Christmas Journeys

Christmas Journeys

After two years of COVID-19 and lockdowns, in 2022, we got the omicron variant under control, which allowed us to travel again this year. This might explain why the theme ‘journeys’ came to the surface when we asked our colleagues to share inspiring reading, viewing, and listening tips.

A map and journeys of exploration

Every trip starts with a map. We nominate Waterwerk. Cartographer Carlijn Kingma created a beautiful map to explain the way money flows through the architecture of our financial system and how this results in social and economic inequality. A series of video tours (in Dutch) leads you through the map, showing how money is in motion and how its hidden forces manifest.

In Journeys of Explorations, we recommend Niemandsland (No man’s land) by Adwin de Kluyver. In his (Dutch) book, the author combines his own journey to the South Pole with the history of the discovery of the Antarctica. It is a story about heroic journeys and grandiose failures, intertwined with the author’s own travel notes.

While Niemandsland explores the past, the film Everything Everywhere All At Once explores possible futures. In the film, an aging Chinese immigrant is swept up in an insane adventure, in which she alone can save the world by exploring other universes connecting with the lives she could have led.

Quests and life journeys

Next, we go on an investigative quest. When journalist Dan McCrum followed a tip to investigate Wirecard, everything about the hot new tech company challenging Silicon Valley looked a little too good to be true. In the book Money Men, he reveals a multi-billion-dollar fraud and tells about his quest to discover the truth.

In a personal quest, The Worst Person in The World chronicles four years in the life of Julie. The film shows her search for love and meaning in the modern world, as she explores new professional avenues and embarks on relationships with two very different men.

In addition, we want to bring two life journeys to your attention. The first is The Prince. While Xi Jinping may be the most powerful person in the world, the real story of China’s leader remains a mystery. In this podcast series, The Economist unveils Mr. Xi’s turbulent past, how he has changed China and is trying to change the world.

The second is Annie Ernaux’s book The years. Although it is the story of the author’s life, spanning the timeframe from her birth in 1940 up to 2006, the book is not a straightforward autobiography or memoir. Interweaving the personal with the collective, Ernaux situates her own story within the story of her generation.

Other interesting tips

  • In this episode of Tegenlicht, Welkom in het Symbioceen (in Dutch), philosopher Glenn Albrecht inspires artists with his ideas and vocabulary to transform into an era in which man, nature and technology create a new balance. More hopeful news can be found in the Good News update, a weekly newsletter presenting a dose of intelligent optimism from all over the world.
  • Chris Miller’s Chip War is a historical recounting of the semiconductor industry, its technological and geopolitical importance and the ever changing tides in the industry. The World for Sale, by  Jack Farchy and Javier Blas, presents an enjoyable read about the development of the commodities trading industry and the companies that control it.
  • If you have always wondered how our modern movie special effects magic came to be, watch Disney+ docuseries Light & Magic. It unveils the almost 50-year history of the famous sfx studio Industrial Light & Magic that is responsible for iconic movies like Star Wars, E.T. and Jurassic Park.
  • How to with John Wilson is a remarkable comedy docuseries on HBO Max about somebody with social anxiety dealing with everyday life in New York City.