Holiday reads and gift guide: life-changing reads

The holiday season is here and what better way to spend it catching up on some reading? Whether you are looking for a book to unwind with or a gift for the book lover in your life, we've curated a list of some of 2021's bestsellers, award-winners and must-read books. 

Mysteries and incredible quests to solve them, groundbreaking exposes, new insights and compelling narratives. This list of life-changing reads highlights important conversations on health, business, technology, ethics, personal development and healing.

Empire of Pain

by Patrick Radden Keefe

Book cover for Empire of Pain

Winner of the 2021 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction
A Barack Obama 2021 Summer reading list choice
Shortlisted for the 2021 Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

The story of the Sackler Dynasty, Purdue Pharma, and their involvement in the opioid crisis that has created millions of addicts, even as it generated billions of dollars in profit. In this masterpiece of narrative reporting and writing, award-winning journalist and host of the Wind of Change podcast Patrick Radden Keefe exhaustively documents the jaw-dropping and ferociously compelling reality.
Empire of Pain is the story of a dynasty: a parable of 21st century greed.

The Genome Odyssey

by Dr Euan Angus Ashley

Book cover for The Genome Odyssey

In The Genome Odyssey, Dr. Euan Ashley brings the breakthroughs of precision medicine to vivid life through the real diagnostic journeys of his patients and the tireless efforts of his fellow doctors and scientists as they hunt to prevent, predict, and beat disease. Dr. Ashley details the medicine behind genome sequencing with clarity. More than that, with passion for his subject and compassion for his patients, he introduces readers to the dynamic group of researchers and doctor detectives who hunt for answers, and to the pioneering patients who open up their lives to the medical community during their search for diagnoses and cures.

Scary Smart

by Mo Gawdat

Book cover for Scary Smart

Scary Smart is an insider look at the future, not only of technology and AI, but of our species. It is an accessible blueprint for what we can do to safeguard ourselves, those we love and the planet itself. From the former Chief Business Officer at Google [X] and internationally bestselling author of Solve for Happy. By 2049 AI will be a billion times more intelligent than humans. Scary Smart explains how to fix the current trajectory now, to make sure that the AI of the future can preserve our species. And offers a blueprint, pointing the way to what we can do to safeguard ourselves, those we love and the planet itself.

Fully Human

by Steve Biddulph

Book cover for Fully Human

Steve Biddulph is a world-renowned family therapist and multi-million bestselling parenting author. Fully Human is his first personal development book for people all ages that will help us all live better, more fulfilling lives. In the book, Biddulph draws on deeply personal stories from his own life, as well of those of his clients, and from the frontiers of thinking about how the brain works with the body. At the peak of a lifetime's work, one of the world's best-known psychotherapists and educators shows how you can be more alive, more connected. More FULLY HUMAN.
From the bestselling author of Raising Boys.

What Happened to You?

by Oprah Winfrey and Dr Bruce Perry

Book cover for What Happened to You?

Oprah Winfrey and renowned brain development and trauma expert, Dr Bruce Perry, discuss the impact of trauma and adverse experiences and how healing must begin with a shift to asking 'What happened to you?' rather than 'What’s wrong with you?'
Grounded in the latest brain science and brought to life through compelling narratives, this book shines a light on a much-needed path to recovery – showing us our incredible capacity to transform after adversity.

Watch award-winning journalist and author of Empire of Pain, Patrick Radden Keefe in conversation with Daily Maverick’s Rebecca Davis. They discuss the family behind the blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis.