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Recommended Reading, Autumn 2016

As September draws to a close and Autumn begins, student downtime is on the decline while course workload seems to be increasing exponentially. But among the required reading and other personal and professional responsibilities students maintain, there is nothing like a good book to relax and reinvigorate the weary mind. 
So, to welcome our students back-to-school, and to (hopefully) alleviate some stress, InterActive asked its staff and faculty to choose their favourite books as part of a recommended reading list. The subsequent titles are as diverse as we are, and all are provided here to give you some variety when looking for the next pick-me-up or I-can’t-put-it-down. 
Please enjoy the list, and a good read or two, in the weeks and months to come.
Oliver Buxton
Oliver Buxton
Gödel, Escher, Bach: 
An Eternal Golden Braid
by Douglas Hofstadler
Oliver says:
“This book completely changed the way I think about the universe. I love the ingenious inter-disciplinary approach Hofstadler takes in his exploration of three brilliant minds in an attempt to weave together the aesthetic gift of pattern recognition and manipulation with theories on artificial intelligence, human intelligence, and the essence of self-awareness. Students who read this will also learn a lot about themselves and the way they think as they grapple with fundamental existential issues, which Hofstadler presents in such an accessible and entertaining manner.”
Ronnie Nilsson
Ronnie Nilsson
Product Marketing Manager
Man’s Search for Meaning
by Viktor Frankl
Ronnie says:
“I love this book because it is a testament of how important a positive purpose in life really is. Reading the book, you get to experience this through the eyes of a psychologist inside a concentration camp during the Holocaust. It is often referred to as one of the most influential books of all time, which is another reason to pick it up.” 
Olivia Sadler
Olivia Sadler
Executive Assistant
The History of Love
by Nicole Krauss
Olivia says:
"The History of Love is a story about a book by the same name that all the characters' lives revolve around. I love that I can open up to any page and start reading. The writing is so deep and beautiful that after you stop reading and return to the real world, all conversations will feel mundane and dull by comparison."
Matt Bangsund
Matt Bangsund
Brand Manager
When You Are Engulfed in Flames
by David Sedaris
Matt says:
“I love this book. In fact, I love all of this author’s books, and this was the one I read again most recently. Every story makes me belly laugh and endeavour to include more hilarious adventures in my real life. And my favourite quote from Sedaris describes my personality in every way: “Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone’s feelings.”
 Drilona Spaha
Drilona Spaha
Senior Marketing Executive
Never Eat Alone
by Keith Ferrazzi
Drilona says:
“At a certain age, and after setting some very important goals in my life, I felt that this book would benefit me in gaining some strong insights towards success. This beautiful guide helps me get ahead in life and teaches me how to create my own high-powered network tailored to my career goals and personal style. The book introduces also timeless strategies shared by the world's most connected individuals, from Katherine Graham to Bill Clinton, Vernon Jordan to the Dalai Lama. It’s really inspiring!”
Jeremy Bradley
Jeremy Bradley
Executive Director, Academic and Student Affairs
The Romanovs
by Simon Sebag Montefiore
Jeremy says:
“The Romanovs is a real-life soap opera spanning 305 years. This is the story of the dynasty ruling 1/6 of the world and all the madness, genius, adventures, and revolutions that come along with autocracy. At a hefty 700 pages, The Romanovs is great Autumn reading when coupled with a cup of Earl Grey.”
Viktoriya Petriv
Viktoriya Petriv
Human Resources Manager
One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Viktoriya says:
“I remember at the time of reading the book it really touched me. I really enjoyed the surreal story which I felt was an allegory in some way to the way I felt about 'our' society, and I really enjoyed the author’s use of language.” 
Viktoriya’s other favourites include The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson, and Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani
Albert Agadzi
Albert Agadzi
Junior Educational Consultant
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
by Robin Sharma
Albert says:
“It is a self-help book about the development of character and discipline in life. After reading this book you will gain a thorough understanding of positive thinking, visualizing goals and achieving them, and a whole lot more. I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in incorporating routines and habits that can transform their lives, help them achieve their dreams, calm them and make them happier.”
Filip Leibl
Filip Leibl
Senior Student Support Coordinator
The Inheritance Cycle
by Christopher Paolini
Filip says:
“I love fantasy books and movies. They help me to forget about the contemporary world and its negative impacts on us. It makes me feel I am living a life I would like to live – surrounded by forests, dragons, and other creatures, fighting for a better world where magic is an innate skill.
