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What Are We Reading, Summer 2020

For the 3rd year running the Altimapa team has shared its summer reading choices and other findings. Maybe because we have mostly enjoyed various forms of staycation, the team has been more adventurous and this year's list includes music and television as well as the more usual readings.

Pedro is reading Messengers: Who We Listen To, Who We Don't, And Why by Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks. The book analyses who and why it is easier to listen to and believe in certain messengers and messages, with an obvious impact on business life for sure, but more widely on social and political life. Staycation has also allowed Pedro to watch more TV that is usually the case and he was struck in particular by Once Upon a Time in Iraq, a BBC production. This is a harrowing picture of the war told from the perspective of civilians and soldiers on various sides of the conflict. It is also a reminder, as if we need any other, that capable and competent leadership does matter and that its absence can have the most terrible consequences. As it turns out there is also a book version.

Claire has been doing rather than reading, and is working her way through the Fantasia in C minor by Mozart (K.475). Less famous than its shorter cousin, the Fantasia in D minor, it is a striking piece, full of contrasts, drama and sublime moments. Mozart in minor is generally much more interesting than Mozart in Major, so Claire thinks. An additional bonus of this piece is one bar, towards the end, which is used as the basic pattern for the soundtrack of the Series Succession. Will you spot it?

Vlad came across The Signal and the Noise from Nate Silver, a long time the reading list occupant, in an Islington Oxfam. A well-argued book about predictions, or rather our lack of ability in performing them, it is intelligent as it is easy to read and relate to. Political events, economic catastrophes or natural disasters, it appears that we have a terrible track record in foreseeing them, despite our perceived understanding and the confidence of the experts – in retrospect. For an equally humbling and vastly clever essay (if not a little cynical), read from Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan. It is not about birds (for the most part).

Peter usually picks something inspirational for his Altimapa summer book choice, but this year he is going with something more practical and informative. With so many of us working from home and eschewing the morning run to the local coffee house, he was recently prompted to deliver an informal Altimapa lunch and learn session on coffee. He enjoys his coffee like he enjoys his wine and the varieties and methods of preparation are similarly varied and complex. The session only scratched the surface but if you missed it, or want to learn more, this book for you is The Word Atlas of Coffee by James Hoffman.

Lala has chosen for her summer reading to stay real and practical in the virtual world. She audio read the economic classics like The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. Another book was Lehman Trilogy by Stefano Massini, as Lala is missing to see it at the theatre, instead she is enjoying reading it at home.

Alex has been working his way through Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad. Originally released in 1997, with 40 million copies sold worldwide, the book focuses on Robert’s story of growing up with two dads, his real father (Poor Dad) and the father of his friend (Rich Dad) and how both Dads shaped his thoughts about money and investments. The book explores the idea that you don’t need to earn a high income to be labelled as ‘rich’ and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.

And Finally, our newest joiner Iman has mostly been reading articles about the Impact of COVID-19 on Environment. Lockdown due to COVID-19 had a mixed impact on the environment and on our way of living. On the one hand, cleaner air, waters and lands but on the other hand increased waist due to the strong growth of home deliveries (food, packages, ...). Young generations are sensitive to this global issue and it is becoming more and more crucial to change our consumption and to generally take care of our planet (no plastic usage, recycle, buy second-hand goods, etc.). Find out more by following this link.

We hope you find the above intriguing, interesting or entertaining and we would love to hear your own suggestions. Do make sure you enjoy the last few precious summer days!