Book Reviews

For those that know me, I drive to and from work for about 3 hours a day, from my farm north of Melbourne into the CBD. On the days I don’t drive I’m usually flying interstate and international. So the challenge is what do you do for 15 hours of the week? Obviously there is the radio (getting old so I’m a Gold FM fan) and make a few hands free phone calls.   But what I love to do, is listen to books. I occasionally listen to Podcasts but I love books. I got into audio books when I arrived in Australia and started listening to the Harry Potter books. I loved Jim Dale’s narration and got lost in the story and characters. Over the past 6 years I’ve listened to more and more business books, and if you get great content with a brilliant narrator they can be enthralling. Obviously tough to take notes but with apps like Audible you can now bookmark parts of the book and return to them when you’re out of the car and have some downtime. I call it my Automobile University (inspired by one of the books on the list by Craig Beck).

So I thought I’d set up this page full of books that I recommend to listen to.

Take a look at the list below. It’s only a teaser of what I’ve read but quite diverse. Contact me if you want to know more and if you have recommendations of what I should listen to, I’d love to hear from you and your suggestions.

Happy listening.

Good to Great – Jim Collins (Not Audio)

My Take on it

 “The enemy of great is good” – as soon as I read that I was hooked. When I joined one my favourite companies that I’ve ever worked for, way back in 2000, I was given this book. Everyone who joined there, was. It looks at why very few companies go from Good to Great, research heavy but fascinating in its findings. It makes sense that when we become good at something, we accept it, rather than go that extra mile to become great. This book looks at how companies became great, with fascinating tools and practices that have served me well over the years. I highly recommend you have a read of this essential leadership book.

Why would you listen to it?

Where do I start? This book is nearly 18 years old but has so many essential tools and ideas that are still gold in understanding how you go from Good to Great. I would say that I’ve only worked for one business that truly embraced this book and it made a difference. If you want to take your business from Good to Great and are prepared to work hard and take it to the next level then this is the book for you.


My Take on it

Fascinating story of how changing an industry is almost impossible, but when done right transforms it and everyone who thought you were nuts, now think you’re a genius!! This book gives great insights into the struggles of beating the status quo and changing hardened deep seated traditions. For a Englishman who has never really followed baseball some of the technical play speak can be a bit tough to follow, but I encourage you to persevere as the story is inspiring and any person wishing to introduce innovative ideas to any industry need to understand how Billy Bean made it happen.  

Why Would you Listen to it?

If you want to make change at work or in your life and feel you’re up against it (the status quo) then this is an inspiring read. It also tackles the issues of theory against practical application which proves most things are easy on paper, but to apply them to the real world of cultures, personalities and processes is a tough nut to crack. 

The Driver in the Driverless Car

My Take on it

The world is changing at a fast pace and this book looks at how new technologies are, and will affect our futures. Each chapter, whether it be the driverless car, drones or AI looks at the future effect of them in both a utopian and dystopian world. It’s fascinatingly exciting of what could happen to benefit us but also very scary of where the world might go if the evil use of each takes over. The audio book sounds like it’s narrated by an AI but I think it is a human with a very odd tone to their voice. Don’t let it put you off, it’s a cracking listen.

Why Would you Listen to it?

If you have a fascination for new technology and where it might take us then this is the book for you. It has brilliant ideas and some scary scenarios. 

The New science of Persuasion and Influence – Craig Beck

My Take on it

When I first listened to this book I didn’t realise it was written by a hypnotist! Maybe not the best thing to be listening to whilst driving!!! Fortunately it won’t put you to sleep but what it will do is teach you the importance in the use of language in getting what you want. This a fascinating book that I’ve listened to several times and am still picking up bits to master. Narrated by the author which is always a bonus, I highly recommend adding this to your collection. Learn how to use language in tough situations to get the outcomes you want. You’ll even learn what the 3 most important words in the world are, according to Craig Beck! I won’t ruin it, so to find out grab a copy.

Why would you listen to it?

Language is very powerful, not only what we say but how we say it. I believe this book is for everyone, whether trying to progress in business or selling a night at the movies or restaurant with your partner, a must listen.

Start with Why – Simon Sinek

My Take on it

I can tell you exactly when and where I was when I first got introduced to Simon Sinek’s TED talk, Start with Why. I was on an amazing yearlong leadership course run by the Mt Eliza Business School through my then employer at retreat in Lancefield in 2011. It was late evening and after a long day of being told to think different, Simon Sinek’s TEDx talk was played to the group. I must say it really resonated with me at the time. The book that came out later is just as good but obviously goes into more depth. The basic premise is that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it! Simon gives some amazing examples of this from the Wright Brothers to Apple. I still love the message but if I’m on honest I still struggle to sell this thinking in a competitive services industry, especially the construction industry. Maybe I’ve not worked for brands that resonate with it or maybe I’m just bad at articulating it! Once you’ve listened it, and especially if you can master the art, please contact me as I’d be fascinated to hear your stories.

Why would you Listen to it?

This book took an old formula of “what, why and how” and turned it on its head. I think you should listen to it to get a great story telling perspective of why people buy products, ideas and beliefs. Even though this has been around for a while, it still makes you think differently about yourself, your business and your products/ services. If you want to think differently and understand your values, missions and purpose and how that might resonate with those around you, I highly recommend you take a listen. It’s also read by Simon which brings extra passion to the words.