With the summer holidays now arriving for many of us here at Jericho, we thought we would share some our choices for by the pool reading that we hope will inspire ourselves and perhaps you too.
Neal Lawson will be reading:
Reinventing Organisations by Frederic Laloux – a practical guide to a more soulful and purposeful way to run a business
The End of Representative Politics, by Simon Tormey – tracking new forms of political engagement, developing from what he describes as “crisis-ridden” party-based democracy. Using examples ranging from the Arab Spring to Occupy, Tormey argues we are entering a period of “fast politics, evanescent politics, a politics of the street, of the squares, of micro-parties, pop-up parties, and demonstrations”.
Slightly more heavyweight than your average summer beach read – but, as Neal put it, “I know how to have a laugh”.
Jules Peck’s suitcase will contain:
The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being in which author William Davies wonders what has led to Buddhist monks to become a staple feature of the Davos Economic Forum, and examines how the modern well-being imperative has turned our most private feelings into a tradeable commodity.
Debunking Economics where Steve Keen punctures the dogma of neo-classical economic thought, exposing “what many non-economists may have suspected and a minority of economists have long known: that economic theory is not only unpalatable, but also plain wrong,”, and suggests a more sane way forward.
Does Capitalism Have a Future? by Mann, Wallerstein et al, combines the collective research of five eminent sociologists. In crisis-hit times, instead of offering ways to return the old machine to stability, the ideas in this book question the very system upon which our society is built – asking whether business as usual is the only way forward.
In answer to a question about her summer reading list Christine Armstrong writes:
For Management Today I’m reviewing I Know How She Does it by Laura Vanderkam which promises to tell me how successful women make the most of their time. Apparently her advice will ensure I’ll be able to work less, sleep more, enjoy date nights, socialise AND go to the gym. Look out for my Michelle Obama arm tone when you next see me then.
I am also dipping into Beyond Measure by Margaret Heffernan – packaged like a physics textbook it goes with her brilliant TED talk. It doesn’t matter about the cover, Margaret’s insight and wisdom about culture change startles you and there are some quirkily beautiful cartoons inside.
Finally I’m re-reading Enid Blyton’s The Enchanted Wood with my five-year-old, one chapter a night. She is as transfixed by the magic faraway tree as I was. First published in 1939, her storytelling is even more brilliant than I remember. As a child I didn’t understand why some adults were sneering about Enid. I thought perhaps they were very clever and grand. Now I know they are fools.
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson. A sequel to her earlier novel Life After Life, A God in Ruins focusses on the impact of progress on an individual… and also on a generation. Having come out of World War II a hero, the main character spends the rest of his life navigating the inexorable tide of cultural and technological change that gripped the latter half of the 20th Century.
And looks forward to reading:
The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett – described as a “multiple love-story”, which tracks three different turns lives could have taken when the paths of two nineteen-year-old students cross in Cambridge in 1958, posing deeper questions of fate and choice.
In terms of non-fiction, Charles will be taking:
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, described in The Independent as “an eloquent history of what makes us human”, answering questions such as ‘Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms?’ and ‘How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism?’
Charles also recommends flicking through:
More Human: Designing a World Where People Come First, by Steve Hilton
Rebel Cities by Davis Harvey (especially good for anyone interested in Jericho’s London Essays project, exploring the role of cities today) Studying places as diverse as Johannesburg, Mumbai, NY and Sao Paolo, this book looks at how cities can develop in ways that are ecologically and socially sound.
Will be lucky if she gets to open a book on her holidays this year, but if she does the book will be:
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
Creativity Inc. by president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation Ed Catmull –concentrating on putting creativity into business, and as it says on the cover “overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration”.
She is also looking forward to re-reading Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom, where the author recounts the time he spent with his terminally ill 78-year-old sociology professor Morrie Schwartz. It is a book about accumulated wisdom passing from old to young.
Her friend is making her listen to an audiobook of A Spy Among Friends by Ben McIntyre, and she’ll also dip in to “at least one trashy novel – as yet undecided”.
