August Book Blog

Keep reading for our top picks for this month.

David and Goliath

By Malcolm Gladwell 

Malcolm Gladwell is the author of five New York Times bestsellers.  He has been included in the TIME 100 Most Influential People list and touted as one of Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers.

Most of us are probably aware of the story behind the title; a biblical tale about a giant warrior named Goliath who was slain by David, a shepherd boy who was good with a slingshot.  Gladwell analyses the story and determines that the boy was not in fact an underdog, but actually a skilled hunter, and that Goliath didn’t stand a chance against him.

In David and Goliath, Gladwell goes on to weave together a collection of individual stories grouped loosely under this thought-provoking theme – that being the underdog and having disadvantages can actually be an advantage.  Gladwell writes enjoyable and interesting case studies of how the weaker side successfully took on the conventionally more powerful one.  Examples range from basketball to the civil rights movement.  Northern Ireland even gets a mention.  

This book will definitely make you reconsider what you thought you knew.  It may not always be completely persuasive, but it is an entertaining and thought-provoking read.  Give it a go!

Find out more and buy on the author’s website.

Checklist Manifesto

By Atul Gawande 

If you’re anything like us you might call yourself a ‘listophile’ – someone who loves making lists!  There is a certain satisfaction with ticking off items on a to do list and studies have shown that people perform better when they have written down what they need to do.  In today’s modern and hectic world, it’s a wonderfully traditional but highly effective productivity tool.

Atul Gawande agrees and in this groundbreaking book he makes a compelling argument that the checklist is the most promising method available in surmounting failure.  Whether you’re following a recipe, investing millions of dollars in a company or building a skyscraper, the checklist is an essential tool in virtually every area of our lives.  Gawande explains how breaking down complex, high pressure tasks into small steps can radically improve everything from airline safety to heart surgery survival rates.  

Einstein once said about simplicity Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”  We felt this book really embodies that notion.  Gawande doesn’t tell us how to design our checklists because he can’t – everyone’s situation will be different.  Instead he shows us the scientific method behind approaching each task which you can then adapt to your own circumstances. 

An interesting read. 

Find out more on the author’s website

No Rules Rules

By Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer

Reed Hastings may be name that is not familiar to you.  However, the company he cofounded certainly will be – Netflix.

Netflix has been a revolution in the entertainment industries, generating billions of dollars in annual revenue while capturing the imaginations of hundreds of millions of people in over 190 countries.  However, to reach these great heights, Netflix, which launched in 1998 as an online DVD rental service, has had to reinvent itself over and over again.

Hastings argues that this type of unprecedented flexibility would have been impossible without the counterintuitive and radical management principles he established from the very beginning.  He openly admits to rejecting the conventional wisdom under which other companies operate and he defied tradition to instead build a culture focused on – what he defines –  freedom and responsibility.  He argues that this has  allowed Netflix to adapt and innovate as the needs of its members and the world have simultaneously transformed.

If there’s one word to sum this book up it would be ‘divisive’.  Everyone will have their own opinion about Hasting’s management principles.  And while we didn’t necessarily agree with all of his working practices, as an account of business management in the 21st Century, this was certainly an interesting and informative read.  

Find out more and buy on the author’s website.  

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