Some of our readers and members of the Property Week  team share their cultural recommendations:

Netflix

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This week:

Krishma Kapoor, property and development consultant at property management company SLC Property

Krishma Kapoor headshot

Krishma Kapoor

Something to watch: 

I have watched Finding Nemo many times and still enjoy it every time. It is such a feel-good film and I also relate to Nemo’s drive. He is very consistent and wants to experience life and what it offers. I enjoy experiencing new cultures and am happy to try something out of my comfort zone. 

Something to listen to: 

During trips to India, I have been involved in the non–profit organisation SPHEEHA (Society for Preservation of Healthy Environment and Ecology and Heritage of Agra). We were planting saplings as part of an initiative, and I remember during this time listening to Sustainababble, a weekly environment podcast. It covers a wide range of topics in a comedy form.

The superpower I’d like to have: 

The superpower I would like to have is the ability to teleport anywhere. Not only would I not have to sit in rush-hour traffic, but I could be in a much sunnier place.

Top travel destination: 

My number-one travel destination is Singapore, which I recently travelled to. I fell in love with the city and the multicultural aspects it has to offer. What interested me particularly was the unique property system – the majority of the land is state owned and 80% of the residents live in housing provided by Singapore’s public housing authority, The Housing and Development Board. Singapore is definitely a place I will be visiting again.

 

Linda Morey-Burrows, founder and principal designer of interior design practice MoreySmith

Linda Morey-Burrows

Linda Morey-Burrows

Something to read: 

I loved reading The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak, which is set in the troubled past of Cyprus from the 1970s to the modern day. It explores the loss of trees and considers roots, war, culture and love. It sadly reminded me of the war in Ukraine and the unstable balance of our planet. 

Something to listen to: 

I often listen to BBC Radio 6 Music, especially Cerys Matthews on a Sunday. I always enjoy the interesting music she plays and find her voice wonderful to listen to – it is an essential part of my relaxing Sunday routine.

Best and worst purchases: 

My best purchase has to be our wild swimming pond. It is a beautiful feature in our garden – a nature haven with floating lilies, wildflowers and an array of birds dipping in and out. My worst purchase was an Aston Martin DB9, which visually I loved but was not suitable for the hills and small lanes of Bath. It was too long, too big and felt quite dangerous to drive. I now have a Mini and three bikes instead. 

Top travel destination: 

It’s either Mallorca or the Maldives, where we have been travelling regularly over the past 20 years. In Mallorca, I love the coastline with such clear sea and nature reserves around, and cycling from Palma over the mountains to clear my head. The Maldives has such wonderful marine life – I love swimming and paddleboarding with manta rays, sharks and turtles, and enjoying a slower life in perfect contrast to London. 

Last week:  

Jamie Bunce, CEO of retirement living operator Inspired Villages

Jamie Bunce headshot

Jamie Bunce

Something to read: 

Purpose: The extraordinary benefits of focusing on what matters most by Ben Renshaw gave me great comfort that being purpose-led will result in wonderful outcomes and for careers to be more than just a job.

Something to listen to:

My top song pick is Step On by Happy Mondays, which takes me back to more carefree, crazy days.

My top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is Singapore because it is vibrant, has impressive architecture, is very tidy and has great food. 

Which famous figure would you most like to spend an hour with?

If I could pick any historical figure to be my friend, it would be Margaret Thatcher because she smashed barriers in all sectors and was so powerful in an era when equality was not even thought about. Whether you liked her or not, you could still respect her.

Nivene Powell, head of communities at developer EcoWorld London

Nivene Powell headshot

Nivene Powell

Something to watch: 

How to Get Away with Murder was an intriguing TV show that kept me on the edge of my seat. I was hooked and it enticed me to try and work out the plots myself. 

Something to read:

Becoming by Michelle Obama is an inspirational as well as educationally stimulating read, and portrays how resilient and ambitious you can be if you really put your mind to it. Also, it instilled in me the message not to give up.

How would you spend a million pounds?

If I had a million pounds I would spend a lump sum on my family to improve their quality of life and comfort. I would then donate a share to various charities and use the rest to invest and travel where possible. 

Which famous figure would you most like to spend an hour with?

If I could pick any historical figure to be my friend, it would be Nelson Mandela. His inspirational personality is what I would like to embrace. I would like to learn more about how he overcame the struggles he faced during his captivity; and gain his extensive knowledge and understanding of human rights campaigning, justice and resilience.

Sally Duggleby, capital and leasing vice-president at Prologis

Sally Duggleby

Sally Duggleby

Something to watch: 

The Wire, the police drama set in Baltimore. I was transfixed and learnt a lot of slang.

Something to read:

The last book I read was The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. I’d read it’s the most impossible crime to solve and was utterly outwitted.

How would you spend a million pounds?

Quickly.

Which famous figure would you most like to spend an hour with?

Alan Turing. I would say: “Thank you. You shortened the Second World War by two years and in the future your life choices will not be judged in the same way.”

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

The power of flight. It would transform my commutes to Solihull and London. Although I do love trains…

Previous recommendations:

Megan Hanney, senior consultant, strategic advisory, at CBRE

Megan Hanney

Megan Hanney

Something to watch: 

King Richard is a biographical sports film that relays how the father of Serena and Venus Williams shaped their journey to becoming professional tennis players. It sheds light on key themes including adversity, inequality, discipline, sacrifice and success. I found each of these themes to be portrayed through an incredibly powerful story.

Something to read: 

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell tells the stories of uniquely successful people across different professions, from pilots to computer programmers. He identifies how numerous influencing factors have contributed to their success – some within and others outside their control. It is a fascinating read.

Best and worst things you’ve spent money on: 

The best thing I spent money on in recent years has been a super-cheap bus ticket from my hometown to Manchester, which enabled me to gain work experience with CBRE while studying for my masters. Little did I know how much I’d gain from my career at CBRE in the following four years. The worst thing I’ve spent money on is all the lottery tickets when I didn’t win; but no regrets – you’ve got to be in it to win it! 

Top travel destination: 

My number-one travel destination is the US. It has been a while in the making after setbacks with Covid-19, but this year CBRE is sponsoring me to study artificial intelligence on campus at Harvard University. I will also spend a week in San Francisco and Silicon Valley with a few of our top technology clients. This sponsorship is the result of me winning CBRE’s Karen Queen Award, which I was honoured to receive in 2021.  

Gill Kirkness, regional director at construction consultant, Thomas & Adamson

Gill Kirkness headshot

Gill Kirkness

Something to watch: 

I am a huge fan of Daniel Craig’s Bond and Skyfall for the action-packed scenes, the cinematography, the brilliant castings and Bond’s unique humour; but the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands makes this a number one for me. Adele’s theme tune is also one of my favourite songs.

Something to read: 

I had a fantastic English literature teacher at school who made Shakespeare come alive and I have enjoyed his work ever since. The themes in Othello are still relevant today and I always try to avoid that green-eyed monster, as ultimately it does you no good.

A celebrity I’d most like to meet: 

The celebrity I would most like to spend an hour with is Judi Dench. She has packed so much into her life and would have some great tales to tell, probably of things I couldn’t even imagine. I suspect we would laugh a lot in that hour, and I think I would learn a great deal of wisdom.

If I could have one superpower: 

If I could have one superpower, it would be time travel. I would love to go back in time to witness how some of the great historic buildings were built and be part of those projects. York Minster and St Paul’s Cathedral would be top of the list, as these are two of my favourite buildings.

Louisa Butters, head of retail asset management at CBRE IM UK

Louisa Butters

Louisa Butters

Something to watch: 

Nothing too high-brow, I’m afraid. I loved Call My Agent! and I confess to binge-watching Below Deck during lockdown.

Something to read: 

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray. I am much more of a Becky than an Amelia. 

Most unusual fact: 

The most ridiculous fact I know is that although it did not feel much fun at the time, I helped my daughter learn the capital cities of more than 125 countries. I think I have managed to retain the knowledge of 80, tops.

Top travel destination: 

My number-one travel destination is Île de Ré, an island off the west coast of France. It has the perfect combination of the outdoors, exercise and amazing food and wine.

Kevin Duffy, centre director at centre:mk

Kevin Duffy

Kevin Duffy

Something to read:

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley was written and published in the early 1930s and was so far-reaching and forward-thinking for its time. You can really see the parallels with today’s super-rich, especially with the haves and have-nots. It is often compared to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four published in 1949, but for me it is the better book.

Something to listen to: 

Hounds of Love by Kate Bush, which is very topical with the single reaching the top of the charts across the world due to Stranger Things. I have always been a fan of Kate’s work and own all her albums, but this album stands out. From the depth of the hits on one side to the ninth wave concept on the other – which you can truly get lost in – I still get goosebumps from some tracks when I listen to it. Considering it is almost 40 years old, it really has stood the test of time.

What are the best and worst things you have spent money on?

The worst thing I have spent money on is the housing market. I bought at the height of the last boom and lost money, but I have also made lots on some properties, so it is not all bad. Best thing was my wedding – best day ever! I know you cannot buy the overwhelming emotions you feel on the day or the memories you make, but it was definitely the best investment for my long-term happiness, and I am very happily married to my husband Phil, so it was worth it.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Time travel. You could pretty much do anything with it: go back in time to meet your heroes or invest in Apple or any one of the big social networks; go forward to see what the world holds for you and what discoveries they make in the future, including scientifically and pharmaceutically.

Maggie Milosavljevic, commercial director at investment company LabTech London

Maggie Milosavljevic

Maggie Milosavljevic

Favourite TV show:

I enjoy watching crime shows with my children. They not only provide a great sense of adrenaline and mystery but also encourage effective problem-solving, approaching issues with critical thinking and putting yourself in the perspective of others. Also, most of the time, the episodes lead to a happy and reasonable ending.

Something to read:

I really enjoy the book series Medical Medium by Anthony William. It is a fascinating read and is all about self-healing for your own wellbeing and using the spirit of compassion as a method to help all kinds of issues. There is also an associated podcast that I would recommend. 

How would you spend a million pounds?

If I had a million pounds, I would try to make sure that there were very few people left hungry; £1m is not enough to end world hunger and poverty, but it is certainly a start.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

If I could have one superpower, it would be to teleport food to those who need it.

Monika Newton, partner at Workman

Monika Newton

Monika Newton

One podcast / radio show:

As a keen long-distance runner, I like The Runner’s World UK podcast, which gives me tips on all things running. I like to listen to it on the way to work, on my easy runs or when I just want some time to myself.

One song/album:

Eye of the Tiger’ is my all-time favourite song as it reminds me of my time as a rhythmic gymnast. We used to play it before major European competitions; and my coach used to say that no matter what happens during the routine, we must never give up and fight till the last second. It is also a song I listen to at the latter stages of marathons when things get tough, just to remind myself that I am more than capable of getting to the finish line.

How would you spend a million pounds?

That is an easy one – if I had a million pounds I would spend it on helping animals. I would help build proper dog shelter facilities in Ukraine, where my rescue dog comes from. I would also fund a neutering programme in Bulgaria, Romania and Poland as there are still a lot of strays that need help. And, finally, I would use it to educate people about how to care for animals they are responsible for. I regularly raise money for animals around the world and a million pounds would certainly make a huge difference to them.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

The power of persuasion would be my superpower, as there still seems to be a perception that there is a plan B if things do not work out with Earth. Having travelled a bit, I am very surprised to see how much single plastic is still used, how little regard is given to the environment and how poorly animals are treated all around the world. If I could open people’s eyes to how important these things are, it would be my dream come true.

Kally Kang-Kersey, chief people officer at essensys

Kally Kang-Kersey

Kally Kang-Kersey

Something to watch: 

I always enjoy a political thriller and I think All the President’s Men effectively shows the importance of good journalism and the shabbiness of power. I use it as a training tool for accountability and a reminder that you are never bigger than the team.

Something to listen to:

The Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett is a really great podcast as it is punchy and Steven asks the difficult questions. It also provides great insight into how a CEO got to where they are.

If you could pick any historical figure to be your friend, who would it be and why?

I would like to have been friends with Rosa Parks. I have always been incredibly impressed with people who are brave enough to make a difference. I would want to ask her what it was about that moment – that specific point in time – that made her refuse to give up her seat. It is a good reminder to be brave and take a stand.

Top travel destination: 

My number-one travel destination is India. I have a love-hate relationship with the country. It is a beautiful, colourful, hectic place that I feel connected to through my heritage, but at the same time it can be incredibly bureaucratic.

Marcus Moufarrige, founder and chief executive of ility

Marcus Moufarrige

Marcus Moufarrige

Something to watch: 

Favourite fllm is always a tough question, but for me it is Fight Club with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. There is something about the intensity of it all, and it is not just the fighting but the dark humour woven throughout.

Something to listen to: 

Kanye West – Donda. Love him or hate him, he is a real artist and is not afraid to stand out. Creativity at its finest.

Top travel destination: 

I have been fortunate enough to travel the world but never made it to Africa. It is nally getting up to number-one travel destination on my bucket list. It is so rich in culture and history, and I hope to be able to travel there and explore the continent soon.

Most ridiculous fact: 

The most ridiculous fact I know is that tomatoes were originally native to South America and did not proliferate until the 1600s after the discovery of the Americas.

Lynda Shillaw, CEO at Harworth

Lynda Shillaw

Lynda Shillaw

Something to read:

Game of Thrones – the box set. I read a lot, and this ticked the box of being unable to stop until I had finished all of them. I missed so many train stops on my way home!

Something to listen to:

Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell. It was the soundtrack of my tortured early teenage years – and, yes, I know all of the lyrics.

Favourite quote or motto:

“There is no such word as ’can’t’” – a favourite of my mother when we were growing up. If you crack this, it is also a superpower.

Top travel destination: 

The Greek islands for their beauty and culture. I’ve been visiting for decades, from backpacking to sailing, and I never grow tired of them.

Reece Mennie, founder and chief executive of HJ Collection

Reece Mennie

Reece Mennie

Something to read: 

The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone. He is one of my mentors and someone who has built an incredible property and investment empire in the US. The 10X Rule genuinely inspires you to work harder, push further and achieve more.

Radio show/podcast to listen to:

I regularly listen to and recommend several podcasts: The Diary Of A CEO with Steven Bartlett; The Ed Mylett Show; REAL AF with Andy Frisella; and, of course, my own – Mennie Talks.

Which celebrity would you most like to spend an hour with and why?

The celebrity I would most like to spend an hour with would have to be Warren Buffett, to gain knowledge and insight.

Top travel destination: 

The Maldives. It is the one place where I really get time to relax with my wife and children.

Kamal Pankhania, CEO of development company Westcombe Group

Kamal Pankhania

Kamal Pankhania

Something to read:

Tide of Fortune: A Family Tale by Manubhai Madhvani is an incredible story of overcoming adversity. Madhvani, an entrepreneur of Indian heritage born in Uganda, was expelled from the country his family built their vast business in and sent to prison. Thirteen years later, Madhvani and his family were invited back to rebuild what had been lost. He went on to turn the business into one of Uganda’s largest employers. 

Something to listen to:

LBC – it is the voice of real people across the UK.

If you had one million pounds:

I would use it to build a homeless shelter.

Top travel destination: 

Kenya. We support a number of charitable projects out there through the Westcombe Group Foundation.

 Ed Siddall-Jones, managing director of agency Siddall Jones

Ed Siddall-Jones

Ed Siddall-Jones

Something to read:

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. Phil is the founder of Nike and it is a fantastic story about a chap from Oregon who wanted to develop a better running shoe. You don’t appreciate how close Nike were to failure, but they are now the world’s most valuable sports brand. It is a great lesson for anyone starting out in business.

Something to listen to:

The High Performance Podcast is a weekly listen for me as you get to hear first-hand from high-profile entrepreneurs, sports people and entertainers about what they have achieved and what they consider to be a high-performance lifestyle.

If you could pick any historical figure to be your friend, who would it be?

The historical figure I would like to befriend is Winston Churchill for his intellect, humour and advice. I would also imagine him to be a good drinking partner.

Top travel destination:

Both my wife and I are keen to go on safari once our children are old enough to appreciate it. With the hustle and bustle of working in the city, it would be great to get out into the wilderness and witness animals in their natural environment that we usually only see on TV.

 

Oli Cohen, partner at BELCOR

Oli Cohen

Oli Cohen

Something to watch:

I am a bit of a film geek so picking a best film is hard, but it would probably have to be Defiance with Daniel Craig. It is an amazing true story of defying the odds.

Something to listen to:

The Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett podcast: I love hearing about successful entrepreneurs and how they grew their businesses but also the adversity they have had to overcome.

If you could pick any historical figure to be your friend, who would it be?

It would be a toss-up between Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela, but I would probably go for the latter because to show kindness and forgiveness after what he was put through was just incredible. He singlehandedly had a massive effect on changing the world.

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination will always be Portugal. It has been my home from home since I was a kid. It is such a beautiful country and the pace of life is really slow out there, so it is a direct contrast with the pace of everyday working life in Shoreditch.

