JD Dickey

Historian JD Dickey discusses with Ivan six things which should be better known.

JD Dickey has for more than 20 years been observing and writing about American history, society and culture. Of his book, Rising in Flames, Harold Holzer in the Wall Street Journal wrote, “No one interested in Sherman’s March should be deprived of his lively narrative. Absolutely spellbinding.” His earlier book, Empire of Mud, was a New York Times bestseller and described the troubled landscape of Washington, D.C., in the nineteenth century. He has also written and spoken on on a broad range of historical and political topics in media such as TIME magazine, C-SPAN’s Book TV, Public Radio International’s The Takeaway and Literary Hub. In addition, he has lectured for the New-York Historical Society, the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, and the Atlanta History Center, among other organizations. His current work, The Republic of Violence: The Tormented Rise of Abolition in Andrew Jackson’s America, was published in March 2022 by Pegasus Books.

1. The Built, The Unbuilt and the Unbuildable

2. The Museum of Jurassic Technology

3. The Visitor

4. Gregory Crewdson

5. The Flagellation of Christ

6. Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

Rory Sutherland

Rory Sutherland discusses with Ivan six things which he thinks should be better known.

Rory is the Vice Chairman of Ogilvy, an attractively vague job title which has allowed him to co-found a behavioural science practice within the agency.

He works with a consulting practice of psychology graduates who look for ‘unseen opportunities’ in consumer behaviour – these are the often small contextual changes which can have enormous effects on the decisions people make – for instance tripling the sales rate of a call centre by adding just a few sentences to the script. Put another way, lots of agencies will talk about “bought, owned and earned” media: we also look for “invented media” and “discovered media”: seeking out those unexpected (and inexpensive) contextual tweaks that transform the way that people think and act.

It is a hugely valuable activity – but, alas, not particularly lucrative. This is because clients generally do not have budgets for solving problems they did not know they had.

Before founding Ogilvy’s Behavioural Practice, Rory was a copywriter and creative director at Ogilvy for over 20 years, having joined as a graduate trainee in 1988. He has variously been President of the IPA, Chair of the Judges for the Direct Jury at Cannes, and has spoken at TED Global. He writes regular columns for the Spectator, Market Leader and Impact, and also occasional pieces for Wired. He is the author of The Wiki Man, available on Amazon (at prices between £1.96 and £2,345.54, depending on whether the algorithm is having a bad day), and the best-selling Alchemy, The surprising Power of Ideas which don’t make Sense, and, co-written with his former colleague Pete Dyson, the newly released Transport For Humans on the behavioural science of transport. His latest book is Alchemy: The Magic of Original Thinking in a World of Mind-numbing Conformity.

Rory is married to a vicar and has twin daughters. He lives in the former home of Napoleon III – unfortunately in the attic. He is a trustee of the Benjamin Franklin House in London and a Patron of Rochester Cathedral.

1. Sherry

2. East Kent

3. The works of Iain McGilchrist

4. Haydn

5. Henry George

6. Air fryers

Andy West

Philosopher Andy West discusses with Ivan six things which should be better known.

Andy West is philosopher in residence at HMP Pentonville, London. His writing has been published in The Guardian, Aeon, The Big Issue, 3AM Magazine and Lito. He is the author of The Life Inside: A Memoir of Prison, Family and Philosophy.

1. Rectify

2. Little Bad Thing

3. Nietzsche’s idea of The Festival of Punishment 

4. Kafka’s short story Prometheus

5. Nostalgia for the Light

6. The Graybar Hotel

Katja Hoyer

Katja Hoyer discusses with Ivan six things which should be better known.

Katja Hoyer is an Anglo-German historian and journalist. She is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. She writes about German politics as a Washington Post columnist as well as for several British newspapers like The Spectator and The Telegraph. Katja’s debut book Blood and Iron – The Rise and Fall of the German Empire 1971-1918 became a bestseller in the UK. She is currently working on a new history of East Germany from 1949 to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

1. The Baltic coast

2. Shrewsbury Prison

3. Louise of Prussia

4. German cakes

5. Octopuses

6. Cultural output from behind the Iron Curtain

Jenny Kleeman

Jenny Kleeman discusses with Ivan six things which should be better known.

Jenny Kleeman is a journalist, broadcaster and documentary-maker. She hosts the weekend Breakfast show on Times Radio and writes for the Guardian, the Sunday Times and The New Statesman. She has reported for BBC One’s Panorama, Channel 4’s Dispatches and VICE News Tonight on HBO, as well as making 13 films from across the globe for Channel 4’s Unreported World. Her first book, Sex Robots & Vegan Meat, was published in 2020. She’s currently working on her second book, The Price of Life, which will be published by Picador.

