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What We're Reading...


CAMERON'S PICK LET MY PEOPLE GO SURFING BY YVON CHOUINARD


Let My People Go Surfing by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard is the kind of auto-biography by a business leader with a unique perspective that I love. The book describes the evolution of Patagonia over the last 45 years from small climbing equipment manufacturer to the leading sustainable apparel company. Perhaps it’s not surprising that Patagonia’s goal is to “make the best product”, but learning about the way they constantly push themselves in pursuit of that goal could easily be applied to any business. Chouinard also offers thoughts on simple ways to factor the climate into business decisions that feels very timely.


When to read: When feeling productive on a flight


TANIA'S PICK

POOR ECONOMICS

BY E.DUFLO & A.BANERJEE


This year’s Nobel Prize for economics was awarded to the authors of one of my favourite books Poor Economics by Esther Duflo (only the second woman to win the prize) and Abhijit Banerjee. The prize reminded me of how much I loved this book when I read it, so much so that I did the accompanying course on EDX. The book focuses on the decision-making of those living on less than a dollar a day, and the behavioural economic techniques that help to understand real-world decision-making at its most critical. It's an important read if you want to understand human behaviours, especially those around financial management and insurance and the challenges of living in poverty.


When to read: On the bus into work


EMILY'S PICK TURNING THE MIND INTO AN ALLEY BY SAKYONG MIPHAM


Sakyong Mipham's Eastern philosophy is adapted for a Western audience who are engaged or interested in advancing their meditation practice. Derived from a Bhuddist school known as Shambala, Mipham reveals the reasons we feel discontentment and unhappiness in life, ways in which we can understand the true nature of the mind and how we can alleviate ourselves from harmful thought patterns through clarity of mind. Meditation has been an integral part of my life since I was 18, and this book has helped to transform my practice and understanding of how to effectively use this in my daily life. I've been recommending this book to family and friends ever since!


When to read: One to dip in and out of. . .


CLARE'S PICK EDUCATED BY TARA WESTOVER


I’ve read in the last 5 years. This is the author’s true story of being raised by parents preparing for the End of Days, who did not believe in school. It covers how she got her education (ending up at Cambridge!) as well as the turmoil of her family relationships. I found it fascinating to examine how a person learns without the traditional school structure and without the help of others. Tara's transition to college and all the things we take for granted in our approach to learning was both enthralling and enlightening. It’s beautifully written and although I recoiled at some of the excruciating things that happened in her family, it is also full of hope.


When to read: Train to work


LUKE'S PICK THE UNEXPECTED TRUTH ABOUT ANIMALS BY LUCY COOKE


On the surface, a book about animals, their lives and unique biologies may seem like a laboriously dry read. The Unexpected Truth About Animals however is a surprisingly humorous and entertaining book by Zoologist Lucy Cooke. The book blends expert knowledge of the animal kingdom with a fluid and clever writing style. Cooke’s description of the bizarre and unique lives of these distinct animals will have you gasping with awe and laughing out loud. The author's love of animals and true fascination with their peculiar inner workings jumps off the page. Not only will you learn a lot, you will also have a great time in the process. The book reads more like a pithy New Yorker article rather than a text book.


When to read: At bedtime


ELISA'S PICK REINVENTING ORGANIZATIONS BY FREDERIC LALOUX

This book shows wonderfully different ways of thinking about company structures and how to reinvent them in more sustainable ways, considering their social impact and cultural upbringing. It’s no news that nowadays a large number of organisations struggle to be productive, profitable and sustainable. Often they’re a place where employees feel neglected or micromanaged, so clearly there’s a need of a new structure and Laloux tries to find answers in a creative and fun way. His absurd analysis might be what we need to start thinking outside the box.


When to read: On my journey into uni

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