Fav. Reads

Here are some of my favourite books: a few business and pop psychology books, followed by some crime fiction.

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On Becoming a Leader
by Warren Bennis
A reflection on the qualities and knowledge required by leaders in the 21st century: The ability to empathise with others and reflect on your own practice, the need to understand the context in which you are operating and self-awareness.
This is a wonderful read if you don’t want to be told what you need to do as a leader but want to think of what might help you develop as a person in a position of leadership.
“Experiences aren’t truly yours until you think about them, analyze them, examine them, question them, reflect on them and finally understand them.”
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The Elephant and the Flea
by Charles Handy

As ever with Handy’s books, an enjoyable journey into an inquisitive mind and an interesting life. What I most love about
this book and ‘The Age of Unreason’ is that he continuously
challenges the way things are and is not afraid to predict
“how they may be”.

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Effective Teamwork – Practical Lessons from Organizational Research
by Michael A. West
This book is full of practical advice that can be integrated into daily management practice. What makes it in my opinion one of the best books on leading teams, is its grounding in research into behaviour in organisations.
“When focusing on feelings, the facts emerge, wheras when the focus is on facts, the feelings often remain hidden and unexpressed”
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Drive
by Daniel Pink
An in-depth look at motivation, challenging the carrot-stick approach. The book is very easy to read – yet full of findings from studies into motivation. It also has some practical ideas on how to help team members with their motivation at work, by dissecting what constitutes intrinsic motivation and providing some examples of innovative businesses.
“Mastery is an asymptote, a straight line that a curve approaches but never quite reaches.”
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The Speed of Trust
by Stephen M.R. Covey
Understanding why you trust some people and why people have trust in you or sometimes, lose trust in you is not always easy. This book dissects trust – the kind of behaviours and attitudes that can lead others to trust us. In a world where business is becoming more personal and where long-term relationships are key to building business, this book is an advocate of the need to focus on building trust within and across organisations.
http://rcm-uk.amazon.co.uk/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=FFFFFF&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=pilort-21&o=2&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&asins=0749453109
Making Sense of Change Management
by Esther Cameron and Mike Green
An easy-to-read and browse through collection of the main models associated with personal and organisational change. Coupled with examples of how they have been applied, they provide a good reminder that there is not a one-size-fits all approach to leading through change.
http://rcm-uk.amazon.co.uk/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=FFFFFF&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=pilort-21&o=2&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&asins=1847673155

The Decisive Moment
by Jonah Lehrer
Good mix of physiology and psychology and lots and lots of stories. Will keep you entertained while encouraging you to think about how you use (or not) your instinct, emotions and rational thought.
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The Happiness Hypothesis

by Jonathan Haidt

A wonderful and structured concoction of sociology, religion,psychology, biology and personal reflection. By presenting
findings of his own and others’ studies, Haidt presents some
answers to questions about human behaviour in relationships: why some times we appear completely selfless, why certain
human bonds are made… His ideas are easy to understand and, more importantly, well supported.

My favourite Crime books are those populated with strong characters. I’m mostly entertained by the range created by Andrea Camillieri and the squad headed by Montalbano (named after Vazquez Montalban, the Spanish crime writer). I’m always searching for new “personalities”, so feel do feel free to introduce new (and old!) detectives through this blog. Here are some of my recent reads.

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The Lincoln Lawyer & The Brass Verdict

by Michael Connelly

“Sleuths”: Mickey Haller, Harry Bosch

Mickey is the Lincoln Lawyer, conducting all his business out of his car. Harry Bosch is a detective, protagonist of many of Connelly’s books, who joins Micky in The Brass Verdict.

When Connelly writes about Haller’s adventures, I always feel like I’m watching a film noir, or a Marlowe film – his books are contemporary and yet they do have a classic feel to them.

Dames, organised crime, corruption, gun shots, backstabbing, these books have got it all. And in The Brass Verdict, with the introduction of Harry Bosch, I didn’t know whose side I was on anymore.

http://rcm-uk.amazon.co.uk/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=FFFFFF&IS2=1&npa=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=pilort-21&o=2&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&asins=0752883631 Set in Darkness

by Ian Rankin

“Sleuth”: Chief Inspector John Rebus

My favourite Rebus so far. A labyrinth type case with a whole group of characters (the family involved in the case; the team of detectives assigned to them; the criminals). Siobhan gets to lead her own investigation and Rebus gets to ride in a car with Gafferty.

Easy to read (as always), compelling, full of dark humour and set in Edinburgh – I do love that city!

 http://rcm-uk.amazon.co.uk/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=FFFFFF&IS2=1&npa=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=pilort-21&o=2&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&asins=8408057138

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Muertos de papel

by Alicia Giménez Bartlett

“Sleuth”: Inspectora Petra Delicado

I wanted to discover a new Spanish crime author and was pleased to find one who had a female detective as protagonist. There is no glamour in Petra, giving it a real rough, “Spanish” feeling.  This novel is set against the contrasting world of fashion magazines – always fun to witness the culture clash between the down to earth police and the more floaty fashion world. 
I really enjoyed Petra and being allowed into her thoughts about life, not just the case. In this book we also get a glimpse into her personal life. 

If you have never heard of this crime series (and you can read Spanish) then I thoroughly recommend this book.

El silencio de los claustros
 

“Sleuth”: Inspectora Petra Delicado

Quite entertaining – an interesting balance between the case at hand and Petra’s new family life. No subtlety on the author’s views on the Catholic church!