What we're reading


Francesca Baker · Mar 2019

We at OpenOwnership are avid readers, and love getting stuck into books that explore the issues and values we’re so passionate about — beneficial ownership, transparency, data, and openness. We’ve been busy building a library of books, and we think you’ll love them. So read on to find out more about us and what we’re reading right now.

Treasure Islands by Nicholas Shaxson


“It’s about financial secrecy and the role of offshore finance in enabling tax avoidance and evasion. The mechanisms in the book also underpin international money laundering and grand corruption, and beneficial ownership transparency is a key part of the solution. I chose it as this was the book that marked me going from mild interest to ‘we need to change the world.’ It led me to working for Transparency International and helped start my obsession with how wealthy people and companies move and hide money.”

Failing Forward by John C Maxwell


“I chose this book because in my experience, start-up organisations are made stronger by trial and error. But too often we are worried about admitting mistakes and we fear them or cannot see the growth and maturity that would ensue. I believe this book explains this concept and hopefully will go some way towards changing society’s attitude and honesty about mistakes. Ultimately it is all about transparency…”

Information Is Beautiful by David McCandless


“This popular book shows how data and information can be presented in creative ways. Data, information, knowledge is distilled into beautiful, useful graphics and diagrams that engage and captivate the viewer. Our work at OpenOwnership can be complicated and complex, so it’s good to be reminded and inspired by different ways to communicate ideas and concepts so that they are intelligible and accessible.”

Economic Science Fictions edited by William Davies


“The premise of this collection is that the economy is the product of human design, and so it can be redesigned. The essays and stories it contains push visions of the status quo to their dystopian edges, and also explore the transformative potential of new ideas. Just 10 years ago, the idea of a public, global register of who owns companies was itself a science fiction; now, as we make it a reality, books like this inspire us to maintain an ambitious and creative outlook. As Davies writes, the ‘mock futures’ of science fiction can empower us to ‘see the present as amenable to conscious transformation.’”

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