Tuesday, 1 September 2009

A Spot of Holiday Reading

After my adventures in Florida at the beginning of the summer, I quickly found myself in need of another holiday.

We have just returned from a trip to Madeira - a beautiful island and the home of Ronaldo!

As ever, my holidays give me the opportunity to catch up on my reading. My taste in reading materials are a little ‘anorak-ish’ but I thought I would try my hand at reviewing some of the books I read whilst I was away, as I don’t have much more to report on because I didn’t get much further than the swimming pool!

Leading from the Front: My Story. Gerald Ronson

The first book I read was the story of Gerald Ronson who heads up the Ronson Group, which was a very successful business in the 70s and 80s. It ran petrol stations whilst more recently the group has become an international property developer.

Gerald Ronson is now aged 74 and is still working a 6-day week! His story is fascinating and takes you through how he grew a business, lost it all, and then grew it back again. He was infamously involved in the Guinness shares trial and ultimately ended up spending time in prison. He gives an interesting account of his life, how he shaped his future and what is important to him.

His family and community are a large part of his life and he has spent much of his time supporting Jewish charities over his 60 years in business. He is so matter of fact about the people he has met, from royalty to celebrities, many of whom became his friends. His company crashed in the last recession and after some poor investments in America, he was forced to sell large parts of his equity.

He continues to run the business on a day-to-day basis and is now the grandfather of property development in the UK - seen it all and done it all.

This was a fantastic read especially with the focus on development and the economy. Clearly, Gerald Ronson puts his family and his community at the top of his priority list and he clearly demonstrates how you can have success yet still share with others.

Common Sense Rules. Deborah Meaden

Out of the current five dragons on Dragons Den, four of them have written autobiographies. I have now read all four after reading the recently published, book by Deborah Meaden.
This is a fairly light business book giving common sense examples of how to run a business, as well as examples of how Deborah Meaden grew her organisation and ultimately sold it to venture capitalists.

Much of the information is common sense but still useful by giving a brief insight to the author who is clearly an effective and focussed business manager. This is a quick read targeted at those who watch Dragons Den.

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