2 March 2018

World Book Day: What are we reading at Synergy?

Today marks World Book Day, so in time-honoured tradition, we thought we’d share some of our favourite reads.

It’s fair to say we love learning here at Synergy, and sharing what we learn too. From our learn over lunch (LOL) sessions, to the ‘Synergy reads’ group on Workplace, we’re always telling each other about stuff we find interesting. And today we’re sharing that with you. Here are some of the best books we’ve read lately…

Turn the Ship Around

Author: L. David Marquet
Recommended by: Olly Whitman

Turn the Ship Around is great. It’s about an American nuclear submarine commander’s shift from a top-down ‘leader-follower’ approach to an empowering ‘leader-leader’ culture where decision making is pushed to the front line people where it matters, and the chain of command simply sign off on actions, stepping in occasionally at critical points. As you can imagine in the military it ruffled a few feathers, but it gets results.


Do Disrupt: Change the status quo or become it

Author: Mark Shayler
Recommended by: Holly Chalmers

Do Lectures co-founder Mark Shayler uses this book to make you look at things differently, challenges things that are traditionally viewed as set in stone and to not to accept the norm. Mark comes across as an incredibly strong-willed guy and after reading this book, I felt inspired and empowered to do something different, not wait for the ‘perfect’ time.

First break all the rules

Author: Marcus Buckingham
Recommended by: Asha Constanza

I got a copy of this book after attending a leadership conference – and I’m so glad I read it.

It’s based on research of about 80-90k managers to find out what great managers do to coax world class performance out of their teams. It’s about not being scared to break the rules, take the norm of managing people and turn it upside down. My favourite parts were that it explores concepts of; talent over experience or intelligence, performance based on outcomes rather than control over the way someone works and encouraging managers to focus on strengths of employees, not weaknesses.


One of the key things I took out of reading this was that reward is not only about promotions –  it’s about finding unconventional ways to reward people that creates an organisation of engagement.

Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future

Author: Ashlee Vance
Recommended by: Gemma McGrattan

With PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity under his belt, there’s no stopping Elon Musk. He’s a visionary and I love his ‘why not’ mentality.  Extremely determined he never takes no, can’t or it’s difficult as an answer – only what can you do, and by when. Respect.


Lean in

Author: Sheryl Sandberg
Recommended by: Rhiannon Stroud


Probably more relevant than ever as we approach gender pay gap reporting, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book made me think differently about how I see myself – both as a woman in work and a woman full stop. It helped me realise (based on quantifiable data and evidence) that the world isn’t a level playing field – and the sooner you realise this – the sooner you can change your mindset and attitude to reach even greater heights. It’s the first book I recommend to colleagues who lack confidence in their abilities, or to leaders who need to open their eyes to what a truly high performing team looks like. (Hint – it’s diverse!)

Shoe Dog

Author: Phil Knight
Recommended by: Chris Giddings

As Nike fanboy, I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this book – and it didn’t disappoint. Shoe Dog is a tale of Phil’s life, from high school track athlete to behemoth brand creator. Yes, it’s a bit of a ‘fake it til you make it’ story, but the underlying principle is about belief in what you’re doing, surrounding yourself with others that share your vision and taking risks. It’s not all serious business stuff, there are loads of funny anecdotes too. Well worth a read whether you drink the Nike Kool-Aid or not.


Leaders Eat Last

Author: Simon Sinek

Recommended by: Lots of us

Last year it was Start With Why. This year we’ve taken a keen interest in Simon Sinek’s ‘Laders Eat Last’. A topic close to our hearts, the books talks about ‘imagining a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled.’ 


Sinek explains how the most successful organisations facilitate a culture where their leaders create an environment of trust. They prioritise wellbeing, see everyone as human and enable colleagues to work for each other in a place they feel valued.


What have you read that has inspired you lately? Let us know on Twitter @synergycreative.


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