 Richard Cherry, co-chairman of Stonebond:

Richard Cherry

Richard Cherry

Something to watch:

Gogglebox: I cry with laughter watching this show. You have people from all walks of life enjoying the same thing, and it shows how interesting and amusing people are across society. It is also such a simple formula, which reminds me that many of the best ideas in life are not complicated.

Something to listen to:

Solsbury Hill’ by Peter Gabriel: I love the music and the words to this song. The first lines talk about climbing up a hill and seeing ‘the city lights’, and it says something to me about facing a challenge. During the pandemic, I listened to it every morning and it really set me up for the day.

Which celebrity would you most like to spend an hour with?

The celebrities I would most love to spend an hour with are The Rolling Stones. I have always loved their music, energy and style. I would love to find out how they have managed to stay together all this time. And these days, it is probably a bit easier to spend an hour with them than it might have been in the past!

What is the most ridiculous fact you know?

I like facts that demonstrate human endeavour and the scale of operational achievement. If you look at the NHS, it employs 1.5 million people and is one of the biggest employers in the world. People have been critical of its organisation, but we employ 100 people at Stonebond and previously employed 2,000 people at Countryside – just think of the organisational skills required to run a team in excess of one million.

David Baybut, partner and head of real estate at Stephensons Solicitors:

David Baybut

David Baybut

Something to watch:

I am mild-mannered person who nevertheless does like violent gritty series such as Peaky Blinders, The Sopranos and Gangs of London. I do run out of patience when there are too many series – some need to reach a conclusion earlier. Recently grabbing my attention was ZeroZeroZero. Set mainly in Mexico and Italy, it is very earthy and realistic. It is also partially subtitled, which seems to make the characters more believable.

Something to read:

I must be honest, I am not a fan of fact or self-help business books. I do like to relax with a good fiction book though. This year, I have read a few, including East of Eden, Anatomy of a Soldier and The Time Traveler’s Wife – all very different and all a good read. The one I would currently recommend most is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It is just bizarre and magical at the same time.

The most ridiculous fact I know:

My children share lots of facts with me. All fun but not all publishable, so I will go with: polar bears have black skin underneath their white fur. I believe it is logical when you think about it.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

If I could have one superpower, it would be time travel for selfish and unselfish reasons. Selfishly, there are many moments of my life I would dearly visit again; and unselfishly, I believe there are many wrongs that could be corrected if one was able to travel back in time. I suspect I would also have more chance of winning the lottery!

Richard Mussell, managing director of consultancy Rund Partnership:

Richard Mussell

Richard Mussell

Something to watch: 

The Darkest Hour, which has Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, is a great film that focuses on his early days as prime minister during the Second World War. I love how it showcased the British spirit to fight and never give up.

Something to read:

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer is a fantastic book about the author’s experience of climbing Mount Everest and the disaster surrounding it. A key theme of the book that really resonated with me revolves around achievement and how despite things not going to plan, there was a determination to keep going.

If you had one million pounds:

I’ve always enjoyed walking in the Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons. If I had a million pounds, there’s a cottage there I would buy and convert into an outdoor pursuit centre for kids from inner cities, so they could come out and experience the mountains and do loads of activities.

If you could pick any historical figure to be your friend, who would it be?

I would love to spend an hour with Winston Churchill. I would be fascinated to learn what it was like during the Second World War and to make such high-pressured decisions in that time. I can only imagine how grim and frightening it must have been at times, so I would be intrigued to learn more. I never want to stop learning.

Julian Maynard, managing director of Maynard Design Group:

Julian Maynard

Julian Maynard

Something to watch:

Bladerunner  was a huge influence on me as a young designer. I wrote my dissertation on it and I spoke to the director Ridley Scott and production designer Syd Mead about how they captured such an understanding and vision of future technology and social context. The film was a visual feast, but what underpinned it for me was the depth of thinking behind the products and environments despite being set way into the future.

Something to listen to:

I am a massive David Bowie fan, but The Clash Sandinista  just pips it. I love the transformative blend of the angry London punks that embraced reggae. It was also a quadruple album that saw me through my final year at the Royal College of Art.

What is the most ridiculous fact you know?

The number two court at Wimbledon is nicknamed the ‘graveyard of champions’ because world-class players such as Ilie Năstase, Arthur Ashe and Pat Cash fell to lower-ranking players there. I know this and a lot of other tennis facts now because we designed 700 new signs for the Championships this year and many of them have facts on to help the fans learn about the history of the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament.

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is Australia. We have set up offices in Sydney and Melbourne, where we have embraced the culture and are working on flagship projects such as the new Metro systems and airports. I go there frequently to support the growth of these studios, but as a country it is also a real pleasure to visit.

Chris Dougray, executive director and head of development at CBRE Scotland:

Chris Dougray

Chris Dougray

Something to read:

More than Somewhat  by Damon Runyon, who was a Depression-era New York newspaperman. He wrote, I think, some of the funniest short stories ever published. This book is the only one I have re-read many times and it always makes me laugh. It is my go-to when I need a chuckle!

Something to listen to:

‘New Year’s Day’ by U2 from the album War. My friend Steve Lillywhite produced the album and when I hear the song, I always think of him. He has been quite an inspiration to me.

What are the best and worst things you’ve spent money on?

The best things I have spent money on are family holidays. Maybe it is a cliché but holidays have created some amazing moments and memories for me and my family. The worst thing would be a ‘red-hot’ share tip from a very close friend. Let’s put it this way: never again! (I won’t name him – you know who you are!)

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is China. I have been twice now – once on business and once for a family holiday. It is an amazing place and such a cultural slap in the face compared with my standard trips. I am keen on modern art and my favourite artist Hei Yiyang works out of Shenzhen. His work with currency notes is amazing.

Jon Seal, managing director at technologywithin:

Jon Seal

Jon Seal

Something to watch: 

My favourite film is The Shawshank Redemption. The spotlight on perseverance and friendship never fails to move me. Each time I watch it I take something else away: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” It is a timeless classic that packs a punch.

Something to listen to:  

I listen to a lot of podcasts. One of my favourites is True Spies, especially its exploration of the lives of clandestine and accidental spies. It is a peek into the decisions they make on whims, what pushes them to that life and also what they have done – so many operations are covert.

Best thing to spend money on: 

The best thing I spend money on is travel; it is what I spend most on. I was told you only get 16 summers with your children, so you need to cherish those and the memories we make last longer than any gadget. That said, the worst thing I spend money on is gadgets. We have an initial love affair, then they go into the ‘drawer of doom’.

Your most ridiculous fact: 

The most ridiculous fact I know is that your forearm (wrist to elbow) is the same size as your foot.

 

Ged Simmonds, managing director, commercial offices and residential at Mace:

Ged Simmonds

Ged Simmonds

Something to watch:

Maiden  is the inspirational film about how Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook on charter boats, became the skipper of the first-ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989. The film shows how someone with determination and a goal can defy all odds, succeed and prove that traditionally held views are not always right and there to be challenged.

Something to read:

Prisoners of Geography  by Tim Marshall is a fascinating insight into why world leaders make the decisions they do in defending their borders, as well as acts of aggression to protect their natural resources and vulnerable territories. The book opened my eyes to how basic geographical landforms have interacted with and determined the course of human civilisation, with the increasing focus on such basic needs as fresh water and food – something we often take for granted.

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is the Scottish Highlands and Islands. It is an incredible place and so different from the rest of the UK.

If I could have one superpower:

If I could have one superpower, I would choose always having good luck.

 

Jacob Loftus, founder and chief executive of General Projects:

Jacob Loftus

Jacob Loftus

Something to watch:  

The West Wing is the greatest political drama ever. I studied international relations at university and have always had an ambition to become a diplomat or ambassador in later life. Each episode follows an impending crisis in the White House that the president and his team need to diffuse – it is brilliant. 

Something to listen to: 

In The Knowledge Project Podcast, Shane Parrish interviews some of the most interesting business people, politicians and cultural innovators. I always come away from each podcast feeling inspired, energised and motivated. Particular favourites were Naval Ravikant, Howard Marks and Chris Voss. 

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is Japan. I am completely obsessed with Japanese culture. Having been lucky enough to go a few times, I am enthralled by its history, unique traditions of ryokan living, omakase sushi and onsen bathing. As a lover of real estate, urbanism and architecture, Tokyo is the most advanced city on Earth, while Kyoto, Hakone and Sapporo are some of the most unique cultural experiences I have had. 

If I could have one superpower:

If I could have one superpower, it would be teleportation. I love to travel, so the idea of clicking my fingers and being anywhere in the world in the blink of an eye would allow me to visit almost everywhere.

 

Savannah de Savary, founder and chief executive of Built-ID:

Savannah de Savary

Savannah de Savary

Something to watch: 

National Geographic’s Lost Cities. I am a bit of an archaeology nerd and obsessed with the impact technology is increasingly having within the field. In the show, similar to Lost Treasures of the Maya, they use Lidar scanning to uncover the most incredible architectural feats from antiquity. Even though the insight is frustratingly high level, it is still an absolute gem of a show, as the host Albert Lin has both an infectious enthusiasm for hi-tech archaeology and a genuine respect for the local experts and indigenous communities, whose cultural heritage he is exploring.

Something to listen to:

You’re Dead To Me  is my go-to history podcast that I put on when I jog, as it distracts me from the fact I enjoy cardio about as much as a sloth. The host keeps it engaging by inviting a historian and a comedian on to each episode and covers topics as diverse as a female pirate called Zheng Yi Sao, The Mughal Empire, Ancient Babylonians and LBGTQ history.

Top travel destination: 

My number-one travel destination is the West Coast Scottish Highlands. It is my favourite place on earth. Sitting in the – inevitable – drizzle beside a loch, post-wild swimming session while my spaniels chaotically imitate mountain goats is where my finest product innovation ideas are formed and I am at my happiest. There is something unconquerable and wild about the Highlands that humbles you in the best of ways. It is also a rare and incredible privilege: being empowered to explore such a beautiful place fully thanks to Scottish law providing walkers with the right to roam.

If you could have one superpower:

If I could have one superpower it would be the ability to teleport myself and others with me. Although, I fear I would quickly establish myself as the most boring and lazy superhero possible, just merrily using my power to avoid commuting and for the rather unheroic joy of quick, carbon-neutral travel around the world!

Simon Kennish, property director at Bolesworth:

Simon Kennish

Simon Kennish

Something to watch:

River Monsters  – the fishing series by Jeremey Wade. Great fishing combined with a great story in each episode. The way he identifies his quarry, researches, prepares and then goes to fish for it reminds me of project management. Dedication and focus, of course, deliver results – well, most of the time for him.

Something to read:

The Dale Carnegie classic How to Win Friends and Influence People  is a favourite book of mine. Although it is nearly 90 years old, its sage advice is timeless and can be used for both work and home life. It is not as corny as it sounds, just great advice on how to get the best from people. I wish I had read it 20 years earlier.

Which celebrity would you most like to spend an hour with?

The celebrities I would most like to spend an hour with are Rowan Atkinson and Sir Tony Robinson from Blackadder. I would love to hear how they came up with the characters and their iconic comedy phrases. The pair have such a comedic banter as they play off each other. I watch and wonder: ‘How on earth did they come up with that?’

If you could pick any historical figure to be your friend, who would it be?

If I could pick an historical figure to be friends with, it would be Admiral Lord Nelson. What an inspirational leader and strategist. His style of giving his officers a clear vision of the battle ahead and allowing them to vary the plan as the battle unfolded was ground-breaking and won him the battles of the Nile and Trafalgar. Although maybe wearing full uniform on the upper deck was not his best idea that day.

 

Oona Collins, founder and director of Potential Plus International.:

Oona Collins

Oona Collins

Something to watch:

I enjoyed the French comedy series Call My Agent  on Netflix. Based on the workings of a talent agency in Paris, it was stylish and clever with superb acting. I’ve always enjoyed foreign movies. You can learn so much from other cultures.

Something to read: 

A book I regularly refer to and recommend to clients is Good to Great  by Jim Collins. There are many books on leadership and business, but this one is simple and effective. It helps you to understand the basics of building a business and the kind of leadership that makes it successful.

The best and worst things I’ve spent money on: 

I’m a great believer in spending money on experiences over products. I’ve lived and worked in many different countries and the memories and friendships that came from that are far more valuable than any objects I could have spent my money on. The worst thing I spent money on early in my career was investing in a product or business based on my experience and respect for an individual, without doing the due diligence.  

Top travel destination:

I love going to new places, but if I was to pick one destination it would be Italy. My husband is from Venice, so I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the country. It is so diverse – the islands, the countryside, the cities. I love the people, the fashion and the food. It is definitely my happy place.

 

Mark Capanda, senior associate director at BNP Paribas Real Estate:

Mark_Capanda - BNP Paribas Real Estate

Mark_Capanda - BNP Paribas Real Estate

 

Something to watch:

Heartstopper, a heart-warming LGBTQ+ drama on Netflix. It was adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by Alice Oseman. It is a really honest portrayal of what is was actually like growing up and trying to navigate life at school.

Something to read: 

I am definitely a more visual person so I watch YouTube content a lot. The B1M is a great channel covering construction, architecture and engineering. The videos are between 8-10 minutes long and they cover all aspects of the construction industry, including new innovative developments, historical achievements and future technologies.

The celebrity I’d most like to meet: 

I am very passionate about fitness. So I would say Mat Fraser, five times CrossFit Games Champion and ‘Fittest Man on Earth’ from 2016 to 2020. I would want to find out more about what motivates him, alongside working out together so I could be truly pushed to my limits.

If I could have one superpower:

Endless motivation – it is what causes us to act and is the cognitive force that drives success. It determines productivity, quality and speed of work. I think people generally underestimate it. Just think about what you could achieve in one single day if you had endless motivation!

 

Olga Hopton, director at Plus X:

Olga Hopton

Olga Hopton

Something to watch:

This is a bit clichéd but I do like Grand Designs. Kevin McCloud inspired generations of self-builders to save derelict properties, try new ways of building and deliver homes suited for their unique needs.

Something to read: 

Invisible Women  by Caroline Criado-Perez is a data-driven assessment of systematic bias, which affects the world we live in. It is an eye-opener: everything from design to healthcare is biased. We all have a responsibility to change that, to question and adjust the policies and procedures that uphold this, and to design better for the future.

The best and worst things I’ve spent money on: 

I have ordered a lot of useless sleep gadgets at 3am on Amazon Prime in the hope of getting my baby to sleep. Needless to say, none of it worked but the boxes stacked up!

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is the Long Island – North Fork, not the Hamptons. It is full of small bays for swimming, great food, wineries and breweries. It is heaven. When we visited, we cycled from vineyard to vineyard, stopping for a swim here and there. It was the best holiday ever and the food was amazing – I ate an insane

 

Santhosh Gowda, chairman at Strawberry Star Group, shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Santhosh Gowda

Santhosh Gowda

Something to watch:

Avatar. It is not only futuristic but the makers had to co-invent new visual effects to realise their vision. The most important message of it is sustainability and care for the environment. Today, we have reached a stage where environmental awareness is at its greatest, and we could all learn a lot from the points made in Avatar.

Something to read: 

Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras explores 18 exceptional and long-lasting companies in direct comparison with their top competitors. Filled with hundreds of specific examples and organised into a coherent framework of practical concepts to be applied by entrepreneurs, the book provides a master blueprint for building organisations that will prosper long into the 21st century and beyond

If I could be friends with anyone in history: 

The historical figure I would most like to befriend is Christopher Wren, who designed some of the most prominent buildings of the 17th century in the UK. For the time period he lived in, it would be great to understand his architectural vision. He was ahead of his time and his works prove this.

The celebrity I’d most like to meet:

The celebrity I would most like to spend an hour with is cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. Every time Sachin walked on to the cricket pitch, either playing the first innings or chasing a target, he faced enormous pressure. Amid such pressure, he sustained his performance at the highest level for three decades. Moreover, he was the most valued player in the game’s history, and success and money never got the better of him.

Kristy Lansdown, project director at Lendlease, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Kristy Lansdown

Kristy Lansdown

Something to read:

Life and Death of Great American Cities  by Jane Jacobs.  It was written in 1961 and examines why certain spaces and cities are more successful for people than others.  It’s incredible how much of it is still relevant today – particularly how she advocated for denser mixed-use, walkable streets, and design that brings communities together. Jacobs isn’t from the sector, so she views these places through ‘normal’ eyes and she writes so beautifully.  I recommend it to everyone who is passionate about cities and places.

Something to listen to:

My team make fun of me because I’m an 80s girl through and through. I’d never live it down if I divulged my favourite 80’s playlist but close friends and colleagues know what they are!

Top travel destination:

Right now, I can’t wait to get back to the sunny shores of Australia!. After not getting back to see my friends and family for three years due to the pandemic, I’m so excited to finally have flights for summer this year.

