Best business insight of 2017 (so far)

When you’re addicted to business books, it can be difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff.  There’s always nuggets to be dug out. Or is that too many metaphors?

In 2017 so far, I’ve read eight business books. More than one a month and yet I’m still not a millionaire and about to retire. But the one book that’s provided the best insights so far?

How to Stand Out by Dr Rob Yeung

The insight which struck me in Rob Yeung’s How to Stand Out came in the conclusion. Page 218, if you’re checking.

He says: “Insight does not lead to improvement; it’s implementation that does.” Obvious. But sometimes we need reminding about the obvious. It’s no good having the best ideas in the world if you’re not following them through. And having too many ideas might be stopping me being successful – they’re not all getting implemented, or they’re all being half-implemented.

If, as Yeung also says: “it’s the application that matters”, then applying ideas one at a time is probably the way forward for most of us at the sharp end of small businesses. In my case, it’s also applying one metaphor at a time.

Taking that time to apply ideas and insights – implementation – is top of my To Do list for the rest of 2017.  I’d be interested to know where you’ve found your best insight so far in 2017. If you haven’t found one yet, give Yeung’s book a try – I have seven others I can recommend, if you’re stuck.



Another Day in the Death of America

No matter how many times Guardian journalist Gary Younge says his book ‘Another Day in the Death of America’ is not about gun control, the inescapable truth is that the power of the gun lobby has a great deal to answer for. As do we all, for the deaths explored in Younge’s book are not only caused by a single fatal bullet. These ’10 young lives lost to gun violence’ are largely in the wrong place at the wrong time, when they had little option to be elsewhere.

Most parents want the best for their children. Most of us do all we can to help them have better lives than we do ourselves. For some families, breaking out of the cycle of poverty and vulnerability is just impossible. Which is where inequality really comes in.

Younge talks about inequality a lot. He was born close to where I sit and write this and where I was growing up at the time, although a white girl in Hitchin almost certainly had a different life to a black boy in Stevenage. At 17, he taught English in a school in Sudan before university and training as a journalist. He’s an extraordinary writer and his experiences around the world – most recently in the States before returning to the UK – feed his writing. This is a man who’s not afraid to state his case and who displays a humanity when talking about these children. It’s a harrowing and thought-provoking book.

In his Afterword, Younge says: “People have to take personal responsibility for what they do and live with the consequences. But societies have to take collective responsibility for what they do and live with the consequences too.” In the days and weeks it took me to read this book, children were killed in Manchester, adults at London Bridge and many, many families in the Grenfell House fire. I hope we can take collective responsibility for it all.


Welcome to Torrents of Light

The inspiration for Torrents of Light comes from Mary Shelley and, specifically, ‘Frankenstein’. The novel still fascinates, 200 years after it was written and my intention is to seek out the music, literature, art and ideas which are new today but which will stand a similar test of time.

Frankenstein’s own torrent of light was a hoped-for breaking of bounds.

I’ll be featuring and reviewing as I come across inspiration and creativity. Wherever it lies. My passions have always been for music and literature, but I’ll be trying out new ideas, new art and even new food.

I hope you enjoy this discovery of all things creative, inspiring and innovative – please comment and send me any ideas you might have for features.

Let’s hope I’m not creating a monster.