Something incredible happened in our house last week. My 10-year-old son's homework for the summer holidays was to read at least four books. Initially, this was a challenge to even get started, but he is now well into his third book and this appears to have caught on. I must clarify, this isn't using a kindle - no screens - at all - bliss! I mean reading a proper book, with pages, and getting stuck in.
The pile of books by my bed has steadily grown over the past 18 months, with barely a page being turned, I am sure many people can relate to this! I was an avid reader pre-children, and as a child, I was a complete bookworm, however as soon as my two arrived, reading was put on the back burner, and I favoured grabbing as much sleep as I could, when I could, as soon as my head hit the pillow, I slept. Having your own business and having babies is always a challenge as you return to work (I returned to work two weeks after having both my children). With working full time and running a business, reading is a luxury and I found it almost impossible. However, at Kingsley HQ just over a year ago, we started our first book club. This really sparked an interest in reading again for me. Whilst I may not have committed to this religiously over the past year, there has definitely been a change in the Kingsley household this summer, even to the point whereby reading has become competitive!
My son and I are racing to finish our current books by Wednesday, he is reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid and is even taking himself off to bed early and reading. Not a PlayStation In site, it’s absolutely wonderful to see. He is excited about the books and talks about what is happening in the chapters. My eight-year-old daughter has also caught the bug and is now a third of the way through Mr Stink after a couple of weeks battle with regards to getting her to read she has her first book well underway and is thoroughly enjoying it. As a working Mum, it’s all too easy to allow tech to occupy our children’s time, whilst we plough through emails and calls. This comes in the week that revealed we spend a shocking 24 hours a week on our mobiles!!!! So, I am on a mission to lead by example, but more to the point, I am really enjoying reading again.
So I thought I would share with you my five recommended reads for busy business leaders, if you are looking for inspiration and motivation then look no further.
My first summer read, was Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters
"This is a powerful model for freeing up entrepreneurial visionaries to do what they do best. Gino & Mark provide a practical game plan for building an organization that perfectly combines vision and integration."
Be More Pirate by Sam Conniff Allende
"I'd rather be a pirate than join the Navy" Steve Jobs. The book unveils the innovative strategies of Golden Age pirates, drawing parallels between tactics and teachings of legends like Henry Morgan and Blackbeard with modern rebels, like Elon Musk, Malala and Banksy.
Secrets of Success; None of Us Are Superman by Sane Seven
In this book, 33 very different business leaders from Liverpool share their experiences and observations about what they think makes someone a success. Compare and contrast your views with those who have boasted revenues of over £1bn, become household names, amassed dream-like wealth, or headed international brands like Tesco, Liverpool FC, Rolls Royce and Bentley. Find out what pitfalls lay ahead on your way to success. Learn from the experiences of other entrepreneurs, business executives, philanthropists, and leaders of thought.
Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord
Patty McCord's is the former head of HR at Netflix and co-creator of the ‘Netflix Culture Deck’. Here she writes a compelling account of the culture that made Netflix succeed.
Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker, the Cambridge Neuroscientist.
I love sleeping and feel better for it, as we all do, but I also find it incredibly frustrating, as it's such a huge waste of time! In the book Matthew Walker reasons that sleep makes us more intelligent, more attractive, slimmer, happier and healthier – it is even said to prevent cancer… so I thought I should add it to my list!