Will Kinnear,  director at HEWN shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Will Kinnear

Will Kinnear

Something to read:

I dared myself to read Joseph Heller’s Catch-22  because no one says they can finish it. I enjoyed its take on the futility of life, the perception of life and how we are treated.

Something to listen to:

I really like The Rugby Pod  podcast. It is funny, insightful and opinionated.

My worst purchase:

The worst thing I have spent money on is buying cups of tea. I feel incensed each time I spend £2.50 on one. The best thing is my road bike. It has done a few thousand miles – I have done a few charity rides.

Top travel destination: 

My number-one travel destination is Mauritius. I went for my honeymoon many years ago and have such fond memories of the landscape, food and culture. I would love to go back.

Yusoff Ghaznavi, managing director at MAC Construction Consultants shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Yusoff Ghaznavi

Yusoff Ghaznavi

Something to watch:

The Wire. Brilliant actors/characters and the interlinked storylines – just the best! 

Something to listen to:

Richard Herring’s podcast – RHLSTP. His interview with Brian Blessed is one of the best – so, so funny, even if you don’t listen to any others, listen to that one. His emergency questions are also genius. 

My worst purchase:

My last purchase has to be my best and worst use of money: a coat. I have too many coats so I shouldn’t really complain and it’s not the coat’s fault; it does everything they said it would. The problem is, it has to be ridiculously cold and wet to make it a sensible choice to wear, so why would you bother going out if the weather is that bad?

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is Canada’s west coast. We went a couple of years ago on a fly-drive. It has got it all: mountains, snow, beaches, bustling cities, peace and quiet, scenery, wildlife, food from all over the world – and beer. 

 

Scott Grayson, head of property acquisition at Fairhome Property Group shares some of his cultural recommendations:

scott grayson 1

Scott Grayson 

Something to watch:

Forrest Gump. I liked it as it showed no matter where you are from and what your up bringing is you can make it happen. If you are loyal to your friend and colleagues, you will eventually earn respect and admiration.  “Life is like a box of chocolates, you don’t know what you are going to get” a little bit like the property industry.               

Something to read:

The Chimp Paradox  - Simply it’s a book that teaches you how to deal with your brain, its emotions and make the outcomes positive.

If I could be friends with anyone in history:

Winston Churchill. He had an ability to unite a nation of scared and flagging people. He was courageous and held his nerve by trusting his instinct. This created him luck. Most of all he had an unbelievable sense of humour. Oh and I’d like one of those cigars, even though I don’t smoke.

Top travel destination:

My number one travel destination is Australia. Family live there so I would love to tour the country.

Louisa Dalgleish, leasing director at Icon Outlet at The O2 shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Louisa Dalgleish

Louisa Dalgleish

Something to watch:

I enjoy watching international TV series and a particular favourite is the French series Spiral

Something to read:

As a child, I loved reading The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, so it is even more special reading it now with my children, watching their eyes light up as we read the letters the postman delivers.

The celebrity I’d most like to meet:

The celebrity I would most like to spend an hour with is Louis Theroux. I have watched nearly all of his documentaries and listened to all of his podcasts.

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is India. My husband and I spent our honeymoon travelling around the country. It was not a relaxing holiday, as we were walking 30,000 steps most days, but we just loved the culture, architecture, food and people.

Hilary Witts, director and head of operations in Colliers’ rating team shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Hilary Witts

Hilary Witts

Something to watch:

I absolutely love anything written or produced by Shonda Rhimes and anyone who knows me well will know my real true love is in musical theatre. My favourite TV series of all time is Smash, the story of the production of a musical about Marilyn Monroe. The politics in the acting world are unbelievable! It makes me appreciate the way we can work in a profession that has room for everyone, and it is a great, easy watch to help me switch off after a busy week.

Something to read:

The best book I have read recently is Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh. It is a very clever murder mystery with lots of twists and turns, and I found that I could never predict the direction of travel. It is well written and easy to get engulfed in. Definitely one I would recommend. 

The best thing I’ve spent money on:

The best thing I have spent money on is my Kindle – I love to travel and it makes it so easy for me to read and not have to carry books around with me. And it is better for the environment, too. The worst thing is a fitness app I spent £25 on last month but never used. I won’t be doing that again!

Top travel destination:

The best place I have ever been to is Hawaii. I am a massive fan of geology and flying over a live volcano in a doors-off helicopter is an experience I will never forget! I am going to Costa Rica this year and am very excited to swim in waterfalls and hike through the rainforests. 

Hannah Grievson, property director at Sloane Stanley shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Hannah Grievson headshot

Hannah Grievson

Something to read:

One of my favourite books is I Capture The Castle by the wonderful Dodie Smith. The story centres on a family living in a dilapidated castle and it inspired not only my love for refurbishing a property, but also my lifelong ambition to live in a stately home. 

Something to listen to:

I am a big fan of Louis Theroux’s podcast Grounded. I like his interviewing technique and how he is able to get people to really open up. I admire the way he gives people the space to tell their stories without interrogating them or passing judgement. 

The best thing I’ve spent money on:

The best thing I have ever spent money on is my new house. It requires loads of work so will keep me well and truly occupied for many years to come. The worst purchase is probably my new Labrador Rocky. He cost a fortune, is completely untrainable and I am petrified he will hurt himself and cost me even more, but I love him to bits! 

A historical figure I’d like to meet:

If I could pick any historical figure to be my friend, it would be Audrey Hepburn as she did so many great things. She was a humanitarian, a dancer, an actress, a member of the Dutch resistance and a style icon. She was also known for being down to earth and a lovely person, so was an all-rounder really. 

Tracy Lovejoy, senior associate in the planning team at Irwin Mitchell shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Tracy Lovejoy headshot

Tracy Lovejoy

Something to watch:

I discovered the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale, after a period of not watching much television. It is very well done and resolves many of the questions in the book. Watching the series made me realise what an impact the book, which I first read as a teenager, had on me.

Something to read:

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a poignant, beautifully written book. It gave me an insight that I lacked into the Nigerian Civil War; but it was also a great story about personal relationships and the great losses that the Igbo group of people suffered, as well as political issues such as the desire for power, persecution and misinformation. I loved the book and the film. 

The best thing I’ve spent money on:

The best thing I have spent money on is my house. It needs a lot of work, but it is spacious and I really felt the benefit of that during the lockdowns. The worst continues to be on ‘vanishing groceries’, which is where the item goes into the trolley in the supermarket, is on the receipt but I cannot find it anywhere in the bags or in the car – very annoying. 

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is Italy. I have never been there even though it is relatively close, and I have been to surrounding countries. I would like to go there for the people, food, fashion and sites and – unlike my previous holidays – I will try to learn some Italian before I visit.

Andrew Crabbie, head of real estate at law firm Forsters shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Andrew Crabbie

Andrew Crabbie

Something to read:

Freedom Climbers by Bernadette McDonald tells the story of the extraordinary Polish adventurers who emerged from under the blanket of oppression following the Second World War to become the world’s leading Himalayan climbers.

I am fascinated by mankind’s ability to overcome extreme adversity. Mountaineering and exploration provide the ultimate canvas on which to illustrate such extraordinary feats, and this story is one of the most compelling I have read.

Something to listen to:

Golf and rugby are my two big sporting passions, and The Rugby Pod is an unmissable podcast for fans of the game. It treads a clever line between fun and irreverence and (if you’ll excuse the pun) tackling the serious issues of the game. 

The celebrity I’d most like to meet:

The celebrity I’d most like to meet is Sir Billy Connolly. A fellow proud Scotsman, born and raised in poverty in Glasgow, he became not only one of the world’s greatest comedians, but an all-round renaissance man, activist and philanthropist – a remarkable human being who has led an astonishing life from the humblest of beginnings. A true inspiration.

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is the Atacama Desert in Chile. It is the driest non-polar desert in the world, an immense wilderness of utter nothingness. I was lucky enough to experience it when travelling around South America before I started my articles. With its vast salt flats, volcanoes, geysers and mountainous terrain, it has a mystical extra-terrestrial feel, like you are on a film set of Star Wars or Dune.

David Roberts, co-founder and chief executive of ESTAMA UK shares some of his cultural recommendations:

David Roberts headshot

David Roberts

Something to watch:

In True Romance there is a specific scene with Dennis Hopper and Christian Slater that, in my opinion, is the best five minutes of cinema. 

Something to listen to:

There is a podcast that Melvyn Bragg does on BBC Radio 4 called In Our Time. It takes a deep dive into various historical moments and scientific discoveries, which I love listening to in the car.

If I could meet anyone dead or alive:

Although he died a long time ago, I’d have loved to have met Samuel Goldwyn, the Hollywood studio owner. I am fascinated as to how a man who was originally a glove salesman could help invent an entirely new way of entertaining the world and produce incredible films in an industry that was evolving and inventing itself as it went along. 

If I had a million pounds:

I began collecting art in the early 1990s. If I had a million pounds, I would most definitely find a piece of art to add to my collection. I am the founder of the Roberts Institute of Art and my collection now consists of more than 2,500 works by more than 850 artists, comprising modern and contemporary works by British and international artists. 

 

Giles Fuchs, chief executive of Office Space in Town shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Giles Fuchs

Giles Fuchs

Something to watch:

It is very difficult to have a favourite and Pulp Fiction will always be one of the greatest films ever made. However, I have just watched Inventing Anna, which was fantastic. I have always enjoyed narratives based in truth and this particular story is riveting enough to hold up against even the best dramas.

Something to read:

The Singer Not the Song by Audrey Erskine Lindop had a big impact on me. Despite the violence, it is a great story about not judging people too quickly.

If I could meet anyone dead or alive:

Stephen Hawking would be a fascinating person to have by your side and to chat to. I always admired his ability to explain things that are very difficult to understand. Although I might not always understand the answers, I would love to ask him questions about the universe and its laws.

If I had a million pounds:

If I had a million pounds, aside from investing back into my business and its continued growth and if it was for pure fun, I would love to buy a ski chalet or sailing boat to scratch my adventurous itch and share with family and friends.

Felicity Masefield, sustainable lead and development executive at Native Land shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Felicity Masefield

Felicity Masefield

Something to read:

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is an inspiring story about following your dreams and knowing that the journey is more important than the destination.

Something to listen to:

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is a podcast that celebrates the things that haven’t gone right and discusses what people have learned from their failures. Episodes with Mo Gawdat, former chief business officer for Google X, Google’s ‘moonshot factory’ of innovation, are particularly touching.

The celebrity I’d most like to meet:

The celebrity I’d most like to spend time with is Louis Theroux when filming one of his documentaries. The topic is always super interesting and the way he can draw things out of people and get them to engage with him is amazing. 

If I could have any superpower:

If I could have one superpower, I would choose to be able to teleport anywhere in the world whenever I want. Lots of my close family live abroad and the pandemic has emphasised this distance. It could be a solution to reduce carbon emissions as well.

Dan Drogman, chief executive and co-founder of Smart Spaces shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Dan Drogman

Dan Drogman

Something to read:

Good to Great by Jim Collins is a book I read when I first started the business and it is widely regarded as one of the best management books ever written. The principles enshrined in the book have helped Smart Spaces grow and get to where we are today. It is a book that I revisit whenever I am looking at ways to improve the business.

Something to watch:

My dissertation focused on the technology featured in Blade Runner and Minority Report, so those two are stand-out picks. The crazy thing is, so much of that technology has since come to be commonplace. The ecommerce analytics being used today in bricks-and-mortar retail, which can assess whether I am a suitable customer by analysing the clothes I wear, is straight out of Minority Report.

The most ridiculous fact I know:

The most ridiculous fact I know is that some say the sirloin steak used to be called the loin, but an English king – either James I, Charles II or Henry VIII – liked it so much he gave it a knighthood. Others say it comes from a French term meaning ‘upper part of the loin’, but I prefer the knighthood version!

A historical figure I’d like to meet:

The historical figure I would most like to be friends with is Richard Rogers, who sadly passed in December and has always been an architectural hero of mine. I distinctly remember visiting the Centre Pompidou on a scorching day and lying out in the sun on the concrete slope outside. He is my favourite architect; I would love to have been able to pick his brain and share my fond memories of his buildings.

 

Guy Horne, chief executive of HSPG shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Guy Horne

Guy Horne

Something to read:

You are the Placebo by Joe Dispenza. I like to meditate every morning and create how my day will go. If anyone wants a reason to start meditating and creating their future, this book is a great guide.

Something to listen to:

Oasis – Definitely Maybe. It is what got me into guitar, and I now play most days. Their Supersonic documentary detailing their meteoric rise gives me goosebumps every time I watch it.

The best and worst things I’ve spent money on:

The best things I have spent money on are my guitars. As I get more into them and play more often, I tend to want to buy better guitars, which of course means spending more money. But once I start playing them, I get so much enjoyment and I am never satiated. The worst is buying Glastonbury tickets two and a half years ago. Waking up early on a Sunday morning in 2019 only for the festival to be cancelled two years on the run! I am excited to finally go this summer though.

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is Bali. When I travel, I love to mix sightseeing, good weather and activities so Bali ticks every box in abundance. A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to travel solo around there for a month and I surfed, got my PADI scuba license and even completed a short yoga teacher training.

Conrad Peberdy, managing director of Ethical Property shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Conrad Peberdy

Conrad Peberdy

Something to read:

Heston Blumenthal’s cookery book: At Home. It is the most tired book on my shelf. It’s not just a recipe book, it explains the science behind the process of what you are cooking. It is liberating in a way, as it stops you following recipes because you learn how to bring ingredients together.

Something to watch:

Taskmaster. It is funny, risky and easy to absorb. At the heart of it is a simple premise. It encourages lateral thinking and provides an approach to problem solving in a social setting. On a professional level I take inspiration from it - we all need the skill and ability to overcome barriers.

The most ridiculous fact I know:

97% of money doesn’t actually exist – how crazy is that thought?! It exists digitally of course, but that basically means money is just an illusion. Imagine if everyone in the world lost confidence in it? It would cease to exist.

What I’d do with a million pounds:

I’d build an eco-home! Something that’s personal to me, but I’d love the opportunity to build a house that reflects my own needs, while addressing the climate crisis.

 

Martina Pardo, founder & director of interior design consultancy A Designer At Heart shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Martina Pardo

Martina Pardo

Something to read:

The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams. It’s a book that I read recently about the journey of scaling down to a tiny house. It really makes you think about the amount of stuff we surround ourselves with and the effect it has on our minds and bodies. I truly recommend it!

Something to watch:

Recently I have been watching “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel” on Amazon Prime and liked it very much. It’s great if you want something fun and light, in a 50s vibe with beautiful settings and costume designs.

My top travel destination:

That would be New York, where I have never been. As a kid who grew up in the 90s (with all the great movies that were made back then), it would be impossible for me not to love New York. Rumour has it that I might be able to go there in April. So, fingers crossed!

What I’d do with a million pounds:

That’s easy. I would spend it on a new home. A loft conversion into which I’d pour all my creativity for the refurbishment and decoration.

It would be the perfect occasion to test all the materials and features that I haven’t been able to use in real projects yet.

 

Sam Caulton, chief financial officer of Re-Leased shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Sam Caulton

Sam Caulton

Something to read:

The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. A decade ago, I injured my lower back and went from 100% active to not being able to do everyday activities. After trying all the traditional methods and with nothing working, I did my own research and found Tim’s book. It is an incredible overview of ways to self-treat your body and both reduce and fix injuries. It helped me understand the ‘why’ of the injury, rather than just treating the symptoms. Within six months, I was pain-free and have been pain-free ever since. Without this book, my life could have been very different.

Something to watch:

Seinfeld is an oldie but a goodie. Even after the toughest of days, an episode of Seinfeld offers immediate relaxation and the chance to wind down. The show epitomises the importance of friendships, having fun and not forgetting about the simple things in life.

The best thing I’ve spent money on:

The best thing I have spent money on is my Garmin sports watch. I love data and track everything. I could not train without it. My worst purchase was a Sony MiniDisc. I thought I was the coolest kid in school – I could fit 100 songs on one disc! Then Steve Jobs released the iPod a few weeks later with the tagline ‘1,000 songs in your pocket’.

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is Tuscany. Not only does it have fabulous food and wine and friendly people, but it is also where my beautiful wife and I got married. I have travelled to over 50 countries, and no place makes me happier! 

Sanmi Adegoke, chief executive of Rehoboth Property International shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Sanmi Adegoke

Sanmi Adegoke

Something to read:

My all-time favourite book would definitely be the Bible. To some, it is an outdated historical book with no relevance to today’s world, but that could not be further from the truth. It is the most relevant, most practical and most insightful book I have ever read or will ever read, and the beauty of it is that with each new read I get a new perspective.

Something to listen to:

I really like Nathaniel Bassey. He has such inspirational and relevant songs. Listening to his songs puts me in the presence of God and brings me peace and joy to get through my day.

If I could have one superpower:

If I could have one superpower, it would have to be willpower to change humanity and make us live together in love. Love is missing in today’s world, and this is love in action not just in words – genuine unconditional love.

