Book Recommendations From Business Leaders and Cultural Influencers
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Book Recommendations From Business Leaders and Cultural Influencers

By Fang Block
Tue, Dec 15, 2020 4:41amGrey Clock 2 min

Jenny Johnson

President and CEO, Franklin Templeton

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II, by Sonia Purnell

“This is a remarkable story of an American woman who served as a secret undercover agent in France during World War II—first as a spy for the British Intelligence agency SOE, because the U.S. state department refused to let her join, and then later for the U.S. She had unbelievable success in mobilizing the French resistance—fortunately, unconscious bias worked in her favor, as the Germans could not imagine that a woman with a disability could be so effective at undercover work—including bold prison breaks! Despite her success, the SOE refused to promote her, until finally it became abundantly clear that she was far more effective than her

superiors, and she was appointed to a leadership position.”

Greg Norman

World Golf Hall of Famer, Chairman and CEO, Greg Norman Co. 

Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations, by Ronen Bergman

“The book was recommended by a few of my friends. I recently went on a trip to Israel and was fascinated by how such a small nation has had such a difficult history. This book really showcased how hard Israel has fought and continues to do so for its sovereign rights.”

David Hunt

President and CEO, PGIM 

The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind, by Raghuram Rajan

“While the globalization of capitalism has been responsible for lifting millions of people out of poverty, in an age of rising inequality, many are rightfully questioning the system as a whole. Rajan’s The Third Pillar offers an

excellent framework to understand the problems associated with market-based economic systems and help us think about solutions.”

Dana Canedy

Senior Vice President and Publisher, Simon & Schuster

White Ivy, by Susie Yang

“I absolutely love fiction with characters that are so richly realized and that defy stereotypes and show us new ways to see cultures and the people who make them so complex and vibrant. Yang does not disappoint, with this brilliant work of literature that offers a unique view of the immigrant experience and left me thinking about class and character in unexpected ways.”

Cristina Mariani-May

CEO, Banfi Vintners

Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds, by David Goggins  

“I was inspired by Goggins ’ perseverance and drive. As a working mom who recently reorganized her business after 100 years of being family owned and operated and who worked to reposition it for today and the next generation, I really loved the role model I found in Goggins. I am also an ultra-marathon runner, and David tells amazingly detailed stories of long-distance trail runs. If you want to feel empowered, read this book!” 



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The Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index reveals investments of passion are paying strong dividends, in some areas at least

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Apr 9, 2024 4 min

Art was the investment of passion that gained the most in value in 2023, according to Knight Frank’s Luxury Investment Index (KFLII). This is the second consecutive year that art has risen the most among the 10 popular investments tracked by the index, up 11 percent in 2023 and 29 percent in 2022. Art was followed by 8 percent growth in jewellery, 5 percent growth in watches, 4 percent growth in coins and 2 percent growth in coloured diamonds last year.

The weakest performers were rare whisky bottles, which lost nine percent of their value, classic cars down six percent and designer handbags down four percent. Luxury collectables are typically held by ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) who have a net worth of US$30 million or more. Knight Frank research shows 20 percent of UHNWI investment asset portfolios are allocated to collectables.

In 2023, the KFLII fell for only the second time, with prices down 1 percent on average.

Despite record-breaking individual sales in 2023, a surge in financial market returns contributed to a shift in allocations impacting on luxury asset value,” the report said. “… our assessment reveals a need for an ever more discerning approach from investors, with significant volatility by sub-market.

Sebastian Duthy of AMR said the 2023 art auction year began with notable sales including a record price for a Bronzino piece. But confidence waned as the year went on.

“It was telling that in May, Sotheby’s inserted one of its top Old Master lots – a Rubens’ portrait – into a 20th Century Modern evening sale. But by then, it was clear that the confidence among sellers, set by the previous year’s record-busting figures, was ebbing away. In the same month, modern and contemporary works from the collection of the late financier Gerald Fineberg sold well below pre-auction estimates.”

The value of ultra contemporary or red-chip’ art contracted the most in 2023.

“Works by a growing group of artists born after 1980 have been heavily promoted by mega galleries and auction houses in recent years. With freshly painted works in excess of £100,000 almost doubling in 2022, it was little surprise that this sector was one of the biggest casualties last year. There is a risk there are now simply too many fresh paint artists with none really standing out.”

In the jewellery market, Mr Duthy noted that demand was strongest for coloured gemstones of exceptional quality, iconic signed period jewels, single-owner collections, and items with historic provenance in 2023. In the watches market, Mr Duthy said collectors chased the most iconic and rare timepieces.

A Rolex John Player Special broke the model record when it sold for £2 million at Sotheby’s in May, double the price for a similar example sold at Phillips in 2021,” he said.

Although whisky was the worst-performing collectable in 2023, it has delivered the highest return on investment among the 10 items tracked by the index over the past decade, up 280 percent. Andy Simpson of Simpson Reserved, said 2023 was a challenging year but the best of the best bottles gained 20 percent in value. In my opinion some bottles that lost significant value in 2023 will return through the next two years as they are simply so scarce and, right now at least, so undervalued, Mr Simpson said.

Whisky was the worst performing collectable in 2023 but it had highest return on investment over a 10-year period. Image: Shutterstock

Classic car expert Dietrich Hatlapa said the 6 percent fall in collectable vehicle values in 2023 followed a 22 percent surge in 2022. The strong performance of other investment classes such as equities may have dampened collectors’ appetites it’s a very small market so it only takes a minor change in portfolio allocations to have an effect, and there has also probably been a degree of profit taking. However, we have seen some marques like BMW (up 9 percent in value) and Lamborghini (up 18 percent), which appeal to a younger breed of collector, buck the trend in 2023.”

Mr Duthy said a dip in the share price of the top luxury handbag brands last Autumn appeared to spook investors. Last autumn it was possible to pick up an Hermès white Niloticus Himalaya Birkin in good condition for under £50,000. The recent slide reflects a general correction at the upper end that’s been underway for some time rather than changing attitudes to the harvesting of exotic skins.

According to Knight Frank’s Attitudes Survey, the top five investments of passion among Australian UHNWIs are classic cars, art and wine. Fine wine values gained just 1 percent in 2023 as the market continued its correction, said Nick Martin of Wine Owners. “It’s been a hell of a long run, so I’m not that surprised. Some wines from very small producers that had enjoyed the most exuberant growth have seen the biggest drops. It had got a bit silly, £50 bottles had shot up to £200 or £300.”

Favourite investments of passion: Australia vs Global

1. Classic cars (61 percent of Australian UHNWIs vs 38 percent of global UHNWIs)
2. Art (58 percent vs 48 percent)
3. Wine (48 percent vs 35 percent)
4. Watches (42 percent vs 42 percent)
5. Jewellery (18 percent vs 28 percent)

Best returns among investments of passion (10 years)

1. Whisky 280 percent
2. Wine 146 percent
3. Watches 138 percent
4. Art 105 percent
5. Cars 82 percent

MOST POPULAR
35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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