KWC’s “Must Reads” as we celebrate World Book Day
Today marks the 23rd year of World Book Day – a day dedicated to encouraging everyone to enjoy reading. The benefits of reading, aside from being a form of mindfulness where you focus all of your attention on the storybook world you have entered, include increasing your vocabulary and knowledge as well as sharpening your memory.
We asked Team KWC to tell us about their recommended reads. Here’s how we got on.
Who: Matt Wardrop, Client Relationship Manager
What: Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
Why: This book had me hooked! No matter how big or small, we all have things in life which make us anxious, and the way Matt Haig writes about his own experiences draws you in all the way through the book.
This is a really easy read to pick up and put down as you please – it definitely inspired me to take action and be the best version of myself.
Who: Julie McHugh, Client Services Manager
What: On the Frontline with Women Who Fight Back by Stacey Dooley
Why: I couldn’t recommend this book highly enough although I have to point out; it’s one of the toughest books I have ever read. The women featured in this book are quite simply inspirational – it’s a thought provoking collection of stories about strength and resilience.
Stacey Dooley dedicates each chapter to some of the remarkably brave women she has interviewed, all over the world, who have faced extreme hardships and abuse. Stacey speaks directly to the women, as well as their abusers, about the unimaginable horrors they have endured because of their gender and where they were born in the world. It deals with some hard hitting situations, from war zones and kidnap, honor killings, child trafficking and some of the world's toughest female prisons. It was empowering to understand that put in a tough situation, Stacey isn't afraid to seek out the truth and ask the difficult questions.
I was lucky enough to attend #conversationswithstaceydooley when she toured last month and she was exactly as I had hoped - incredibly humble and compassionate, with a fierce passion for justice, qualities I applaud and aspire to.
Who: Victoria Russell, Principal Consultant
What: The Tree of Yoga: The Definitive Guide to Yoga in Everyday Life by B.K.S. Lyengar
Why: B.K.S. Lyengar is one world’s most respected and renowned yoga teachers. In this book, he teaches you how using a tree as a structural metaphor for both life and yoga practice, it can guide the way to achieving a long, healthy and happy life.
Who: Michael Fleming, Training Director and Head of KWC Legal
What: Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman
Why: Martin Seligman is the godfather of the positive psychology movement and a top Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. This book is crammed full of potentially transformational stuff. It’s about fixing your attitude to life. You can’t always avoid some of the crap that will come your way in life.
But you can (and I’m not saying it’s easy) choose your attitude to it. I talk about this a lot in sessions with lawyers and other professionals about how they can make their business development efforts more effective. But the benefits of an optimistic way of thinking go way beyond helping you to be a star performing “Rainmaker”. It’s all about paying more attention to the inner dialogue – the little voice in all of our heads - and making sure you check in with reality and assess whether it’s being overly catastrophic. Working on this can help you to be more resilient when things go wrong and to get more of a lift when things go right.
Who: Russell Wardrop, Co-Founder and CEO
What: I have Three Perfect Reads…
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, by Patrick Süskind is a beautifully crafted story of mass murder, set in foetid France, juxtaposed with the olfactory alchemy of scent making. The premise is surreal and ending astonishing as anti-hero Grenouille Seeks to create the perfect scent. Find out for yourself what he needs to fill the bottle.
Richard Ford won the Pulitzer Prize for the second book in his trilogy about Frank Bascombe in Independence Day, but his first effort of the three, The Sportswriter, has a special place on my bookshelf. I was going through a torrid time and Ford’s precise, pitch-perfect, effortless prose catches precisely the pathos, mundanity and humour of a middle aged man trying to keep all the wheels on the bogey.
There are very few books that can truly be described as unique and ground breaking but Trainspotting is one. I am jealous if you have not read it. Once you get into the way of the language, which takes a while even for a Scot, you are in for a trip of a lifetime. Irvine Welsh spares us nothing of the chaos that is the lives of Begbie, Renton, Sick Boy and Spud. What gets me about Trainspotting every time l pick it up is the bravado, pace and unique way Welsh describes lives that were lived alongside my own in the late 20th Century.
Who: Richard Norris, Senior Consultant
What: I have a few recommendations…
There are a few books I often refer clients to. The first is Questions are the Answer by Alan Pease - the title says it all. The second is The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey by Ken Blanchard (all about delegation) and 7 Habits For Highly Effective People which has a focus on key disciplines for personal growth and success.
My own book is a great read too – written as an allegory, Hoof It! 7 Key Lessons on Your Journey of Success, provides a simple action plan for people to progress their success).