Noreena Hertz, academic, economist and best-selling author, is a Fellow in International Business and Management at CJBS:
I worked in Russia for six years, and so I’d really recommend Red Notice: How I Became Putin’s No.1 Enemy by Bill Browder. It gives great insight into the dark side of doing business in Russia. Browder was running the most successful investment fund in Russia when he took on the corruption and oligarchs and the government, and his lawyer was murdered. The book is the story of how this super-successful investment fund manager became a human rights activist through this process – it’s non-fiction, but a really gripping tale.
In terms of fiction, staying with the Russian theme, I’ve just read a fantastic thriller set in Siberia – Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson. Essentially it’s the story of an attempt to get in and get out of the same place. It was originally written in 1994 but it’s been rediscovered and is now considered one of the best thrillers ever written. You feel like you live the protagonist’s journey. It’s absolutely gripping.
And as I’m on the board of Warner Music Group, I’m also looking forward to reading How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy by Stephen Witt. Having been involved in the industry for just over a year, it’s fascinating to see the trajectory that brought it to its current point. The music industry is the canary in the mine for so many other industries – it’s one of the original disrupted industries.
And then there’s The Circle by Dave Eggars, the story of a woman who is hired to work for the world’s most powerful internet company, The Circle. It’s wonderful – the story of a future that feels like it’s not at all far away. It’s like a The Brave New World for our times.