If I had a million pounds:

If I had a million pounds, I would build an orphanage for children who are less fortunate. I would employ staff who are well-experienced and educated in an array of subject matters to raise the children to believe that regardless of their experience in life, they have no limits if they choose to believe so.

Liz Cashon, innovation campus manager at York Biotech Campus shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Liz Cashon

Liz Cashon

Something to read:

My favourite book of all time is Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I love the passion and darkness. I also like how the setting of the Yorkshire Moors inspired her to write the book; it is a beautiful place that I have visited many times. 

Something to listen to:

I love Coldplay and my favourite of their songs would have to be ‘Paradise’ on their Mylo Xyloto album. I have fond memories of my daughter singing along to this in the car when she was a baby. It always makes me smile when I hear the song.

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is Cuba. It is an amazing place and holds a special place in my heart. I honeymooned in Havana, Cuba’s capital, and it is a stunning place to visit. The culture is great and the people are so friendly. I would love to go back and spend more time there.

If I had a million pounds:

If I had a million pounds I’d spend it quickly! I would really like to travel again, so I would go on a long holiday, preferably somewhere nice and hot. I would also like to help my daughter get on to the property ladder. It can be difficult for young people to be able to save with rising house prices, so I’d like to invest in property to help her when she is older.

George Aberdeen, co-founder of Kinrise shares some of his cultural recommendations:

George Aberdeen

George Aberdeen

Something to listen to:

I have been listening to The War on Drugs a lot recently. The band is influenced by a lot of my favourite musicians and genres from the past and their music reflects this. They are also outstanding live.

Favourite podcast:

Iain Dale’s The Presidents & Prime Ministers podcast is currently on my regular ‘must-listen’ list. I love history and this podcast helps piece together Britain’s 300-year history through the 55 prime ministers who have gone before. From the obscure 18th-century figures to 20th-century titans such as Churchill and Thatcher, the podcast provides a reminder of their motivations, failures and achievements.

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is Africa. I spent a few months there as a teacher when I left school and it got under my skin. I subsequently spent time in southern Africa and was lucky enough to spend my honeymoon in Tanzania.

If I could have any superpower:

If I could have one superpower I would like to be able to snap my fingers and have all laundry and tidying done at once. I have four young children, so it can all feel like a mammoth task sometimes!

 

Peter Rose, chief revenue officer at Forbury shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Peter Rose

Peter Rose

Something to watch:

The Shawshank Redemption. I’m a believer in karma and the storyline has the twists and turns that provide justice and payback. Suffering through adversity, exploring human behaviour under extreme circumstances, sacrificing and ultimately winning. Ultimately it is the good guys that prevail, making it a feelgood movie with the framework of a very harsh reality.

Something to read:

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. I actually enjoy all of Malcolm Gladwell’s books, but The Tipping Point was my introduction to him and his research into real world behaviours. He takes a different perspective on events and actions, analysing behaviour in an unconventional way and providing objective explanations to what appear to be somewhat random and subjective situations. Like his other books, he makes you think differently as he delves into different ways of interpreting and understanding human nature and, ultimately, how actions shape history.

The best and worst things I’ve spent money on:

Wing foiling – a cross between windsurfing and a hydrofoil – is incredible. Flying over water at 30 kph has to be the best return on investment ever. That said, the insurance on my Christchurch property proved to be money well spent after it was destroyed by the 2010 earthquake. My wife’s dog has to be the worst, if only because of how much he continues to cost. He’s a fluffball that actually resembles a cat and cost a fortune before he even arrived – four operations, two extended stays with the emergency vet and an airfare to the UK (almost ten times my own fare!) later, he’s worth the same as a deposit on a small house. That’s before we mention the items he’s destroyed and the cleaning up required. A high price for a happy wife, but it’s a marriage of three …

Top travel destination:

Great Barrier Island, New Zealand. It’s a somewhat untouched corner of the world with spectacular scenery, incredible fishing, superb surfing and locals that are in a time warp in the best possible way – down to earth and with a simple attitude towards life. And the fish pies at the local pub are amazing too.

 

Vivian Acquah, founder of Amplify DEI and Viva la Vive shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Vivian Acquah

Vivian Acquah

Something to read:

The business book I recommend is Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. Today’s leaders must be able to shine a light on their courage and bravery to redesign their role and the culture in which they operate, in order to become inclusive leaders. 

Something to listen to:

In my podcast Let’s Humanize The Workplace, I enjoy conversations about and with leaders, teams and organisations on what can be done to amplify the human factor in the workplace.

The celebrity I’d most like to meet:

The celebrity I‘d most like to spend an hour with is US filmmaker Ava DuVernay. She’s pushed boundaries and made DEI accessible, supporting dialogue between the many.

If I could meet any historical figure:

If I could pick any historical figure to be my friend, it would be Maya Angelou. Despite her incredibly horrendous start in life, she literally found her voice and used it in spite of adversity. Her resilience is formidable and her work is eye-opening.

Sarah Goldman, senior portfolio manager at Great Portland Estates shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Sarah Goldman

Sarah Goldman

Something to watch:

Despite being married for many years, my bemused husband is fascinated that I refuse to miss an episode of Say Yes to the Dress. I have even managed to get my six-year-old daughter hooked. And before you ask, no, the dress does not fit me any more.

Something to listen to:

Pretty much any song by Dolly Parton. 9 to 5 is a particular favourite, released four years before I was even born.

If I had a million pounds:

The question of what I’d do with a million pounds crossed my mind quite recently when a close friend bought me a lottery scratch card. Having revealed three matching ‘£1m’ symbols, in an instant I had paid off our mortgage, booked a holiday to the Maldives and bought myself a very practical two-seater convertible. After five minutes, my (former!) friend admitted the scratch card was a fake!

If I could have any superpower:

If I could have one superpower it would be the ability to be in two places at once – I am sure most mums would agree.

Uma Rajah, chief executive of CapitalRise shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Uma Rajah

Something to read:

I would recommend The Lean Startup  by Eric Ries to anyone starting a new venture, especially in the tech space. I totally subscribe to his approach towards and philosophy on product development.

Something to listen to:

It’s terribly cheesy, but the song Love Generation  by Bob Sinclar, because it transports me back to 2006, the year I went to INSEAD. For some reason, it became an anthem for our MBA class and brings back lots of great memories.

If I had a million pounds:

If I had a million pounds, I would invest in some CapitalRise loans, see if I could find a way to use some of it to address the lack of gender diversity in STEM subjects studied at school and spend the rest on treating my extended family to a holiday in Sri Lanka.

The most ridiculous fact I know:

The most ridiculous fact I know is that there is only one tube station in the whole network with no letters in it from the word ‘badger’. To give you a hint, it’s near Victoria.

 

Edward Griffin, chief executive of WorkPad shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Edward Griffin

Edward Griffin

Something to read:

Freakonomics by Stephen J Dubner and Steven Levitt breaks down decision-making by showing you how your life is dominated by incentives and external motives, how to close information asymmetries and the difference between causation and correlation. It puts theory into reality and shows how to simplify the most complex problems. 

Something to listen to:

The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins. Commissioned in line with the millennium celebrations, it is an uplifting piece of music with influence from 15th-century folk. Just brilliant. 

If I had a million pounds:

If I had a million pounds I would invest in new ventures and opportunities within green technologies to challenge the market – investing in scalable and sustainable solutions that are economically viable, produce positive externalities and are socially good. 

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is Nepal. It is the most beautiful country with the most beautiful culture. I hiked to Annapurna base camp on a solo adventure, and I loved how untouched the place was and how inviting and friendly the people were. 

 

Nina Zeilerbauer, co-founder of Madison Berkeley shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Nina Z

Nina Zeilerbauer

Something to watch:

West Wing started more than 20 years ago so I’m showing my age, but I watched it at the same time as studying history and politics and still think it stands the test of time. Every episode is fast-paced with great characters and dialogue and was produced when we all had slightly higher expectations of our politicians!

Something to read:

Shogun by James Clavell. I love history and this is set in feudal Japan, an era and a culture I knew nothing about and found fascinating. It’s an epic story to fully immerse yourself in. I don’t practice mindfulness but find reading fiction enormously relaxing. I love being transported to other times and worlds and forgetting everything else going on around me.

The best things I’ve spent money on:

Taking a nine-month sabbatical including spending six months in St Anton in Austria is the best financial and life decision I’ve ever made. It wasn’t cheap but I don’t regret it for a second as the time out of work allowed me to re-evaluate my future and what I wanted out of life and eventually led me to co-found Madison Berkeley. The worst was inadvertently buying a top-of-the-range pair of men’s downhill racing skis as soon as I arrived [in Austria] as I liked the colour, and then spending a month wondering why I couldn’t ski properly in them. There was a valuable lesson learnt here about picking style over substance.

Top travel destination:

I was lucky enough to travel across Syria as part of a wider ME trip in 2000, against the advice of my family (and the US government) at the time, and am so grateful that I did. The country is steeped in history and the people were so warm and welcoming. It’s devastating to see what’s happened there since. I can’t see travel for tourism being possible again for many years to come so am glad I went while I could.

Jane Ho, principal and director of health at HKS Architects shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Jane Ho

Jane Ho

Something to watch:

Films I’ve recently admired immensely include Minari and Nomadland. I think they are beautiful stories about life, hope, isolation, independence and cultural change. I also love the Scandi-noir TV genre. It’s impossible to pick just one, but I enjoyed The Killing, The Bridge and Borgen.

Something to listen to:

I’m currently listening to The Shrink Next Door, which follows a complicated relationship between a psychiatrist and their patient. It’s quite dark at times, but I find it fascinating how a person can have that much control over another person’s life.

If I could meet any historical figure:

If I could pick any historical figures to be my (imaginary) friends, I’d pick Finnish architects and product designers Alvar and Aino Aalto. They designed spaces holistically to improve patient wellbeing: everything from choosing soothing colours, creating fabric patterns and a bespoke chair to help enable easier breathing when seated, to patient sinks to minimise cross infection. 

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is Scandinavia. I have visited Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland. I love the beautiful scenery, the culture and design – visiting architectural landmarks around the main cities in Finland and Denmark, but also the dramatic volcanic scenery of Iceland.

 

James Pellatt, director of workplace and innovation at GPE  shares some of his cultural recommendations:

James Pellatt

James Pellatt

Something to watch:

The West Wing – all seven seasons. Both the quality of writing and acting from an ensemble cast reflects a time when America was still full of optimism and ideals. It shows the value of having integrity and sometimes doing the right thing when it isn’t the popular thing to do. It also shows that more can be done as a team rather than an individual.

Something to read:

How to Make the World Add Up by Tim Harford. A fascinating read, providing 10 rules for thinking differently about numbers – critically important in an environment where data is going to be of increasing importance. It allows you to consider bias, reaching quick conclusions, thoroughness and, most important, to remain curious.

How I’d spend a million pounds:

I would buy myself a new bike and the rest I would spend on a foundation encouraging more female and ethnic start-ups in proptech.

The most ridiculous fact I know:

That NFC readers (that allow your phone to pay for things and enter the tube) can be traced back to 1945 when Leon Theremin invented a listening device called ‘The Thing’. The device was used by the Soviet Union to spy on the American ambassador in Moscow. Because it used passive techniques to transmit an audio signal, it’s considered a predecessor to current RFID technology, which in turn led to NFC.

Roy Ledgister, chief executive of Convivia shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Roy Ledgister

Roy Ledgister

 

Something to watch:

This will probably surprise the most out of all my answers, but I enjoy watching Love Island. As cheesy and trashy as it is, what I find fascinating is how a producer can upset the balance of one’s emotions and hopes by throwing in circumstances designed to test your principles. Life is a distilled version of such production as we are continually being tested, albeit not under a microscope such as this, but we all react or respond differently. Watching this play out in real time is intriguing for me.

Something to read:

The Magic of Thinking Big  by Dr David Schwartz. This was a book I read as a 13-year-old boy, which opened my eyes to my true potential.

How I’d spend a million pounds:

Watch this space and I’ll soon show you exactly how I will do this as I genuinely believe that there is a social responsibility for all of us to pull through others, wherever we can. Essentially, I will prove that by following a body of rules one million pounds could create further millionaires.

The celebrity I’d most like to meet:

One who has failed and made a comeback, as they will have become a certain type of individual in the process. If I could benefit from their wisdom, they could save me the hassle of having to discover the process for myself.

 

Sam Barrell, director of real estate development in the UK at Sonder shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Sam Barrell

Sam Barrell

 

Something to watch:

Succession: I wasn’t surprised to hear that its creator, Jesse Armstrong, also co-wrote The Thick of It. It has a dark subject matter and Shakespearean characters all underpinned by acerbic comedic writing.

Something to listen to:

Audiobooks have been a godsend while marathon training – anything to distract the mind from the task at hand. In terms of podcasts, I quite enjoy Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History. He has an interesting way of revisiting historic events and framing them in a new light.

My best purchase:

The best thing I’ve spent money on was a carbon road bike I bought 12 years ago. Last year, I saddled it up with bags and cycled solo to Budapest – 2,400km through 10 countries. Beyond a spectacular failure of a shifter, leading to a 100-mile ride in a single gear, it held up admirably. The worst was a Roomba during lockdown. It’s mostly wonderful, but what you don’t realise when you buy one is that you’ll spend just as much time rescuing it from obstructions and disentangling it from cables as you would have spent vacuuming. Still, it looks cool, right?

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is the Swiss Alps, ideally with a bike or pair of trail-running shoes. 

 

Toby Lewin-Lloyd, senior architect at Urbanist Architecture shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Toby Lewin-Lloyd

Toby Lewin-Lloyd

Something to watch:

I don’t like to watch movies based on books but it was the opposite with this one: The Name of the Rose – probably one of the first proper ‘adult’ books I read after watching the movie. It really drew me in. I loved the deeper, darker subliminality of the plot and the story. Equally, TV series like Twin Peaks that take you a bit deeper than the surface.

Something to read:

I absolutely loved The Dark Tow er series by Stephen King. Again, it plays on my love of darker stories with deeper, metaphorical meanings. It’s brilliant how he brings in elements of his former novels as well.

My worst purchase:

The worst things I’ve spent money on in the past are cheap and rubbish gadgets, which only lead to frustration. But it has taught me the value of good design, useability and providing a consumer-driven product, which can be translated into architecture and the product we deliver. The best thing I’ve spent money on? Presents for my loved ones, because they’re so important to me.

An interestng fact:

I can give you an interesting fact: on Wikipedia this week I found out that the landmass at the centre of Greenland has been so heavily compressed by ice that it now lies below sea level. This means that Greenland is actually in the shape of a doughnut.

Leena Gillespie, commercial director at Public Sector PLC shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Leena Gillespie

Leena Gillespie

Something to watch:

I am a fantasy fiction geek and every Christmas involves rewatching the Star Wars series. Growing up, our games always involved playing Jedis and Stormtroopers and I always wanted to be a Jedi and not the princess. It’s been great to see Daisy Ridley play the lead role in the new films and show girls can do whatever they put their mind to.

Something to listen to:

My favourite podcast is Ways to Change the World with Krishnan Guru–Murthy. It challenges my thought process and initial views on people, their politics and their difference in opinion. In an age where we are becoming more polarised in our opinions, it’s great to hear someone else’s view. 

The most ridiculous fact I know:

The most ridiculous facts I know are that a giraffe’s tongue is black, blue or purple and that lobsters taste with their feet – the joys of listening to my animal-mad son!

Top travel destination:

My number one travel destination is Hawaii. We were lucky enough to visit as a family in 2019 and we loved the diversity of the islands, the people, culture and food. I would love to be able to go again.

 

Katherine McCullough

Katherine McCullough

Katherine McCullough, director, head of UK property at Merchant Land shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to read:

The Nix by Nathan Hill is a really well-written first novel that’s humorous and set in America over a 40-year period from the 1970s. It touches on social media, the environment and the changing roles for women, and the humour makes it really readable. It’s really interesting as it was published just before Trump was elected but one of the themes was how America was heading towards a really populist political climate.

Something to listen to:

The Nobody Zone podcast tells the story of Kieran Kelly, who some suspect was a serial killer in London. But really, it’s a story about Irish immigrants in London with no safety net. Kieran Kelly was homeless and so were most of his suspected victims; and before social media and mobile phones, young people who left rural Ireland sometimes drifted out of contact with their families. I found it really haunting. Plus, Christy Moore sings the soundtrack.

How I’d spend one million pounds:

If I had one million pounds, I’d invest it in property.

If I could meet any celebrity:

If I could pick any historical figure to be my (imaginary) friend, it would be John Hume. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 and was instrumental in the peace process in Northern Ireland. I often still read things he said and wrote as he was incredible at expressing how to overcome division.

