It’s the annual event that promotes reading around the world.
And for this year’s World Book Day, I asked people to share a work that inspires them. It is an eclectic mix of books and shows the diversity of places you can draw inspiration from for business.
Angus: To Kill A Mockingbird
“You can always find something new to inspire you in To Kill A Mockingbird. At school my English teacher said she read it once a year and always found a new lesson to take forward from it. I can’t say I’ve read it every year since then, but I do come back to it every few years and there is always something new. The book has a lot to say about perseverance and facing your fears. The knowledge of rediscovery – that I’ll find something profound each time I go back – inspires me. It also continues to teach you lessons you can apply to today’s world decades after it was published.”
Celeste: The Vanity Fair Diaries
“The Vanity Fair Diaries collects Tina Brown’s daily diaries throughout her eight years as editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair. Tina led Vanity Fair while the magazine reported on the key moments of the 1980s, including the Reagan kiss, the dissolution of the marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, and the scandalous Annie Leibovitz Demi Moore cover. It’s inspiring as the story of a woman making a new home for herself in a new city in a rapidly shifting industry.”
Elin: We Are Our Brains: From The Womb To Alzheimer’s
“Being an engineer, I always try to figure out the reason behind things happening around me. This book tries to explain how different things in our life which might not exactly be in our control, can affect our brain (especially during our infancy), and significantly shape our self identification and behaviour in the society for the rest of our lives. The book is based on statistical data rather than scientific reasoning, so you should take the information with a grain of salt. However, knowing those statistical patterns now makes me think before I judge people, if they behave differently to my personal or even the conventional coordinate system of interpersonal behaviour. It also hopefully helps me understand why they behave like that.”
Robin: Thinking in Systems
Thinking in Systems is one of the first books to highlight the climate crisis, and an incredible book to engage with how you analyse situations. This book talks you through the three stages of analysis: event, behavioural and structural, explains how without systems thinking your conclusions can only ever be temporary, and directs you on how to engage with the world in a more profound way.
Debbie: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Set in the swamplands of North Carolina, Where the Crawdads Sing is the story of Kya Clark who was abandoned by her family when she was just six years old. The way it’s written not only tells a powerful story about resilience and overcoming adversity, it also paints a visual picture so you feel like you are there, in amongst all the nature and wildlife. It’s an inspiring read, that shows you can do anything you put your mind to. And the twists in the story don’t disappoint either!
Saz: Thinking In Bets
Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke dives into how regular people can use bets to evaluate how they make decisions in their life. Decisions for Annie are bets on the future, which can be considered good or bad based on the result. This book asks you to look more closely into how the decision was made? What information did you have at the time? What other options were available? What things beyond our control came into play? It is easy to consider yourself a genius when choices go well, expecting praise and recognition for your brilliance or skill. The reverse is also true, and it is natural to blame bad luck, the economy or the weather. Thinking In Bets aims to show that both of those assessments are usually incomplete. Uncertainty always exists and you can execute brilliantly and still lose and perform poorly and get a fantastic result. Decoupling decision quality from decision outcome is the theme of the book, and Thinking in bets aims to help identify the flawed assumptions we can all make in our decision making.
Michael: The Secret
A book that explains how positive thinking can benefit you and how you can attract better things into your life. Initially sceptical, I read the book anyway and was inspired by how it explains to look at situations differently by taking positives out of situations, rather than negatives. It certainly helps with breaking down mental / fear barriers that you may have when tackling something new, starting a daunting task, or if you just want more out of your life.
JC: Play Bigger
Play Bigger is the recipe book for how rebels and innovators create new categories and dominate markets. The promise is very strong and as a good example of applying your own recipe, the authors/consultants/surfers/rebels have done a great job.
The whole concept of being the king or queen of your category makes total sense as sovereigns are unique and create their own rules. They are more fairytale rulers than despots as they build their category/kingdom after identifying a big problem consumers have and that they are going to solve. They are encouraged to be different and unique, instead of better.
I read the book with brand marketing and position in mind and what is refreshing is that they are focused on customers and their problems. Play Bigger don’t talk about competitors or gaining market share gains, they are all about their own identity and how they can expand their category or create new ones.
World Book Day takes place each year on March 5. It aims to give every child a book of their own.