It’s holiday season and while there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of Jilly Cooper in the sun, we thought you might like a couple of other choices to get you inspired to work better, lead better and live better. Here’s a collection of great reads from some of the world’s leading minds that Libby and team Spektrix are loving this Summer.
How Google Works - Eric Schmidt
I liked it because it demystified their organisation; an organisation that's heralded as this amazing, advanced, slightly mysterious set up. When actually, they're just a bunch of smart people working together to try to deliver great things. There was no moment reading it where I felt like they were super advanced or doing anything that different from what we're doing (in terms of how they work), so it was kind of reassuring. It’s also nice to see that giants like Eric Schmidt are human beings too. Read more here.
Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead - Sheryl Sandberg
I've been thinking a lot about diversity in the workplace of late. Lean In really brought the conversation about women in the workplace to the forefront. While I may not agree with all of her recommendations, and some of her comments I take with a pinch of salt, in essence, she's got it right. Read more here.
Shoe Dog - Phil Knight
This is a hilarious insight into a man and company that people have historically known very little about. Phil Knight is a great storyteller and I often felt like I was reading a novel, rather than a memoir. His story is hugely human and proves that if you have passion about something (in his case running and sport), that passion can be turned into a great career. Read more here.
Building Dragons - Daniel Newman
I really enjoyed this book. Building on the trend for "unicorns" in the tech world (companies that secure huge valuations yet make no money and often offer little value), this book says we need to stop focusing on unicorns, but think about something a bit more robust and aggressive. It contains lots of useful insights into how to build a digital business in the current climate. Read more here.
Let It Go - Dame Stephanie Shirley
I read this book a while back and often find myself dipping back into it. Dame Stephanie Shirley was a pioneer in the computer industry, setting up a company after the second world war run by freelance women. This is her autobiography; a huge window that casts light onto a life of hardship, success, passion, disruption and technology. She’s a remarkable woman and this is well worth a read. Read more here.
Ideal Team Player - Patrick Lencioni
We often debate what the perfect employee looks like. What are the common traits you want in every employee? This book absolutely nails it, focusing on three traits; bring humble, hungry and people-smart. It provides a really interesting foundation from which to think about what you want from people. Read more here.
The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences (Financial Times Series) - Matt Watkinson
I often reflect on customer experience as in the arts we're very focused on the creative product and often don't pay enough attention to the wider customer experience. This book worked well as a reminder to think about all the other factors, beyond the artistic program, to understand what drives loyalty. Read more here.
Talk like Ted: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds - Carmine Gallo
This is a book I often come back to when I'm prepping presentations to give at conferences. TED needs no introduction. With the world's best speakers collected in one place, this book looks at the key trends within those presentations to figure out what the foundations are of a great presentation. It’s a must read for anyone who's about to present. Read more here.
The Art of Asking - Amanda Palmer
One of my team lent this to me. It’s a book that explores the power of asking for help. Reflecting on everything from crowdfunding to her daily experiences in life, this musician (and TED speaker...) reminds us that asking for a little help is no bad thing, in fact it can help build relationships and open doors. Read more here.