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Book reviews: Fixing Business, Good Money and The Power of Positivity

By Richard Steele

Richard Steele rounds up the new and noteworthy business book releases, which look at topics including positive leadership by example, ethical entrepreneurship and how businesses can up their game. Richard is a senior conference producer at Campden Wealth, specialising in tech investing, start-ups, and family wealth management issues.


Fixing Business – Making Profitable Business Work for the Good of All

Author: Digby Jones
Rated 3/5
Published by: Wiley
Pages 200

Fixing Business is filled with interesting insights and statistics—just what you would expect from the former UK director general of the CBI and Minister of State for Trade and Investment.

Digby Jones looks gamely at a whole host of areas where he believes businesses can raise the bar. His views on excessive executive pay and the relationship between corporations and the environment are particularly well articulated, while his stance on the future of work and training sounds a cautionary note.

This otherwise lucid book gets bogged down when faced with the complexities of an age where globalisation and Brexit are divisive terms. By politicising his book, Jones makes use of his bureaucratic background, but in doing so moves the focus from practical advice, weakening this read. Recommendations are poorly laid out as “key questions” at the end of each chapter, without the level of detail his innovative ideas deserve.

Good Money – Become an Ethical Entrepreneur, Change the World, Feel Better

Author: Jonathan Self
Rated 4.5/5
Published by: Head of Zeus
Pages 245

Jonathan Self, a founder of Honey's Real Dog Food, uses his own success as a template to discuss ethical businesses, how they can operate, the relationship they have with staff and customers, and the role they play in society.

Self lays out how with Honey's, he found a true gap in the market: Nutritious, raw food for dogs, and coupled this with a service style focused on personal, long-term relationships. The book provides a fresh perspective on how building a socially responsible business can be both financially and holistically rewarding.

Of course, what has worked for Self and his colleagues will not suit every sector or type of business. His mantra of “fellow travellers, not customers” is a far cry from the experience many of us have with big business. But while some companies focus on brand, Honey's focus on service and value is fascinating. This entertaining read provides much (raw) food for thought.

The Power of Positive Leadership – How and Why Positive Leaders Transform Teams and Organizations and Change the World

Author: Jon Gordon
Rated 3.5/5
Published by: Wiley
Pages 198

This book—the follow-up to Jon Gordon's 2007 offering The Energy Bus—looks at how positivity and the leaders which exhibit it can fuel individuals and teams.

Gordon cites a study which says negativity costs the US economy up to $300 billion a year, by damaging the morale and productivity of teams. The book uses this as a premise for why leaders need to drive and live a positive company culture.

The book has some memorable buzz phrases for leaders looking to tune their skills: Gordon describes leadership as a “transfer of belief”, and talks about “energy vampires” and “living your purpose”.

A well-articulated message is let down by a lesser focus on overcoming the real-world barriers that stop employees embracing positivity.

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