Some of our leaders share what’s on their summer reading list | Read. Watch. Listen

With the end of year approaching and festive holidays around the world, we asked a few of our leaders what they plan to read, watch and listen to over the summer.  

Mark Sturgess – Principal | Managing Partner, Natalie Ekins Butler Associate | Operations Manager, Todd Halliday – Principal | Managing Partner and Clachair Venter - Associate | Structural Group Manager share what’s inspiring them this holiday season. 

Mark Sturgess – Principal | Managing Partner 

I’ll be reading:

  • Going Infinite by Michael Lewis - This looks to be an interesting book about when a company scales too quickly, moves to the Bahamas, has no rules in place and explodes across all major news outlets.
  • Breaking Twitter by Ben Mezric - Sticking with the theme of billionaires in the news, I’m keen to understand what’s happened since Elon purchased Twitter. 
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King J.R.R Tolkien - I’ve been reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books to my eight-year-old every night for 18 months. Book two was a slog, but (spoiler alert) the ring is now destroyed and we’re on the home stretch! 
  • Proposed changes to AS3600.

I’ll be watching:

  • Arrested Development - Returning to the oldies but goodies now that the silly season has started, and new shows are thinner on the ground.
  • Last Stop Larrimah
  • Beckham
  • Any Tottenham Hostspur or Newcastle Jets games - I’m a long-term Spurs fan, and it’s great now that the kids have reached an age we’re they’re interested in watching with me. 
  • Our Planet II - Sticking with family friendly viewing, this has been a good alternative to reruns of Bluey and Paw Patrol. 

I'll be listening to: 

  • How Other Dads Dad, Hamish Blake - It’s good to get some laughs and tips on how to better support the kids.
  • The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe – A long term podcast that takes a scientific, data driven view of issues. It’s a bit nerdy, but always gives excellent insight into critical thinking. 
  • No Bullsh!t Leadership with Martin G. Moore – I don’t agree with all of Marty Moore’s views on leadership, however it always offers an interesting perspective that generates lots of thought. 
Natalie Ekins Butler – Associate | Operations Manager 
I’ll be reading: 
The Christmas break is when I make my last-dash-to-the-finish-line attempt to make my Goodreads reading goal (wildly ambitious). As a 30-something millennial woman, a cornerstone of my personality has always been the buying and hoarding of books, that I have great intentions to read but never finish. I now have a digital and audiobook collection that rivals my crammed bookshelves – and bonus, my husband can’t see the digital books!  
I either inhale a book or I read about four chapters, end up daydreaming, losing my place and forgetting about it. Here is what I’m determined to finish this Christmas: 
I’ll be watching: 
It’s become tradition to introduce my English husband to Australian classic movies each Christmas. We covered Crackerjack last year; this year will be The Dish or The Castle.  
Other more recent movies we’re hoping to watch include: 
I’ll be listening to: 
  • Let’s be honest, I’m going to listen to my own Spotify wrapped playlist because my music taste is, humbly, elite. Also, Spotify now has a “Daylist” feature where it throws you a random playlist each day with some genius/borderline data stalking magic based on what you’ve been listening to. At the time of putting this together, “hippie surf music Tuesday morning” is my theme.  
  • For Christmas tunes it’s always Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, Nina Simone, Bing Crosby, Erma Franklin and Peggy Lee. Dad will be spinning Cold Chisel records, Mum will have INXS on. Then I’ll realise I’ve spent five days straight with my family (who I love dearly) and I go straight for anything that reminds me of being 15 years old in Ballarat – metal. 
  • In terms of podcasts, I listen obsessively to anything Michael Hobbes creates – early episodes of You’re Wrong About, Maintenance Phase and If Books Could Kill. Other highly recommended titles include Ologies, There Are No Girls On The Internet and How To Talk To People
I’ll be cooking: 
  • The best part of the holidays is food. Getting my Grandma to teach me how to make her pastry base so I can perfect my lemon tart will be a high priority, second only to finally (hopefully) inheriting the family meatball recipe.  
  • Food inspiration comes from some well-loved staples - Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat (a great book and then Netflix series) and I will likely spend most of the break watching that, The Chef Show, The Mind of Chef and Ugly Delicious
  • I’m looking forward to leftover Christmas roast/Yorkshire pudding/gravy wraps from Boxing Day through to New Years, or until the food runs out. Capped off with gin cocktail jugs and some backyard cricket to “run” off the gluttony - bliss. 
Todd Halliday - Principal | Managing Partner
My family and I will be travelling to Vietnam over January. The holiday kicks off with five days of adventure, motorcycle riding into the mountains before meeting the family for two weeks exploring Hoi An, Hue, Ninh Binh, Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. I can’t wait. Now that my daughters are rapidly approaching 18 and 15, I’m looking forward to a last big family holiday and hoping to instil a sense of adventure in them. 
I’ll be reading: 
I read a lot of non-fiction and have a pile to get through. 
  • My favourite books from 2023 was Stolen Focus by Johan Hari and Quiet Leadership by David Rock. 
  • Currently, I’m reading (well, listening to on Audible) – The Social Brain by Tracey Camilleri, Samatha Rockey and Robin Dunbar and Rogue Corporations by Quentin Beresford.  
  • In between for fun, I dive into fast-paced crime novels, currently reading Peter Corris’ works. I also like a spot of poetry – I’m reading Paul Kelly’s collection and some of David Whyte's works.  

I’ll be listening to:

I’ll be cooking:

  • I’ve perfected beef massaman curry and am now turning my attention to home cooked butter chicken. I nailed pulled pork sliders this year too! 

Clachair Venter - Associate | Structural Group Manager 

I’ll be reading:

I always have a list of must reads that I pull out on the odd coast weekend. They end up half (okay quarter) read, stuffed in a beach bag, not to be seen again throughout the yearThe days between Christmas and New Year are perfect to lie on a beach, grab the beach bag and unwind with a great book

The books I’m looking to get stuck into this Christmas break are:

I’ll be listening to:

  • Thank-you Spotify 2023 Wrapped for knowing me better than I know myself. My days will be spent listening to a mixture of Ziggy Alberts, Boo Seeka and Hazlett. On December 21, I’ll be playing How To Make Gravy on repeat (cheers Paul Kelly) and the rest of the time I’ll be listening to my all-time favourite Triple J Like a Version including those from DMA’s, Triple One and Gang of Youths.
  • For long drives between holiday destinations, I’ll be listening to the podcast Serial. I recently picked this back up after a 9-year hiatus and am currently up to Season 2, hearing the story of Bowe Begdahl, a soldier held captive from 2009-2014.  
  • When I’m feeling inquisitive I’ll put on Ted Talks Daily and listen to a mixture of different topics ranging from climate challenges, impacts of AI, the evolution of the workforce, renewable energy and just general topics that make you think.

I’ll be watching:

  • I’ll be watching some corny Christmas movies in the lead up to Christmas, however I’m hoping to reenergise with as little screen time as possible over the break. In my down time, I will pick up where I left off on Peaky Blinders or I’m a sucker for an adventure/sporting documentary.

I’ll be eating:

  • Nothing will remain untouched. I’m looking forward to eating, drinking and being merry!

Principal | Managing Partner
Associate | Operations Manager
Principal | Managing Partner
Associate | Structural Group Manager
Mark SturgessNatalie Ekins ButlerTodd HallidayClachair Venter

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