Haigh, Gideon 1965–

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Haigh, Gideon 1965–


Born December 29, 1965.


Home—Melbourne, Australia.


Writer, journalist, editor, and sports historian. The Age, journalist, 1984-92; Independent Monthly (Australian current affairs magazine), journalist, 1993-95. Freelance contributor to newspapers.


Jack Pollard Trophy for The Cricket War, Mystery Spinner, The Big Ship, and The Summer Game; Harry Williams Prize for Promoting Public Debate for Asbestos House; Wisden Book of the Year, 2005, for Ashes 2005: The Greatest Test Series; John Curtin Prize for Journalism, The Monthly, 2006, for "How Google Makes Us Stupid."


The Battle for BHP, Information Australia/Allen & Unwin Australia (Melbourne, Australia), 1987.

The Cricket War: The Inside Story of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, Text Publishing (Melbourne, Australia), 1993.

The Border Years, Text Publishing (Melbourne, Australia), 1994.

One Summer Every Summer: An Ashes Journal, Text Publishing (Melbourne, Australia), 1995.

Gideon Haigh's Australian Cricket Anecdotes, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

The Summer Game: Australian Cricket in the 1950s and 1960s, Text Publishing (Melbourne, Australia), 1997.

One of a Kind: The Story of Bankers Trust Australia, 1969-99, Text Publishing (Melbourne, Australia), 1999.

Mystery Spinner: The Story of Jack Iverson, Text Publishing (Melbourne, Australia), 1999.

(Editor) Wisden Cricketers' Almanack Australia 1999-2000, Hardie Grant Books (South Yarra, Australia), 1999.

(Editor) Wisden Cricketers' Almanack Australia 2000-01, Hardie Grant Books (South Yarra, Australia), 2000.

The Big Ship: Warwick Armstrong and the Making of Modern Cricket, Text Publishing (Melbourne, Australia), 2001.

Endless Summer: 140 Years of Australian Cricket in Wisden, Hardie Grant Books (South Yarra, Australia), 2002.

Many a Slip: A Diary of a Club Cricket Season, Aurum (London, England), 2002.

The Vincibles: A Suburban Cricket Season, Text Publishing (Melbourne, Australia), 2002.

Bad Company: The Cult of the CEO, Black (Melbourne, Australia), 2003, published as Fat Cats: The Strange Cult of the CEO, Thunder's Mouth Press (New York, NY), 2005.

The Uncyclopedia, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2004.

Game for Anything: Writings on Cricket, Aurum (London, England), 2004.

The Tencyclopedia, Text Publishing (Melbourne, Australia), 2004.

A Fair Field and No Favour: The Ashes 2005, Scribe (Carlton North, Victoria, Australia), 2005, also published as Ashes 2005: The Greatest Test Series, Aurum (London, England), 2005.

Asbestos House: The Secret History of James Hardie Industries, Scribe (Melbourne, Australia), 2006.

Silent Revolutions: Writings on Cricket History, Black (Melbourne, Australia), 2006.

(Editor) Peter the Cat and Other Unexpected Obituaries from "Wisden Cricketers's Almanack," Aurum (London, England), 2006.

The Penguin Book of Ashes Anecdotes, Penguin (Camberwell, Australia), 2006, also published as The Book of Ashes Anecdotes, Mainstream (London, England), 2006.

All Out: The Ashes 2006-07, Black (Melbourne, Australia), 2007, also published as Downed Under, Aurum (London, England), 2007.

Inside Story: Unlocking Australian Cricket's Archives, News Custom Publishing/Cricket Australia (Southbank, Australia), 2007.

The Green and Golden Age: Writings on Cricket Today (essays), Black (Melbourne, Australia), 2007.

Contributor to newspapers, including The Age, Australian, Australian Financial Review, Christchurch Star, Deccan Herald, Financial Times, Herald-Sun, Scotland on Sunday, Sydney Morning Herald, Times, Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia), Ekdin (Calcutta, India), Sunday Telegraph (London, England), and Guardian (London, England).

Contributor to periodicals, including ABC Sports Monthly, Alpha, Arena, Australian Book Review, Australian Quarterly Essay, Australian Way, Bulletin, Business Review Weekly, Cricinfo, Diplomat, Eye, Focus: The Australian Doctor's Magazine, Griffith Review, Inside Sport, Johnny Miller 96 Not Out, Meanjin, Mercedes, Modern Times, Monthly, Naval Historical Review, Observer Sports Monthly, Republican, Scottish Banker, Scottish Business Insider, South African Sports Illustrated, Total Sport, Wisden Cricketer, Time, Wisden Asia, Wisden Cricketer, and Wisden Cricket Monthly.


Author Gideon Haigh is a journalist, editor, and sports historian whose books frequently cover business and sports subjects. In more than twenty years as a journalist and reporter, he has written for many major Australian newspapers as well as periodicals such as the Financial Times and the Age. "Haigh is able, through clever turn of phrase, to successfully review events and turn the mundane into the interesting," commented a reviewer on the History of Cricket Web log.

Bad Company: The Cult of the CEO, published in the United States as Fat Cats: The Strange Cult of the CEO, is a detailed study of the role of the chief executive officer, especially in light of the fame and near-celebrity status that some CEOs have attained. Haigh's aim is "to trace the rise of big-company CEOs, to assess how important they are to company performance, and to question their remuneration," noted reviewer Philip Augar in Management Today. In the wake of modern corporate scandals such as those at Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, and others, CEOs have attracted as much scorn and infamy as they have admiration and respect. Looming large in the public perception of CEOs are the sometimes astronomical salaries and benefits packages they routinely command, even while their companies may be undergoing severe financial crises and rank-and-file workers are being laid off to slash operating costs. In his book, Haigh traces how the perceptions of CEOs have evolved over time, how they have frequently come to be treated with the same awe and reverence as sports stars, and how they have sometimes represented all that is unfair and dysfunctional about the business world. The author includes a number of anecdotes about important CEOs of the past, including Ford and Rockefeller. Haigh outlines the evolution of business from the 1960s to the modern days of dot.com boom and bust along with lavish corporate excess. He describes several businesses and their CEOs, and recounts what went wrong during some of the most spectacular corporate failures of recent years. Throughout his account, "Haigh weaves secondary material skillfully and is well acquainted with the work of top business writers," Augar observed. Ultimately, Haigh concludes that CEOs are "overrated and over-paid," Augar reported.

