Today is World Book and Copyright day! We are celebrating by kicking off a new insight series. We have asked people across our business what books interest, inspire them, or have shaped their thinking.
This month we asked Fintan Connolly, Michael Kennedy, Simon Giles, Una Ni Mhurchu, Janice Knight, and Cornelia Olivier to share a book that has piqued their interest, and why.
Simon Giles, Finance Director – Freakanomics by Stephen Dubner and Steven Lewitt
“What intrigued me about this book was that the authors wanted to focus, in a fun way, on how the study of economics is understanding how incentives, or motivations, work. This book shows how irrational thinking governs our lives. The authors use lots of fun statistics to challenge assumptions around the world. The big takeaway for me that I have tried to remember and use throughout my career is that, as people, we all love to try and find reasons why something happens – to be able to explain it. However, what we must all try to avoid is confusing causation and correlation – one is really helpful, especially in the business world, one isn’t!”
Fintan Connolly, Chief Business Officer – El Diego by Diego Armando Maradona
“I could have picked lots of other titles including ‘Open by Andre Agassi’, ‘Shakespeare by Bill Bryson’, ‘Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall’ or ‘Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’, but decided on my most recent read, the story of the footballer Diego Maradona. Possibly the most gifted footballer ever, but an individual who didn’t have the skills or maturity to deal with the fame and adulation. This book captures it brilliantly. All the more pertinent, with his untimely passing late last year. A flawed genius!”
Una Ni Mhurchu, General Counsel – Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee
“This book is a great piece of fiction that highlights, using vivid imagery, how fear can control people. I read this a couple of years following 911 when the idea of controlling the masses through fear really felt so prevalent and damaging. I was a college student at the time and it really emphasised how independence of mind is so important. I think it would still be a great read for anyone interested in the current debates around populism and culture wars.”
Cornelia Olivier, Client Relationship Director – The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander
“The authors of this book bring to life how opening up yourself to ‘possibility’ can encourage creativity, confidence, and great relationships. They take you on a journey of discovery and wonder, inspiring you to constantly challenge the self-limiting beliefs we impose on ourselves and others. There is a lot of fun learning on how to unlock the ‘possibility’ in your life.”
Michael Kennedy, Chief Financial Officer – Unstoppable by Adrian Gilpin
“I saw Adrian speak at a conference years ago and it was one of those eureka moments about having the right attitude to life and casting away negativity. Some months later I read Unstoppable which charts Adrian’s personal journey to living an inspired life. His storytelling really hooked me and changed my outlook. He explains how sometimes we are our own worst enemies and let our negative thoughts get in the way of our ambitions and ability to enjoy life.”
Janice Knight, Director of HR, Workplace Solutions – Coaching for performance: Growing human potential and purpose by John Whitmore
“This book shaped the early start of my coaching career and the book I still refer to. It is one I highly recommend. What I really like about this book is how coaching is expressed as an enabler and that a coaching culture creates conditions for high performance. Whitmore sees emotional intelligence as a life skill that can be taught and claims it to be an essential skill of leaders. It also details how change comes via self-awareness and self-potential. I am a fan of the GROW model and use this frequently, it is a simple yet effective tool that helps shape a conversation but also gives structure and advancement to many situations. He says successful leaders of the future will lead in a coaching style rather than command and control.”