1. The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm

2. The art of Oron Katz and Ionat Zurr

3. King of Kong

4. Here My Dear by Marvin Gaye

5. John Frusciante

6. Redwood trees in Kew Gardens

Nicola Horlick

Nicola Horlick discusses with Ivan six things which should be better known.

Nicola Horlick is CEO of Money&Co. She has been a leading fund manager in the City of London for over thirty years. During that time, she has set up and managed several investment businesses. She now chairs a private equity business, is CEO of a film-development company, and is a director of an NHS Foundation Trust.

1. Black Comedy by Peter Shaffer

2. Joseph II of Austria

3. Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr Brian Weiss

4. Pictures at an Exhibition

5. Orlanda Broom

6. La Perriere

James Runcie

James Runcie discusses with Ivan six things which should be better known.

James Runcie is an award-winning film-maker, playwright and literary curator. He is the author of twelve novels that have been translated into twelve languages, including the seven books in the Grantchester Mysteries series. He has been Artistic Director of the Bath Literature Festival, Head of Literature and Spoken Word at the Southbank Centre, London, and Commissioning Editor for Arts on BBC Radio 4. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He lives in Scotland and London. His latest novel is The Great Passion.

1. Bach’s Cantata 22

2. Ladi Kwali ceramics

3. Lydia Davis’ short stories

4. The Lacemaker

5. The Photos by The Photos

6. Fernet Branca

Lias Saoudi

Musician Lias Saoudi discusses with Ivan six things which should be better known.

Lias Kaci Saoudi is a writer, artist and musician, and the front man of genre-bending iconoclasts Fat White Family. Born to a British mother and Algerian father, he grew up in the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland, before moving to London and gaining a Fine Art degree from Slade School of Art. 

During the first UK lockdown, Lias began contributing a series of unflinching autobiographical pieces entitled Life Beyond the Neutral Zone to the online cultural hub, The Social Gathering. He is published in The New Frontier: Reflections From the Irish Border(New Island Books, 2021) – an anthology of new writing from some of Ireland’s greatest contemporary authors marking the centenary of partition. He is also the debut guest editor of Ambit Pop, a new annual issue of the venerable quarterly arts magazine.

His first book, Ten Thousand Apologies: Fat White Family and the Miracle of Failure, co-written with Adelle Stripe (Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile, Bloomsbury, 2019), is described by Miranda Sawyer in The Observer as “the story of a band that’s always on the brink: of stardom, of madness, of brilliance, of disgrace”.

1. It’s me, Eddie by Eddie Limonov

2. Limits to Medicine by Ivan Illich

3. Macho Music by Peter Gordon

4. The Grass Arena by John Healy

5. A feast of snakes by Harry Crews

6. Ratfucker by Armand Schaubroek

Justine Waddell

Justine Waddell is a writer, producer and actor.  Through her production company, Asterisk Films, she has just picked up the 2021 Golden Prague Czech Television Award for her documentary feature film Janine Jansen: Falling for Stradivari. She has also produced Force of Nature Natalia, directed by BAFTA and Grierson-winning filmmaker, Gerry Fox, about prima ballerina, Natalia Osipova.  

Virginia Woolf’s Night & Day, which Justine has developed with the British Film Institute and Piccadilly Pictures, is Justine’s debut screenplay. 

After graduating from Cambridge University, Justine’s film work as an actress includes lead roles in Alexander Zeldovich’s Target (Telluride Film Festival, 2011), where she learnt from Russian from scratch. She has also played leading roles in period dramas Wives and Daughters, Great Expectations and Tess of the D’urbevilles. 

Justine is also the founder and CEO of Launched in 2021, Klassiki is the world’s first streaming platform to deliver classic and contemporary film content from Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

1. Naoshima Art Island

2. Abbotsford

3. Russian language female filmmaking tradition

4. Cecilia Payne Gaspochkin

5. African craft

6. Constance Spry

Roisin Kiberd

Roisin Kiberd discusses with Ivan six things which should be better known.

Roisin Kiberd’s essays have been published in the Dublin Review, the White Reviewthe Stinging Fly and Winter PapersShe has written features on technology and culture for publications including the New York Times, the Guardian, Vice and Motherboard, where she wrote a column about internet subcultures. Having spent some time in London as the online voice of a cheese brand, she now lives between Dublin and Berlin. Her first book is The Disconnect.

1. Ologies

2. The Surgeon’s Hall Museums, Edinburgh

3. VALIS by Philip K Dick

4. The OA

5. This tweet: (also as a bizarre, unintentional riff on this even more iconic tweet).

6. The Conservatism of Emoji