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Top 10 must-reads for graduates from our senior leaders and CEO

Our CEO and top senior leaders have put together a recommended reading list to help you develop and become the happiest and most successful version of yourself.

The list, created for those who aspire to be unconventional and hit the ground running after university, adds to the literary classics you read during high school and university.

1. Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck: Why Some Thrive Despite Them All by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen

Recommended by Giam Swiegers, Former Aurecon CEO 

As our future leaders, this is an important book to read. Collins and Hansen’s study seeks to understand why some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not. Based on research, the authors list the principles for building a truly great enterprise in unpredictable, tumultuous and fast-moving times. They also demonstrate that greatness happens by choice, not by chance.

2. Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom and David M. Kelley

Recommended by John McGuire, Managing Director – Built Environment

Too often, people assume creativity and innovation are only for the "creative types". In this book, David and Tom Kelley identify the strategies that allow us to tap into our creative potential in our work and personal lives, and allow us to innovate in terms of how we approach and solve problems.

3. Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Recommended by Alex Wonhas, Former Managing Director – Energy & Resources

There’s no better genre that pushes the frontier of what’s possible than science fiction. Stephenson explores some of human kind’s biggest ideas and perplexing challenges, the intricacies and unpredictability of human nature and paints a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary and eerily recognisable. 

4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Recommended by Aneetha de Silva, Managing Director – Government

You’ll find this book on many ‘must read’ lists and that’s because it has been empowering readers for over 25 years. The tips in this book are relevant for every stage of your career, are simple and easy to follow and will help you learn how to operate more effectively.

5. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Recommended by Liam Hayes, Chief People Officer 

Kahneman exposes the capabilities, faults and biases of fast thinking, tells us where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and explains how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers insights into how choices are made in our business and personal lives and how we can use different techniques to prevent the mental glitches that can get us into trouble.

6. The Tower and the Bridge: The New Art of Structural Engineering by David P. Billington

Recommended by Kourosh Kayvani, Managing Director – Design, Innovation & Eminence

What do structures such as the Eiffel Tower, the Brooklyn Bridge and the concrete roofs of Pier Luigi Nervi have in common? According to Billington, all are outstanding examples of structural art, a form distinct from either architecture or machine design. This book discusses leading structural engineer-artists. 

7. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Recommended by Louise Adams, Managing Director – Australia and New Zealand

Based on the principle that good leadership is contagious, Willink and Babin show that even in a volatile world where people find themselves in complex teams relying heavily on influence rather than control, the resilient ability to put aside excuses and take ownership for all outcomes will be respected and replicated, both by those who lead you and those whom you lead. 

8. Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Recommended by Maureen Thurston, Chief Experience Officer

“You are the shaper of your own destiny. It is entirely up to you where you want to go and who you want to be.” The last book that Dr. Seuss published during his lifetime is a perfect read for anyone starting a new phase in their life. 

9. The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

Recommended by Andrew Maher, Chief Digital Officer

As the full impact of digital technologies is felt, Brynjolfsson and McAfee identify the best strategies for survival and offer a new path to prosperity. A fundamentally optimistic book, it alters how we think about issues of technological, societal and economic progress.

10. Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis 

Recommended by Brad McBean, Managing Principal – Advisory 

Michael Lewis was fresh out of Princeton and the London School of Economics when he landed a job at one of Wall Street’s premier investment firms. An entertaining read, it’s a behind-the-scenes look at a unique and turbulent time in American business, touching on greed, gluttony, and outrageous fortune.

If the saying ‘knowledge is power’ is true for you, then the above list will kick-start your career. 

Good luck on your journey!

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