Start With Why?

This article is part of a series of blog posts reviewing our list of top non-fiction titles. These are the books that are being read by large groups in The Pigeonhole’s Company Book Clubs (click for more information). Our carefully curated list includes titles on technology, wellness, psychology, politics, geopolitics, the workplace and the economy. Expect a new post showcasing our ever expanding list twice a month.

The Relevance

A blind acceptance of the status quo, or at least a very short-sighted acceptance, has historically been endemic. This is not so surprising: in the post-Kuhn world of thought, we can recognise without difficulty the fact that views, once established, are tenacious. The company or individual that can rise above this, however, enters a world of opportunity: it is at this point that Simon Sinek enters.

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How dinner time makes and breaks leaders

This article is part of a series of blog posts reviewing our list of top non-fiction titles. These are the books that are being read by large groups in The Pigeonhole’s Company Book Clubs (click for more information). Our carefully curated list includes titles on technology, wellness, psychology, politics, geopolitics, the workplace and the economy. Expect a new post showcasing our ever expanding list twice a month.

Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek

The Relevance

It is a truth universally acknowledged that people dread Mondays. It is on Mondays that people return to work— and work is, well, work. It often isn’t enjoyed. In fact, as Sinek notes, the Deloitte Shift Index finds that an enormous eighty per cent of people are dissatisfied with their jobs. Why?

It is this deeply important question that Sinek’s book, in a very engaging way, answers. It is a book packed full of inspirational accounts of people who take their work seriously while being willing to empathise. In so doing these leaders of their groups, companies, and fields help others to attain levels of happiness and productivity for which they could not previously even hope.

It is a book useful to anybody, at every level and every point in a career— but especially to those who lead, or who have aspirations to lead.

The Story

‘Returning from work feeling inspired, safe, fulfilled and grateful is a natural human right to which we are entitled and not a modern luxury that only a few lucky ones are able to find’, or so claims Sinek. From a vast range of businesses and industries, Sinek draws together a collage of workplace environments which were, previously, draining— but then changed. From each, he extracts the kernel of its success.

A close look at the culture in the Marines brings to light the knowledge that in a successful group, empathy is present and the workers trust their leaders; Sinek illustrates how this can be achieved. From an account of Barry-Wehmiller’s acquisition of the struggling HayssenSandiacre, Sinek demonstrates the importance of a consideration of workers’ sense of self-worth, and of the importance of an executive’s willingness to listen and act on their concerns.

Time and again, Sinek succeeds in lucidly demonstrating that companies willing to inspire workers’ affection, and to do so by listening to them and making small but reasonable sacrifices, become more successful than they previously were. They gain a better employee retention rate, become more profitable, and are more productive.

The Creator

Simon Sinek is the embodiment of the modern multicultural thinker. He has lived in London, Johannesburg, Hong Kong and the United States, and his academic background, having studied Law at London and Anthropology at Brandeis, has given him an ideal standpoint from which to analyse human interactions and systems. He has experience at Ogilvy & Mather, has taught Strategic Communications at Columbia University, and has also consulted for Disney, Microsoft, Pfizer and the US Military. His TED talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action, viewed nearly forty million times, is the third most popular of all time.

If you are interested in a Company Book Club through The Pigeonhole please contact Laurence@thepigeonhole.com to arrange a consultation.

How to be Radically Candid

Radical Candor by Kim Scott

The Relevance

Having a horrible boss can make you feel bad… but being a horrible boss can feel even worse. Berating other members of your team is exhausting and counter-productive. So how do you get the most out of your team without becoming a monster? Kim Scott thinks she has the solution: radical candor. Her unique approach involves pruning your management style down until it reflects the best aspects of your personality.

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A Novel Way to Teach

The Spy, The Renegade, The Rogue

The Spy, The Renegade, The Rogue is the debut thriller by Robert de Casares on The Pigeonhole

The Relevance

While the majority of company book clubs we run focus on the pressing issues of the political and business world, often companies are keen to help colleagues wind down and escape from the day-to-day pressures of professional life. Promoting a reading culture can help to create empathy between colleagues, as well as improving levels of happiness and productivity. Introducing books that go beyond the transmission of topical ideas and arguments, and engage readers on an emotional and human level, can have huge effects on the wellbeing of companies and their employees.

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How the People Around Us Shape Everything We Do

This post is part of a series of blog posts reviewing our list of top non-fiction titles. These are the books that are being read by large groups in The Pigeonhole’s Company Book Clubs (click for more information). Our carefully curated list includes titles on technology, wellness, psychology, politics, geopolitics, the workplace and the economy. Expect a new post showcasing our ever expanding list twice a month.

The Power of Others by Michael Bond

Published by Oneworld Publications pp.300. Buy here.

The Relevance

Forming a life as an individual is a fundamental part of the human experience. It is ingrained in all of us that being unique is to be cherished, and a comment from others about our individuality is a clear-as-mud compliment. It is seen as less enriching to be told “Wow, you look and behave in an extremely similar way to your entire peer group” and yet, on the whole, people spend much more time trying to fit in, trying to say normal things, trying not to walk around naked in public, than they do trying to stand out.

