What we’re reading right now…
August 20, 2020
By Liza Robbins.
One day in the far future, when I look back on this strange Coronavirus summer, I’ll probably associate it with one thing…
Over the past few months, I’ve spent a lot of my free time immersing myself in some of the world’s finest books…
I love reading!
So today I want to do something different to my normal weekly article…
…And tell you about some books I’ve particularly enjoyed recently.
Since I know that many of my colleagues have been reading heavily recent too, I’ve asked Andrew Collier, Kreston’s Director of Quality and Professional Standards, and Marc Charlton, our Strategic Marketing Director, to contribute their own recent favourites.
I hope that our short list will inspire you…
- Eggs or Anarchy: The remarkable story of the man tasked with the impossible: To feed a nation at warby William Sitwell.
I bought this book a few weeks after one of my brothers returned from Cuba, where he had been on an educational mission. He told me about supermarkets with empty shelves and we noted how lucky we were to live in a land of plenty.
A few weeks later, COVID-19 hit and I was faced with empty food shelves in my local London supermarket.
It’s no wonder, then, that this unusual book resonated in ways I would never have imagined just one year ago.
Eggs or Anarchy is the fascinating story of Lord Woolton, who was appointed Britain’s Minister for Food in 1940, and given the job of securing food supplies and establishing food rationing.
He knew that if he could not ensure a consistent supply of food, there would be unrest – or even rebellion – on the streets.
Woolton managed this challenge through a mixture of sheer determination and incredible entrepreneurship, from which there is much to learn. And not only did he stop people from starving, he even managed to improve Britain’s health.
This is a beautifully written account, by food critic William Sitwell. Reading it served as a valuable reminder that pressure on our supply chains is nothing new; we faced empty shelves in recent history. How quickly we forget.
- Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry. One of Britain’s best-known comedians retells the Ancient Greek myths in an easy, accessible and enjoyable way.
I love the stories of the Greek gods (I love Greece too!) – they have different powers, and while they must be respected they are often fickle, unkind and keen on revenge.
Fry is a natural story-teller. He also goes to great lengths to explain some of the linguistic impact the myths had on the English language – for example the origin of the words “geology”, “geography” and “echo” or the phrase “The Midas Touch”. I found it riveting!
- Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates.
As the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements have become prominent, many of us have become conscious of how little we understand or know about sexism and racism.
I was given this book by daughter, who is her 20s. It delves deeply into the everyday sexism faced by women in the workplace and as they go about their normal lives, sharing powerful anecdotes and statistics.
I always thought I was sensitive to the challenges faced by women in the workplace. But this book has truly opened my eyes to examples of prejudice which – like many men – I’d never seen or appreciated before.
After reading it, I’ve become more aware of the language I use and of the unconscious bias I might be displaying – and as we move back into an office environment, I hope it’s made me better equipped to challenge sexism where I come across it.
Recommended for anyone who cares about creating a more equal, diverse workplace and world.
- Search Inside Yourself: Increase Productivity, Creativity and Happinessby Chade-Meng Tan.
Chade-Meng Tan was one of Google’s first engineers, who worked on Google’s first mobile search service.
He also formerly taught Google employees how to apply mindfulness techniques in the office, as well as how to become happier, healthier and more creative.
In this very readable book, which has become a huge best-seller, Tan teaches the fundamental principles of emotional intelligence, showing you how to achieve inner peace whilst becoming more successful.
I loved the way this self-styled ‘personal growth pioneer’ combines the pace and innovation of Google with elements of ancient Buddhist philosophy. A must-read for this stressful era!
….AND ONE COMBINED RECOMMENDATION FROM ANDREW AND MARC
When I asked Andrew and Marc what fiction they had enjoyed recently, I was amused that they both gave the same answer…
- Harry Potter: The Complete Collection by J.K. Rowling.
Andrew says: “I re-watched the films during lockdown, so I thought it would be fun to revisit the books as well – I remember reading them to my children when they were young!
“Although they’re just a fun read, they do highlight the importance of good friends, especially when times are tough…”
Marc says: “Trying to get my two boys to read can be a struggle, but Harry Potter is one thing they are both happy to listen to. So every night for the last year, I’ve dashed from one room to another to read with them.
“One day my 7-year-old asked me why I hadn’t read the books myself before and I didn’t really have an answer – so I started reading them for myself. Never mind that I know all the plot twists, they are still hugely enjoyable!”