In lockdowns, what are we watching and reading?

A recent Ingenio survey of members of the University's 40 Under 40 included this smart group's tips for books, viewing and listening. So we're sharing the most-nominated for some lockdown inspiration.

masked face then a happy face cartoon
While we are waiting for more social times, books, video and audio are filling a gap.

When asked what book or movie had influenced them, our 40 Under 40s from the past five years nominated more than 50. These included documentaries and TED Talks on topics from climate change to personal development.

No single book or film stood out in the polling, but a few that scored several mentions included: Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari; The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle; and A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough. 

Here's the full list for anyone locked down and looking for inspiration. 

Personal & Professional Development

Start with Why – Simon Sinek
Meditations – Marcus Aurelius
Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
I Thought It Was Just Me – Brene Brown
How to Talk to Anyone – Leil Lowndes
Lost Connections – Johann Hari
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance – Angela Duckworth
Flourishing – Maureen Gaffney
Dare to Lead - Brene Brown (podcast)

Inspiration / Life Lessons

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Man's Search for Meaning – Victor Frankl
Zenzele: A Letter for My Daughter – Nozipo Maraire
Dear World, How Are You? – Toby Little
Found on 49 (YouTube documentary)
Capernaum (film)


Helen Kelly: Her Life – Rebecca Macfie
I Am Greta (documentary)
Journey Towards Justice – Kim Workman
Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates (Netflix)

Innovation and creativity

The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation – Peter Senge
The Innovation Blindspot: Why we Back the Wrong Ideas and What to Do About it? – Ross Baird
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

Race Relations / Cultural Perspectives

The Woven Universe – Rev. Maori Marsden
Raising White Kids in a Racially Unjust America – Jennifer Harvey
Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
Braiding Sweetgrass – Robin Wall Kimmerer
Research Is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods – Shawn Wilson
The Best of e-Tangata – Tapu Misa & Gary Wilson
Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think and Do
– Jennifer Lynn Eberhardt
Imagining Decolonisation – Moana Jackson

Business & Economics

No Rules: Netflix and the Culture Revolution – Erin Meyer & Reed Hastings
Freakonomics – Malcolm Gladwell
Doughnut Economics – Kate Raworth
The Economy of Cities – Jane Jacobs
Growth Fetish – Clive Hamilton
No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram – Sarah Frier
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup – John Carreyrou
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon – Brad Stone
Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber – Mike Isaac
Legacy: What the All Blacks Can Teach Us About the Business of Life – James Kerr
The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story – Michael Lewis

Environment and Climate Change

A Life on Our Planet – David Attenborough
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster – Bill Gates
Before the Flood (documentary)
The Overstory (novel) – Richard Powers
The Third Chimpanzee – Jared Diamond


The Age of A.I. (documentary)
The Social Dilemma (Netflix)

Other Recommendations

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
The Wisdom of Trauma (film)
Teen Brain – David Gillespie
Factfulness – Hans Rosling
Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine and Mysteries of Blood – Rose George
The Broken Estate: Journalism and Democracy in a Post-Truth World – Mel Bruce

This is a companion online item to a wrap of 40 Under 40s in the past five years, that appeared in Ingenio Spring 2021.