Alex Gibbs, co-founder and director of Built Asset Management (BAM) shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Alex Gibbs

Alex Gibbs

Something to watch:

I am one of those strange people who likes to learn while enjoying themselves, so I am going to pick World War II In Colour, which I really enjoyed recently. I found it very eye-opening to be in some way immersed in the events of that time. The unimaginable things people went through also helps put into perspective some of the challenges we face today.

Something to read:

I am going to cite Zero to One by Peter Thiel. It is a very relevant read for founders, investors and anyone with a general interest in the future of business, and I fall into all three camps. I particularly like the author’s vision of the future where tech is concerned.

My best purchase:

The best thing I have spent money on is most definitely my original investment in BAM. For the worst thing, I am going to select the general category of ‘the last round of drinks’. Instead of providing jobs, homes and a return, they tend to provide you with a headache.

Top travel destination:

It is impossible to pick one travel destination as my favourite. For sun, the Maldives – believe the hype in this instance. For skiing, Austria – the skiing itself is excellent, and the hearty food is always very welcome. Within the UK, I have a soft spot for Cornwall as I spent many childhood holidays there and I have a good network of family and friends down there living the coastal dream!

 

Vikki McKay

Vikki McKay

Vikki McKay, real estate partner at Proskauer Rose shares some of her cultural recommendations::

Something to watch:

I have just finished watching Cobra Cyberwar. Great writing and acting, although slightly disconcerting on how reliant we are on technology to prevent a collapse on social values as we know them.

Something to read:

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch because I love the juxtaposition of modern London and the places we walk past every day set against the idea of a demi-monde society that includes personifications of the lost rivers of the City.

The most ridiculous fact I know:

A carp is worth enough money that they carry out an autopsy to find out how they died.

Top travel destination:

The  Dordogne in France – it is ancient, beautiful and feels so far removed from the busy lives we lead.

Peter Todd

Peter Todd

Peter Todd, founder of Portus Retail shares some of his cultural recommendations::

Something to watch:

I like detective mysteries, especiallyVera. I enjoy the way there are always several twists and subplots, and her character is so independent and strong-minded.

Something to listen to:

Come and Get Your Love by Redbone just makes me smile and feel positive, no matter what the situation.

If I could have one superpower:

If I could have a superpower, I would choose the ability to teleport. I travel a great deal for business, and while I really enjoy travel, the time it takes is very often an issue.

Top travel destination:

I was fortunate to briefly visit Tokyo a couple of years ago. I would love to spend some time in Japan and travel around the islands. The people are so friendly, polite and welcoming and I find the culture fascinating. Covid restrictions have meant it has not been possible to revisit, although that has given me the time to save for the trip – it is an expensive country to visit!

Jen Lemen

Jen Lemen

Jen Lemen, chartered surveyor and co-founder of Property Elite and Projekt shares some of her cultural recommendations::

Something to watch:

I like any cycle racing on TV. I am an avid cyclist and love watching both the racing and the beautiful scenery.

Something to listen to:

A Tale of Two Cities by Mr Hudson & The Library is an album I can listen to over and over again. It’s chilled, emotional and the perfect soundtrack to most events.

If I could have one superpower:

If I could have one superpower, I wish I never needed to sleep but would always be rested and never tired. I always get told that I have too much energy so this would suit me perfectly. Then I would have even more time outside work to ride bikes, enjoy time with friends and family and walk my greyhound, Ben.

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is northern Italy. It has got fantastic, quiet (and hilly) roads for cycling and a coffee stop in most villages and towns. Then there is the incredible food and wine for afterwards.

Stephanie Bonduelle

Stephanie Bonduelle

Stephanie Bonduelle, managing director of Tétris shares some of her cultural recommendations::

Something to watch:

Life Is Beautiful is a beautiful movie about one of the worst moments in history, but with the beauty of a father protecting his son. I always get very emotional thinking about it…

Something to read:

Madame Bovary is one of my all-time favourite books because it is about a woman who wants to live her life and escape boredom. It is a parallel I can draw for myself as a woman – making your own choices and living your life as you want to.

If I could have one superpower:

If I could have one superpower it would be to make the planet green again. For me, this is the top priority we should all focus on – whoever you are, wherever you live and whatever age you are. And we all have the potential to possess this superpower.

Historical figure I’d most like to meet:

The historical figure I would most like to have met is Mahatma Gandhi. His inspiring personality has led people with his optimism, courage, principles and practice.

Tadhg Flanagan index

Tadhg Flanagan

Tadhg Flanagan, managing director of Breezblok shares some of his cultural recommendations::

Something to watch:

The Guard with Brendan Gleeson is an excellent film. He plays an unorthodox, rule-breaking police sergeant who attends a briefing by an FBI agent and is put on an operation to hunt down drug traffickers. I won’t spoil it, but there are some great one-liners.

Something to listen to:

I’m a big fan of Desert Island Discs. It’s the perfect mix of music and conversation. There are some great guests, and you get to find out things that you won’t have learned from other interviews. It’s life affirming, as you find out the tests and troubles of others’ lives, when on the surface it may look like they have it all.

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is Cumuruxatiba in Brazil. It’s a small village on the eastern coast and is totally uncommercialised and unspoilt, with miles upon miles of beautiful beaches. The culture in Brazil is unlike any other, and the food is spot on.

Celebrity I’d most like to meet:

The celebrity I would most like to meet is Roy Keane, one of the best footballers of our time. I like his dry sense of humour, frankness and passion for the game. I’d like to pick his brain over so many different things. If you’re reading this, Roy…

Martin Roberts

Martin Roberts

Martin Roberts, principal and co-founder of Addington Capital shares some of his cultural recommendations::

Something to watch:

My favourite film is Top Gun. I like Maverick’s rebellious anti-establishment approach, and also his raw natural talent. There are some amazing flying scenes – and some great one-liners, too! 

Something to listen to:

My favourite radio show is Dead Ringers. I like the way it satirises contemporary politics and I appreciate the sharp, witty jibes at today’s politicians on both sides. And it always makes me laugh!

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is the south of France, where I holiday with my family. It has it all: great food, wine, sea, sunshine and a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’!

If I could have one superpower:

If I could have one superpower, I’d like to be able to time-travel to experience other lifestyles: back, to see if the past is as we have learned about it; and forwards, to see what the future holds.

Federica Buricco

Federica Buricco

Federica Buricco, associate at CallisonRTKL shares some of her cultural recommendations::

Something to read:

I enjoyed This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook. It is a gripping read and includes contributions from people on the front lines of the climate crisis, as well as activists, academics and politicians. Ultimately, as a society, we need to do more and act now to ensure our future.

Favourite podcast:

The Urbanist, a podcast by Monocle, is a must-listen for those interested in urban design. The series covers subjects from the rebirth of public art to tactical urbanism and the 15-minute city. I’d also recommend the TED Talk by Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate Alejandro Aravena. He explains how alternative thinking can creatively overcome governance or budget constraints to get vital community projects delivered.

Top travel destination:

Asia broadly tops my list of number-one travel destinations, specifically Seoul, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Asian culture fascinates me and there are lots of things Western society could emulate. Many Asian cities are leaps ahead with innovation and developing solutions to their challenges. 

The historical figure I’d most like to meet is:

If I could be friends with any historical figure, I’d pick author and activist Jane Jacobs. I share her passion for the protection of local neighbourhoods from large generic urban renewals. I imagine long conversations over a glass of wine about the new theories regarding 15-minute cities and the disappearance of cars as an individual means of transportation.

Eleanor Deeley

Eleanor Deeley

Eleanor Deeley, deputy managing director of Deeley Group shares some of her cultural recommendations::

Something to listen to:

Green Day are my favourite band and their album Dookie is the record that brings back so many brilliant memories. It reminds me of being young in Malta, visiting the clubs and all the great times I had in that period of my life.

Favourite podcast:

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby with James Haskell, Mike Tindall and Alex Payne is a great podcast. I just love Haskell. I met him once at Twickenham and I became like a teenager all over again. The podcast is full of great stories. It’s good to know we’re all human and the famous do stupid things as well.

The best thing I’ve spent money on:

My best purchase has to be a shocking-pink Mulberry handbag. It’s one of my favourite things. I use it in the summer and love it. Everyone knows it’s my handbag and if I left it on a seat at an event, people would just know that seat was mine! My worst purchase would be the overpriced Covid tests required after coming back from holiday.

If I could have one superpower:

If I could have one superpower it would be the power to never have a hangover – so I can drink as much Sambuca as I like. As soon as I’ve had a few drinks, I insist on ordering Sambuca shots, which can be problematic the following day. It has very much become my signature on an evening out.

Mark Hawthorn CEO Landmark Group

Mark Hawthorn

Mark Hawthorn, chief executive of Landmark Group shares some of his cultural recommendations::

Something to watch:

The Big Short has so many lessons and reminders that resonated. The biggest one for me is that the contrarian position is often the loneliest and most profitable. Also, to keep your nerve if you know you are right, no matter what the rest of the herd are doing.

Something to read:

I read around 60 books a year, so there are too many to choose from! The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson is one that should benefit anybody and everybody.

The best thing I’ve spent money on:

The best things I’ve spent money on are memories, be it holidays, birthdays, Christmas or other experiences. There are too many ‘worsts’ to list, although the amounts I’ve spent on them have been limited as I’ve always used the ‘first fire bullets and then cannonballs’ approach: only when low-cost, low-risk spending is successful – when the bullets hit the targets – will I invest more resources on the bigger cannonballs.

If I could have one superpower:

If I could have one superpower it would be to be able to know which leads and people are worth pursuing. Despite our best efforts and quite advanced processes, there are still too many dead ends. 

Beth McQue

Beth McQue

Beth McQue, planning and development manager at Keyland Developments shares some of her cultural recommendations::

Something to watch:

I usually have a rule that I don’t watch a film more than once, with one exception – Love Actually. It has to be done during the run-up to Christmas. Joni Mitchell’s song ‘Both Sides Now’ will now always make me cry!

Something to listen to:

I am currently obsessed with Louis Theroux’s podcast Grounded. He has used the past 12 to 18 months through Covid to talk to various high-profile people from all walks of life. I love all his documentaries so it’s not surprising that I feel the same about his podcast. Who doesn’t love Louis?!

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is Italy. I will never get bored of how stunning it is and how delicious the food is. I feel very lucky that my most recent visit was to beautiful Venice last September, in between Covid lockdowns. To be able to explore the city at our leisure, with so few people about, was probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

The most ridiculous fact I know:

The most ridiculous fact I know is that cows moo in regional accents. I know this after recently being charged by a herd of cows while walking through a field with my boyfriend. As we were frantically running away from them to the nearest gate, my boyfriend started to loudly moo at them – I thought the loud noise had deterred them as they did stop running at us. However, I have since learned they have regional accents. 

Clare Coe

Clare Coe

Clare Coe, co-founder of Madison Berkeley, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to listen to:

Radio 1 is always on in the background in my car, kitchen and office. However, as I get older I am enjoying Radio 2 a lot more.

Favourite record:

Anything by Coldplay. I know it is very clichéd, but I have seen them live numerous times over the years and they never get old!

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination has to be New Zealand. It really has everything: the most incredible landscape, wonderful people, countless outdoor activities and nature to explore. More importantly, they have the most amazing vineyards. The only downside is that it is so far away; I am not sure I can do that flight with a baby any time soon.

The most ridiculous fact I know:

The most ridiculous fact I know is that at 20 weeks gestation, a baby’s heart is the size of a thumbnail. My little boy had a fetal heart defect discovered when his heart was that small. He is now a year old and thriving! awesome.

Ros Goode index

Ros Goode

Ros Goode, principal and managing director, London, at Avison Young, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

This is Us on Amazon Prime is an insightful, funny and moving family journey, with a great combination of topics that in the same episode will make you cry and then laugh – a lot.

Something to listen to:

I am actually a very boring Coldplay fan but for the sake of variety, Keane are an equal favourite, especially their album Strangeland. From there, Sovereign Light Café is a great, inspirational record that I run to all the time.

My best and worst purchases were:

The best thing I have spent money on is a Land Rover Defender 90 when I turned 50, because it has rivets in the bodywork and reminds me of my dad and the Morris Minor vans he drove back in the 70s. The worst would have to be an ‘Abcircle’ – a fanciful online shopping channel purchase when I was working in Dublin during the GFC that I thought would get me fit. 

Celebrity I’d most like to meet:

The celebrity I would most like to spend an hour with is Louis Theroux, as he has the art of posing the most excruciating questions in a way that sounds like he is just asking the way to the bus stop. Not to mention the fact that he is just awesome.

Stefano D'Ambrosio

Stefano D’Ambrosio

Stefano D’Ambrosio, environmental and planning solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

Interstellar is a really well-made sci-fi movie with a heavy focus on science and just enough fiction to make it appealing. I have always loved sci-fi, mainly when it touches on the topic of time travelling. This movie is considered by many to be a contemporary sci-fi masterpiece.

Something to listen to:

Devil’s Trill Sonata by Tartini is a great classical piece and has a fantastic story behind it. The composer once had a dream in which he challenged the devil to play the violin. It was the most beautiful music he had ever heard. He woke up and immediately tried to recreate the music, but the memory of the dream slowly vanished. The result of that attempt was the Devil’s Trill Sonata, which, as amazing as it might be, is nothing more than a shadow of the music that Tartini once heard in his dream.

My worst purchase:

My worst purchase was buying an iMac from the US while living in Peru. I had problems when trying to use the warranty in Peru and ended up paying for the cost of repair out of my own pocket. Now, I always double-check the small print on warranties.

If I had a million pounds:

If I had a million pounds, I’d invest half in a balanced portfolio of shares and bonds. Then, I’d buy a house and decorate it to my liking. Finally, I would use the remainder to cross off some items from my bucket list (like seeing an aurora borealis for the first time) and giving back to charity.

Dan Green_Associate Director Acquisitions Firethorn Trust

Dan Green

Dan Green, associate director, acquisitions, at Firethorn Trust, shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

Formula 1: Drive to Survive – I have always liked F1 but never really appreciated it for anything more than people racing fast cars. However, the fitness levels of the drivers and the politics behind the scenes are not what I expected – it’s a great insight into the sport.

Something to listen to:

I can listen to anything, with Capital usually being on in the car or on my Spotify (probably not a good thing to publicly share). If I had to pick one artist, however, it would probably be Eminem, his earlier music in particular.

Historical figure I’d most like to meet is:

If I could pick any historical figure to be my imaginary friend, it would be Napoleon – he was tactically brilliant, inspirational as a leader and challenged the status quo. He’s inspirational to me in that you don’t need to be tall to be successful. I hope his English is better than my GCSE French, if we are to communicate properly!

Celebrity I’d most like to meet:

The celebrity I would most love to spend an hour with is Tiger Woods – arguably one of the greatest sportsmen of all time. I would love to understand the mindset required to dominate a sport for so many years, and the strength and determination required to overcome personal scandals and injuries. He could probably also help sort out my swing.

Matt Smith 1

Matt Smith

Matt Smith, head of sustainability at Shaftesbury, shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

I would recommend watching The Dawn Wall. An incredible film about free climbing on the famous El Capitan wall in Yosemite. Lots of spectacular scenery and a fair amount of climbing but more a story about friendship and overcoming adversity. Not one for you if you have a fear of heights. 

Something to read:

The book I have read more times than any other is Bill Bryson’sA Short History of Nearly Everything. Bryson is very good at finding the humour in science and some of the stories really are stranger than fiction. Great for pub quizzes too. 

The celebrity I’d most like to meet is:

My first thought on the celebrity I’d most like to meet was David Attenborough, but I think it has to be tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. There is no doubt she would have some fascinating stories and unique perspectives on world events. 

If I had a million pounds:

If I had a million pounds I’d buy a house on the coast and spend my weekends surfing and hosting BBQs for family and friends. Similar to many people, lockdown has emphasised the importance of social connections and the simple things in life. I love the excitement of living and working in London but do miss the ocean.

Adam Kamani

Adam Kamani

Adam Kamani, co-founder of MoveStreets and chief executive of Kamani Property Group, shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

This might sound odd but one TV show I like is Mr Bean. He just doesn’t care what people think, he does what he wants and he gets by in life just fine. I think a few more people could take a leaf out of his book and stop worrying what other people think.

Something to read:

I really enjoyed Alex Ferguson’s book even though I’m a Man City fan. I thought it was so interesting to get insight into the football world and understand how he dealt with certain personalities. 

Top travel destination:

My number-one travel destination is Florida. I used to go when I was a child and I have very fond memories being there. I have been back in my latter years and it is great as it always takes me back to my childhood, which is pretty liberating. We went back before the pandemic as a family and it was so good for us all to be together.

If I could have one superpower:

If I could choose a superpower it would be to read people’s minds. Imagine every business negotiation you are in – you know exactly what move to play, which would obviously have its benefits. I am pretty good at reading people but this would be next level. Knowing what people are really thinking could be hilarious!

Francesca Brady

Francesca Brady

Francesca Brady, chief executive of proptech company AirRated, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

Interstellar – first, the music is incredible. Second, the fifth dimension is a concept that, although it melts my brain, is truly fascinating!