For his holidays Alaric Mostyn has saved up:
Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader by Herminia Ibarra, which advocates learning leadership through doing, described by The Financial Times as “an action-packed guide to leadership transition”.
And also Stefan Zweig’s novel, The Post Office Girl – a page-turner with huge depth, set between the two wars and published posthumously in 1982. According to John Banville reviewing the book in The Guardian, Zweig “addresses directly” the turmoil of the time.
Robert Phillips will read:
The Soul of Indiscretion: Tom Driberg, Poet, Philanderer, Legislator and Outlaw – His Life and Indiscretions by Francis Wheen.
According to Robert –
I am fifteen years overdue in reading this book, having realised that there was a significant “Tom Driberg’ deficit in my knowledge of 20th Century British politics. I love political biographies and, on the basis that the Roy Jenkins biography was too hefty and I couldn’t choose which Thorpe to go for, I have opted for Francis Wheen’s witty study of Driberg instead.
And also Collected Stories by James Salter:
In my search for sharp and pithy writing, this is my first summer without a ubiquitous Elmore Leonard by my side. I am trying Salter instead – on the back of a ringing endorsement from Simon Schama in the FT.
For quick summer dips, I will also be peeking at Steve Hilton’s More Human, and Paul Twivy’s Be Your Own Politician.
I share my friends’ Christine Armstrong’s enthusiasm for Margaret Heffernan’s pocket Beyond Measure, and Catherine Stewart’s novel choice Dead Babies and Seaside Towns by Alice Jolly. It is great to see Alaric Mostyn in the Stefan Zweig fan-club – Zweig’s exquisite World of Yesterday should be in everyone’s Top Ten Books of All Time.
Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VII’s Most Faithful Servant, by Tracey Borman, as well-researched and engagingly written. The Independent seems to be of the same opinion – according to a review published by them the book “brings Cromwell to life and exposes the Henrician court in all its brutal, glittering splendour”.
George Pitcher envisages his reading list as follows:
I was given the complete works of F Scott Fitzgerald as a birthday present in May, so I’ll be starting with This Side of Paradise.
For light relief, I was also given a first edition of The Old Reliable by P.G. Wodehouse.
In non-fiction, I’m looking forward to Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, a surgeon’s insight into being fully alive until we’re not.
Catherine Stewart’s recommends:
Dead Babies and Seaside Towns, by Alice Jolly, acknowledging that it is “certainly not chick-lit”.
In a review for Unbound, she describes it as “a searingly honest and forensic analysis of grief and the impact of its all-consuming presence on daily life and relationships. I could not put the book down – Jolly writes with such painterly detail and compelling honesty that you feel you are prying in a personal diary and will be caught at any moment. I have learnt so much from Alice’s story – its places and emotions linger in my thoughts long after finishing her book”.
Zoe Mezin has a large selection of books to decide from, but she’s especially looking forward to:
Good Works! by Philip Kotler – marketing and corporate initiatives that build a better world… and bottom line.
Dealing with China by Henry M. Paulson – an insider unmasks the new economic superpower
Naked Economics by Charles Wheelman, which promises to undress the dismal science; along with
The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins – set on a suburban commuter train and described as a “Hitchcockian thriller”.
Meanwhile Gary Mead will take with him:
HHhH by Laurent Binet – a 2013 novel based on events in Prague in 1942, when Czech partisans assassinated Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Nazi’s secret services.
KL: A 2015 History of the Nazi Concentration Camps, by Nikolaus Wachsmann, which he’ll read for research purposes.
And The Radetsky March, a 1932 novel by Joseph Roth, charting the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, told through the story of three generations of the Trotta family.
By Eve Harris’s sun-lounger will be:
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, by Marjane Satrapi – a short history of Iran, a story of a girl growing up, and an examination of the frictions between East and West, all tied up into one neat and enjoyable graphic novel.
Jigsaw, by Sybille Bedford – a semi-autobiographical account of the South of France in the 1920s, apparently going at least some way towards proving the best stories cannot be made up.
Do let us know what you’ll be reading too!