From Churchill’s account of the Second World War to a page-turner about poker, Scotland’s bosses have packed some eclectic holiday reading material. Read on to find out their literary choices.
Jude Cook, co-founder and chief executive of ShareIn
I’ve just finished Zero to One by Peter Thiel and found it a great read. I’d watched the HBO TV show Silicon Valley and was intrigued to a read book written by the person Peter Gregory is based on. Lots of really great take away thoughts that have been rattling around my head since I finished it.
I’m not sure I should be confessing to this one, but The Professor, The Banker And The Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of all Time by Michael Craig is a total page-turner about the real life story of a huge poker game. I’m halfway through and totally gripped.
It’s been a while since a read it but I found The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz an excellent read. It had me crying within the first chapter. It’s a really open and honest book that had lots of food for thought. Totally loved it.
Marshall Dallas, chief executive of Edinburgh International Conference Centre
My main read this holiday is a book called How Music Works by David Byrne, frontman of Talking Heads.
David Byrne in my opinion is a musical legend and Talking Heads were a firm favourite of mine throughout my teenage years in the 1980s. Myself and five other close friends drove down in a transit van to Glastonbury Festival in the mid 80s to see Talking Heads and although extremely tired after a marathon journey, we were not disappointed. Glastonbury at that time was a much more intimate affair than it is now – no less fun though.
I think How Music Works looks like a great insight into Byrne’s thinking and about his plethora of collaborations with people like Brian Eno, the legendary music producer, singer, writer and artist.
Leah Hutcheon, founder and chief executive of Appointedd
I was so busy in the run-up to my summer holiday that I just had to grab books at the airport. My favourite read was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – it was gripping, with lots of twists and turns, and I read it in just a couple of days. When I ran out of books I also listened to quite a few TED talks by the pool – great for thinking about the business, and life in general, from a different perspective.
Murray McCall, managing partner of Anderson Strathern
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I found the TV series engrossing and felt compelled to buy the book. It charts the rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII and is a study in power. If the book is as good as the TV adaptation, I’ll follow it up by reading the sequel, Bring Up the Bodies.
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. I fell in love with this book when on holiday in Cuba. It’s short but brimming with ideas and colour and is a story of an old fisherman’s struggle to catch a large marlin. As a story of endurance in the face of all the odds, it is second to none.
John Peebles, chief executive of Administrate
I just finished Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey, the founder and chief executive of Whole Foods and it’s one of the best books I’ve read all year. It’s a brilliant and passionate defence of what true capitalism should be – thoughtful, humane, and honourable to all stakeholders. This approach to business that’s rooted by core values and aims to serve customers, employees, and investors equally and thoughtfully is something we aim for at Administrate and it was a thrilling experience to read about a host of super successful companies who have implemented this approach.
The second book I’m reading is Winston Churchill’s The Second World War, which is a six-volume account that heavily draws from primary sources – many of them letters to and from Churchill – and is a riveting and powerful insight into that experience. Churchill is an outstanding writer and he actually won the Nobel prize for literature for this work, and it’s easily the best thing I’ve ever read on the Second World War, and probably the best memoir I’ve ever read.
I also just finished Andre Agassi’s biography Open, and it was fantastic as well, even for someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy tennis.
Iain Valentine, managing partner at Whitespace
I am almost exclusively a non-fiction reader – and I love a self-help/business book – so whilst I do switch off about operational tasks, the holidays give me a chance to catch up on the business reading list and give some much-needed time to reflect on how we can continue to be better.
Plans so far include Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H Pink, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M Lencioni and The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters.