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Read, watch listen: 2020 content list

2020 has brought a lot of change. For many ANZ staff across our 33 markets the switch to working from home has given us the opportunity to spend more time with our families, learn something new, or even dive in to a good book, podcast or TV series!


We asked some of our ANZ Country Heads what they’ve been watching, reading and listening to this year - see their lists below.

Pic: The Witcher


Carli Renzi – Country Head, ANZ Laos

  • I’m a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan so I usually take my recommendations from my brother and my colleagues Robert Tsang and Ethan Sun who WhatsApp me when good stuff is coming out. 
  • I’ve watched all the Marvel and DC Universe movies in the past 20 years, although I haven’t got through all of the supporting series yet. Watchmen (2019) is on my list. 
  • This year, I finished the Tales of Arcadia trilogy, and am up-to-date on (and waiting for more of) The Umbrella Academy and The Witcher
  • I recently headed to Vientiane Cinemas to watch the live-action Mulan and I’m SUPER excited for the release of Dune in December. I first-read Dune as a 15-year-old and have read every book and prequel – just hope this new movie is better than the 1984 version!


Pic: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills


Richard Dawson – Country Head, ANZ United Kingdom & Head of Europe


  • It’s been such an incredible year, and the things I do to unwind have adapted with the roller coaster of restrictions on life and work in the UK and Europe.
  • My most enjoyable reads were When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman - an amazing, complex story of the relationship over 4 decades between a sister and brother, and Shoe Dog the fascinating memoir by Phil Knight, the founder of Nike.
  • More time with family has led to some great games of Yahtzee and the entire series of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills – a truly horrific yet totally additive TV experience with my eldest daughter!
  • I would also thoroughly recommend Tim Geithner’s Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises, a terrific account of the GFC by someone right at the heart of it – a very different crisis from today, but much we can learn from it.
  • Two books that I am really looking forward to getting stuck into are How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division by the brilliant Elif Shafak and Dear NHS: 100 Stories to Say Thank You by Adam Kay, the former obstetrician and writer of the wonderful This is Going to Hurt. Kay has curated and edited stories from 100 celebrities on their personal experience of the UK’s health service, as a thank you for the amazing service through the crisis.
  • I would also recommend the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly and Desert Islands Discs podcasts, both a great chance to escape whether on a beach or a bus!


Pic: Inside Bill’s Brain


Rufus Pinto – Country Head, ANZ Philippines


  • Currently reading: The Labrador Handbook – Yes we are getting our first fur baby and it’s a Labrador. Both my wife and I do not know what needs to be done and hoping this book will help us with Fur parenting! Our 7-year-old son is very excited for his fur sister ‘Nikki’ expected later this month in our home.

Books read this year:

  • The Naked CEO – Alex Malley has been a popular personality before his change over at CPA and reading his story on how one can take various paths to success.
  • The First 90 days – I wanted to read this before I started in my new role in the Philippines, in spite of having leadership roles in the past. It is easy to jump in with assumed notions of how to fix things, this book is a good guide on taking a planned approach and following some order!
  • Tall Order – A very interesting book, by Goh Chok Tong and his story of humble beginnings and unassuming personality to key leadership roles and success. It teaches you a lot about leadership and how not to take people at face value.
  • CPA Auditing – Yes I have been engrossed in studying for my final two CPA papers and one of them this year was Auditing which I cleared thankfully. Next is Australian Taxation before I get my final stripes!


  • Heneral Luna – This movie talks of the challenging times Filipinos have gone through in history. I have been familiar with stories of Vietnam struggles and Cambodian regimes but I honestly did not appreciate the challenging times Filipinos have come through over the centuries to have a nation that has been one of the fastest growing GDP’s. This movie talks of struggles, culture and behaviours.
  • Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates – I am fascinated by intelligent people, as wealth can be created in several ways but creating wealth through innovative intelligence is not common. It is also interesting in the documentary to learn how busy people have a work life balance and give back to communities.
  • Books I would like to get my hands on: The Art of War by Sun Tzu, Execution – The Discipline of getting things done, and Python programming.


