The library is closing for refurbishment. I haven’t been for ages, but knowing that I can’t go makes me feel lost, somehow. The quiet haven for a quick but restorative break in the working day isn’t there at the moment. I’m looking forward to it opening again, even if I have been binging on things I bought in their bargain bucket sale and others I downloaded on NetGalley.
This month’s pickings have been disappointing though.
Non-Obvious 2017 by Rohit Bhargava was a fast read because I skimmed through a lot of it. You can’t argue that it’s not well researched – it is. There is an amazing amount of work that has gone into this book. But unfortunately that didn’t make it interesting for me.
It’s a collection of curated, non-obvious trends but I suppose I lost interest about the time that the role of women was called out as a trend. It felt obvious to me.
If you’re working in marketing or have a need to understand the changing society, then there are insights, anecdotes, stories and deep research in here that could fundamentally change how you view your customer proposition.
Ask More by Frank Sesno was an interesting read, although it felt a little repetitive at times. It took a while for me to get through it – snatching moments on the train here and there – but the basic premise is that pretty much anything in life is better if you take the time to ask questions and therefore really understand it.
Sesno is a reporter and it shows. The book has a journalistic flair: captivating stories, wonderfully-crafted anecdotes and fascinating interviewees. “My life has been enriched at every stage by the opportunities I’ve had to question,” he writes. He goes on, “Questions are also our way to connect with other human beings. I believe that inquiry is the sincerest form of flattery.” It’s also up to date, including snippets of Trump’s campaign trail and the kind of questioning that went on at rallies and press conferences.
It ends with a question guide to give you some idea of how to put the concepts in the book into practice.
Project Management Books
I’ve read the by Beth Spriggs. It’s a fast read, easy to pick up and put down and a nice antidote to some of the duller project management books I have read over the years. Proper review to follow.
by Carlos Serra was a surprising engaging read. I was expecting a heavy treaty on this niche area of project management but Carlos’ book is practical, helpful and easier to get through than I thought it would be.
There’s a full review of Benefits Realisation Management here.
Popular in Our House
We’ve dug out from the back of the wardrobe and read that a lot this week. Rachel Valentine’s story is gentle and friendly.
I put The Night Pirates by Peter Harris well tucked away at the back of the cupboard. It’s the concept of ‘little girl pirates’ in that story that I don’t like, as if pirates can’t be girls unless they are particularly called out as such. The big pirates in the story aren’t determined by gender. Why not just illustrate them as girls? And have the dialogue tags subtly point it out?
The artwork is beautiful, the typography is lovely and it came with a CD for the car (we don’t have a CD player in the house any longer). I couldn’t find a negative review, and it looks like a favourite for classrooms. So it must just be me then.
I also read The Big Adventures of Tiny House by Susan Schaefer Bernardo and illustrated by Courtenay Fletcher. It’s a charming story but I didn’t share it with the boys because the version I had was on Kindle. It displays badly – I won’t try and get picture books on my iPad Kindle app again.
Novel of the Month
The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver was a gift, and I picked it up to read one day when my son was ill and I needed something to do while sitting with him (I try to avoid screen time to set a good example…).
It was far more gripping than I was expecting, maybe because it reminded me of when I lived in Paris and patisserie was a way of life. It felt a little like it was capitalising on the success of the Bake Off TV programme over here, but then again, why begrudge it that? The story was light and a bit fluffy in places, rich in others like a nice chocolate éclair. Perfect reading for when you can’t really give it your whole attention.
That’s why I put down by Frank Partnoy. I picked it up but the text is so small and the introduction so dense that I couldn’t face it at 5am with a pre-schooler curled in my lap. That’s the time for macaron fiction, not a steak of a book.
I’ll procrastinate reading that one for a little bit longer.
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