Wednesday 20 December 2023 by Guest Contributor At FIIG

Our favourite reads in 2023

From biographies to finance, and a couple of classics, the team at FIIG share their favourite reads and podcasts for 2023.

the-lazarus-heist-300The Lazarus Heist

By Geoff White

The Podcast is Available for free on BBC Podcast by Jean Lee and Geoff White at BBC Sounds - The Lazarus Heist - Available Episodes Or for more detail The Lazarus Heist is available in print by Geoff White.

Both the podcast and the novel tell the gripping story of the Lazarus Group, the real life North Korean, State Sponsored Cyber Criminals.

I listened to the podcast (20+ episodes) over about 2 weeks of commuting between home, office, and soccer. At one point my daughter piled into the car after soccer and quickly found herself addicted as well.

I generally prefer books, so I was very pleased to find the even more detailed story in writing (Thanks MP).

You do not need to be a computer nerd or tech geek to enjoy this story. If you like true crime, high finance, or international intrigue you will enjoy this story.

The story begins with the hack of Sony Pictures in 2014 after their release of “The Interview”. You may recall this movie was based on a fictions interview with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. If you didn’t watch the movie do not pay to see it now or ever.

Just know that it’s a bad idea to poke fun at anyone who would seriously use the official titles; Dear Respected Comrade, Marshall, Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army.

The book is great for warm summer nights or enjoy the podcast on your holiday drive.

Reviewed by Judd Bogust, Director - Fixed Income - WA


poor-charlies-almanack-300Poor Charlie’s Almanack

By Charles T. Munger

For the anecdote, early in my career, I received this book (480 pages) as a corporate Christmas gift, the CEO of the hedge fund I was working for at the time, gifted to all his employees the hardcover first edition in 2005. Probably one of the most useful corporate Christmas I ever received! The unfortunate recent news of Charles Munger passing made me remember of this book. It’s full of anecdotes, wits and wisdom in Charles typical sarcastic style but it lays out Charlie’s framework for sound decision making and the cognitive biases that might push people to make mistakes.

The link I provided is a free newer online interactive version of the book. There was also a podcast between John Collison (CEO of and Charlie Munger: A Conversation with Charlie Munger & John Collison | Colossus® ( recorded not long ago.

Reviewed by Dominik Dumaine, Director - Research - NSW



keep-the-apistidra-flying-300Keep the Aspidistra Flying

By George Orwell

Makes you feel very grateful for your lot in life!

Reviewed by Garreth Innes, Director - Fixed Income - WA








the-master-300The Master: The Brilliant Career of Roger Federer

By Christopher Clarey

I’ve elected for something non-finance related. Biographies can often be drawn-out, but Christopher Clarey’s career account of Federer is a must for any tennis lover. Clarey has a close relationship with Federer whom he followed for nearly two decades, and as such is best placed to provide intimate accounts of Federer’s personal and professional life.

Clarey recounts Federer’s humble beginnings in Basel, to a temperamental teenager who struggled in containing his on-court aggression, to one of the greatest ever sportspeople. Federer sculpted his game in the Sampras era when the serve-volley embodied the superior singles tactic. He was gifted with a perfect tennis build (tall but mobile with long arms) and leveraged this to develop the most potent serve and forehand actions in tennis history. Federer’s dominance in the 2000s was solely responsible for prohibiting generational talents like Andy Roddick, Andy Murray and Lleyton Hewitt from blossoming. Of course, eventually a Spaniard (and later a Serbian) arrived on the scene with vastly different game styles that would trouble the Swiss maestro.

The key takeaway for me was that Federer’s grit was his defining quality which led him to greatness. His success was the result of a long-running act of will, not destiny. He had an advanced level of maturity versus his peers, contributed to by the sudden death of his (Australian) coach Peter Carter and necessity to leave home at a young age. His commitment to maintaining an intensely private life, an unwavering discipline in front of media (where he rarely deviated from a neutral take) and total devotion to craft (which included focused efforts to eradicate his bouts of on court aggression) are together what sculptured the seemingly effortless, most elegant and unblemished performer. Unlike the popularly pushed take, Federer was not ‘perfect without trying’.

I would highly recommend this read for sport lovers. The battles and rivalries (which extensively cover those with Nadal and Djokovic) covered are truly awesome. I will leave you with a quote from eight-time grand slam winner Andre Agassi, who said the following to his coach when sitting distraught in the locker room after losing to Federer in straight sets in 2003.

- “What the hell was that? I have never seen tennis played like that before. This guy is going to change the way tennis is played.”