Pic: Robert Iger author of The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of Walt Disney


Vishnu Shahaney – Country Head ANZ Singapore and Head of South East Asia, India & Middle East


  • 2020 really threw all of us a curveball early on in the year; needless to say it has been a difficult and disruptive time for everyone no matter where you are in the world or what you do. The travel and social distancing restrictions over the past few months meant that I have had more time at home than I normally would - especially over the weekends - to catch up on reading. Admittedly, the events of the past year have had some influence over what I have been reading and watching. Whenever I need new ideas I like to refer to Co-Founder of Microsoft Bill Gates’ reading lists which he shares pretty often. Two standout titles for me recently are:
  • The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of Walt Disney – as its title suggests, this is an account of Robert Iger’s time at Disney as executive chairman (he was named Time’s 2019 businessperson of the year). The book outlines his ideas and values, and the lessons he learned becoming CEO of The Walt Disney Company in 2005 during a difficult time where the company faced the most intense competition and technological disruption in all of its history. 2020 has been an eventful year personally not only due to COVID-19, but also because it marked my 40th year of work in ANZ - a significant milestone for me on many fronts. In many ways the concepts and principles Iger believes are necessary for true leadership resonated with me as I paused and reflected on my own experience, and what it will take in the road ahead leading international teams in a rapidly evolving banking industry and changing world.
  • Principles: Life and Work – Don’t judge this book by its cover – the title by Ray Dalio may seem simple but its contents are packed full of deep insight and offers perspectives to challenge one’s usual way of thinking. I think this is very relevant and useful in these unusual times we are in which is calling for more open-minded thinking, strong decision-making skills and a growing need to focus on things that will give us more meaning and fulfillment, whether in relationships, our work and what we do for others.
  • To me, these two books are really relevant for everyone - not just for CEOs and leaders - but anyone seeking inspiration, and new or different perspective to help them navigate these increasingly uncertain times.


Pic: Valhalla Murders


Tracy Ong – Country Head, ANZ Malaysia


  • Working from home (WFH) the last 8 months has been a new experience for me.  Even though working flexibly is not new to me but WFH during the pandemic with movement control being introduced in the country has sort of, curtailed the ‘flexibility’ in our daily lives.  For this, I’m so grateful for the sharing in Yammer (ANZ's internal social network), bluenotes and the learning series.  
  • To make sure that I remain healthy and fit, I now exercise every morning for 30 minutes, following Leslie Sansone on YouTube.
  • I enjoy preparing simple meals for my husband and I (as our children are away from home) with vegetables and fruits from our garden.  
  • In the evenings, apart from reading, we enjoy watching movies on Netflix, especially those with nice locations in Europe, The Baztan Trilogy in Spain, Valhalla Murders and Trapped in Iceland, Perdida and Intuition in Patagonia


Pic: TED Talk Source: Glassdoor


Jodi West – Country Head, ANZ Vietnam


  • I am a big fan of Ted Talks, and have particularly enjoyed watching talks by Dan Ariely and Margaret Heffernan on human behaviour. In fact, I’ve added Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely to my December reading list – a book about the hidden forces that shape human decision making.
  • Given the rapid increase in geopolitical tensions this year, I’ve also just started reading The World: A Brief Introduction by Richard Haas. This looks at the evolution of the modern global system, and how and why things are likely to evolve over the years ahead.    


Pic: Michael Palin’s Hemingway Adventure


Peter Chan – Country Head, ANZ Hong Kong


  • I have just finished Michael Palin’s Hemingway Adventure, a travelog from the actor of Monty Python fame. Informative, light hearted, colourful, uplifting - it was a particularly sweet read in 2020, a year when very few people travelled.
  • Palin combines his history major (from Oxford University) with comedic timing and makes wonderful observations about people, places and cultures.  In this book, he was on the trail of Ernest Hemingway, the US author of For Whom the Bells Toll, Farewell to Arms and other modern classics.  Our adventure begins in Hemingway’s birth city in Chicago and travels to the many places he lived in and wrote about.
  • I have been mostly working from home this year. With strict social distancing rules, movement and life in general has been limited.  But I was in fact in Spain, Paris, Venice, Africa, Florida and Cuba in the good company of Michael Palin and his crew. It was refreshing.
  • “Armageddon is not around the corner - The complexity and diversity of the world is the hope for the future.” – Michael Palin


Enjoy this list? You can see our recommendations from the 2019/20 holiday break here.



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