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A selection of summer books to read, chosen by Octopus

16 August 2018


There’s nothing better than to get lost inside a good book, so we asked a few Octopus people to recommend some of their favourites to help complete our summer holiday reading list.

What are we reading?

 

All The Light We Cannot See By Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr

“Set in World War II, you follow two stories, one of a blind French girl and one of a German boy who, despite being too young, reluctantly ends up as a soldier fighting his way through occupied France. Their paths eventually cross as both try to survive the devastation of the war. This book illuminates the ways in which people try to be good to one another, or have good within them. It’s a moving story that makes you think and question what you know.”
Anna Pollins, Octopus Investments

 
Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey through the World’s Strangest Brains by Helen Thomson

Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey through the World’s Strangest Brains
Helen Thomson

“An incredible insight into the lives of nine people with bizarre and rare brain disorders, explaining the workings of human consciousness, the complexity of emotions and the power of the brain to shape our lives.”
Chris Hulatt, Octopus Group

 

 
The Salt Path: A Memoir, by Raynor Winn

The Salt Path
Raynor Winn

“If you find euphoria in getting out the city and hiking through the British countryside, this book is for you. An emotional true story account of what it’s like to lose absolutely everything, and find solace and strength in nature. This book has all the drama of the climate and coastlines of the great outdoors, combined with the stability of a couple who suddenly find themselves with nothing to lose. You can practically feel the wind in your hair and the fresh air in your lungs as you read it.”
Jennifer Viccars, Octopus Group

 
Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It, by Geoff Dyer

Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It
Geoff Dyer

“For those on the road to the beach – well, actually just for everyone – I’d suggest this. Amazing essays which manage to somehow combine travelogue, literary criticism, social commentary – all in a beautifully funny way. Love it.”
Stuart Sheppard, Octopus Labs

 
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell

Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking
Malcolm Gladwell

“Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? This book is more than a decade old, but it’s still well worth a look. The author weaves a number of tales that reveal how people’s brains are hardwired, for better and worse. Gladwell isn’t a psychoanalyst, he’s a storyteller and his conversational style makes this a really enjoyable read.”
Stephen Rixon, Octopus Group

 
More With Less: Paul MacCready and The Dream of Efficient Flight by Paul Ciotti

More With Less: Paul MacCready and The Dream of Efficient Flight
Paul Ciotti

“This one is so non-obvious as a business book, but it captures the obsession, insight and drive to do something incredible, by pushing everything to the boundaries, from finance to design, human performance to engineering and problem-solving. I love this book.”
Greg Jackson, Octopus Energy

  
The Passage, by Justin Cronin

The Passage
Justin Cronin

“I have a not-so-secret penchant for the post-apocalyptic genre. This is the first of a trilogy that takes a different slant on the usual zombie/vampire end-of-the-world fiction. Fast moving and gripping.”
Kat Shenton, Octopus Energy Investments

 
 
The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck
Sarah Knight

“A great, easy-to-read and relatively short book, explaining why we should all stop doing what other people want and focus on what we truly want to do. It’s a fab book that reminds us that we all do things, wear things that other people want, and we don’t realise this is the case. In a society where social pressures and norms influence our behaviour, it’s a nice reality check.”
Philippa Russ, Octopus Group

 
The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder, by Sarah J Harris

The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder
Sarah J Harris

“A mystery with a difference. The story is told from the perspective of Jasper, a teenager with autism, synaesthesia (he sees sounds as colours) and face-blindness. And he’s seen the colour of murder. The author draws you into Jasper’s vivid, multi-coloured world, and the various characters and layers of secrets around him, while twisting and turning through the mystery of what happened to Bee Larkham. An unusual, interesting, page-turner.”
Samantha Ling, Octopus Ventures

 
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

The Pillars of the Earth
Ken Follett

“A spellbinding epic tale of ambition, anarchy, and absolute power set against the sprawling medieval canvas of twelfth-century England” is the summary which made me choose this book as my holiday read. It’s a long, gripping, historical account also featuring strong female characters challenging the status quo.”
Mona Steininger, Octopus Group