: The Learning Hack Podcast by John Helmer

It does a great job of exploring relevant and engaging ideas that have really enhanced my understanding of the way people learn, and how we can harness that.

Sanaz Amirifar

Consultant

Book: The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown

It gives a new perspective to life, understanding that hiding vulnerabilities is not the answer for fulfillment, but being at ease and in tune with it will allow you to live a more content life.

Book: Radical Love by Omid Safi

A wonderful collection of Middle Eastern poems from Sufi poets and philosophers.

Abhilash Javaji

Analyst

Book: Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom
Superintelligence looks at the storyline of non-human intelligence; where it came from and where it’s headed. If you enjoy extreme technical detail and evidence-based storytelling, you will enjoy this piece by Nick Bostrom.

Podcast: The End of the World by Josh Clark

This limited series looks at the many ways human existence could come to an end. His objective research paired with emotional storytelling make for a fantastic listening experience that I highly recommend, irrespective of your interest in the topic.

Federica Fiore

Consultant

Book: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

In this fast-paced century, where we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Kundera offers an enlightening glance into how to maintain “lightness” in our “heavy” lives filled with responsibilities. For those striving to maintain a happy and balanced life, this cannot be missed.

Podcast: The Psychology Podcast by Scott Barry Kaufman

This podcast hosts high-profile professionals discussing topics from ‘The Science of Happiness’ to the ‘Psychology of Persuasion’ – captivating topics and useful learnings to apply in everyday life!

Giovanni Saraceno

Manager

Book: The Alchemist by Paula Coelho

A must-read for anyone who has grand dreams or aspirations!

Podcast: As Per Podcast

Because I made it!

Robert Luo

Manager

Book: 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

An easy and fruitful read for building relationships with friends, family, clients, and colleagues. Some of the most “obvious” advice comes to life as the author uses lively examples. An outlook changer for the humble consumers who are eager to invest in effective communication and lasting relationships.

Podcast: Business Wars by Wondery

Great insight on company history and industry trends. Very awesome storytelling and puts companies into perspective of evolution and industry-wide shifts. Interesting episodes include Coca Cola vs. Pepsi, Boeing vs. Airbus and Adidas vs. Nike.

Shyna Kher

Consultant

Book: Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

An easy, quick read which is always helpful. This book provides a very different take on love, happiness, and death which resonates uniquely with each person.

Yousef Kahlon

Consultant

Book: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

This book does a great job of illustrating the effort, passion, and insanity that might be going on at your favorite restaurant! Bourdain provided me a new perspective on the restaurant industry as I ate my way across Japan and South Korea.

Podcast: Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend

A not-so-serious podcast that does a great job of making me laugh. Conan’s humor and wit, keep me engaged throughout most of his interviews.

Lewis Bustin

Marketing Consultant

Book: The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

I read this book when i was far to young to understand it and have revisited it many times since. Tolkien’s work really sparked my creative interest and influences all my creative endeavours.

Book: A Cookbook by Matty Matheson 

Matty Matheson is an entertainer and a chef. He has a past of mental health and substance abuse issues and his redemption out of that stage of his life helps shed a lot of positivity on any situation I find myself in.

Daniel Shade Silver

Consultant

Book: Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope

This book is a true story initially reported in 2015, centred around a man who by age 20 had begun figuring out how lies about his own background, combined with a deep understanding of the financial markets could help him pull off one of the biggest financial heists in history, exposing the elite wealth, banking, Hollywood, and politics.

Podcast: Stuff You Should Know by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant

This podcast is great for people who are interested in ‘random’ knowledge. The podcast is well-researched, and Josh and Chuck make it very easy to understand. They lead their audience to an ‘aha’ moment at the end of every episode and excited to hear the next random fact that comes your way.

Jenny Wu

Analyst

Book: Point Omega by Don DeLillo

Don DeLillo fully demonstrates artistry and a distinct literary voice in this easy-to-read yet time-consuming-to-digest novella. Exploring hindsight, dread, and timelessness, and providing the reader a profound sense of remoteness. It follows two men: a retired scholar who was asked to parse the words in classified documents and secret meetings to conceptualise war and form an intellectual justification, and a man who goes to an art installation that is playing the movie “Psycho” slowed down to fit a 24-hour playing time.

Podcast: Timesuck with Dan Cummins

I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts and Dan provides the most holistic summary of the perspectives, theories, and details. I’ve found that the pace for most podcasts in this genre is strange for an audience who is interested in thrill and page-turning information – but Dan has the perfect amount of entertaining-but-not-overly-exerting presence.

Callum Corley

Analyst

Book: Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

This book challenges the way you think about what’s important in living a fulfilled life. I’d recommend reading ‘The Rum Diary’ by Hunter S Thompson afterwards if you want a different perspective!

Book: Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

As a big fan of Matthew McConaughey, this book gives an interesting take on his view on life, and his transition from RomCom hero to Oscar Winner.

Podcast: The Socially Distant Sports Bar by Steffan Garrero, Elis James and Mike Bubbins

This podcast was created in response to the lack of live sport during the pandemic and is an incredibly easy listen with 3 Welsh comedians (loosely) talking about sports. Perfect for WFH!

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