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Chinese Whispers – Ben Chu demystifies China

This post is part of a series of blog posts reviewing our list of top non-fiction titles. These are the books that are being read by large groups in The Pigeonhole’s Company Book Clubs (click for more information). Our carefully curated list includes titles on technology, wellness, politics, geopolitics, the workplace and the economy. Expect a new post showcasing our ever expanding list twice a month.

Chinese Whispers by Ben Chu

Published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson, pp. 288. Buy here.

The Relevance

Alongside artificial intelligence, workplace well-being, and innovation, the rise and rise of China is one of the most popular themes in The Pigeonhole’s Company Book Club. The traditional western superpowers now have to think about their irrepressible competitors in the east, and in particular the most populous country on the planet; a phoenix that has risen from the ashes of Mao’s disastrous ‘Great Leap Forward’ to become one of the most industrialised and productive economies in the world.

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The Panama Papers

 

The Panama Papers – Bastian Obermayer & Frederik Obermaier

This is the third article in our new series about the books that are currently popular in our company book clubs. This carefully curated list includes titles that focus on technology, wellness, politics, the workplace and the economy. To check out the service offering and book a consultation click here. Continue reading The Panama Papers

The Rise of the Robots

This is the second article in our new series about the books that are currently popular in our company book clubs. This carefully curated list includes titles that focus on technology, wellness, politics, the workplace and the economy. To check out the service offering and book a consultation click here.

 

The Relevance

Currently our most read nonfiction title, The Rise of the Robots unpacks the rapid progress of the AI revolution and has become, definitively, the must-read title of the genre. Not only are Martin Ford’s hypotheses diligently researched, convincing, accessible, and couched in elegant prose – they are almost completely inarguable and are required reading for all professionals, especially those concerned with strategy, HR, and innovation. Readers are challenged to think creatively in the face of this brave new information, and construct a world in which human labour – and in particular the middle classes –can remain necessary and valuable.

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A Very Expensive Poison

This is the first article in our new series about the books that are currently popular with our company book clubs. This carefully curated list includes titles that focus on technology, wellness, politics, the workplace and the economy. Expect a new post showcasing the highlights once a fortnight. To check out the service offering and book a consultation click here.

A Very Expensive Poison by Luke Harding

The Relevance

You don’t need to be interested in Russia, international relations, or security to enjoy Luke Harding’s investigative masterpiece; the unveiling of London as a playground for spies and a hotbed for murder and deceit is more than enough to keep you gripped. Russia has always been a major player on the international political scene – never more so than now. With America undergoing a process of redefining its foreign policy on a scale not seen for generations, and the UK in the throes of their own identity crisis, understanding the internal machinations of the Russian authorities and gaining an insight into the scarcely believable manner in which lethal powers are passed down the hierarchy, is both politically relevant and makes for a enthralling narrative. In our reading groups Harding’s book has prompted lengthy debate and it continues to be a popular selection for our clients and their colleagues.

The Story

More than ten years have passed since the death of Alexander Litvinenko – ample time for Luke Harding to piece together how two blundering assassins executed their somewhat rudimentary plan with the most expensive (and toxic) of poisons. Having offended the Russian government and Vladimir Putin in particular, Litvinenko sought sanctuary in London, where he received a sizable monthly stipend from the sometime-charitable oligarch and friend, Boris Berezovsky – a man whose monthly expenditure regularly exceeded $1 million. But rather than ensuring a safe distance between him and his former employers, Litvinenko was still exposed to the wrath of his riled compatriots.

The meat of Harding’s book, after the steady and careful scene-setting of the early chapters, occurs in the final third, when – after a couple of bungled attempts – two of history’s less capable hitmen make their final play. The incompetence and plain ignorance of the two men entrusted with a substance that left poisonous traces throughout west London, is – frankly – terrifying; as is Litvinenko’s chilling awareness, in the immediate aftermath of the assassin’s plot, that he had been poisoned.

The Creator

Luke Harding is perfectly placed to narrate events concerning corruption at the heart of the Russian state, having been a victim of their unscrupulous methods himself. During years spent living and reporting in Moscow as a foreign correspondent, Harding frequently found himself on the wrong side of the authorities and was subjected to intimidation and threats as comeuppance for unflattering articles he had written – an experience he catalogues in one of his previous books. Harding positions the murder of Litvinenko as the centrepiece of Russia’s broader incursions on the West, providing insight, and perhaps warning, of what is to come. This nuanced account of what is, at its heart, one family’s tragedy, makes for essential and captivating reading. Following our book groups, Luke is open to hosting events and Q&A sessions with the readers.

More details on our company book clubs can be found here. Please contact laurence@thepigeonhole.com to discuss options for your own reading group.

November’s Pigeonhole Transmission

Juliet Jacques photographed at the Close-Up Film Centre, East London by Pal Hansen for the Observer New Review.

November is going to be an exciting month at The Pigeonhole as we launch our serialisation of Juliet Jacques’ Trans: A Memoir. A few weeks ago, I raced through this unflinching look at what it means to be transgender in 2016 and the innumerable physical, social and psychological barriers people in transition have to go through to reach their long-awaited destination; a destination which, as the closing words of the memoir suggest, is less a destination than a starting point, from which life can then begin: ‘I let go of the mouse, drummed my fingers on my desk and then gently reclined into my chair, letting the day go by.’

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