Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Holiday Book Review

Regular readers of my blog will know that my holidays are a time for me to catch up on my reading. The weeks before I go away I build up a store of books on my iPad and work my way through them. I am not a fan of fiction but enjoy reading peoples stories, particularly related to business.

On this holiday we have travelled to Gran Canaria again.  We always go for the hotels which are full of Germans as you are guaranteed good service.  This time the hotel has a wider European feel...it must be that everyone in Europe is ready for a break.

My reading this holiday has been eclectic to say the least.  I have read Shaun Ryders autobiography, Karen Brady and Anita Roddick’s story, as well as Boomerang and a book by Alastair Campbell.

The Shaun Ryder book is an amazing story, however there is a theme throughout.  He spent at least 20 years up to his eyes on drugs.  Clearly he had a tough upbringing and was a product of his background.  The story has a happy ending however as he has clearly met a woman who looks after him and he is now focused on important things in life, rather than only drugs.

The Alastair Campbell book talks about happiness and his fight with depression.  I am a fan of Alastair Campbell as I think he has a brilliant mind.  A really thought provoking book.

I also read boomerang which is a must read.  It is an up to date view of the impact the banking collapse has had across the globe.  It covers Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Germany and America.

When you follow the stories it is unbelievable that we let this happen.  In Iceland you had fishermen becoming corporate bankers with no experience.  Our government recommended that our local authorities invest in this country.  Unbelievable.

The story in Ireland is a little different in that the government made a huge mistake in underwriting the banks debt and ultimately crippled the whole country.  The German story is that they invested in all of these countries and therefore couldn't possibly let them fail.

The Greek story is the most unbelievable.  They lied their way into the Euro by creative accounting and took full advantage once they were in by borrowing and spending more.  They overpaid public sector workers and didn't collect their taxes.

Boomerang is a great book, a quick read which you will find fascinating.

I also read the Karen Brady story as well as the Anita Roddick story.  It's a coincidence that I ended up reading about two successful business women.  Karen Brady is a really driven individual and clearly a workaholic and a great business woman.  I would imagine she has had to make many sacrifices and only time what the impact will be in years to come as the relationship with her children develops.

Anita Roddick’s couldn't be more different.  I think her success happened by accident.  She was clearly a very spiritual lady and driven by her values.

The book was written in 2000 and it wasn't long after this that she sadly died.  When you read the book now, she was clearly way ahead of her time.  All of the things companies such as M&S and Sainsbury’s are doing now in relation to the environment, she was promoting 15 years ago.

There have been several other books, all too sad to mention, but a good mix on this holiday.  The benefit of the iPad is you can take 20 books without having to worry about your luggage allowance!

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