Letter from the editor: What to read, watch and listen to over the holidays

Here at The Logic, we’re avid music and podcast listeners, movie and TV buffs, and voracious readers. We even have a staff book club that meets regularly to pore over the latest and greatest works of nonfiction. 

With the holiday season fast approaching, I asked the team for some last-minute recommendations for what they think our subscribers might enjoy reading, watching and listening to over the holiday break. Some of these are directly related to tech and innovation; others aren’t. The only criterion was that their picks must have been published or broadcast this year. 

So relax by the fire, and recharge your batteries with some of our staff picks for the best of 2021.


China Unbound: A New World Order

By Joanna Chiu

House of Anansi Press

Canadian journalist Chiu, who spent a decade reporting on China’s rise, argues that not heeding warnings about the country are hurting Western democracies, including Canada, Australia and the U.S. – Lu Xu

Indigenomics: Taking A Seat At The Economic Table

By Carol Anne Hilton

New Society Publishers

An essential read for business leaders and policymakers who strive to advance meaningful economic inclusion strategies and outcomes for all. Hilton expertly lays out a framework for leading with humanity that also simply makes good business sense. – Jenna Zuschlag Misener

The Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination

By Cecilia Kang and Sheera Frenkel

Harper Collins

Frenkel and Kang’s deep investigative reporting gives readers a sense of what was happening inside Facebooky as scandals unfolded over the company’s handling of misinformation and its users’ privacy and data. While the book—which was part of The Logic‘s staff book club this year—doesn’t necessarily break news, it offers insight into how the company made decisions that have influenced billions of lives. – April Fong

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty

By Patrick Radden Keefe


The longtime New Yorker contributor chronicles three generations of the Sackler family and the growth of their Purdue business as OxyContin use skyrockets into a crisis, thanks to a marketing playbook first used for Valium. – Aleksandra Sagan

The Premonition: A Pandemic Story

By Michael Lewis

W. Norton & Company

The author of Moneyball and The Big Short has a knack for finding human stories that illuminate broad social forces. In The Premonition, he tackles the U.S.’s early responses to the COVID-19 pandemic—through people who resisted the early conventional wisdom that the new bug in East Asia was likely nothing to be concerned about. A good companion to his earlier book The Fifth Risk, about the Trump administration’s staffing of the federal departments that do dull essential work to keep America functioning. – David Reevely

Genius Makers

By Cade Metz

Penguin Random House

New York Times reporter Cade Metz steps inside the cozy-yet-spirited social circle of artificial intelligence’s greatest minds—who until a few years ago were all but shunned from academia’s most prestigious circles. It’s an intimate look at the personalities, relationships and rivalries of scientists around the world—including Canadians Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio—who are moulding the algorithms that are quietly changing our lives. – Anita Balakrishnan

This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race 

By Nicole Perlroth

Bloomsbury Publishing

Winner of the FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year award, this looks hard at cybersecurity and how nation-states and freelance hackers compete, collaborate and fight to keep their own data networks safe while breaking into each other’s—which often run on the very same systems. – David Reevely

On Decline

By Andrew Potter


A survey of all the ways things are getting worse and will keep getting worse, this is doomscrolling expanded to book length. But not a long book, and a good read. Understanding the forces that are pulling us down is essential to figuring out how to resist them. – David Reevely

Saving the City: The Challenge of Transforming a Modern Metropolis

By Daniel Sanger

Véhicule Press

In 2008, Sanger, an editor and crime writer by trade, went to work for Projet Montréal, the city’s progressive municipal party. He thought he’d be in the job for a few months; he ended up staying for 10 years. Part memoir, part narrative journalism, Saving the City digs into Projet’s remarkable transition from a borough-first lefty redoubt raging against the tyranny of cars to a political giant-killer that cut short Denis Coderre’s political career. Sanger shows that there is political gold to be spun from stringing cities with bike paths, removing parking spots and otherwise making life less convenient for drivers—and better for citizens. – Martin Patriquin