Asbestos House: The Secret History of James Hardie Industries is Haigh's business history of one of Australia's oldest and most respected companies. Founded in 1888, James Hardie Industries is a prominent fixture in Australia's business landscape. However, the company's reputation and vast fortunes were built through involvement with asbestos, a substance once considered useful and benign but which has been proven to be the source of many terrible health problems for those exposed to it. Haigh covers James Hardie Industries' history and evolution; its disavowal of responsibility for any asbestos-related diseases and the public and political outcry that resulted; and the deal that the company was forced to accept. Rachael Power, writing in Arena Magazine, named the book a detailed study of "high finance, industrial history, legal intrigue, medical breakthrough, and human frailty."

Haigh is also well known as a sportswriter who focuses on Australian cricket. "Haigh is undoubtedly an author of the highest quality, but importantly for us, he is an author that chooses to write about cricket," remarked the History of Cricket Web log reviewer. He is a player himself, as a member of a cricket club called the Yarras, noted a Eye on the Ashes Web log contributor. Among his many cricket-centered works are The Cricket War: The Inside Story of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket; Endless Summer: 140 Years of Australian Cricket in Wisden; and Inside Story: Unlocking Australian Cricket's Archives.

Haigh often writes on the history of cricket and presents biographies of prominent teams and individuals in the sport. In The Big Ship: Warwick Armstrong and the Making of Modern Cricket, Haigh presents a detailed profile of Warwick Armstrong, one of Australian cricket's strongest, most effective, and best-known players. Large and imposing, Armstrong earned his nickname through his sheer physical size and strength. Haigh assesses Armstrong's influence on the sport of Australian cricket, examines his impressive record, and explains that Armstrong retired unbeaten following a prestigious sports career. "Mr Haigh's is an uncommonly exhaustive study of a cricketer and his time," commented a reviewer in the Economist. "His style is that of a historian who weighs evidence and detects the sweep of a whole life rather than that of a chronicler of contemporary celebrity."

Mystery Spinner: The Story of Jack Iverson is a biography of Iverson, an unlikely cricket superstar from the mid-twentieth century who "zoomed like a shooting star into the great Australian team of 1950, and just as swiftly zoomed out of it again," commented Robert Winder in the New Statesman. Iverson was not originally a cricket player, but he developed a unique playing style based on years of spinning a ping pong ball as a nervous habit. This technique transferred successfully to the turning of a cricket ball, and soon Iverson found himself playing in major matches pitting Australia against England. His career was short-lived; without any apparent reduction in his ability to play, Iverson inexplicably left the world of cricket to work for his father's property business. Later, he suffered from depression and ended his life as a suicide. Haigh concluded that Iverson "loved the game, but feared the stage," and fell victim to unexpected fame, Winder stated.



Arena Magazine, February-March, 2006, Rachel Power, review of Asbestos House: The Secret History of James Hardie Industries, p. 49.

Bulletin with Newsweek, November 23, 1999, Patrick Carlyon, review of Mystery Spinner: The Story of Jack Iverson, p. 22; November 20, 2001, "Son of a Pitch: Gideon Haigh Plays Straight Bat on the Life of Controversial Cricket Captain Warwick ‘Big Ship’ Armstrong," review of The Big Ship: Warwick Armstrong and the Making of Modern Cricket, p. 90; November 21, 2006, Andrew Stafford, review of Silent Revolutions: Writings on Cricket History, p. 76; March 27, 2007, Barry Oakley, review of All Out: The Ashes 2006-07, p. 64.

Business Review Weekly, July 3, 2003, review of Bad Company: The Cult of the CEO, p. 63; December 18, 2003, Nicholas Way, "A Mighty Heart," p. 98.

Economist, April 6, 2002, "Playing to Win; Cricket," review of The Big Ship, p. 363.

Law Society Journal, April, 2006, Philip Burgess, review of Asbestos House, p. 82.

Management Today, March 1, 2004, Philip Augar, "BOOKS: How Bosses Got It Wrong," review of Bad Company, p. 34.

Meanjin, March, 2000, Nathan Hollier, review of Mystery Spinner, p. 212.

New Statesman, June 19, 2000, Robert Winder, "A Dying Game," review of Mystery Spinner, p. 51.

Reference & Research Book News, February, 2005, review of The Uncyclopedia, p. 1.

Times Higher Education Supplement, April 29, 2005, Rudi Bogni, "The Great Leader Is No Longer Invincible," review of The Big Ship, p. 27.

Times Literary Supplement, May 30, 1997, "Australian Cricket Anecdotes," p. 36; July 21, 2000, Simon Rae, review of Mystery Spinner, p. 13; July 5, 2002, "A Giant at the Limit of the Laws," review of The Big Ship, p. 25; June 29, 2007, Jeffrey Poacher, review of Silent Revolutions, p. 30.


Eye on the Ashes Web log,http://blogs.cricinfo.com/eyeontheashes/ (April 10, 2008), author profile.

History of Cricket Web log,http://historyofcricket.blogspot.com/ (October 13, 2007), author profile.