Reviewed by Sam Mitchell, Dealer Assistant - Fixed Income - VIC


price-wars-300Price Wars: How Chaotic Markets Are Creating A Chaotic World

Rupert Russell (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2022). Audiobook on Spotify

Russell is an economic sociologist (and filmmaker) investigating why free market economics have failed to moderate price efficiency, economic growth and market volatility. Using the impact of finance markets on pricing of real commodities (e.g., wheat, coffee and energy), Russell explains a macro-relationship for advanced economies tackling inflation, polarised politics, bigger government and nationalistic perspectives. This is achieved by contrasting the amplified movement of refugees across borders, hyperinflation and geopolitical instability in vulnerable populations. Employing gonzo style and threading observations of the Arab Spring, triggered by expensive bread when wheat was abundant; to Brexit as a response to migration inflows; to EU natural gas dependency stimulating Putin’s “psychological chestiness” (p. 149) to invade Ukraine; Russell offers plausible answers for readers to discover. It’s not all doom and gloom, amusingly Russell visits a hedge fund that tracks the Berkshire Hathaway share price on news of actor Anne Hathaway’s career!

Price Wars is a stimulating, easy read for finance and economic boffins (with a notes list) and anyone interested in politics, sociology, history, superannuation and of course bond markets. Regardless of political or economic ideology the book covers enough to be analysed in opposition or support of guiding principles.

Recommended if you like authors Malcolm Gladwell, Christopher Hitchens, Robert Greene and perhaps Hunter S. Thompson.

Reviewed by M. Pinker, FIIG Client


atomic-habits-300Atomic Habits

By James Clear

In the book, James Clear emphasizes the repetition of habits and the significance of small habits in achieving personal goals. I have been able to tweak and transform my habits, taking tangible strides toward my goals – even the ones that initially felt minuscule or inconsequential. Eventually, these changes have a cumulative effect, helping me reach my goals faster.

Reviewed by Julia Ojala, Marketing Associate - QLD



the-coming-storm-300The Coming Storm (podcast)

Gabriel Gatehouse

Gabriel and the BBC look into the origins of QAnon and how this eventually led to the storming of the US Capitol in 2021.

Reviewed by Thomas Sharp, Associate - Research - NSW



frank-sinatra-has-a-cold-300Frank Sinatra has a cold

By Gay Telese

Frank Sinatra has a cold is a profile on Frank Sinatra for the April 1966 issue of Esquire magazine. It's the ultimate snapshot into his life, it's so easy to feel like you are in the room with him, and it's Frank, hes the chairman of the board.

Reviewed by Adam Turnbull, Director - Fixed Income - NSW







thursday-muder-club-300Thursday Murder Club

By Richard Osman

My recommendation for a good read is the Thursday Murder Club series by Richard Osman. He’s recently released book 4 of the series called “The Last Devil to Die”.

The Thursday Murder Club meets each week to investigate murders. You have to do something to keep yourself occupied in retirement, right? The book’s amateur sleuths jump off the page as they solve cases that stump the local police. Though, to be fair, the local police probably aren’t allowed to use most of the madcap methods the Thursday Murder Club employ.

The books are hilarious, but the characters have a level of humanity that is rarely found in fiction. It’s not often a book makes me laugh out loud and even rarer that a book makes me cry. Achieving both within the same volume was a rare feat indeed.

I’d rate the overall series as 9/10. The first book is very good. The second is a little weaker, but it’s worth sticking with the series as the third and fourth books are exceptional.

Reviewed by Philip Brown, Head of Research - VIC


wealthy-gardener-300The Wealthy Gardener – Lessons on Prosperity Between Father and Son

By John Soforic

A heartwarming series of stories and practical wisdom on entrepreneurship and wealth in the vein of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, written by a financially independent father for his ambitious son.

I remember picking up this book in Kikki K, of all places, as it was one of their recommended reads. Little did I know that it would end up being one of the most moving and inspirational books that I have read over and over again. The parable of the Wealthy Gardener is about timeless principles. As his lessons reveal, financial freedom is a means to power and control over our lives. Without money, we are subject to the demands and whims of others. With money, we are sheltered from the storm, and we can extend that shelter to our loved ones.

Reviewed by Sarah Lepelaar, Head of Marketing - QLD




the-bitcoin-standard-300The Bitcoin Standard

By Saifedean Ammous

The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous is a compelling exploration of Bitcoin's transformative potential in reshaping the future of finance. Ammous weaves together economic history and monetary theory, presenting a passionate and well-reasoned case for the adoption of Bitcoin. The book offers readers an inspiring vision of a decentralized and more resilient monetary system. "The Bitcoin Standard" is undoubtedly thought-provoking, making it a must-read.

Reviewed by Ben Taylor, Director - Fixed Income - NSW






nab-morning-call-300NAB Morning Call (Podcast)

By various

Good for a morning listen before the start of the day, not too dry. gives the latest overnight key economic and market information straight from NAB’s team of market economists and strategists. This includes perspective on overnight news and market price action and the forces shaping movements in Australian and global markets in the days ahead.

Reviewed by Mathew Heron, Dealer Assistant - Fixed Income - QLD