It’s that time of year, when the horizontal, freezing rain makes going outside seem like a particularly unpleasant form of torture. So why not boil the kettle, put on your onesie and wrap up in a cosy blanket with a good book instead? Here are our suggestions for some cracking reads to keep you entertained while you hibernate. Enjoy!
by Matthew Syed
The idea of learning from failure is well-established, but Syed takes it to a whole new level. Promoting failure as “the most powerful method of learning known to mankind”, he discusses ideas around agile development, marginal gains and controlled trials. Syed advocates making the interrogation of errors an intrinsic part of organisational strategy. Black Box Thinking is arguably even better than his previous best-seller, Bounce.
by Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Michael Moritz
Arguably the greatest British football manager of all time, Fergie’s man management skills have been discussed at length by a plethora of sports journalists. Here, along with long-time friend and businessman Michael Moritz, he gives a frank account of how he did it, covering topics like discipline, control, teamwork, motivation, delegation, data analysis and handling failure. This is an invaluable insight into the mind and work of an iconic leader.
by Nick Tasler
Change is hard. Or is it? Organisational psychologist Nick Tasler believes we over-complicate the process of change, and can streamline the process with a different mindset. Instead of the usual approach of Change by Addition, he advocates a switch to Change by Decision, which allows it to happen quicker, easier and more effectively. Could this be a turning point in change management thinking?
by Donald H. Taylor
The webinar is still a relatively new medium to work with, meaning most people are still finding their way with it. Thankfully, Donald Taylor has done a lot of them, so his advice is backed with experience and wisdom. There are specific tricks to a good webinar, which requires you to understand people’s natural habits online and tap into them. Taylor’s book is packed with tips and practical checklists to help you nail it, first time.
by Michael Hayman and Nick Giles
This book from the founders of Seven Hills is ostensibly aimed at entrepreneurs and start-ups, but the lesson is universal: in the modern social economy, businesses must have a purpose. Making a profit is not a purpose, it’s a by-product. Consumers are more socially conscious and savvy now, and are therefore much more likely to support a company that aligns with their values than one which does not. So what is your organisation’s mission?
by David Sole and Belinda Roberts
Does the thought of ‘networking’ fill you with dread? Former Scottish rugby captain turned executive coach David Sole and founder of The Networking Coach, Belinda Roberts, offer a guide to getting it right in the 21st Century. This accessible book will guide you through things like assessing your own network, using social media and making networking part of your life in a practical way.
by Oliver Sacks
The neurologist author of famous tomes like Awakeningsand The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat gives an insight into one of the most interesting minds yet – his own. With honesty and humour, he walks us through the story of his life and how it led him into a fascinating field of work.
by Lynsey Addario
Being a war photographer is a dangerous, demanding, male-dominated career. Being a female war photographer means not only fighting your way into a boys’ club, but working in parts of the world where your gender makes you a second-class citizen. Addario’s story tells the tale of a decade of documenting war in places like Afghanistan and Libya, where she was kidnapped by pro-Qaddafi forces. It’s a brutal, honest and inspiring portrait of conflict.
by Val McDermid
The modern fascination with forensics is spread throughout popular culture, not least in the novels of Val McDermid. Here, though, the novelist turns her attention to the real world, with interviews and research to shed light on the way forensic detectives use science to solve crimes ranging from murder to genocide. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the science behind the scenes, this is for you.
by Mary Beard
We are somewhat fascinated by the Roman Empire. Its culture and stories still punctuate many aspects of our society, especially the arts. Beard’s new look at the history of the empire not only covers 1000 years of advancing civilisation, but also looks at the people of Rome themselves. How did a small Italian village grow to conquer Europe? Mary Beard knows…
by Robert Harris
It took Harris five years to publish the final book in his Cicero trilogy, but it was worth the wait. Once a major political player, Cicero begins the book separated from his family, exiled and in danger. The journey back to the Roman Senate is tumultuous, but staying there is the real challenge. A great finish to one of the best series set at the peak of Roman culture.
by Fredrik Backman
Backman’s million-selling debut is a character-driven yarn about the grumpy ex-chairman of his local resident’s association. Filled with disdain for just about everyone, he prowls the local streets on a mission to set the world to rights. A warm, funny and uplifting tale of community and love.
by Tammy Cohen
A twist on the serial killer thriller, First One Missingfocuses largely on the families who have lost young daughters to the ‘Kenwood Killer’. When a fourth girl is killed, the families of the previous victims have to cope with their feelings of loss resurfacing, while negotiating a media circus and trying to hold together their remaining family. An intelligent thriller with psychological depth and a satisfying pay off.
by John Marrs
The follow-up to his debut hit The Wronged Sons sees Marrs focusing on a group of backpackers in an LA hostel, all in search of a fresh start. We follow several of the protagonists as their varied stories twist and turn, and their secret histories are slowly revealed. Can anyone truly escape their past in this gripping page-turner?
by Louise Beech
A beautifully written and powerful story about Natalie and her daughter Rose, who is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at just 9 years old. As they face the reality of unending treatments, a ghostly figure leads them to an old diary. It chronicles the story of Natalie’s grandfather, Colin, as he faces the ordeal of being lost at sea in World War II. Natalie uses the story to help her daughter face the illness. A magical tale weaving past and present with the fight to survive in overwhelming circumstances.
by Terry Pratchett
It’s unlikely many people missed the death of one of the best-loved, most prolific authors of his generation. This, his final novel, was published posthumously and received on a wave of bittersweet excitement. If you’re already a Pratchett fan, you’ve probably read it, and if you’re not, it’s worth starting with earlier books. But it seemed impossible not to include the swansong of an exceptionally witty, clever and engaging storyteller in a list of recommended books from 2015. If you’ve been meaning to get around to it – what better time than the holidays?