What are ECI reading? Our self-isolation book recommendations

We’re two weeks into lockdown and we know that even though it’s necessary, it’s also really hard. In our video calls and catch ups across ECI, we saw people trying to make the best of the situation and share what they’d found had helped when stuck in self-isolation, be it board games, books or pictures of their pets. With that in mind we thought we’d share some of our team’s top reading recommendations to help our network in the weeks ahead!  

Front cover of The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs book and photograph of Steve Tudge

Steve Tudge
Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, by Steve Brusatte

This dinosaur biography is a fascinating look at the creatures that ruled the earth for 150 million years. It is an unfathomable timeline as you look at the extinction events they survived before finally disappearing 66 million years ago, and it’s a hugely accessible and engaging read. This is not just a history of the dinosaurs, but a detective story as he takes the reader through how the evidence has been pieced together. A great discovery that really challenged what I knew about palaeontology!”

Steve Tudge

Front cover of Agent running in the field book and photograph of Skyler Ver Bruggen

Skyler Ver Bruggen
Agent Running in the Field, by John le Carré

This was actually a recommendation from an ECI colleague; we didn’t have a formal ECI library before lockdown but it was not uncommon for us to pass on a good book once done. I’ve always enjoyed John Le Carré books as they combine good writing with a compelling narrative. Plus, they appeal to a part of me that always fancied being a spy. This story follows Nat, a badminton playing spy who is being put ‘out to grass’ at the age of 47. It offers up a classic thriller with contemporary political reference – just enough escapism for the current environment.”

Skyler Ver Bruggen

Front Cover of Bad Blood book and photograph of Jeremy Lytle

Jeremy Lytle
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carreyou

A shocking and compelling account of the seemingly impressive young entrepreneur, Elizabeth Holmes, who dropped out of Stanford to start her own company at 19 and revolutionise the world of blood testing. John Carreyou follows the Theranos company story as Elizabeth convinced board members, investors and employees that she had invented a pioneering machine, to the tune of billions of dollars. Really fascinating and gripping to see how the sales pitch at Theranos and the reality of their capability seemed to diverge so quickly, and interesting to read about the ruthless drive to success, ahead of the co-founders’ fraud trial this summer.”

Jeremy Lytle

Front cover of Pour me a life book and photograph of Fiona Evans

Fiona Evans
Pour Me: A life, by A. A. Gill

Whilst a memoir about the despair of his alcoholism might not be the cheeriest thing to read during a global pandemic, A. A. Gill’s impeccable writing and dark humour give his memories of addiction, the ones he can in fact remember, something deeply poetic. Its an unflinching look at the realities of the life of a drunk, but really it’s a testament to recovery and the life he went on to lead. It’s a book I kept showing people paragraphs of as the writing was just so perfect, and one I am sure I am going to keep recommending to people for years to come.”

Fiona Evans

Front cover of Shackleton's Way book and photograph of George Moss

George Moss
Shackleton’s Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer, by Margaret Morrell

While the last few weeks haven’t provided much time for reading in reality, I am most of the way through this fascinating book about how Shackleton went about leading his crew to a remarkable escape in rowing boats from his ship Endurance when it got locked and crushed in the Antarctic ice thousands of miles from nearest civilisation. It’s a fascinating read, written with leadership in mind but also just a great story of triumphing against the odds. With a polar explorer in my family history and as a very outdoorsy person who is currently stuck inside, I’m also just enjoying reading about incredible achievements in a brutally harsh part of the natural world!”

George Moss

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