Reading club

All the latest books to help the modern, upcoming chief executive in their day-to-day business schedule and busy personal life


Investment: An A-Z Guide
Philip Ryland
Economist Books – Profile Books

After the bubble burst, stockmarkets soared only to slump dramatically following the credit crunch that began in 2007, and led to a global financial crisis, highlighting the risks of different kinds of investments. The term ‘investment’ is used differently in economics and in finance. Economists refer to a real investment (such as a machine or a house), while financial economists refer to a financial asset, such as money that is put into a bank or the market, which may then be used to buy a real asset. Everyone wants to buy low and sell high – and get a healthy stream of income in between. But it is not easy to do so. Any strategy for investment requires an essential level of knowledge that goes beyond the basics. This guide provides just that – a clear and lively explanation of the complexities of investment principles and jargon.

The book includes appendices on the performance of different stock markets, over time, bond returns, leading equity markets, investment formulas and recommended reading.

Globalisation Laid Bare
Richard Branson
Gibson Square

In the past decade we reaped the benefits of unprecedented globalisation without much awareness or cost to ourselves. In September 2008, this changed when the easy flow of money around the world ceased. For the first time, globalisation turned into a phenomenon that all of us should understand.

How are our lives affected when, through international business, ideas, goods and money are adopted by other cultures? Introduced by Sir Richard Branson, Globalisation Laid Bare identifies the core insights that drive globalisation, and where we should look for answers and pitfalls.
It brings together much-needed and illuminating observations from world experts in the West and Asia, from former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to Ecofeminist Dr Vandana Shiva.

The Psychology of Success
Judith Leary-Joyce
Prentice Hall

Talented people don’t believe in reaching their peak – they live a life that crests on any number of new and different waves. Some of these peaks may be higher than others, some offer totally different challenges and rewards, but whatever stage of life they’re at, these successful people see no reason why they can’t fulfil their potential to reach a new high.

The Psychology of Success shows how you too can live a life of many peaks. By speaking to a wide range of people who have experienced both success and failure, Judith Leary-Joyce has uncovered the secrets of serial achievement. Some of these people have already achieved many different career and life peaks, some are still getting there and others have resigned themselves to never making it.

By drawing on these studies, and her extensive experience as a psychologist and business coach, Leary-Joyce sets out a clear path for readers to follow in the quest to live the most satisfying and rewarding life possible.

The Sages
Charles R Morris
Perseus Books

The violent disruptions of the past several years have toppled nearly all the lords of Wall Street, the global financial regulators and the economic gurus. While true believers of free-market fundamentalism oversaw the great asset bubble of 1995-2005, there were voices that warned of economic collapse. Among them, three men have stood out as beacons of sound judgement and wisdom: Warren Buffett, George Soros and Paul Volcker. Though their experiences and styles vary – Buffett is the canny stock market investor; Soros is the reader of shifting global tides in trade and currencies and Volcker is the regulator and governor – they have very much in common.

The careers of these three men are stories of success in volatile times. With the benefit of his own deep understanding of markets and finance, bestselling author Charles Morris analyses their records. In eminently readable prose, he distils their distinctive strategies, their wisdom and their experience – and argues for the importance of humility and common sense in navigating the current global economic crisis.

The Back of the Napkin
Dan Roam
Marshall Cavendish

Dan Roam helps businesses solve complex problems with visual thinking: his clients include Google, Microsoft, Fast Company, eBay, HBO and News Corp.
In The Back of the Napkin, he demonstrates how problem solving with pictures can help in the discovery and development of new ideas and dramatically improve our ability to share insights and information with others.

PowerPoint and Excel have their uses, but, as Roam argues, a simple drawing on the back of a humble napkin can be infinitely more effective. Pictures help us form and crystallise ideas, think ‘out of the box’ and make complex scenarios simple.

According to his website, Roam argues that everyone is born with a talent for visual thinking, even those who depend mainly on their left-brain analytical skills. Roam teaches business leaders how to look, see, imagine and show – with immediate results.

How The Mighty Fall
Jim Collins
Random House

Amidst the desolate landscape of fallen great companies, Jim Collins began to wonder: How do the mighty fall? Can decline be detected early and avoided? How far can a company fall before the path toward doom becomes inevitable and unshakable? How can companies reverse course?

In How The Mighty Fall, Collins confronts these questions, offering leaders the well-founded hope that they can learn on how to stave off decline and, if they find themselves falling, reverse their course. Collins’ research project – more than four years in duration – uncovered five step-wise stages of decline. Stage one: Hubris born of success, stage two: Undisciplined pursuit of more, stage three: Denial of risk and peril, stage four: Grasping for salvation and stage five: Capitulation to irrelevance or death.

By understanding these stages of decline, leaders can substantially reduce their chances of falling all the way to the bottom.

The Upside of the Downturn
Geoff Colvin
Nicholas Brealey

The current recession is a turning point into a new economic world, a world full of opportunity for those who understand what’s happening, why it’s happening, and what it means to them.

Some businesses – and some people – will emerge from this downturn stronger and more dominant than when it started. Others will weaken and fade. It all depends on critical choices they make right now.

Geoff Colvin, one of the world’s most respected business journalists, says even the scariest recession has an upside. The best managers know that conventional thinking won’t help them win in these tough times. They’re taking smart, practical steps that will not only keep them strong, but will also distance them from the pack for years to come.