Something to read:

1984 – I love books that you can relate to the modern day. It is not an easy read but it is super interesting. George Orwell was a peculiar character, and through reading his books you get a brief insight into his way of thinking.  

Celebrity I’d most like to meet:

The celebrity I’d most like to meet is David Attenborough. It would be fascinating to hear about his personal life and all the events he has lived through. He has also visited some of the most remote areas of the planet and places we will likely never get access to. Speaking to him would be a gateway to those untouched worlds.

If I could have one superpower:

If I could have one superpower, it would be teleportation. It would be amazing to be able to transport yourself to a calm space when you’re feeling stressed or worried. It would also be fantastic to be able to see family and friends in far-flung places. FaceTime is OK but it can never replace face to face. And imagine how much it would reduce travel emissions!

Tomer Bercoviz

Tomer Bercoviz

Tomer Bercoviz, chief executive of Vonder, shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

Back to the Future Part II – I have always found the character of Marty McFly to be innovative and ahead of his time. Growing up, Marty was my definition of cool. He was funny, adventurous and used all those cool gadgets to fight against the bullies.

Something to listen to:

I listened to the album The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd a lot while I was travelling and exploring the world. It was a very insightful period in my life. Pink Floyd inspired me and helped me define the meaning to so many of the things I am doing currently. 

If I had a million pounds:

For me, nothing broadens the mind quite like travelling; it enables me to grow and invest in myself. The world is full of so many opportunities, experiences and chances to meet interesting and inspiring people from other walks of life. If I had a million pounds, I’d love to be able to make a difference in the places I were to visit and know that I’ve made an impact.

Historical figure I’d most like to meet:

The historical figure I’d love to meet is Henry Ford. He was a great innovator who was ahead of his time. I have always been fascinated with Ford’s approach to life. He solved problems of the present by taking inspiration from the past and transforming it into future opportunities. 

Anna Kealey

Anna Kealey

Anna Kealey, project director and architect at McBains, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to read:

Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor is heart-warming, heart-breaking, laugh-out-loud funny and, at times, nauseating all in one!

Something to listen to:

I’m Every Woman’ by Chaka Khan – for no other reason than my sister and I like to wail it at the top our lungs!

If I had a million pounds:

If I had a million pounds I’d buy a chalet in the mountains; the French Alps would do nicely. I love to ski and hill walk so this would suit me for both winter and summer seasons. A couple of early morning runs down the mountain before work starts would be the perfect work/life balance for me. Only the matter of the million-pound chalet to worry about then!

Top travel tips:

Patagonia is one of my top travel destinations. I visited as part of a bigger four-month trip around South America. The mix of mountain ranges, lakes and glaciers make up some of the most dramatic landscapes I have ever seen, and the perfect place for hiking. All topped off with an Asado BBQ for dinner after a long day’s trek to finish each day on a high.

Joy Nazzari

Joy Nazzari

Joy Nazzari, founding director at dn&co and Showhere, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

I love Kill Bill and La Femme Nikita for their kick-ass women. There are plenty of higher-brow films I adore but these two bring out my secret martial-arts spy alter ego. From a young age, I loved the idea of being a secret agent and those who know me know why it never happened – I’m incredibly tall.

Something to listen to:

My kids will always turn on Capital FM but when they’re not around it’s Classic FM. I have seriously eclectic music tastes, and although I grew up on a varied diet of punk and pop, I also listened to a lot of opera. I’m a proud member of Glyndebourne.

The celebrity I’d most like to meet is:

The celebrity I’d most like to meet is Madonna. I’ve always admired her ability to reinvent herself and bravely push boundaries on so many topics, seemingly without a care for critics. I’d like to know what motivated her through the decades and what boundaries she sees are still movable.

Top travel tips:

My number-one travel destination is Japan, and more specifically Naoshima island. The Japanese have an incredible appreciation for aesthetics, from food to architecture, landscaping and art. The whole country is a feast for the senses and every light in my brain went on there. I found Japanese people to be warm, polite and philosophical. 

Johnathan Crawley 1

Johnathan Crawley

Johnathan Crawley, UK managing director at MiddleCap, shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back – action and adventure set in a galaxy far, far away. Pure escapism, from the time I was a young child until the present day.

Something to listen to:

BBC Radio 4’sFront Row is a much-needed daily dose of the arts, from theatre and opera to music and film, that keeps me up-to-date with the must-see culture of the moment.

Something to read:

My favourite book is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. It is an intricate story-within-a-story set against the backdrop of one of my favourite cities – Barcelona.

Top travel tips:

My number-one travel destination is Spain. The language, the people, the culture, the cuisine, the varied landscape and climate from north to south (and everything in between) and the history and architecture all combine to make it a never-ending adventure of discovery.

Stuart Henderson

Stuart Henderson

Stuart Henderson, head of operations, UK north, ROI and Germany at GSA shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

As one of many people who got a new dog over the past year or so, Marley and Me articulates the bond between human and dog so well. I will never not cry!

Something to listen to:

Catfish and the Bottlemen – The Ride. I saw this band at Wembley the night I proposed to my fiancée, so it will forever be a special band for us. Some great memories and the album works really well from start to finish, as well as having a song called ‘Glasgow’, where I was brought up, and another called ‘Heathrow’, where I spent a lot of time for work (pre-Covid!).

Lockdown purchases:

My number-one purchase of lockdown was a panini maker. Work-from-home lunches had a massive upgrade! Worst purchase would be an impulsive buy of the PS5 on pre-order, and I think I have had it on about five times since.

The celebrity I’d most like to meet is:

I am a bit football mad so if I could pick any historical figure to be my (imaginary) friend, it would have to be Brian Clough. I have watched the movies and interviews on Parkinson and read the books, and I am just fascinated by his style, humour and confidence.

Jonny Rosenblatt

Jonny Rosenblatt

Jonny Rosenblatt, co-founder of Spacemade shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to read:

I love Malcolm Gladwell’s approach and style of writing – simplifying macro issues using smart anecdotes and stories through history. The Tipping Point is fascinating as he focuses on how an idea, a social behaviour or a trend tips into becoming a global phenomenon or issue.

Something to listen to:

One of the hardest questions I’ve ever faced! After considerable deliberation, the album I am going to go for is Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It takes me back to my teenage years and more than 20 years later it still resonates as a near-perfect rock album. 

The celebrity I’d most like to meet is:

Referring back to my answer about my favourite book, the celebrity I’d most like to spend an hour with would have to be Malcolm Gladwell. He is a phenomenal storyteller and is able to distil the most complex ideas into something very simple. Failing that, I’d like to sit with Dennis Bergkamp – another master of making the difficult look so easy!

Top travel tips:

Going on safari in the Serengeti remains the most brilliant trip I have ever done; but with three young kids now, my dream destination is somewhere hot, with an all-day kids’ club!

Benjamin Willmore

Benjamin Willmore

Benjamin Willmore, founder and MD of YoooServ shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

I particularly like the film Sully. I found it was an inspirational story that encourages an attitude of perseverance, in the sense that when put in a high-pressure situation with no notice or warning, the character was able to come to a perfect solution. That is admirable.

Something to listen to:

It is not a specific album, but I would have to say my preferred artist to listen to is Lewis Capaldi. Not only does he have a great voice but behind the performer is a genuine guy with a good sense of humour.

The most ridiculous fact I know is:

…that someone actually spent £10,000 on invisible artwork. It was described by the auction house as “the air you are purchasing is like buying an endless tank of oxygen”. This takes the ‘value of art being in the eye of the beholder’ to a whole new level.

Top travel tips:

My number-one travel experience was travelling from Croatia to Montenegro by water. Truly amazing. There were numerous beautiful sights along the way and both have fascinating geography. It is possible to swim on the Adriatic coast in the morning and ski in the mountains in the afternoon.

Vivian Hoezl

Vivian Hoezl

Vivian Hoelzl, head of property operations at Kooky shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

Catch Me If You Can is one of the classics. It has a great cast and who doesn’t like to literally escape for a while? If I had to pick a series, it would for sure be The Office (US). I’m currently rewatching it and it is just such an easy watch and really makes you feel good about yourself.

Something to read:

I unfortunately have not managed to really sit down and enjoy a good book in a while, but the last trilogy I read was called All Souls and it really teleported me into a different time, space and reality.

Something to listen to:

I cannot pick one album but The Weeknd is one of my favourite artists currently. I just connect a lot of memories with a lot of different songs, especially the ones before we went into this difficult past year. It also seems to be the only artist my partner and I can agree on, so we will probably also choose one of those for our wedding song!

Anna Shapiro - Sheppard Robson

Anna Shapiro

Anna Shapiro, associate director at Sheppard Robson shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

The Truman Show is a film that is always wonderfully relevant to how we live, as well as being a lot of fun. 

Something to read:

Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics by Tim Marshall is such an interesting book, which I continually find myself dipping into.

Something to listen to:

Salted Caramel Ice Cream’ by Metronomy – I don’t listen to a huge amount of music and I prefer podcasts or the radio, but their music is imaginative and humorous.

BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time is great to have on in the background, with such an eclectic range of themes that are always discussed so expertly.

Charlotte Crawley

Charlotte Crawley

Charlotte Crawley, culture and experience director at Navana Property Group shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

I’m a big fan of action and superhero films. If pushed, I’d pick one of the Bourne films or Deadpool. We’ve enjoyed a few in lockdown at home but the best experience is in the cinema. I can’t wait to get back.

Something to read:

The book that’s stayed with me the most is The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. It surprised me; I wasn’t a fan of that period in history – it is set in the 12th century – but the book really transported me and I have a greater appreciation for architecture from that time. When visiting those buildings now, I feel like I can almost smell, taste and hear those people’s lives.

Something to listen to:

I can’t name a favourite but the song that is guaranteed to get me up for a dance is Shine On by Degrees of Motion.

My fiancé is a DJ on Eruption Radio, so I have to say his Sunday morning soul show. It’s more chilled than his Wednesday dance show and is the perfect way to ease into the day – preferably with a bit of sunshine and a coffee.

Lawrence Owho

Lawrence Owho

Lawrence Owho, a consultant at AspinallVerdi shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

I have watched Forrest Gump a few times and I always come away with something new each time. It is a great concept and has a great cast and storyline.

Something to read:

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell is one of the best books I have ever read. It is gripping from the first page to the last.

Something to listen to:

I would really recommend the Accelerating Careers In Real Estate podcast by Macdonald & Company. It gives a really good insight into the career paths of some successful property professionals, as well as providing tips and steps to achieve success in the industry.

I discovered The Kinks in lockdown – they make really good music. I would also recommend any song Drake has ever touched.

Anna Harper

Anna Harper

Anna Clare Harper, chief executive of SPI Capital, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to read:

I love audiobooks and have so many recommendations, from autobiographies to psychology and business books. The Courage to be Disliked by Fumitake Koga and Ichiro Kishimi is a real game-changer. It is all about the ideas of Alfred Adler, a psychologist and lesser-known contemporary of Freud and Jung. Freudian psychoanalysis seems to blame issues you are experiencing today on trauma when you were young or relationships with your parents. By contrast, Adler believed that every problem (for example, addictions or phobias) is a result of a subconscious goal, and that it is the individual’s responsibility to change that goal first. It is a very empowering approach.

Something to listen to:

Kygo and Whitney Houston’s song ‘Higher Love’ is a great mood booster. I am a big fan of exercise before work, and this song is an excellent workout tune!

I love listening to The Guilty Feminist – especially earlier episodes – while running or walking. It is funny, smart, honest and proactive. I would recommend it for women, and also men who want to understand women better. 

Sara Bailey

Sara Bailey

Sara Bailey, head of real estate and incoming senior partner at Trowers & Hamlins, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to read:

The Lord of the Rings – I have always loved this set of books. I just love the escapism into a different world and how you can live through the characters’ highs and lows. Trying to be more intellectual than that, it is a story about hope and how the ordinary man can succeed.

Something to listen to:

‘Rio’ by Duran Duran, for no other reason than it is a great song that reminds me of my teenage years when all that mattered was whether Simon Le Bon or John Taylor was your favourite. Sigh….

Michelle Obama’s podcast – I listened to it in early lockdown. I have always been full of admiration for her as a woman and this series really made me stop and think. The episodes inspire by being honest and truly thoughtful.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith, planning partner at Rapleys, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

Withnail and I is funny and nostalgic, like an onion revealing new things each time you watch it. There is a big personal resonance highlighting that life rarely is how you planned and envisaged when you were much younger. But equally it shows that if you don’t step up and take responsibility for your life decisions, you will eventually get left behind. 

Something to read:

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a beautifully written, thought-provoking, moving piece of literature that captured my attention from the first page. I couldn’t put it down.

Something to listen to:

Music brings me such joy andRachmaninoff ’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor is one of the best pieces ever composed, both for the pianist in me and for the wonderful clarinet melody for the clarinettist in me.

I am not big into radio, beyond listening to music and sports commentary on international cricket and rugby matches. But, thinking about it, Desert Island Discs is something I used to listen to a lot. It is great for getting an insight into people’s music taste and life, listening to music excerpts and finding new pieces to enjoy at your leisure.

Luke Smith

Luke Smith

Luke Smith, managing director of Avory Smith Group, shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

Notting Hill – I like anything with either Hugh Grant or Julia Roberts, so it is great to get them both together on the big screen set in the Big Smoke!

Something to read:

I have never been much of a book guy, but I am trying to change that this year and have challenged myself to read 20 pages a day. My all-time favourite book would have to be Charles Saatchi’s Be The Worst You Can Be. Satire is the highest form of wit.

Something to listen to:

I couldn’t possibly pick an all-time favourite. Anyone who has worked with me knows that I tend to fixate on one song and play it non-stop for two weeks. Right now, that is probably Kanye West’s ‘Waves’. I visit Ibiza every summer and love dancing through the night to house music when I’m there. When in Rome, eh? 

Rajesh Gupta

Rajesh Gupta

Rajesh Gupta, chief financial officer at OakNorth, shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

The Train starring Burt Lancaster is an incredibly suspenseful movie based on the Second World War. It demonstrates great values of bravery, loyalty , intellect and commitment to freedom.

Something to read:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: apart from its literary merits, this book has become even more relevant in today’s day and age.

Something to listen to:

I grew up in India and the songwriter Gulzar was behind much of the music that I still enjoy. He made high-quality poetry and melody accessible in the whirlpool of highly commercial Bollywood musicals.

I recommend BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs simply because of the really smart people they invite on to the show. And the discussions are always down to earth and smart at the same time.

Chloe Benson

Chloe Benson

Chloe Benson, a senior associate in the real estate team at Goodman Derrick, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

I can watch The Breakfast Club over and over again and it always makes me laugh. The soundtrack is amazing too.

Something to read:

I love to travel and with so many amazing places to visit, I need to spend time choosing the next one. I have been flicking through Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist a lot more over the past year!

Something to listen to:

After a lot of deliberation, I would have to say Guns N’ Roses’ album Appetite for Destruction. Every song is incredible and I was fortunate enough to see them a few years ago at the London Stadium, which was epic.

Also, radio every weekday morning without fail. It is really funny, puts me in a good mood and sets me up for the day. Frank Skinner does a show on Saturday mornings on Absolute Radio that is hilarious.

Louisa Nie

Louisa Nie

Louisa Nie, senior development manager at Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

A few films come to mind, but I would go for Big Fish. It might be a slightly weird fantasy, but depending on where I am with my life, I could take away something new every time I watch it.

Something to read:

The Century Trilogy by Ken Follett takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the 20th century, experiencing history vividly through the eyes of five very different families.

Something to listen to:

I’m not a big music person, but music from the Irish-Norwegian band Secret Garden always calms my mind and soothes me.

TED Talks are a great way to take a sneak peek into areas that you know very little about!

Jennifer Newsham

Jennifer Newsham

Jennifer Newsham, director of strategic development consulting at JLL, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

I watched Guy Ritchie’s film The Gentlemen in lockdown. It has an amazing cast and is really entertaining!

Something to read:

The Red Book - there is no better way to send yourself straight to sleep

Something to listen to:

In my opinion, Queen were the world’s greatest band, so anything by them.

I would also recommend listening to BBC Radio 4’s More or Less: Behind the Stats podcast. It is a very interesting reminder not to take information at face value and to always question the data or motivation that sits behind a number.

Chithra Marsh

Chithra Marsh

Chithra Marsh, associate director at Buttress Architects and one of Women in Property’s new Inclusion Champions, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

The cinematography and music of Giuseppe Tornatore’s film Cinema Paradiso are just beautiful and totally captivating.

Something to read:

I recommend the novel The Famished Road by Ben Okri, which was published in 1991.

Something to listen to:

My husband and daughter will tell you that I love to sing and dance like no one’s watching. ‘Respect’ by Aretha Franklin usually does the trick!

Also, Desert Island Discs is the perfect mixture of amazing life stories and the music that influenced them. 

