Summer reading list

Looking for something to read this summer?

As part of the research for our recent paper, If Only I’d Known That Then, Lessons from Corporate Affairs Leaders , we asked our contributors to share the books that have helped and inspired them in their careers.  We have left in the reasons they gave for their choices, but given some of the comments, their names have been removed!  You’ll find a list of the contributors to the report on page 21.

‘Life on Air’ by David Attenborough: “Of passion, opportunity and quiet, understated leadership. It demonstrates how taking risks and doing what feels right, is almost always worth it”

‘The Blair Years: Extracts from Alastair Campbell’s Diaries’ by Alastair Campbell: “Fascinating insight into the political world and the mind of the best political Director of Communications of the modern era”

‘Winners: And How They Succeed’ by Alistair Campbell: “An inspirational read, but the first chapter especially is a masterclass in defining strategy”

‘Bad Blood’ by John Carreyrou: “A riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley”

‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins: “A truly brilliant management book that gives real insight into what a true leader looks like”

‘Tipping Point’ by Malcolm Gladwell: “An exploration of the factors that when combined create momentum for change, always helpful to consider a communications leader in this context”

‘The Cicero Trilogy’ by Robert Harris (‘Imperium’, ‘Lustrum’, ‘Dictator’): “Inherently instructive about politics, navigating power structures, strategic thinking, great oratory and storytelling, leadership, and brutally murdering your enemies. Almost all relevant to our role”

‘Time to Think’ by Nancy Kline: “Bringing the “Two ears and one mouth, use them in that ratio” saying into the 21st century – how effective listening can create a thinking environment and transformation of the highest quality”

‘Into Thin Air’ by Jon Krakauer: “His account of the Mt. Everest Disaster of 1997. A compelling story of human ambition, madness, horror and unbelievable courage. See any parallels?!”

‘The Leopard’ by Giuseppe Tomasi Lampedusa: “One of the greatest literary examinations of change and how to deal with it (something you will have to deal with in your new role). It contains the memorable line: “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change”

‘The Pirate Inside’ by Adam Morgan: “About innovating and bringing change to an organisation”

‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy: “Both brutal and beautiful it will remind you that however tough a time you think you’re having, it’s really not the end of the world”

‘Team of Teams’ by Stanley McChrystal: “Strive to be radically transparent with your teams, the downsides of which are more than offset by the positives”

‘Lead your team in the first 100 days’ by Niamh O’Keeffe: “The original and still the best guide to building a 100-day plan”

‘Leadership BS: fixing workplaces and careers one truth at a time’ by Jeffrey Pfeffer: “A great guide to communicating and leading like a human being, not a corporate machine!”

‘Everything I Know I Learned From TV: Philosophy For the Unrepentant Couch Potato’ by Mark Rowlands: “An old one but a good one. Plus, it will make you chuckle”

‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek: “So often we lose energy on the What and How, without knowing the Why. The Why helps you focus”

‘Connect: How companies succeed by engaging radically with society’ by Tommy Stadlen, Robin Nuttal and Lord Browne: “Still the most practical (and inspirational) guide I have come across that defines the role for business in society”

‘The Wisdom of Crowds’ by James Surowiecki: “An antidote to the notion that a camel is a horse designed by committee, that the mediocre many is often better than the informed few”

‘Brilliant Business Writing: How to inspire, engage and persuade through words’ by Neil Taylor: “A must read by for anyone who puts fingers to keyboard”

‘The Reputation Game’ by David Waller and Rupert Younger: “Made me realise that others own your reputation, not you, not your firm. And because of that it cannot be managed. Made me rethink entirely what and how the function operated”

‘Waterhouse on Newspaper Style’ by Keith Waterhouse: “The most entertaining manual of tabloid journalism, as important and relevant today as when it was first published in 1989”

If you’d like to buy any of the books you’ll find them in this Amazon list

Happy holidays.


28th July 2020

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