Joel Deane

Joel Deane is a speechwriter, novelist and poet. He has worked in newspapers, television, politics, and internet startups in Australia and the United States. His third novel will be published in 2022. 

Joel Deane reviews 'An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s battle for domination' by Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang

September 2021, no. 435 19 August 2021
Joel Deane reviews 'An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s battle for domination' by Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang
Sealand calls itself a micronation. No one else does. It’s easy to see why: the ‘kingdom’ is little more than a glorified helipad. It rises from the North Sea off the coast of Suffolk like a Greek version of the letter π rendered out of concrete and steel – the sole survivor of a series of Maunsell forts built to shoot down Nazi Kriegsmarine aircraft during World War II. Abandoned by Brit ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon cornered culture and undermined democracy' by Jonathan Taplin

Online Exclusives 30 November 2017
Joel Deane reviews 'Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon cornered culture and undermined democracy' by Jonathan Taplin
Good books are like recurrent dreams: haunting the reader’s waking hours by sitting, tantalisingly, on the edge of conscious thought. Take, for example, The Big Con: The story of the confidence men, David W. Maurer’s 1940 study of American grifters in the early twentieth century. Maurer’s book has dogged me ever since I revisited my old stamping ground of Berkeley, California, on the eve of ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Comfort Zone' by Lindsay Tanner

June–July 2016, no. 382 23 May 2016
Joel Deane reviews 'Comfort Zone' by Lindsay Tanner
I interviewed Lindsay Tanner once, back in 2012. Tanner was sixteen months retired from political life, and I had come seeking insight into the workings of the Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party and Canberra's byzantine politics. The former member for Melbourne – a unionist and Socialist Left factional player who had risen to become one of the brighter minds of his generation of Labo ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Machine Rules' by Stephen Loosley

March 2016, no. 379 26 February 2016
Joel Deane reviews 'Machine Rules' by Stephen Loosley
Mark Latham – former columnist for the Australian Financial Review, former 'special correspondent' for Sixty Minutes, former federal leader of the Australian Labor Party – wasn't the only politician to keep a diary. Writing in The Latham Diaries (2005) – a book most politicians and apparatchiks approach via the index – Latham revealed that we have Stephen Loosley, the ex-heavyweight of the ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Becoming Steve Jobs' by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli

June-July 2015, no. 372 27 May 2015
Joel Deane reviews 'Becoming Steve Jobs' by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli
I was working as a technology journalist in San Francisco when Steve Jobs made his messianic return to Apple. It was September 1997, the height of the dotcom boom. In the city, the old industrial tracts between Market Street and China Basin were being transformed by start-ups. People were living on free pizza and hoping to strike it rich with stock options in an initial public offering. Cupertino, ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Let Me Be Frank With You' by Richard Ford

April 2015, no. 370 27 March 2015
Joel Deane reviews 'Let Me Be Frank With You' by Richard Ford
‘My name is Frank Bascombe. I am a sportswriter.’ With those opening words in The Sportswriter (1986), Richard Ford introduced one of American literature’s more unlikely protagonists. In his fictional début, Bascombe is a former short story writer-turned-journalist, aged in his thirties, navigating suburban life in Haddam, New Jersey, after the death of a son and the breakdown of a marriage ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Gravity: Inside the PM’s office during her last year and final days' by Mary Delahunty and 'Rudd, Gillard and Beyond' by Troy Bramston

September 2014, no. 364 01 September 2014
Joel Deane reviews 'Gravity: Inside the PM’s office during her last year and final days' by Mary Delahunty and 'Rudd, Gillard and Beyond' by Troy Bramston
Gough Whitlam may not have been one of the Australian Labor Party’s greatest prime ministers, but, since his defenestration by Governor-General John Kerr in 1975, he has been embraced as one of the ALP’s great martyrs. Kerr’s dismissal of the Whitlam Government galvanised the Labor movement. To Labor eyes, Kerr was Pontius Pilate and Whitlam the slain Messiah. New followers – many of them, ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Jacks and Jokers' by Matthew Condon

August 2014, no. 363 01 August 2014
Joel Deane reviews 'Jacks and Jokers' by Matthew Condon
Matthew Condon is fast becoming the George R.R. Martin of Australian true crime. Like the Game of Thrones author, Condon is part-way through the delivery of a saga of epic proportions. However, whereas some fantasy fiction fans doubt that Martin will ever conclude his A Song of Ice and Fire series, everyone knows how the story of corruption in Joh Bjelke-Petersen-era Queensland ends. But knowing t ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Murdoch’s Pirates: Before the Phone Hacking, There Was Rupert’s Pay-TV Skullduggery' by Neil Chenoweth

February 2013, no. 348 01 February 2013
Joel Deane reviews 'Murdoch’s Pirates: Before the Phone Hacking, There Was Rupert’s Pay-TV Skullduggery' by Neil Chenoweth
Talk about unfortunate timing. On 10 December 2012, the New Yorker ran a lengthy profile on Elisabeth Murdoch, the older sister of Lachlan and James. Elisabeth, forty-four, lives in Britain, where – while her siblings have been marked down for everything from, in Lachlan’s case, One.Tel to Ten Network and, in James’s case, MySpace and phone hacking – she has quietly built a reputation as a ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Speechless: A year in my father’s business' by James Button

November 2012, no. 346 28 October 2012
Joel Deane reviews 'Speechless: A year in my father’s business' by James Button
In 2008 I was asked to write speeches for then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. It was a tempting offer. The trouble was that I would be based in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), not the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), and would work as a public servant, not a political staffer. Having worked as both a public servant and a political staffer, I believed the best way to do the job ... (read more)
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