Gergo Petrovics

Gergo Petrovics

Gergo Petrovics, surveyor, commercial national investment at Allsop, shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

The Netflix docuseriesDown to Earth with Zac Efron explores ways of building a sustainable lifestyle, both within yourself but also in the wider sense of using natural resources to reduce humanity’s impact on Earth’s lifespan. Yes, it is Zac Efron and, at first, I had very different expectations. However, it was my favourite show of 2020. 

Something to read:

This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay is a book of diary entries from a successful doctor turned comedian with cringeworthy stories that characterised his career. I loved this book not only for being the funniest book I have ever read, but also because it taught me that you need to stay positive and see the funny side of your work and not take things too seriously when it all goes wrong.

Something to listen to:

I recommend the BBC Radio 5 Live podcast Eddie Hearn: No Passion No Point. It is in the title, really: whatever I do, I commit to it and try my best.

Nikhil Patel

Nikhil Patel

Nikhil Patel, managing director of Flamingo Investment Group shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

I have recently been watching the TV drama Billions. It follows the story of a New York-based hedge-fund manager battling to keeping his firm alive. It is great to see how it portrays the lives of the 0.1% of society and that even with all the riches of the world, life is still not plain sailing.

Something to read:

My favourite book in recent years is Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike. The book outlines how he started Nike and how it grew into the most recognisable athleisure brand today. Hearing the adversity that a company like Nike faced was a fascinating look into what is needed to succeed.

Something to listen to:

I will always stand by the fact that my favourite artist of all time is Kanye West. The old Kanye – his music from the mid 2000s to 2012 – provided the soundtrack of my childhood and teen years.

The Business Wars podcast from Wondery is something I have been listening to recently. It compares business competitors and the battle they face against each other to increase their market share. The stories it uncovers provide great insight into the world of large corporations.

Reuben Miller

Reuben Miller

Reuben Miller, residential chartered surveyor and RICS valuer at RM Surveyors shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

The King of Staten Island is a funny and moving true story about overcoming personal loss and creating a value-aligned career.

Something to read:

Discovering the public-speaking secrets of the world’s top minds in Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo helped me understand how to tell my own story.

Something to listen to:

Ziggy Marley’s song ‘True to Myself’ has an uplifting message about living authentically and following your own path.

The Unlocking Us andDare to Lead podcasts by Brené Brown feature inspiring conversations about innovative leadership and courageous living. I love and live by her mantra: ‘Be awkward, brave and kind.’

yemiedun_pic

Yemi Edun

Yemi Edun, founder and chief executive of Daniel Ford International shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to read:

I recommend The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason and The Money Secret by Rob Parsons. The former because of its simplicity and how, despite the fact it was first published in 1926, its contents are still relevant today. The latter because it is more relevant to our lives in the UK. 

Something to listen to:

I listen primarily to jazz and Afrobeats. Jazz because it is calming, and Afrobeats because it is nice to hear the younger guys broadening its appeal.

I also recommend the radio station talkSPORT, chiefly for their opinions that run contrary to reality. It is a time for me to enjoy their understanding – or lack of it – on matters being debated.

Tamika Hull Women in Property 2020 National Student Awards winner

Tamika Hull

Tamika Hull, a student on placement as national infrastructure officer at the Planning Inspectorate shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

The film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty teaches us that happiness is found when we step out of our comfort zone.

Something to read:

The novel The Alchemist by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho reminds me to always follow my dreams.

Something to listen to:

The song ‘The Wind’ by singer-songwriter Cat Stevens always makes me smile.

Elizabeth Day’s How To Fail podcast has taught me that my failures are my best ‘teachers’.

Kate James

Kate James

Kate James, an associate at TLT shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

The American drama series The Wire is an oldie but a goodie!

Something to read:

The type of books I enjoy most are those that completely immerse you and you can read again and again and never tire of. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is one of those books and every time I read it, I remember how much I love it.

Something to listen to:

The album Stoosh by Skunk Anansie reminds me of my teenage years. Every song is one you can crank up the volume to in the car and sing as loudly as you can. Nearly 24 years after being released, I still love it every time I play it, although I now listen on Spotify and not on CD.

I love a comedy podcast and Katherine Ryan: Telling Everybody Everything perfectly encapsulates some very funny moments alongside some serious topics of conversation. It is light-hearted, funny and easy listening, and also addresses some issues that people are afraid to talk about, which I really admire.

Maria Cheung

Maria Cheung

Maria Cheung, director and head of interior design at Squire & Partners shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

Christopher Nolan’s film The Prestige has magic, drama, brilliant styling, a flawless plot and a fabulous cast that features local Brixton hero, David Bowie.

Something to read:

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom is truly life-affirming. It is the one book I reread every five years or so, and each time I see something different in it as my perspective changes and I get older. It is just wonderful.

Something to listen to:

The Killers are a favourite band of mine and Sam’s Town is the album I always go back to. Their live set is a great list of arena-sized anthems that beg to be belted out.

Sometimes delightful, sometimes intriguing and tragic, the whole archive of Desert Island Discs is an incredible insight into a huge and wonderful range of people’s lives and their work, dating back to the 1950s.

Arya Taware

Arya Taware

Arya Taware, managing director and founder of FutureBricks shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

Secretariat, directed by Randall Wallace, is a film drama about grit in the horse-racing industry, with a lead female character who was able to overcome the challenges of a male-dominated world.

Something to read:

I recommendLet It Go: My Extraordinary Story by Dame Stephanie Shirley for its amazing life journey of an inspiring character who came to England as a Jewish refugee and started her own software company in the 1960s as a computer engineer. The concept of shared ownership – with many female CEOs having found their place at her multinational corporation – is admirable. 

Something to listen to:

The Ikonns podcast uncovers inspiring life journeys through guest interviews. They are uplifting and eye-opening. I particularly liked the episode ‘Overcoming All Odds to Success with Susie Ma of Tropic Skincare’.

I love the song ‘Endless’ by Mark Eliyahu for its blending of instruments and futuristic electronics. 

Phumzile Mbatha

Phumzile Mbatha

Phumzile Mbatha, senior quantity surveyor at Colliers International shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

Skyfall (and all other James Bond movies), because I like to be kept on the edge of my seat, andBlack Panther, for its depiction of numerous black women in powerful and engaging roles.

Something to read:

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg – I believe no one is born great. Our daily habits make us great, and the book has some intriguing examples of how the right habits were crucial to the success of former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz and civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr.

Something to listen to:

Promises (feat. Joe L Barnes & Naomi Raine) by Maverick City Music – “Great is Your faithfulness to me. From the rising sun to the setting same, I will praise Your name. Great is Your faithfulness to me.”

The Woman Evolve podcast, hosted by Sarah Jakes Roberts, focuses on redefining what it means to be a modern woman of faith.

Sarah Hayford Founder The Land Collective_300dpi

Sarah Hayford

Sarah Hayford, f ounder of The Land Collective and Sqft Digital, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

Everyone needs to watch the US TV drama Scandal at some point in their lives. It is a brilliant show full of drama, darkness and, of course, scandal! I always love political dramas and really get into them.

Something to read:

Philosophy was one of my favourite subjects at school and Westworld is one TV show that really made me start ‘thinking’ again. So, I got a book about it – Westworld and Philosophy: If You Go Looking for the Truth, Get the Whole Thing. It is quite reflective and has a range of essays about the series that are quite interesting.

Something to listen to:

This week I’ve been listening on repeat to the album Con Todo El Mundo by American band Khruangbin. It calms me down and makes me feel very reflective.

I am a big music lover and the music and pop-culture podcast Don’t Alert the Stans talks about a range of issues across the industry. I love the authenticity of the podcast as well as its humour and critical insights, which make you view things from different perspectives and even challenge your own. It has everything!

Coree James-Beccles

Coree James-Beccles

Coree Beccles, a pprentice surveyor at CBRE, shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

The film musical Dreamgirls stars a host of talented musicians, dancers, actors and actresses such as Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson. It is also one of my mum’s favourite films; we went to the cinema to watch it back in 2006 and I think I know the words to every song now!

I follow American motivational speaker Eric Thomas closely on LinkedIn and often listen to him while at the gym. There are many videos of his speeches available on YouTube. His message is based on accountability and hard work, which has helped me transform the way I think and feel. 

Something to read:

I read The Color Purple by Alice Walker a few years back after watching the film and I couldn’t stop reading it. It tells a story of pain, struggle, growth and resilience that truly captured my imagination.

I’m currently reading Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It by Charlamagne Tha God. It is a very powerful story about his life that will resonate with people from all backgrounds.

Shabnam Ali-Khan

Shabnam Ali-Khan

Shabnam Ali-Khan, s enior associate at Russell-Cooke, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

I have been watching the new series of The Million Pound Cube on ITV. I find it so gripping and exciting. It is interesting to see people working together, plus there are heartwarming stories about what people want to use the money for.

Something to listen to:

The Beatles are one of my favourite bands. They have many brilliant tracks but ‘In My Life’ is one of my all-time favourites. John Lennon had a beautifully chilling voice and the song is a wonderful blend of sadness with a positive message.

I regularly listen to The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4. It is a fun look at the week’s news. I’m enjoying Andy Zaltzman as the new presenter. He is a great comedian and I like his surreal nature. I also love Mark Steel and am always very excited when he is on.

Something to read:

I found Matt Haig’s book Reasons to Stay Alive so relatable. I have struggled with anxiety and bouts of depression throughout my life, and it shed a light on the issue and how it can be navigated. It also gives hope that there are things you can do to still have a great life, and that you are not alone. 

Lily Nash FirstPort

Lily Nash

Lily Nash, d irector of transformation at FirstPort, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to read:

The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company by John Rossman is a book I keep coming back to. I’ve used it in a lot of the work I’ve done over the past few years. It provides incredible insight into human behaviour and the way we work.

Something to listen to:

I recently listened to the audiobook of It’s All in Your Head, a memoir by rapper and producer Russ. It is about being confident in yourself and your abilities, and taking on challenges headfirst. Those lessons are universal. 

Something to watch:

Sports documentaries such as Formula 1: Drive to Survive on Netflix and All or Nothing on Amazon Prime are fascinating. There is so much we can learn from the mindset and motivations of those at the elite level of their sport.

Music:

I’m a big fan of singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. His album No.6 Collaborations Project is something I’m listening to a lot at the moment.

Lerato Marema

Lerato Marema

Lerato Marema, s enior planner at Deloitte, shares some of her cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

Life is a BBC drama that covers the lives of four ordinary Mancunians who all live in one building. While separate, their lives intertwine and unravel, revealing each person’s life challenge and how they overcome it; from marriage and divorce to birth and death – it covers it all. As it is filmed in Manchester, I also loved being able to pick out all the locations around the city I usually walk around. The series is available to watch on iPlayer. 

Queen & Slim is a profound film about race relations in America with a focus on police brutality, which is clearly still a major challenge. It is directed and produced by two women – Melina Matsoukas and Lena Waithe. I just love how this story is told honestly but somehow still manages to be a beautiful, heartfelt piece of cinematography, from the music chosen to the main actor and actress (who are both black Brits) . A must-see for everyone.

The Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table is about incredible chefs from all over the world. I definitely live to eat, so I found all the background stories of each chef, their passion for food and their expression of life through each dish to be truly amazing.

Simon Hamilton

Simon Hamilton

Simon Hamilton, D esign Career Consulting founder, shares some of his cultural recommendations:

Something to watch:

Parasite by South Korean director Bong Joon-ho is an incredible film. It has a strong sense of humour as well as being a comment on society and wealth inequality. I love watching films and Parasite is the best I’ve seen in years.

Something to read:

Black and British: A Forgotten History by broadcaster David Olusoga is a thoroughly researched book. I bought a copy to find out more about my background – I saw the title and thought, “that’s me”. Olusoga also comes across as articulate, well-researched and intelligent on screen.

Something to listen to:

I like listening to the podcast Material Matters with Grant Gibson. He interviews a broad range of creative people about their relationship to a material or a technique. You really get a sense of what’s behind the artists’ work, their thinking and their processes.

I also love the song ‘Lovely Day’ by Bill Withers. I always play it when I want to feel better because it’s so uplifting, and even when I’m feeling good, I’ll play it. It’s even more poignant as Withers died in March this year.

Something to watch:

Netflix’s recently released documentary The Social Dilemma will make you want to ditch your phone and laptop, until you realise you cannot. Silicon Valley experts discuss the ethics of social media and how the underlying design is geared towards generating profit and eyeball time. Chilling.

Something to read:

First published in serial form in 1972, Buddha, the manga graphic novel by Japanese artist Osamu Tezuka about the life of the founder of Buddhism, is totally gripping. Tezuka’s mastery of the graphic novel form makes the eight-book English translation feel short.

Something to listen to:

Pineapple Street Studios, the company that brought us Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill podcast, has teamed up with BuzzFeed for the series Suspicious Activity: Inside the FinCEN Files, which is all about 2020’s big financial data leak.

New Order’s second studio album,Power, Corruption & Lies, released in 1983, is a fitting soundtrack to political news cycles. The track ‘Your Silent Face’ is a balm for a brutal time, while some of the other tracks are less catchy.

Mitchell Labiak

Mitchell Labiak

Property Week chief investigative reporter Mitchell Labiak recommends some of his favourite vinyl records. 

The Score

The Score by Fugees: rappers such as north London’s Little Simz still compare themselves to Lauryn Hill. One listen to Fugees’ 1996 album, which is as fierce, witty and innovative now as it was then, will show you why.

Nebraska

Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen: the album that sounds the least like Springsteen’s others and yet is quite possibly his best. Songs like ‘Atlantic City’ and ‘Johnny 99’ alone make this haunting, raw and brave record a must-listen for any fan of The Boss.

The Voice of Jazz

The Voice of Jazz, Volume Two by Billie Holiday: they say you never forget your first. After being given a vinyl player as a gift, my wife and I picked up this record from an Oxfam shop in Durham. Lady Day’s heartbreakingly sincere voice has been the soundtrack to our lives ever since.

Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels 3 by Run the Jewels: “I hope. I hope with the highest of hopes,” raps Killer Mike on the opening track of this loud, angry, poignant modern hip-hop classic. Radical hope in the face of mass injustice defines this album.

Sadie Morgan, founding director of architecture practice dRMM and chair of the Quality of Life Foundation, shares her recommendations for what to watch, read and listen to.

Something to read:

Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery is a paean to more sustainable models of urban living. Alternatively, A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain by Owen Hatherley is a more home-grown and acerbic look at the same topic. Both books show that when it comes to our towns and cities, we do not have to look too far to work out where we might be going wrong – and how we might put things right again.

Something to watch:

Over the summer, many of us have wanted to connect with nature at home or out and about. David Attenborough was 94 this year and there is still no finer broadcaster about the natural world. You know you are in safe hands as soon as you hear his voice. So settle back and (re)watch The Blue Planet or Life on Earth. Both series are available on iPlayer.

Something to listen to:

Meditation apps such as Headspace and Calm have proliferated over the past few years and offer the chance to take a moment from our days and reconnect with ourselves and the moment at hand. Being more mindful throughout the day is proven to boost wellbeing, and gives us the chance to appreciate where we are and whom we are with.

Lockdown has given many people the time to appreciate old vinyl records. Mat Lown, partner and head of sustainability at TFT, shares four of his favourite vinyl records.

De la Soul - 3 feet high

3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul: A pioneering and highly original LP when it was released in 1989. It still sounds fresh today and includes lots of catchy samples from Hall & Oates, James Brown and Cymande.

You Only Live Twice (soundtrack): I found this LP, which was released in 1967, and many others – including a couple of rare Gil Scott-Heron LPs – during one of my trips to the States. I love John Barry’s composition and Nancy Sinatra’s haunting vocals on the theme track.

‘Glory Box’ by Portishead: Taken from their debut LP Dummy, ‘Glory Box’ was released in 1995. I first heard this record at the restaurant Jimmy Beez, which was opposite one of my favourite record stores in London, Honest Jon’s, where James Lavelle worked before setting up Mo’ Wax.

‘Loveless (feat. Ursula Rucker)’ by 4hero: The lyrics to this song, released on Talkin’ Loud in 1997, are very relevant today as we focus on rectifying the damage done to our environment and try to build a better future for our world. 

Other:

Last week, Derek Griffin, Whitbread’s head of acquisitions in London and the South, shares four vinyl lockdown purchases. 

Pioneers pic

‘Let Your Yeah Be Yeah’ by The Pioneers: A joyous splash of horn-infused reggae written, produced and performed by Jimmy Cliff. Released on the famous Trojan label, it reached no. 5 on the UK singles chart in 1971 and still sounds fresh as a daisy! Lovely label art, too.

Donald Bird pic

‘Dominoes’ by Donald Byrd: The amazing bassline on this track from Donald Byrd’s 1975 album Places and Spaces is almost identical to Steely Dan’s ‘Peg’. That’s because it’s by the same man – Chuck Rainey. Eighty years young and such a legacy. What a groove!

