Insights

COVID-19: Five business books to see you through the crisis

COVID-19: Five business books to see you through the crisis. Following his previous webinar, Patrick Dunne reflects on where we are now, how to prepare for the future and the best business books to read in the meantime.

After the initial shock and disruption, managers’ focus is shifting from surviving the immediate crisis to coming out of it the other side. The best way forward is to prepare for multiple scenarios, decide what you would do in each case and have action plans ready, so you can execute them more rapidly when the time comes.

As you prepare for the future, here are five books that offer some valuable insights:

Quiet – Susan Cain

At times like this, extroverts dominate conference calls and board discussions become an ‘interruptfest’. As a chair I have been contacting the more introverted participants beforehand and asking them to speak up on issues on which they have expert knowledge and good judgement. This book explains why we need to listen to them.

Factfulness – Hans Rosling

The statistician Hans Rosling who died last year was an amazing guy who had the ability to see through large amounts of data and explain what it really means. This book is a very accessible read and will help you to get to grips with data and pick out the useful facts.

Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

We have all had a lot of time to worry recently but as I said in my last video, it is important not to confuse worrying with thinking. This book, like the others I am recommending, will help you think things through and make better decisions. The first chapter is heavy going but it is well worth persisting as it will help you understand any biases you may have.

 Black Box Thinking – Matthew Syed

When things go wrong – as they have recently - Matthew Syed’s book encourages us to learn from them rapidly and process the information. This book allows you to turn inspired judgement into principles you can use in other circumstances.

 The Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela

Biographies by historic leaders always hold some useful insights. This book is not a quick read, but it shows the benefits of preparation and thinking things through in advance. The deep thought Mandela put in while in prison and the alliances he built in very difficult circumstances enabled him to get things done when he came out.