Archive for Books
Grab an armful of business leadership books from your nearest bookshop and look through them for advice on how to treat staff. I doubt you’ll find any of them encouraging business leaders to humiliate their colleagues in public more frequently. Yet one of the most memorable stories in Brad Stone’s account of how Jeff Bezos […]
Peter Hart’s book is a fascinating account of the last year of fighting on the Western Front, even though in the end he leaves a big question unanswered. Hart is one of the historians believing what is now very much the mainstream view, namely that by 1918 the British Army (including the soldiers from around […]
Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: the failure of the reform regime… and a manifesto for a better way: is John Seddon right?
I started out expecting I would largely agree with the book, and by the end although my agreement with much of the ideas wasn’t shaken, the way the book argues for them left me disappointed. Take the book’s bald statement, “I have not seen any evidence that people want choice. I see plenty of evidence […]
Stuart Ball’s collections of election posters from the Conservative Party Archive at the Bodleian is really two books in one. First, a sumptuously produced full colour collection of Conservative political posters from the last century and second, interspersed with that, a clear and succinct retelling of the history of the last century’s politics from the […]
Back in the early and mid 1990s David Osborne and Ted Gaebler’s book, Reinventing Government, had its turn in the trendy policy wonk sun. Just as theories about nudging behaviour are now the in thing, back them their approach to a different way of doing government attracted interest from across the political spectrum and spurred a […]
I remember reading Edmund Crispin’s detective thriller The Moving Toyshop as a child and enjoying it hugely. Alas, I should have left my childhood memories there for, on rereading the book recently, I still found the detective, Gervase Fen, an entertainingly quirky character, but the book overall now seems horribly dated. Published in 1945 (and […]
Political journalists regularly did what I wanted in return for getting a story given to them – Damian McBride
Many British journalists are so keen to have a good story to run, they are easily bought off and distracted by government spin doctors who can get them to ditch an unwanted story as long as the spin doctor has a better story to offer up as journalistic payment. That is the basic story of […]
It is no surprise that any book about events in the Middle East attracts vastly differing views in different reviews, especially when – as in this case – the author is a former official in the Israeli government. However, the critics of the book – who claim it is heavily pro-Israel – left me puzzled […]
Vicky Pryce’s Prisonomics: Behind bars in Britain's failing prisons is really two books interwoven. One is a rather dry academic text which uses a barrage of statistics to make a powerful case for female prison reform – especially because of the impact on their children of incarcerating mothers, and the frequent failures of the prison system to address the sorts of issues such as mental illness and abuse that cause so many prisoners to break the law in the first place (and then cause so many to reoffend afterwards).