This summer I spent a week at Maison de la Vaure, a former Cognac estate owned by a friend of a friend. I drove down there over three days and back in two so as well as spending a lot of time reading by the pool I listened to a few podcasts on the autoroutes of France, all of which I share below.

Summer Reading

Books, from the bottom up:

Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake

Prof Haskel taught me Macro Economics at Imperial College and as it was my favourite subject during my MBA I was keen to get a copy of his book. Plus thinking about how 9others has developed and grown over the years I wondered how it might fit into the intangible economy that Jonathan and Stian describe. It’s not a fast or easy read – it reminds me of an extended research paper in an academic journal – but it’s incredibly interesting and thought provoking. I kept thinking, “Why hasn’t this been properly discussed until now?” Perhaps it has but this book simply explains it all better.

Munich by Robert Harris

I hadn’t read a fiction book in years, saw this in paperback and on offer at Amazon so had to grab it. Exciting and easy to whizz through it took me right into old Downing Street where they smoke at Cabinet and all went to Oxbridge (some things change anyway). Good to get a break from feeling like I have to read business books all the time.

Fishers of Men by Rob Lewis

I like a bit of daring do. The nerve of the people involved is incredible. I find books like this toughen me up and help stop my complaining – here I am sitting at a desk on a laptop stressing about whether meals with 9others are useful and elsewhere people rather more brave than I are sitting in a damp ditch for weeks or kicking down doors looking for baddies.

Shoe Dog: A memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight

‘Memoir’ is the right word here. This book is terrific and not a ‘business book’ or ‘autobiography’. I don’t mean this as a criticism at all but Shoe Dog has a rambling style. Phil’s writing reminded me of Steven Pressfield whose books are also different, powerful and full of lessons that I remember long after finishing the book. As opposed to regular ‘business books’ Shoe Dog’s lessons are not obvious as you’re reading – you won’t find Phil saying, “I did this and that and here’s what I learned people”. It’s more like (or at least it was with me) that a few pages go by I found myself thinking, “Ah, OK *that’s* the lesson here”. My favourite line, that’s repeated again and again throughout: “You are remembered for the rules you break”.

Podcasts:

Thanks for reading,

 

Matthew

@mstafford

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