This is Allens

Entertain me

Is there any greater gift than an enthusiastic recommendation? We think not. Here are the books, series, podcasts, films and music we love so much they have to be shared.

What Cindy McNair is reading

  1. Yes To Life In Spite of Everything by Viktor E Frankl. A series of lectures delivered by psychiatrist Frankl, only a few short months after his liberation from Auschwitz and after losing his parents and pregnant wife in the concentration camps. I'm in awe of the resilience of human beings and our will to triumph and survive despite unspeakable tragedy.
  2. How to Raise Successful People by Esther Wojcicki. As a parent, I am really interested to learn how different cultures approach parenting, and whether one way is necessarily better than another. It was definitely fun to read this book alongside Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Talk about a culture clash!
  3. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. Always good to keep this book nearby. A timely reminder of how easy it is for anyone to get swept up in day-to-day moments and to bring our focus back to the bigger picture.
  4. Point Made by Ross Guberman. We can always improve our writing and expression as lawyers and advocates, and Ross Guberman's book does a tremendous job at walking the reader through some of the most effective legal briefs ever written. Compelling and carefully crafted prose is simply a joy to read.
  5. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Daniel Kahneman's exploration of the brain's 'two minds' and the cognitive biases that lead to errors of judgment and poor decision-making is eye-opening and fascinating. Of course, reading the book is no guarantee against bad decisions, but might make you more aware of your own decision-making preferences!

Keerthi Ravi's soundtrack of her life

I am a jazz, blues and soul music fanatic! There's something about soul music that, well, touches the soul. Listening to the all-time greats – Aretha, Etta, Marvin and Ray – is not only a reminder of how music is a vehicle for self-assertion and political expression, but also helps me focus, relax and motivate myself!

  1. W-O-M-a-n by Etta James
  2. Feeling good by Nina Simone
  3. You are my sunshine by Ray Charles
  4. Ain't no sunshine by Bill Withers
  5. Something's got a hold on me by Etta James
  6. You're all I need to get by by Marvin Gaye
  7. Young, gifted and black by Aretha Franklin
  8. River by Leon Bridges
  9. Respect by Aretha Franklin
  10. Sunny by Bobby Hebb

Dominic Anderson's reading and listening playlist

  1. The Overstory by Richard Powers – A novel about trees. I don't read a lot of fiction and, honestly, I wasn’t sure I'd make it through this one, but I'm glad I stuck with it. I think it's an important book for our times. I also found it quite a meditative/calming book to read during lockdown – I don't have any trees in my one bedroom apartment, so it was nice to read about them. 
  2. The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson – I know very little about wine other than that I quite enjoy drinking it and that the more expensive a bottle is, the better it is likely to taste. I'm enjoying learning about different varietals, regions, the wine making process, what the word 'terroir' means and the impact of things like climate change on the industry.
  3. The Last Dance – I don't know Michael Jordan personally, but I reckon this highly entertaining documentary gives you a pretty good idea of what it would have been like to be his team mate at the Bulls. Shame we didn’t hear more from Luc Longley.
  4. MasterChef – I'd like to say I only watch this because my girlfriend watches it, but I have started watching it when she is not there, which is a sign. I think the contestants deal so well with high-pressure situations and I find that quite inspiring.
  5. The New Yorker (in audio form) – Not really a podcast, but I think the journalists at The New Yorker are top drawer and their deep dive pieces are often fascinating. If I have time in the evening before I hit the hay, I like to listen to the audio versions of the articles.
  6. Apollo 11 – Original, remastered, 4K footage of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. I've been a bit of a space nerd since I was a kid and I found this really powerful and quite beautiful to watch. I think it's available on Amazon Prime.
  7. In the unlikely event anyone has read this far, my favourite movie of all time is No Country for Old Men. I'm a big fan of Coen Brothers movies.
  8. Based on what Spotify is telling me, the last five things I have listened to are: (i) the album Women in Music Pt. III by Haim; (ii) the song Dear April (Justice Remix) by Frank Ocean; (iii) the album Blonde by Frank Ocean; (iv) the song Str8 Outta Mumbai by Jai Paul; and (v) the album Rumours by Fleetwood Mac.