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Inspiring books and podcasts

8 entrepreneurs recommend the content they can’t put down

Taking a holiday is the ideal way to relax, recharge and find new inspiration. We hear from 8 of the UK’s top entrepreneurs about the unmissable books and podcasts that keep them tuned in when they’ve clocked off. 

1. Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill

“This book’s a strong reminder of how we can manifest our own destiny, and curate our own luck through powerful daily habits,” says Stuart Lacey, Founder and CEO at Trunomi.

2. Skin in the Game, Nassim Nicholas Taleb

“It deals with the hidden asymmetries of daily life, where many people who appear to take risk only participate in its upside – without being accountable for how the downside impacts others, so they don’t have real skin in the game,” explains Darrin Disley, Barclays Iconic Male Entrepreneur of the Year 2017.

“This book strikes a chord with the values I try to live my life by: resourcefulness, resilience, reflection and reciprocity all have a clear symmetry. Many people wait too long to show reciprocity towards others. If you only start giving back once there’s no risk to yourself, then do you really have skin in the game?”

3. Eat That Frog!, Brian Tracy

“We all put off tasks that we don’t want to do because they’re problematic or bad news, but the sooner you do them, the sooner the weight lifts from your shoulder,” says Kirsty Davies-Chinnock, Managing Director at Professional Polishing Services Ltd. “I actually teach the team to ‘Eat that frog’ as part of their roles, and it often proves that dreading something is worse than actually doing it.”

4. Winning at Work, Barclays and The Memo

“I’m biased as I created this podcast,” says Alex Wood, Founder of The Memo and European Editor of Forbes, “but the new Winning at Work series has fast become the must-listen podcast for anyone looking to be their best at work or start their own company – by learning from the best in business.”

5. Strong Woman: The Truth About Getting to the Top, Karren Brady

“One of the most inspirational biographies for female entrepreneurs I’ve read,” says Clare Roberts, CEO of Kids Planet Day Nurseries.

6. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand

“It’s a 1,100-page book in 6pt type – but it’s definitely worth reading as it articulates a philosophy of impact,” states Sherry Coutu CBE, Founder of Founders4Schools. “Do you wish the world to wash over you or do you wish to navigate life? That’s the sort of question it explores. Rand’s book had a big influence on me when I was younger and certainly changed the way I thought about things.

“I’m also very interested in behavioural economics and psychology. Books like The Nudge by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein get underneath how people think and what motivates them. Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow and Reid Hoffman’s The Alliance are also favourites of mine. Reid’s book talks about aligning people behind team goals rather than exploiting them to achieve your personal goals. In a world of extreme talent shortages, a phenomenon which is only set to worsen, it pays to be mindful of how to get the most out of your people.”

7. Polling Politics, Marie Le Conte and Joe Twyman

“In this podcast, Joe and Marie tackle the week's big political news with polling data as opposed to whimsical analysis,” explains Sophie Jarvis, Head of the Female Founders Forum. “Each week, new guests help them look at Britain and the world as the news happens. An amusing poll is thrown in at the end – want to know Britain's sexiest accent, or its favourite superhero? It's all there.”

8. Conversations with Tyler, Tyler Cowen

“Tyler Cowen's Marginal Revolution blog is a daily must for anyone with a passion for economics – and his podcast is fast becoming equally essential,” states Philip Salter, Founder of The Entrepreneurs Network. “Whether he’s speaking with Martina Navratilova on shaping herself, or Garry Kasparov on AI, chess, and the future of creativity, Tyler's concise and non-combative style gets the very best out of his guests.

“Another firm favourite is The 80,000 Hours Podcast – on average, most people work for 80,000 hours during their lives. This podcast, and the Effective Altruism concept it’s attached to, guides you towards doing the most possible good with this time. If you're not already familiar with the ideas, it’ll challenge some of your most cherished beliefs, and it might even change your mind.”
 

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