Billion Dollar Code

Directed by Robert Thalheim


This German miniseries is a fictionalized version of the true story behind an algorithm built by two Berlin internet pioneers, attempting to prove that their code was stolen to build Google Earth. It’s a treat for readers of The Logic immersed in intellectual property rights, algorithms and the exciting internet promise of the mid-to-late 1990s. It’s also a relatable tale about the ups and downs of starting a company and the unique challenges of selling a vision outside of Silicon Valley, something to which many Canadian founders can relate. – David Skok

Succession, Season 3

Created by Jesse Armstrong 


What hasn’t already been said about the trials and tribulations of the Roy family? The show’s superb writing, stylish wardrobes and exotic locales make the corporate-boardroom drama of Waystar Royco tantalizingly and obsessively appealing. It’s also a crash course in how legacy companies fight to stay relevant in a rapidly changing environment. The third season’s brilliant finale ties it all together so well that one is left thinking the series should end at this pinnacle moment. – David Skok

Work in Progress, Season 2

Created by Abby McEnany and Lilly Wachowski


The first season of this show—which followed 45-year-old Abby as she navigates homophobia, transphobia, mental illness, Weight Watchers and a new relationship during a time of crisis—was fabulous. It featured a parallel universe where “Weird Al” Yankovic is married to Julia Sweeney. What more do you need to know? The second season incorporates the pandemic in a way I haven’t seen any other piece of media pull off, weaving it into the plot in a way that feels authentic and familiar. Many have noted Abby’s queer community of friends and lovers feels similarly authentic and familiar, but to me, what the show really nails is its depiction of heterosexuality from the queer perspective, showcasing the absurdity of rituals like weddings and gender-reveal parties. – Claire Brownell


The Beatles: Get Back

Directed by Peter Jackson

Disney Plus

It’s hard to watch this retrospective and not come away awe-inspired by The Beatles’ creative genius. Jackson weaves 150 hours of audio and 60 hours of vintage footage into a near eight-hour chronological drama that brilliantly captures the biggest band of the 20th century in the waning days of their partnership. The film’s rich colours and sound perfection allows you to feel each chord and harmony. It also leaves a cognitive dissonance as you constantly remind yourself that it took place more than half a century ago, and would be followed by a break-up and subsequent tragedy.David Skok

Blue Bayou

Directed by Justin Chon

Entertainment One, MACRO

Blue Bayou is based on the many true stories of children adopted from another country and raised in the U.S., only to find out in their forties that U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is deporting them. Chon plays Antonio LeBlanc, a Korean adoptee in Bayou, La., who raises his stepdaughter, Jessie, with his pregnant wife, Kathy (played by Alicia Vikander). Just as the world seems to be turning in his direction, a small slip throws him into the hands of ICE. Fighting against a system that sees only his skin and not his story, Antonio struggles to find a ray of light in the darkness. – Sabra Ismath


Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Legendary Pictures

This movie was, for me, an epic reintroduction to the movie theatre after prolonged pandemic closures. I admit I rolled my eyes when Villeneuve proclaimed that it must be seen in the theatre—what director wouldn’t say that?—but I can attest that its grandeur makes the big screen essential. If you loved the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert, this movie does its monumental other-worldliness justice and then some. Now I’ll just be here, impatiently waiting for the release of Dune: Part Two in … two years. – Amanda Roth


By Bo Burnham


It’s exactly what the title says it is—shot and performed by Burnham himself, alone, inside the guest house of his L.A. home. The musical comedy is a spot-on portrayal of the mental deterioration and introspectiveness of someone who’s been physically cut off from the world. The musical components are particularly compelling, my favourite being “That Funny Feeling.” (The Phoebe Bridgers cover is nice, but I prefer the original.) Whatever you think of Burnham’s previous work, Inside is worth a watch. – Amanda Roth


