What to read on the beach
July 29, 2016
Lucy Kellaway recently wrote a characteristically amusing column mocking CEOs – this time discussing their highfalutin holiday reading lists.
Here’s Oxbow Partners’ more modest book recommendations as we enter peak holiday season.
Getting to Yes: Negotiating an agreement without giving in by Roger Fisher (Greg Brown)
This book is essential reading for anyone looking to improve their negotiating skills. Whether you are looking to negotiate better commercial terms with suppliers (other than Oxbow Partners) or just get better results from internal meetings, this is for you. It takes a very considered approach to negotiating, focusing on individual interests, rather than stated positions. It brings it’s points to life with fascinating case studies that include the direct experiences of hostage and Israel-Palestine negotiators. Concise and engaging, it’s a must read.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries (Chris Sandilands)
The Lean Startup is like the Bible for startups, but also the book that inspired Oxbow Partners’ development of Agile Strategy. Ries describes how the best products are developed by exposing ideas to the real world as quickly as possible, reducing the chances of a concept I really like called “perfect failure” – the perfect implementation of a flawed ideas.
Value and Capital Management by Thomas Wilson (Michael Steel)
This book is described by the author as “A Handbook for the Finance and Risk Functions of Financial Institutions”. It contains three core sections around how CFOs and CROs can create metrics to yield “better information” about a risk portfolio and associated capital; how this in turn provides “better insights” and both in combination assist financial services firms to make “better decisions”. The book provides excellent advice and will no doubt be on the summer-time reading list for many in the industry.
Political Ideologies: The Short Sharp Guides: Liberalism, Socialism, Conservatism and Fascism by AP Scheuber (Greg Brown)
In the current climate it’s difficult to understand what our politicians stand for any more. This book is a solid start for anyone looking to get a good grounding in political ideologies and how that relates to modern day parties. Despite technically being an A-Level text book it’s genuinely interesting, informative and at just over 50 pages a concise read. In fact, it’s so concise that you can finish it in an afternoon and still have time for a snooze in the sun.
The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk (Chris Sandilands)
The Great Game is Bond, except it’s real. The Great Game itself was a period of history (early 19th century) when Tsarist Russia and Victorian Britain were battling for supremacy in Central Asia. The Great Game tracks the stories of some of the British officers who went on covert missions to places like Bokhara dressed as local traders. Some of them get busted and end their life in a snake pit in his palace grounds. Gripping.
A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the struggle that shaped the Middle East by James Barr (Tony Strachan)
In today’s world where the Middle East is having such a huge impact on everyday life, both in the Middle East itself and in Europe, this book goes back to the First World War and the attempt to shore up the ‘Entente Cordiale’ by dividing the Middle East between Britain and France. The book traces developments over the next 30 years and provides some interesting background into ways in which the traditional rivalry between Britain and France impacted the development of the Middle East.
The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age by David Abraham (Oliver Stratton)
From smartphones to turbines, rare-earth metals are utilised in a range of applications and have revolutionised life in the 21st century. We have wondered into a new epoch as profound as those based on stone, iron and bronze: the rare metal age. Despite few people having ever heard of them, these metals have become the building blocks of modern society; their properties are now essential for nearly all our electronic, military, and “green” technologies. This book explores what rare metals are, how they get to us, and their economic, environmental and geopolitical implications.
Signals: How Everyday Signs Can Help Us Navigate the World’s Turbulent Economy by Dr Pippa Malmgren (Michael Steel)
This book provides a fascinating insight into wider geo-politics and the global economy which Pippa covers by referencing everyday events and observations. An easy read, but a huge amount of valuable, thought-provoking content.