Frankie Valli

‘The Night’ by The Four Seasons: Quite simply one of the greatest records ever made. Originally released in 1972, it became a hit on its re-release three years later, following massive popularity on the Northern Soul scene. Much sought-after and therefore still quite pricey on vinyl!

Rolling Stones pic

‘Emotional Rescue’ by The Rolling Stones: This is the Stones at their funkiest. Released 40 years ago but still sounds fresh. A great single and also the title track to their 15th studio album.

TV recommendations

Netflix’s Selling Sunset is the show to watch for all property folk enjoying some downtime. The series follows the Los Angeles-based real estate Oppenheim Group and the drama facing the brokers selling properties, which range in value from a few million dollars all the way up to $75m. It is pure property porn. Series three came out at the end of last month.

A double-trouble version of the daytime TV classic, Couples Come Dine With Me is as raucous and cringeworthy as its ‘singles’ counterpart. In the Channel 4 show, three couples host dinner parties at their homes, before being criticised by their guests. Expect plenty of one-upmanship, deadpan voice-overs and dad jokes. So many dad jokes.

Budget documentary Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles explores the mystery of handmade linoleum tiles inscribed with cryptic messages that were found embedded in the pavements of US cities and tries to find out who put them there. It is one of the most mysterious, life-affirming films to have been circulated via hyperlink.

The third series of Gone Fishing is airing on BBC2 at the moment (8pm Sundays), and you can catch up on the first two series of this brilliant TV show featuring comedians Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer on iPlayer. As the title suggests, the show is about fishing, but it is also about friendship and mortality, all set against the backdrop of the beautiful British countryside. 

Trashy reality TV is all the rage and 90 Day Fiancé is no different. The US series follows engaged couples who must get married within three months of the non-US citizen in the pair obtaining a visa. Long-distance relationships plus family disapproval equals messy drama and a must-watch. All seven series are available on TLC.

Anyone who hasn’t watched The Big Short is missing out. It shows the cut and thrust of business and finance without glamorising it, telling the true story of one of the most dramatic periods in the past decade. It has elements of comedy, incredulity and pathos. The cast is excellent and the story closely matches Michael Lewis’s brilliant book.

Comedy-drama Succession, about a dysfunctional family fighting for control of its global media empire, features many colourful characters driven by greed, power and revenge. Both seasons are available to watch on Sky TV. 

Strike a pose and watch Ryan Murphy’s moving, exhilarating drama series Pose. Set in the underground drag ballroom world of 1980s New York City, the show is a must-watch for fans of voguing and the documentary Paris is Burning. Both series are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

If you are looking for an inspiring watch during lockdown then war film Darkest Hour about Winston Churchill’s time as prime minister during the Second World War should fit the bill. It demonstrates the merits of teamwork and sticking to one’s principles. It is available to watch on Netflix. 

Looking for a TV show that combines period dramas, The Walking Dead and beautiful cinematography? Look no further than Kingdom. Set in the late-1500s, this South Korean political horror thriller follows the crown prince as he uncovers a devastating political conspiracy while investigating the spread of a mysterious plague. All 12 episodes are available to watch on Netflix.

Pixar’s latest offering, Onward, which bypassed cinemas due to lockdown, is a warm-hearted tale of magical quests, familial loss and sibling love – with enough knowing adult-appropriate side jokes to keep the parents entertained. And it makes a welcome change from Frozen.

The Last Dance, a documentary about American basketball player Michael Jordan, is fascinating. For all Jordan’s ubiquitousness in the 90s, this is a rarer insight behind the public persona – into what drove him, who he is and why he was so bankable. It is worth a watch for the 90s fashion and technology alone. You can find it on Netflix. 

My Architect: A Son’s Journey is an extraordinarily moving documentary film by Nathaniel Kahn about his father, the legendary American architect Louis Kahn, who died in 1974. The film is available to watch online.

In The Kindness Diaries on Netflix, host Leon Logothetis travels the world relying on the kindness of strangers for bed and board and repaying them in kind. It shines a light on the best of human nature and helped inspire CBRE’S ‘kindness pledges’ idea. In times when we are separated from those we care about, we think this is more important than ever.

Podcast recommendations 

In the podcast series Phoebe Reads A Mystery, This is Love host Phoebe Judge reads a chapter a day from a mystery novel. So far, she has lent her soothing tones to The Hound of the Baskervilles, Dracula and Jane Eyre among other classic works. It is the perfect listen for daily walks, household chores or to help you nod off at night. 

VENT is a podcast series hosted by young residents in Brent. Made in collaboration with VICE, the project documents life as a young person in the London borough, taking in everything from falling in love to thoughts on the dark web and intersectional feminism. There are three series to date, all available from Spotify, Acast or Apple.

I’d recommend dipping into a sports radio channel when you can. Listening to any sport adds a touch of normality for me and it’s comforting to hear that some things are beginning to return to normal, whether it’s the horse racing at Ascot or the restarted Premier League.

Rugby is one of my passions. I was fortunate enough to make the trip to Japan for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and will be heading on the Lions tour to South Africa next year. I love the camaraderie, mutual respect and passion of the sport. Rugby podcasts such as The Rugby Pod and The Ruck share many great insights from the players. Download from iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. 

A brutal murder, police corruption, tabloid newspaper hacking – the still-unsolved killing of private detective Daniel Morgan in 1987 has all the elements of a Hollywood thriller. In podcast seriesUntold: The Daniel Morgan Murder, investigative journalist Peter Jukes takes an exhaustive in-depth look at this intriguing story. Download from iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs needs no introduction. A recent episode with Cressida Dick, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, featured some great music and the fascinating story of her career achievements to date as well as the challenges she has faced and overcome. Download from iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. 

What if one of the biggest rock singles of all time was actually written by – wait for it – the CIA? In podcast Wind Of Change, American journalist Patrick Radden Keefe investigates the claim that the Scorpions’ 1990 hit – the soundtrack to the collapse of the Soviet Union – was a piece of propaganda constructed by US intelligence. Download from iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. 

The podcast Dolly Parton’s America is an exploration of the American singer’s music, life and real estate projects. It is ideal for anyone interested in country music, how to build an empire, philanthropism or a good old rags-to-riches tale, and features interviews with the woman herself. It also offers a great antidote to what celebrity has come to mean recently. Download from iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. 

The second series of BBC podcast 13 Minutes to the Moon uses historical interviews with flight controllers and astronauts to tell the story of the nearly disastrous Apollo 13 mission in April 1970. I remember as a schoolboy sitting mesmerised in front of my family’s black-and-white TV, watching the drama unfold non-stop for five days. The entire series can be streamed on BBC Sounds. 

The soothing tones of This Is Love presenter Phoebe Judge are an antidote to any cabin fever you might be feeling. Her podcast investigates stories of love in the loosest sense. Season 4 focuses on nature, animals and the wild.

In Bryony Gordon’s Mad World podcast, the Telegraph journalist and mental health ambassador interviews guests about their mental health journey and always starts with the question: “So how are you really?” Bryony founded the Mental Health Mates network, which inspired CBRE’s Mental Health Buddies programme. 

At only 10 minutes an episode, the podcast This Day in Esoteric Political History is more digestible than its name might suggest. Each episode looks at one moment in US political history from that day in the past and analyses what lessons can be drawn from it. It is a great way to gain a bit of historical perspective. Download from iTunes or anywhere you get your podcasts. 

If you want a laugh: Fortunately by Fi and Jane is a podcast from Jane Garvey and Fi Glover. The two BBC Radio 4 broadcasters (you may recognise Jane as a presenter on Women’s Hour) spend the hour chatting to themselves, speaking over a range of guests, and sometimes bring some radio clips to play. Mostly though, they’re very rude and extremely funny, and we would recommend them heartily if you need a lift.

If you want a deep dive into human nature:The Ted Radio Hour by NPR. This is a genius concept, with each podcast focusing on one topic such as “anger”, “failure”, “the source of creativity” and “risk”. A number of Ted Talkers are interviewed on their talks, weaving together a fascinating exploration of important topics.

If you want to keep up to date with current affairs: The Daily from the New York Times and Beyond Today from the BBC both follow similar formats, covering one newsworthy topic each day of the week. They’re short, very well researched, and cover a range of topics from the success of South Korean oscar-winning Parasite, to the American women who joined ISIS.

If you want something silly:No Such Thing As A Fish comes from the QI elves (who write the questions from the panel show). They take us through all the strange facts they learnt that week. Prepare to be impressed, horrified and to have more than one laugh out loud.

If you want something gripping: The Dropout or Broken: Jefferey Epstein. The former follows Elizabeth Holmes, who is currently standing trial for massive fraud, after her blood-testing firm Thernos unrivalled. The latter takes us through the life of Jefferey Epstein, uncovering previously unknown actions and experiences. It also delves into Ghislaine Maxwell, his longtime alleged facilitator, and the prison in which he spent his last weeks.

If you want something akin to therapy:How Did We Get Here is a podcast from Dr Tanya Bryon, a psychologist, and her longtime friend Claudia Winkleman. In each episode, Claudia interviews a member of the public who has a problem they wish to fix. We then listen in as Tanya talks that person through the issue, with incredible results. It feels like a free therapy session, and our only tip is to make sure you’re not wearing makeup as it’ll smudge.

Music recommendations

LA sister-band Haim’s third studio album Women in Music Pt. III combines pop with folksier 1970s tones. In their most personal songs yet, they sing about family, misogyny and depression. But the best thing is just how catchy it all is.

Four-time Grammy winner Jacob Collier started out as a bedroom musician uploading videos to YouTube of his rearrangements of popular songs. His extraordinary ability to harmonise meant it was not long before he was signed to Quincy Jones’ management company. Volume three of his Djesse album series was released in August.

Putting the rest of us to shame, Taylor Swift wrote her eighth album,folklore, during lockdown. Harking back to her origins as a country singer, this album is a cosy, autumnal listen, filled with nostalgia and storytelling. It might be her best album yet.

Screaming Toenail describe themselves as an “anti-colonial militant queer punk band”. In new lockdown release Growth, the band touches on personal and political topics. It is worth a listen, especially if you are angry at the system. Listen via Bandcamp.

Canadian singer-songwriter Ruth B. has a beautiful voice that stirs the emotions, which is shown to great effect on the song ‘Lost Boy’. The track is available on Spotify and other music-streaming platforms.

After a 10-year hiatus, Damon Gough – AKA Badly Drawn Boy – makes a welcome return with new album Banana Skin Shoes. The singer-songwriter’s latest offering is packed with upbeat, life-affirming songs such as ‘Is This a Dream?’ The album is available to download or, alternatively, the physical CD can be purchased from all good music retailers. 

It is always interesting to reconnect with the music of one’s youth. Lately, I have been listening to the records of British singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading, whose music I first discovered while studying for an estate management degree at Trent Polytechnic. It has been great to have more time to listen to her albums again. Find her music on Spotify.

For those who have never heard of American singer Perfume Genius, now is the time to get acquainted with his dreamy vocals set to bold instrumentals. With his latest stunner of an album, Set My Heart on Fire Immediately, he is finally attaining the mainstream recognition he deserves.

London jazz musician Jelly Cleaver has released a gently woozy track during lockdown called Feeling Fine, featuring rapper Shunaji and saxophonist Maddy Coombs. Cleaver is in lockdown with her whole band, so fingers crossed she produces more music over the coming months. 

This is Me’ from The Greatest Showman is one of the biggest feel-good songs of recent years. It brings together a deeper meaning of compassion and kindness and encourages everyone to bring their whole self, not just their best self. When this song is on, you cannot help but move your feet, tap your fingers and get involved with the beats.

Books & games

For any self-isolators keen to get away from a screen or a book, Patchwork is a competitive Tetris-style two-player board game based on the theme of sewing. Players compete to collect a maximum number of buttons while filling their board with contiguous cardboard pieces.

Prolific author Anthony Horowitz is back with another murder mystery thriller – Moonflower Murders, the second in his Susan Ryeland series, which continues the story of Magpie Murders published in 2016. The book has all the usual plot twists of a Horowitz story and also features a novel within a novel – a device he has used before. 

Jo Lennan’sIn the Time of Foxes, published last week, is a collection of short stories. In the eponymous story, a woman faces two difficult decisions over whether to put her mother in a care home and whether to destroy the fox home in her garden. These brief but deep narratives show characters in complex situations. It is rare to find a book this fulfilling.

A book I often dip into and would highly recommend is Legacy by James Kerr. It proposes 15 lessons we can learn from the methods of the legendary All Blacks rugby union team. It is not just a book about sport – Kerr writes about leadership, humility and ethics.

James Deegan’s SAS adventure novelOnce A Pilgrim is an enjoyable bit of escapism and a step up from other similar-themed authors. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is an historical and educational epic.

The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman provides a fascinating insight into the intelligence of our feathered garden friends. How can birds anticipate the arrival of a distant storm? How can they find places thousands of miles away that they have never visited before? Ackerman explains all this and more.

Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh tells the unusual story of how he became a brain surgeon. This moving book has helped put life into perspective during these unusual times and is a quick and engaging read.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett is ostensibly a novel about the role of a house and its imposing architecture on the fate of a family, and is beautiful and heartbreaking in equal measure. The depiction of the house in which the book is set is almost photographic in its detail – worth a read for any fan of architecture.

Containing biographies of about 200 London architects from Inigo Jones to Norman Foster, Architects and Architecture of London by Ken Allinson is a great book to dip into and easy to read. Building Seagram by Phyllis Lambert tells the compelling story of the design and construction of the legendary New York skyscraper. Designed by Mies van der Rohe, this awesome, heroic building is a big influence on my own work.

If you want a screen break while engaging in something meaningful, check out autobiographical graphic novels. A Drifting Life is a masterpiece that completely absorbs the reader in author Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s journey to become a manga artist in Japan between 1945 and 1960. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel tells her story of growing up as the daughter of a funeral-home owner and her relationship with her father. The book’s musical adaptation is also available online.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy is one of the most creative books of recent years. Bursting with simple sketches, it brings to life the true value of compassion, kindness, understanding and self-worth. The simplicity of the line drawings and the emotions they invoke make this an absolute classic. 

Culture

It might seem basic but study app Quizlet is a reliable tool for learning languages – or indeed anything at all. With millions of user-generated flashcards along with tests and games, it is the perfect place to brush up on your Mandarin or learn a bit of Italian. 

Although many of the world’s most famous museums are shut for the foreseeable future, Google Arts and Culture collection allows viewers to take virtual tours of leading institutions. Here the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Guggenheim Museum in New York, Musee d’Orsay in Paris, and many more, can be viewed from the comfort of your couch. This huge project displays a wide range of art and artefacts from Egyptian mummies through to Vermeer’s atmospheric domestic interiors (particularly apt for these strange times) 

In the face of theatre and venue closures many are also moving their performances online. New York’s Metropolitan Opera will be streaming shows every night at 7.30 EDT, which will be accessible until 3.30 EDT the next day

Shakespeare’s Globe has many of the classics on Globe Player, while video platform Nowness contains a diverse array of global arts and culture.

In many ways the release of the 900-page final instalment of Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy couldn’t have been better timed. Spend what would otherwise have been your commute getting into the ‘The Mirror & the Light’ and the deadly intrigues of Henry VIII’s court in the wake of the execution of his second wife, Anne Boleyn.

Online

In American online comedy series The Try Guys, four men in LA try out activities ranging from cooking competitions to sports trials and getting lost in the wild. Outcomes vary but the audience is always kept entertained. The series is available to watch on YouTube and new episodes come out every Wednesday and Saturday.

A way I de-stress after the working day is to sit down with my eight-year-old son and stream a nature documentary. Our favourites are the classics – Seven Worlds, One Planet and Blue Planet II – but the choice available on BBC iPlayer is fantastic! The complete escapism of diving into a documentary puts into perspective how we are all just tiny people doing little things in a vast, amazing world.

American singer Solange might not be as well known as her older sister Beyoncé, but she is just as talented. Her most recent album, When I Get Home, is a beautiful, heartfelt ode to her hometown of Houston, Texas. Her film accompanying the album is available to watch on YouTube.

National Theatre at Home is currently showing the Donmar Warehouse’s visceral 2013/14 production of Coriolanus, with Tom Hiddleston in the title role. It is arguably one of the most dynamic versions of the play ever staged. Its strong cast and small stage give it great immediacy and the savage conclusion is extremely poignant. It is available to watch on YouTube until 7pm on 11 June.

For instant relaxation, spend a few hours trawling YouTube. Living Big in a Tiny House and Exploring Alternatives both make for absorbing viewing. Alternatively, why not learn a new skill? There are many music tutorials for lockdown learning, such as David Bennett Piano and Guy Michelmore’s channels. For synth enthusiasts, Andrew Huang, BoBeats and the incredible Once Upon a Synth channel are real rabbit holes.

Jon Seal, managing director at technologywithin

Richard Mussell, managing director of consultancy Rund Partnership