The Inheritance Cycle includes: Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance
Eric Davaasuren
Eric Davaasuren
Senior Programme Consultant, Global Student Recruitment
Steve Jobs
by Walter Isaacson
Eric says:
“I strongly believe that this is one of the most important books of our time, as it describes the background on one of the most influential minds of the digital era. You will discover how one man’s life and vision could change the world. Definitely a must-read for post-graduate students, future entrepreneurs and business leaders.”

Nicholas Eglin
Nicholas Eglin
Monty Python’s Flying Circus: Just the Words
edited by Roger Wilmut
Nicholas says:
“The joy of reading a book of scripts, especially Monty Python’s: Just the Words, is one of being transported instantly into a ludicrous, bombastic and satirical world of unlikely (or likely) characters without ever having to wade through reams of endless prose. I guess, this is the kind of book that could provide a hard-reading student a little respite. It’s also extremely funny.”
Emese Balogh
Emese Balogh
Marketing Executive
Half the Sky
by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl DuWunn
Emese says:
“A deeply inspiring read about the lengths women have gone through to combat deep internal struggle brought upon by social and political injustice. This book serves as a global call to action to fund and support the education and empowerment of women throughout the world.”
Nikos Kotsioudis
Nikos Kotsioudis
Product Marketing Manager
Blind Spots: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things
by Madeleine L. Van Hecke
Nikos says:
“This book explains ten blind spots that we might have, how we deal with everyday situations, and why we react in specific ways. It contains dozens of examples taken from everyday life. This is a good guide to help you keep an open mind and understand why people say what they say and react the way they do. A valuable book that will help you broaden your way of thinking and improve your social skills.”
Julia Koval
Julia Koval
Student Support Coordinator
The Body Book
by Cameron Diaz
Julia says:
“I usually like to read books about science, nature and the creation of life, but I think it is important to acknowledge the physical and mental wellbeing that plays a huge role in being successful. I would like our students to always remember that the knowledge they gain with us will be best utilised if they feel healthy, motivated and energetic as individuals, with a body and mind that will enable them to reach their true potential.”
*This book is also highly recommended by Enrolment Manager and Support Coordinator Joana Mirkovich
Jan Falesnik
Jan Falesnik
Educational Consultant
The Best Day of My Life
by Haley Devlin
Jan says:
“You can open it on a random page and it gives you a positive and inspirational quote every time. That is why I can recommend this book. Sometimes we forget about the little things in life that we should be happy about and this book helps me to realize it. I am keeping it on my table and always flip through its pages in a spare moment.”
Lusine Grigoryan
Lusine Grigoryan
Marketing Executive
Angels and Demons
by Dan Brown
Lusine says:
“I would recommend Angels and Demons as one of Dan Brown’s greatest books. The book has two important stories to tell: one is about technological advancement and the other centres on a powerful scientific underground organisation and its history. For me, as a religious person, it was an approach from another angle, showing how priests can and sometimes did threaten scientists on behalf of the church.”
Other recommendations:
Fraser Chisholm, Student Support Coordinator
Post Office by Charles Bukowski
“It’s a lurid tale of one man’s occupational life as he navigates his way through a mixture of failed relationships, wine and the postal service in direct and daily conflict with his laissez-faire attitude.”
Elaine Garcia, Senior Lecturer
The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You by Eli Pariser
“The internet is, in fact, filtering out a wide range of information it assumes we are not interested in. “
Matthew Garnett, Copywriter
Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari
“This in an incredible book that will make you consider the impact our species has had on the planet to-date, and may have in the future.”
Alexandra Gray, Senior Lecturer
The Lost Child by Elena Ferrante 
“The fourth and final novel in her Neapolitan novels about the lifelong friendship between two women born in Naples.” 
Also: The President’s Hat by Antoine Laurain and The Sympathiser by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction, 2016)
Anna Kurmanova, Product Manager
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
“It is a book that makes you want to go out there, seize the day, and live, live, live!”
Martin Lukavec, Programme Leader 
The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World by Kishore Mahbubani
Also: Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward Glaeser
Michelle Peters, Senior Programme Leader
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
“This text reminded me that it is important to enjoy the journey of life.”
Abigail Raneri, Senior Admissions Officer
Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
“It has a wonderful story that is filled with romance, history, disappointment and hope all while being humorous and nostalgic.”
Jeremy Shulman, Learning Resources Manager
This Explains Everything edited by John Brockman
“A collection of short essays discussing theories about how our world works. It’s essentially poetry for scientists.”
Also: Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter by Steven Johnson and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Joshua Strydom, Junior Marketing Executive
Monster: The Autobiography of an LA Gang Member by Sanyika Shakur
“This book narrates the value of human life, the epiphany of change and the immense effect we have on our communities.”