Earlier followers among you may remember our old weekend briefing, “Read on the street”, where our team shared their pick of the articles, books and thought pieces of the day that had piqued their curiosity.
Here at Charlotte Street Partners we remain engaged and, since we have grown in size and scale, we thought we would revive spotlighting the works that have us intrigued. With today’s landscape as divergent as the individual interests at our new offices in Thistle Street, perhaps a book or podcast here will capture your attention too.
In our first post, the themes of leadership, American history, the war in Ukraine and the world of ideas come to the fore.
If you’re looking for an intriguing life story with self-help elements that refuses to descend into naval gazing platitudes, then Evy Poumpouras’ Becoming Bulletproof is for you. With her unique insight as a former US secret service special agent, Evy takes her experience of protecting, controlling and influencing people in some of the most high-stake situations imaginable and applies her learnings to everyday business and personal life.
Evy’s CV extends from polygraph examiner to elite protection squad member for former President Barack Obama. By far the most harrowing yet inspiring of her recollections is as a first responder during the 911 attacks; Evy’s split-second choice to stay and help victims on the ground speaks volumes of courage and humility.
There is something in Evy’s memoir for everyone, from the psychology of liars to sneaky peaks into the lives and motivations of Presidents and First Ladies.
Podcast: Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra
This podcast explores the ultra right-wing ‘America First’ movement that threatened the democracy of the United States in the 1940s … wait what? – the 1940’s?
The quote ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’ springs to mind when listening to this fascinating, eight episode series about how a senior Nazi propagandist infiltrated the highest levels of the US government and supported the original ‘America First’ movement – made up of insurrectionists plotting a full and violent end to democracy. While every second of this podcast is gripping and interesting, I was most fascinated by the fact I had never heard any of it before – and I grew up in America.
What happened in the 40’s is eerily and uncomfortably similar to the rise of Trump – as both a strongman figure and a reclaimer of the ‘America First’ moniker. This podcast is a reminder that forgetting history can have dangerous repercussions.
Podcast: EI weekly
What do you know about the disintegration of accountability in supra-national politics? Or the impact of strategy after the First World War? Perhaps fantasy in Middle Eastern nation-making? No?
Well, I am still no expert. But last year I started listening to the Engelsberg Ideas weekly podcast. It’s a collection of essays by writers who contribute to The Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Public Benefit and read by actor Leighton Pugh, whose deep tones can be immensely relaxing.
The typical length of an episode, around 20 minutes, is perfect bite-size fodder to learn about something that a) broadens your mind and b) affords the occasional opportunity to say something deep, compelling (and clearly plagiarised) during meetings. In a year where we have been afforded much stupidity and recklessness by our leaders, this has been a welcome, enlightening and calm addition to my life.
Right, I am away to learn more about “disinformation in the information age”. Laters…
Online article: New York Times
This is an incredibly thorough and painstakingly researched review of key factors in the Ukraine war to-date and the presentation – which features images, audio and video throughout – is great too.
Podcast: The Diary of a CEO
I first got into podcasts during lockdown. I had all this time ahead of me (furloughed in a previous job), and for the first time found I was able to really get lost in a podcast. When I’d tried to listen to them before my busy mind just wandered, but when life got a lot simpler and all we were allowed to do was go for a daily walk, my mind was able to focus.
One podcast series I commit to every single week without fail is The Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett. Steven knows how to probe his interviewees to get the best answers out of them and he’s not afraid to be vulnerable, regularly sharing aspects of his personal life to help the listener relate to the topic at hand.
If I had to choose a favourite episode, Episode 101: The happiness expert that made 51 million people happier, would be the one. Mo Gawdat lost his soon during a routine hospital appointment and used the grief of that loss to fuel his mission to try and find what he calls, ‘the happiness equation’. This is a fascinating episode about happiness, and the human brain.
If you enjoyed reading our first edition of Charlotte Street Recommends, why not check out more insight from the team over on our insights page.