Reading, Film & Podcast Recommendations: May

Our team is sharing various books and a podcast, which kept them turning the pages and listening to most episodes.


Cho Nam-Joo, Kim Ji-young, Born 1982

Kim Ji-young, whose name is the Korean equivalent of “Jane Doe”, experiences a life that is both crushingly banal and nightmarish. An initial dissociative episode is the start of a descent into multi-personality madness, clinically chronicled by her psychiatrist, through which Ji-young comes to represent the unheard everywoman in South Korea.

The novel shines a glaring light on endemic sexism, misogyny, and institutional discrimination in the country, and shows how they are tied into many other socio-economic issues. The book is up there with Bong Joon-ho’s film Parasite in the vanguard of South Korean cultural social criticism.

Recommended by Alex Bramble

The Peacebuilding Puzzle

A book I think about often and have occasionally returned to (though not as much as I would like), it provides a compelling analysis of why international investments in peacebuilding have not led to sustainable outcomes, chiefly because they have been co-opted by or have failed to transform dominant modes of power and influence associated with the political economy of conflict, and associated modes of governance. While approaching in on 10 years old, the analysis in the book remains highly relevant.

Recommended by Alex Shoebridge

Risk Savvy, Gerd Gigerenzer

This book is about how in an age of data and information overload we can manage risks and uncertainty (which the author shows are not the same) and become more risk savvy. Often it is simple rules of thumb, knowing how to read and communicate the risks well, and trusting our intuition, that can guide us much better than so called “experts” can. An easy, straight-forward and often funny read.

Recommended by Rainer Gude


The Mediator’s Studio

This podcast is from the Oslo Forum. It gives the space to practitioners in diplomacy and peacebuilding to share their experiences of mediation/negotiation behind closed doors.

Recommended by Tamar Tkemaladze