Nothing nurtures the mind and spirit like a good book. Whether it’s a new release, a classic, fiction or non, we’ve collated a need-to- read list of some personal favourites from the FutureYou team for your gifting or reading pleasure this holiday season.
Richard Wynn, Managing Partner
The Wealth of Nations
This is simply one of the most important books ever written on the subject of economics.
I was talking about ‘must reads’ for business owners with a very inspiring, influential retail CEO this week; this classic was his recommendation. It’s the great work of Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith, who believed in a meritocracy and that one could advance in life based on the drive to better oneself. Even though it was written at the birth of the industrial revolution in 1776, it provides the fundamentals for economics today. I’ve already bought my copy for my getaway in January.
Emily Wilson - Managing Partner
Chapter One - You Have the Power to Change Stuff
It’s thoroughly entertaining, inspiring, often quite funny and it will challenge your thinking.
ThankYou is a company that has totally stolen my heart this year - they exist purely to eradicate extreme poverty by enabling better consumer choices. So when I found out the owner Daniel Flynn wrote this book I had to purchase it. Chapter One is his vivid account of their chaotic journey of mistakes, mishaps, risky moves and the never-say-die attitude that turned their much-maligned beliefs into an enviable success. I could not put this book down - it’s a must read for business, start-ups and overall inspiration!! This video of Daniel Flynn at the book launch is worth viewing.
Sharon Lewis, CMO/CDO
The Hard Thing about the Hard Things
A hands-down highlight of my 2016 list of 12 books I had to read.
This book was highly recommended by one of my good friends, and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s a business book written by one of Silicon Valley’s most experienced and respected entrepreneurs - Ben Horowitz. He does away with exalting the joys of running a business and drills a direct line into what makes starting and running a business so hard. More importantly he addresses how to manage those difficulties in an extremely practical, actionable manner. His advice is vivid, real and wholly invaluable.
Mark Yates, CFO
Tools of Titans: The tactics, routines and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers
He asks very specific questions of them which is why he gets the actionable answers.
I’ve enjoyed all of Tim Ferriss’ works and this one is no exception - he calls it his ‘ultimate notebook’, which seems to me like a spot-on description. Tools of the Titans is full of actionable insights from a wide variety of all the super successful guests that he interviews on his self titled podcast. Like what they do in the first sixty minutes of each day, or what books have they given to the most people? He also wrote the New York Times best-seller 4-Hour Workweek, and another favourite of mine The Four Hour Chef. While I’m evangelising… his podcast is an absolute must-listen too.
Joe Vize - Partner, Property, Technical Ops
Start with why- why great leaders inspire everyone to take action
Leaders Eat Last- Why some teams pull together and others don’t
An amazing voice on purpose, belief, and leadership.
I couldn’t choose so you get two from me! I started on the journey with Simon’s books earlier this year and these two titles perfectly complement each other in succession. Start With Why helped me reflect on my purpose, my beliefs, and my “Why?” I found it inspiring and it has since inspired my colleagues. Leaders Eat Last really reinforced my views on leadership; it's very real examples helped me reflect on my life and career and whilst achieving great leadership is a long journey, it’s always about the people! Neither of these books are a read-once-and-put-down affair for me, I continue to read both of them again and again!
Simon Marks - Partner, Digital
Blink – The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
I’ve used “thin-slicing” particularly with business decisions with highly positive effects.
This is one of my favourite Gladwell books. A fascinating read that can be used for either personal or business improvement. I have a tendency of over-thinking business or personal decision; however almost every time my initial inclination is the right one - and now I know why. With research from psychology and behavioural economics, Gladwell presents the ‘adaptive unconscious’ - that is, the mental processes that work rapidly and automatically with relatively little information. His scientific term for this is "thin-slicing", we probably know it more colloquially as ‘gut instinct’ - but it goes deeper than that. It considers both the strengths of the adaptive unconscious, for example in expert judgment, and its pitfalls, such as stereotyping.
Nick Hegarty - Associate Partner, Sales
Achieve: Find Out Who You Are, What You Really Want, And How To Make It Happen
He closes the gap between the science of success and performance, with the reality of our lives and individual personality traits.
Earlier in the year I was looking for some inspiration and motivation in a number of areas of my life and found this book to be excellent. Once you understand more about yourself, your strengths, weaknesses and values, you can create a plan for personal growth and goal achievement that will specifically suit you, and the book shows you how. It delivers what is says on the box: if you are looking to find out a little more about who you are, what you really want in life and most importantly how to make it all happen, then this book is a fantastic place to start.
Raj Shukla - Associate Partner, Procurement & SC
Good to Great
James C Collins
The difference between good and great is all about people - which to me made perfect sense.
This is an inspiring leadership book that focuses on how to transition a company to greatness and why some companies fail in that transition. Its explains how to take people on the journey and the importance people make to a business. It touches on people, technology, culture and innovation and explores the difference between good and truly great. This booked helped me differentiate between highly effective leaders and average leaders.
Warren Coxall - Associate Partner, Retail
At its core this book is about challenging conformity and the value of dissent.
I thoroughly enjoyed the variety of fascinating case studies Grant uses to illustrate his point. Like the mid-weight analyst who rightly challenged Steve Jobs, and the billionaire financial wizard who fires anyone who doesn’t criticise his ideas. From business to sport and entertainment, it’s a how-to for embracing new ideas, practices and policies in your business to unleash both your own and your company’s full potential. Genius!
Grant is personally name-checked by the likes of Gladwell, Huffington, Branson and JJ Abrams… I couldn’t recommend this book more highly. Even if you don’t get the book, Google more about Adam Grant when you can. You can thank me later.
Steve Jones - Associate Partner, Sales
The Barefoot Investor: Five steps to financial freedom
For me it recontextualised investment, making it about far more than money.
I found the genius of this book is two-fold. It allows you to clearly understand the importance of investment and gives you the tools to get yourself there. And while there are the practical how-to’s, it is actually a book about choice and the power that financial security gives you to chose your own path and to walk it with confidence. Which you come to realise is far more important than money for money’s sake alone. Pape delivers simple strategies that have put me, for one, on track to realising my financial goals, which has also given me the opportunity to realise myself.
Rachel Shermer - Partner, Marketing
When God Was A Rabbit
Everyone has a story that shapes who they are and the way that they think.
Spanning four decades and set in Essex, Cornwall, and the streets of New York during the events of 9/11, this is a story about a girl named Elly. It highlights how the environment you grow up in, both locally and globally, affect your outlook on life and how you view and deal with situations. As for the key theme that resonated with me: Everyone has a story that shapes who they are and the way that they think, and that we never really know what has gone on in a person’s past - so we shouldn’t be too quick to judge when people don’t behave, perform or react the way we expect them to. It also highlights the importance of family and friendship and that you should never take those close to you for granted as you never know when they might be taken away.
Christy Moses - Partner, Sales
A Fortunate Life
When you look back on your own life you want to feel fortunate for what you have and where you have ended up.
Not being from Australia originally, I enjoyed the historical context of this book as well as the overall life lessons in not taking a single day for granted, and remembering to always focus on the positives rather than the negatives. This is a story of an ordinary man who survived so many hardships, and yet he constantly talks about the positives in every situation he faced. His fond recollections of the people who helped him, the friendships he made and the lessons he learned serve as a reminder that when you look back on your own life you want to feel fortunate for what you have and where you have ended up - in whatever context that is meaningful to you.