Recommended Books

Many of our entrepreneurs and guest speakers have cited business books as a source of their inspiration during our events. Some have even authored books of their own. Given the influence they've had on their success, we've taken the time to curate a list of those that have been recommended the most:

Let My People Go Surfing

by Yvon Chouinard
(Recommended by Andy Rubin, Pentland Brands)

In his long-awaited memoir, Yvon Chouinard-legendary climber, businessman, environmentalist, and founder of Patagonia Inc. shares the persistence and courage that have gone into being head of one of the most respected and environmentally responsible companies on earth.

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The Future Reinvented: Reimagining Life, Society, and Business: Volume 2

by Steve Wells

A guest speaker at our "Future of the Workplace" event, the second book in the Fast Future series explores how our notions of the future are being reinvented. The authors challenge us to reimagine how life, society, key industries, and the conduct of business could be transformed by a combination of radical technological, scientific, social, and economic developments shaping the decade ahead.

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Crucial Conversations: Tools For Talking When Stakes Are High

by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan & Switzler
(Ian Kinnery, Kinnery Limited)

The first edition of Crucial Conversations exploded onto the scene and revolutionised the way millions of people communicate when stakes are high. This new edition gives you the tools to prepare for high-stakes situations, transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue, make it safe to talk about almost anything, be persuasive, not abrasive.

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Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

by Jim Collins
(Recommended by Robert Forrester, Vertu Motors)

A blueprint for building organisations, by drawing upon a six-year research project at Stanford University, Collins and Porras took eighteen truly exceptional and long-lasting companies and studied each company in direct comparison to one of its top competitors. They examined the companies from their very beginnings to the present day - as start-ups, as midsize companies and as large corporations. Throughout, the authors asked: 'What makes the truly exceptional companies different from other companies?'

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Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: How I Turned Around IBM

by Louis V. Gerstner Jr

In his frank, direct voice, Gerstner recalls the obstacles he faced when he became CEO of IBM. In what has become one of the great American business stories of our time, within months of joining IBM, Gerstner presented his bold and controversial business strategy which revolutionised the company from within, altering an entire corporate culture, divesting billions of dollars in unneeded assets and transforming IBM from a fractured, process-driven business into a nimble, customer-driven enterprise able to respond quickly to the volatile technology market.

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Work Rules: Insights from Inside Google

by Lazlo Bock
(Recommended by Robert Forrester, Vertu Motors)

A compelling manifesto with the potential to change how we work and live, Work Rules! offers both a philosophy of the new world of work and a blueprint for attracting the most spectacular talent and ensuring the brightest and best prosper. The way we work is changing - are you?

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Team Spirit

by Brendan Hall
(Recommended by Simon Hartley, Be World-class)

At first glance, you may not see how a book with an ocean racing yacht on the cover might help business people. Yes, it is a story of how team spirit won the Clipper Round the World race. However, it is fundamentally about teamwork and leadership, with Brendan Hall sharing his internal wrestles and personal challenges as a leader; his worries, doubts, failures and sleepless nights.

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The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

by Stephen R. Covey
(Recommended by Ian Kinnery, Team Massive Results)

In the follow up to the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, FDr Covey introduces the four roles of the new leader - modelling, pathfinding, aligning and empowering - and how those qualities can change you and your organisation. He discusses how trust can be lost throughout organisations and how it is imperative that any organisation bring trust back to the company if it is to survive. Covey also shows how to go from what he calls a 'want to' person to a 'can do' person and how doing so can completely transform people and organisations.

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Small Giants

by Bo Burlingham
(Recommended by Simon Hartley, Be World-class)

There are some truly world-class businesses that are not corporations, not listed in the FTSE 250 or global multi-nationals. This book inspires small businesses to be true greats.

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Legacy

by James Kerr

Members of the Forum had the privilege of hearing from James in 2014 when he talked about a unique opportunity to go deep inside the New Zealand rugby All Blacks camp to study the way the best in the world stay on top of their game. His subsequent book, Legacy, has become a must-read business book, sharing the 15 pillars of the team's sporting culture of success that can be transferred to business and leadership.

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The Speed of Trust

by Stephen M.R. Covey
(Recommended by Ian Kinnery, Kinnery Limited)

Definitely a life-changing book for Ian personally, the subtitle 'The One Thing That Changes Everything' tells you all you need to know.

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Elite!: The Secret to Exceptional Leadership and Performance

by Floyd Woodrow
(Recommended by Simon Hartley, Be World-class)

In Elite!, friend of the Forum Floyd gets right to the heart of leadership and identifies the little things that make a huge difference. He tells a story of two SAS units, operating behind enemy lines in Iraq. Both have very similar missions, with similar resources available. One succeeds, despite encountering some extreme and unexpected challenges. The other fails. What was the one defining difference? Leadership!

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How to Develop Character

by Simon Hartley

The greatest sports teams often recruit people first and players second. They also develop character in people before skills in players. The world's best organisations go beyond teaching skills and knowledge. They know that the challenges of today require personal characteristics such as resilience, tenacity and composure, honesty integrity and courage. In short, they know the importance of having people with the right character.

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The New One Minute Manager

by Ken Blanchard
(Recommended by Ian Kinnery, Kinnery)

Great for people who don't like reading. It will take 90 minutes cover to cover, but it is a lifetime thick in wisdom. Every manager should read this.

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Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...and Why The Rest Don't

by Verne Harnish

The guidebook for the Gazelle coaching in our Scale-up Leader's Academy, Verne Harnish's book is packed full of wisdom, examples, practical tools and exercises you can do with your team to build a clear vision and put the right disciplines in place to make it a reality.

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The Fifth Discipline

by Peter M. Senge
(Recommended by Ian Kinnery, Kinnery Limited)

Ostensibly this book is about creating a learning organisation, but its wisdom goes much further than that, particularly regarding simple and complex systems. The author defines five business "disciplines" which help to build "learning organisations". These companies will be the successful ones in the coming decade because of their ability to learn and to absorb new ideas, theories and practices at all employee levels, using them to competitive advantage.

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Keys To Success

by Sir John Timpson

Sir John Timpson returned to speak to Entrepreneurs' Forum members at our 2018 conference. His previous books include Ask John (Icon, 2014) and High Street Heroes (Icon, 2015), with Keys to Success his most recently published book, which shares 50 secrets from a business maverick who has revolutionised how his firm works with his philosophy of upside-down management.

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Conscious Capitalism

by John Mackey & Raj Sisodia
(Recommended by Andy Rubin, Pentland Brands)

This book combines the thinking of the founder of Whole Foods and a leading business academic. It helps us all think about the trade-offs that occur in business every day by trying to optimise returns to all stakeholders. It helps us understand that a new balanced scorecard should take into account all stakeholders if we are to build a sustainable world for future generations.

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

by Stephen R. Covey
(Recommended by Robert Forrester, Vertu Motors)

Stephen Covey's book took the self-help market by storm in 1990 and has enjoyed phenomenal sales ever since. With over 15m copies in print, the book has become a classic. Now a touchstone for millions of individuals, as well as for families and businesses, the integrated, principle-centred 7 Habits philosophy has helped people to find solutions to their personal and professional problems, and achieve a life characterised by fairness, integrity, honesty, and dignity.

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