The sun may not be shining, but the summer reading is out in force! We ask the ECI team what they’ve picked up to read over the summer holiday season:
Ultra-Processed People, by Chris van Tulleken
I thought I was fairly aware of what I was eating, but this book really opened my eyes to the fact that the majority of food I eat isn’t natural or even derived from natural sources, and frankly often isn’t good for me. The food industry has made a lot of money by making food addictive, and that means its sweeter, saltier and fattier than it needs to be. Even food you may think wouldn’t have additives – such a raw chicken – still does, to improve shelf life. These chemicals have very little testing to see whether they’re damaging, and lots of the foods we consume contribute to obesity, malnutrition and low-energy among other side effects. Although it reads more as persuasive writing than a research paper, I found the book a useful wake up call, and it’s making me think again before buying that breakfast cereal or ‘protein’ bar. Since reading it, I have found some apps, such as Yuka, that can help consumers to understand what’s really in their food.
Guns, Germs and Steel, by Jared Diamond
I decided to pick up Diamond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book to make my daily commute more interesting! In Guns, Germs and Steel, Diamond challenges traditional explanations, which centred around inherent differences in intelligence or ingenuity, for why complex human societies developed at vastly different rates on different continents over the last 13,000 years. He makes a compelling case for the fates of human civilisations as we see them today being ultimately decided by the complex interplay of geography, biology, and culture. He provides numerous case studies throughout the book, examining the rise and fall of societies across different continents to support his thesis. If you find questions like why some societies still hunt and gather for their food while others can order their cravings to their homes at the click of a button, then this may very well be a good starting point to explore the range of possible answers.
Private Equity Demystified, by John Gilligan
Having recently joined ECI, I am currently reading Private Equity Demystified to give myself more context and improve my understanding. I’ve worked previously in fund and corporate services, but from the ManCo perspective, so it’s great to find out a bit more from the Fund side. The book is a great intro for anyone looking to understand the inner workings of private equity, with advice from leading practitioners and an outline of key structures and processes to bring it to light. There can be a lot of misunderstanding around private equity, which may seem quite opaque from the outside. So, although it’s not exactly a light summer read – I would recommend this book to anyone interested in finding out more about the industry!
The Lazarus Heist, by Geoff White
As Head of Cyber, it might not be surprising that I picked this book up! It looks at a sophisticated cyber-attack on the global banking system executed by the shadow hacker group known as The Lazarus group which works for the North Korean government. Incredibly they have stolen over 1bn dollars from central banks, film studios and the NHS. Geoff White investigates how North Korea has harnessed cutting-edge technology during the last decade of cybercrime, including breaching a prominent international bank’s security infrastructure using advanced malware and social engineering to go undetected. Their goal was to take off billions of dollars from multiple countries, leaving no digital traces behind. The attack shocked cybersecurity experts and led to an international investigation, highlighting the vulnerability of the financial system. Banks had to improve security measures, but the elusive Lazarus group remains at large, emphasising the need for ongoing vigilance against cyber threats.
Skyler ver Bruggen
A Rule Against Murder, by Louise Penny
I was always an avid Agatha Christie fan growing up, and this summer I was yearning for the pleasing formula of a well-written murder mystery to read on a beach in Spain! A Rule Against Murder delivers. In classic Christie style, a grand manor plays host to a riddle-like murder. Although, unlike Christie, this setting is the French-Canadian Wilderness. This is book number four in the popular Inspector Gamache series, and if you are a murder mystery fan and haven’t yet discovered them, I would recommend! The books are loved as much for the character development of the protagonists as they are for clever plot devices. Needless to say, I’m hooked (and now onto book number eight of the series!)