Find Out What Our Experts are Reading for Top Business Advice and Invaluable Life- Lessons
The Institute of Directors (IoD) East of England’s highly valued Ambassadors represent our regions by contributing to a programme of events and activity to ensure that members are inspired and engaged with their IoD and connected to each other.
As our Ambassadors are specialists in their fields, we wanted to know more about what they do to stay tuned in to the business world in their spare time out of the office.
We decided that the best way to start was to ask them what they are reading, to see which books they recommend to our other IoD Members to get the best tricks of the trade.
If any Directors are looking for ways in which to implement change effectively within their organisations, they will find a friend in author, John Kotter, with his two books, Our Iceberg is Melting and That’s Not How We Do Things Here. Our Hertfordshire Ambassador for Young Directors and Operations Director at Your Town CI, Andrew Griffiths, has recently been absorbed in Kotter’s two business fables, which he said were “made incredibly memorable through use of storytelling”.
Andrew recommends both books to all IoD members, because we are all “involved in guiding change within an organisation”. As for his own business, he says “I am already putting the steps of effective change into practice within organisations I work with”.
Paul Durrant, Consultant at PDT Sales Consultancy and Ambassador for IoD Essex, has recently become familiar with the motivational Selling Boldly by Alex Goldfayn, a recommended reading from the Institute of Sales Management, (ISM), about how to overcome the destructive fear that people have in sales and how to replace it with confidence and optimism. Paul says, “it is about applying the science of positive psychology and is a good read for anyone in front line sales, i.e. all business owners!”
For some entrepreneurial spirit, our IoD Essex Ambassador and Director of Green Light Print Solutions Ltd, Damon Langlois, has his head buried in The E-Myth, Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, and The Beermat Entrepreneur by Mike Southon. Damon recommends both books as guides for people who want to start an SME or who already run one. He particularly likes the writing style of Southan’s book, which he says is “a no-nonsense, to the point read”.
Embarking on a more philosophical journey, Ben Miller, our IoD Suffolk Ambassador and Business Development GDPR Practitioner at ECM Solutions, has been inspired by three great reads; Sapiens: The Brief History of Mankind by Youval Noah Harari, Capital in the Twenty-First Centur by Thomas Picketty, and Adults in the Room by Yannis Varoufakis. Ben says that his recent reading aligns to a profound reflection about the complex challenges we face as business people today:
“The leadership and ideas which delivered today’s world won’t solve tomorrow’s problems. Our lives are littered with administrative tasks, businesses run by metrics and public services are output focused, not outcome oriented. It’s apparent that our quest for predictability, growth and individualism has led to mental health challenges, isolation and inequality. I want to understand how we got to this point, and why aren’t we able to change for the better”, he says.
Another thought provoking and also impactful read would definitely be the award -winning Chasing Daylight-how my forthcoming death transformed my life by Eugene O’Kelly. Eugene was the former CEO of KPMG and after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, he had just over three months to live. The book describes how he accepted death and lived his final days to the full. Our IoD Suffolk Chair, Graham Kill, recommends Eugene’s memoir “to remind you what is truly important in life”, admitting, “I have read it multiple times to do exactly that.”
Even though our Ambassadors are experts in their industries, they continue to be inspired and challenged by other business geniuses. IoD Essex Ambassador, Ian West, from One-Marketing, attended the IoD Convention in 2013 and remembers a presentation by Google’s Dan Cobley on the importance of building a creative and innovative culture in business. This insightful talk led him to read Managing Creativity and Innovation by Havard Business Press. He says, “it’s a key component of a lot of my work with companies” and “is my go-to for beginning an approach”.
Believe it or not, business experts are not always reading about business. Just like the rest of us, our Ambassadors also need a holiday. So to end our list, IoD Cambridgeshire Ambassador and Regional Director of The Marketing Centre, Malcolm Johnston, provides us with a lighter read; Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman.
Being both funny and deeply poignant, the book speaks about the importance of friendship in an increasingly isolating world. According to Malcolm, it “reminds and educates us about the different ways that “different” people see the world” and in a business context, “might nudge us towards being a little more sensitive to a wider group of colleagues.”