Directed by Enrico Casarosa

Disney’s Pixar

I consider myself an animated-feature fanatic, and Luca has become a wonderful addition to my list of favourites. It’s as pleasing visually as it is in substance: a beautiful tale of friendship that imparts the lesson that sometimes it’s good to take those big leaps. – Amanda Roth


Directed by Lee Isaac Chung

Plan B Entertainment

Minari tells a classic American story: a man and his family leave their home in California in the ‘80s for a rich plot of soil in rural Arkansas, where they hope to carve out a life as independent farmers. In this version, however, the family are Korean immigrants selling staples from their home country to wary buyers in Dallas. Chung’s direction is reliably deft, and the film achieves a kind of effortless humour throughout, despite all of its heartbreak and toil. – Jesse Snyder

The Rescue

Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin

National Geographic

From the Academy award-winning filmmakers behind Free Solo, The Rescue details the journey to save the 12 young boys who were trapped with their football coach in a Thai cave in 2018. I’ve been an avid follower of Vasarhelyi and Chin’s work since the release of Meru in 2015, and their most recent film was nothing short of amazing. The doc beautifully braids together the tale of nations uniting, the world of spelunking and the power of human perseverance. – Ariel Lepper-Walker


Collapsed in Sunbeams

Arlo Parks

Transgressive Records

Parks’s debut studio album has something for everyone. Since its release in January 2021, it’s been my go-to for a reliable infusion of good vibes. Listen closely and you’ll catch lyrics soaked with optimism and vulnerability—both essential qualities in music to get you through tough times. – Amanda Roth

Station to Station

Mega Bog

Paradise of Bachelors

When I heard a music podcast introduce this song as being “Inspired by the soundtrack of the 1984 film The NeverEnding Story,” I paid attention. I have very strong memories of that creepy, alluring and dreamlike movie—you might remember the giant fuzzy dog-like dragon Falkor, or the horse that dies a terrible death in the Swamp of Sadness. This song conjures up the exact same ambience and sends me back to my childhood, popping the tape into the VCR. It made for a good soundtrack to 2021, which had a similar vibe to both the song and The NeverEnding Story: was it real, or was it all just a bad dream? – Claire Brownell

Red (Taylor’s Version)

Taylor Swift

Republic Records

As part of her ongoing effort to re-record all the music from earlier in her career whose masters were initially sold to music impresario Scooter Braun, the Queen of the Breakup Song released her own expanded version of her 2012 album. It immediately broke streaming records and sparked studious comparisons of the originals and the performances delivered by a more mature, wiser (and much richer) version of Taylor. Swift’s move to reclaim her legacy declares her power as a businesswoman—and creates new art in the interplay between the old and the new. Plus, the songs are fun. – David Reevely


Even the Rich, Season 20: The Murdochs

By Aricia Skidmore-Williams and Brooke Siffrinn


If you enjoy “Succession,” you’ll probably like this deep dive into the family that inspired the HBO show’s characters. The hosts take us through the Murdoch siblings’ posturing to control their father Rupert’s empire. The similarities to Kendall, Connor, Roman and Shiv are striking. – Aleksandra Sagan 

Succession Podcast

By Kara Swisher


If you finish each episode of “Succession” wondering if this is really how the 0.01 per cent live, work and play, this is the podcast for you. The indomitable Swisher brings on guests like Mark Cuban and former White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri to speak with authority on power plays at investor meetings and arranging phone calls with the U.S. president. A conversation with an elite party planner sheds light on celebrating the birthdays of real-life Kendall Roys. Other guests include “Succession” crew members, such as its executive producer and production designer, who drop delicious nuggets about deleted scenes and sources of inspiration. – Claire Brownell

The Dropout: Elizabeth Holmes on Trial

By Rebecca Jarvis

ABC News

“The Dropout” returned as Elizabeth Holmes’s trial for fraud began, and there was no shortage of drama. The podcast breaks down what happened in the courtroom each week, with experts weighing in on which side is coming out on top. – Aleksandra Sagan

From our newsroom to your home, we hope you have a safe, restful and heartwarming holiday season,


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