I put together a list of five must read books this Summer:

  • We Are The Lucky Ones’ by Georgia Hunter. “It is the spring of 1939, and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows ever closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships facing Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurc family will be flung to the far corners of the earth, each desperately trying to chart his or her own path toward safety”. This book is the proof that although sometimes we must put our plans and dreams on hold, we should never give up from those which are worthy.
  • Swimming With Sharks’ by Joris Luyendijk. ‘Joris Luyendijk, an investigative journalist, knew as much about banking as the average person: almost nothing. Bankers, he thought, were ruthless, competitive, bonus-obsessed sharks, irrelevant to his life. And then he was assigned to investigate the financial sector.

Joris immersed himself in the City for a few years, speaking to over 200 people – from the competitive investment bankers and elite hedge-fund managers to downtrodden back-office staff, reviled HR managers and those made redundant in the regular ‘culls’. Breaking the strictly imposed code of secrecy and silence, these insiders talked to Joris about what they actually do all day, how they see themselves and what makes them tick. They opened up about the toxic hiring and firing culture. They confessed to being overwhelmed by technological and mathematical opacity. They admitted that when Lehman Brothers went down in 2008 they hoarded food, put their money in gold and prepared to evacuate their children to the countryside. They agreed that nothing has changed since the crash.

Joris had a chilling realisation. What if the bankers themselves aren’t the real enemy? What if the truth about global finance is more sinister than that?

This is a gripping work of reportage about the time bomb at the heart of our society.’ The book gives some fascinating facts and gives a fresh perspective that only an outsider can do.

  • The Lean Start-Up’ by Eric Ries. ‘Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.

The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.

Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs – in companies of all sizes – a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in an age when companies need to innovate more than ever.’

  • The Magic of Thinking Big’ by David Schwartz. ‘The Magic of Thinking Big gives you useful methods, not empty promises. Dr. Schwartz presents a carefully designed program for getting the most out of your job, your marriage and family life, and your community. He proves that you don’t need to be an intellectual or have innate talent to attain great success and satisfaction, but you do need to learn and understand the habit of thinking and behaving in ways that will get you there.’ Forbes called it one of the greatest self-help books.
  • Hire the Right Virtual Assistant’ by Melissa Smith. ‘Why are you doing EVERYTHING yourself? What would you do if you had even one more hour a day devoted solely to growing your business and making more money? Virtual assistants will make your life easier by taking the stress out of your business life. As a small business owner, you need more time so you can make more money and stay competitive in an ever-changing world. If you’re spending less than 70 percent of your time on work that doesn’t generate revenue, isn’t building relationships, or isn’t creating new products, then you’re not spending enough time on your business. It means you’re spending too much time in your business. This book will show you why Virtual Assistance (VA) is the answer. Hire the Right Virtual Assistant is the complete guide to:
  • Know what a VA is and how they differ from Executive Assistants.
  • Understand the benefits and need of a VA – it’s more than just outsourcing.
  • Hiring the right VA the first time in less time than you think.
  • Finally, be able to use the VA right away to make the biggest impact in your business and free up your time. If you had time right now to work on your business instead of in it, what could you do? Could you make a sale? Visit a client and earn more business? Make another 20 calls a day to land more clients? Work the pipeline? Network? Think about your proven method to gain more clients. Using that method, how many more clients could you have if you had more time? This is where you put a VA to work for you. They work in your business so you can work on your business. I promise that hiring a VA will be the best decision you make for your business. You will get back your time.’ A fantastic book with interesting insights on how the virtual world of business can improve the way you run your business. Take the next step – hire a VA!