Books and resources review

Written by: Alexander Garrett Posted: 26/04/2021


Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell
by John Preston (Viking, £18.99, hardback) 

A timely revisit of the life of the erstwhile press magnate, approaching the 30th anniversary of his disappearance over the side of his yacht. Captain Bob, owner of the Daily Mirror and New York Daily News, quickly attracted infamy after his death when it was revealed he had plundered the Mirror Group pension scheme. Yet his life was beyond fiction: growing up in a small village in the Czech Republic, losing most of his family at Auschwitz, becoming a war hero in the British Army, then founding a publishing empire second only to Rupert Murdoch. His funeral, attended by so many Israeli leaders, sparked speculation he had been a Mossad spy all along. Whether he jumped or fell is one question not resolved here.

BL72_books_Power MomsPower Moms: How Executive Mothers Navigate Work and Life
by Joann Lublin (HarperBus, £21.94, hardback)
Lublin uses interviews with 85 women running corporations to compare how two generations of ‘power moms’ have balanced a dynamic career with having children. The post-War boomers, many now in their sixties, were pioneers who often had to overcome the disapproval of their own families, while the later generation were able to at least draw on support from technology and understanding partners. Nevertheless, the increased pressures on business leaders mean juggling work and home for today’s generation is as tough as ever.

BL72_books_EmailEmail Attraction: Get What You Want Every Time You Hit Send
by Kim Arnold (Rethink Press, £11.99, paperback) 

This promises to show you how to turn “dull, dry emails into productivity rocket fuel for your business”. Communication consultant Kim Arnold says she is “allergic to bad emails”. Her book is a self-help guide to doing them better. The answer, it seems, is to ditch the ponderous, formal way that many people approach the task and find a pithy, snappy style that encourages the reader to jump into action. Worst of all, says Kim, many of us write emails we shouldn’t be sending at all because they are about frustrations in some other part of our life. Her advice: “Ask yourself what the real problem is. Is it really that colleague/client/co-worker? Or something or someone else entirely? Write your thoughts down and see how you feel. You might find the writing process so cathartic you don’t need that email or conversation after all.”

BL72_books_CommonSenseThe Ministry of Common Sense: How to Eliminate Bureaucratic Red Tape, Bad Excuses, and Corporate Bullshit 
by Martin Lindstrom (John Murray Learning, £14.99, paperback) 

This is very much a rail against the lack of common sense in big companies as almost every aspect of their operations leaves customers and employees alike feeling as though they are wading through treacle. Random examples of this range from having to wade through Powerpoint presentations, to sitting through Zoom calls without a toilet break, to the case of an airline passenger at 30,000 feet unable to break open the plastic wrapper of his complimentary headphones. Lindstrom has a five-point plan for dealing with this, and it is delivered with wit and irreverence. It will, he promises, enable you to “remove unproductive BS, unblock innovation, create an amazing culture… and ultimately reinstall common sense”.


Rich, richer, richest: The pandemic billionaires 
This podcast from Channel 4 looks at the super-rich business owners whose wealth has soared during the pandemic. In a year of hardship for many, the world’s billionaires have grown their fortunes to a record high of $10.2trn. C4 correspondent Helia Ebrahimi looks at why this has happened and what it tells us about how the economy works.
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Horizon Europe
The EU has kicked off its seven-year scientific research programme with a €94.1bn budget for research and innovation projects. It has identified five mission areas: curing cancer, fighting climate change, saving the oceans, developing 100 climate-neutral cities, and food security. Pillar II, which will finance industrial partnerships, has been allocated 56% of the entire budget.
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Flagship Cellars
American Airlines has branched out into the wine business with a subscription-based service that allows customers to order the wines they would normally get in-flight to be delivered to their home. Described as “a wine passport to the world with flexible wine subscriptions or build-your-own-case options”, it gives customers access to the wines chosen by award-winning sommeliers and normally served in premium cabins. There are also discounts for AA’s loyalty scheme members. 
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Build Back Better Council
The UK government has launched a Business Council designed to unlock investment, boost job creation and level up the UK as the country recovers from the pandemic. The Build Back Better Council will be comprised of 30 members representing industries from retail and hospitality to finance, science and technology. It will be co-chaired by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.  
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