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The Lives of Brian by Brian Sherman and AM Jonson

The Lifes of Brian

The Lives of Brian by Brian Sherman and AM Jonson (Melbourne University Publishing)

About the book

1943: shopkeeper's son Brian Sherman is born into a tight-knit Jewish community in a small South African mining outpost. The Holocaust is raging in Europe and the Apartheid regime is at its height. In 1976, with only $5,000 to his name, he moves to Australia with his young family to start a new life.

Nothing can prepare Brian for his meteoric rise or for the life-changing tests he will face. At his kitchen table he starts a fund management business with his friend Laurence Freedman. In 1986, they float a novel investment fund on the American Stock Exchange and raise over a billion Australian dollars. More billions follow, and opportunity flows.

Brian goes on to direct the finances of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and together with Laurence, acquires an interest in Network TEN, taking it from receivership to record profits. He chairs the Australian Museum Trust and brings in a heist of priceless specimens. He and gallerist wife Gene become leading philanthropists in the arts, medical science and Jewish affairs while Brian mentors his son, Emile, now an Oscar-winning film producer. Prompted by daughter Ondine, he has an epiphany on animal suffering, and, with her, devotes himself tirelessly to ending factory farming.

Triumphant highs are interwoven with profound lows. His beloved twin grandsons are born with a rare and devastating genetic disorder. Brian and his son-in-law, Dror, go all out in search of a cure. Facing his own health challenges, and a lifelong accumulation of unexplored grief, Brian will be tested to the limits of his being.


About the authors

Over more than fifty years in business, Brian Sherman has been chairman and joint managing director of the EquitiLink Group, a director of the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and chairman of its Finance Committee, chairman of ASX-listed Aberdeen Leaders Limited, chairman of a number of investment companies listed on the American Stock Exchange, and a director of Channel Ten. 

Brian served as president of the Australian Museum Trust, and director of Sherman Galleries and the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation. He is co-founder and managing director of the animal charity Voiceless, a director of the Sherman Centre for Culture and Ideas, a director of the Australia-Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, and chairman of the Rambam Israel Fellowships program. For his services to the community and his philanthropy-in the arts, medical science, animal rights and the Jewish community-Brian was awarded the Order of Australia, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, and an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Technology, Sydney. With his wife Gene, he received the B'nai B'rith Gold Medal for outstanding humanitarianism. Brian's life has been the subject of two episodes of ABC TV's Australian Story

AM Jonson is CEO of the Sherman Centre for Culture and Ideas. She has written and edited widely on society, ethics, technology and the arts for many presses and publications, including MIT Press as well as mainstream and specialist media. She has a PhD from the University of Sydney. Her background includes working as a strategy, corporate and communications director in NGOs, a media company and for leading philanthropists.