Trump, Brexit, and jargon top the must-reads

Dr TK Whitaker, former secretary at the Department of Finance

John Daly highlights some of the must read business books from 2016.

TK Whitaker: Portrait of a Patriot.

Anne Chambers, Doubleday, €25

Having celebrated his 100th birthday earlier this month, the life of the man regarded as the architect of modern Ireland has spanned the history of the Irish state itself.

This 2014 book is drawn from in-depth interviews conducted with Dr Whitaker, as well as exclusive access to his prodigious personal papers and correspondence.

Having served through multiple administrations and numerous Taoisigh, he saw the fledgling Republic dive and thrive through its many phases, and best summed up the dilemmas of national economics: “Resources are not inexhaustible. There are, however, no limits to desires.”

Respected by allacross all branches of Government, his unique ability was best encapsulated by Garret FitzGerald: “He shared all the great qualities of the first generation of civil servants, but with the crucial addition of imagination”.

Brexit: What The Hell Happens Now?

Ian Dunt, Canbury Press, €9.50

A catchy title for a subject that will continue to garner column inches well into 2017, Mr Dunt said he “wanted to write a book which could be read in a few hours, but allow someone to win arguments about Brexit for the next decade.”

Efficiently outlining the tricky topics of trade tariffs, World Trade Organisation negotiations and certificates of origin, Mr Dunt, the editor of politics.co.uk, outlines how the outcome of this decade-defining vote could dilute the UK’s international credibility, lower the standard of living there, and even challenge the legal system.

He explains how the Leave campaign built its power base, and how the electorate was fed misleading information.

One UK reviewer described the book as “an enjoyable read on the way to the Irish or French embassy passport department.”

Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money and Power

Marc Fisher & Michael Kranish, Scribner, €15

An anti-Trump rally
An anti-Trump rally

Over the years, Donald J Trump has prompted a mini-publishing boom around his life and times through titles like The Art of the Deal, and The Greatest Show On Earth.

As one of the greatest self-promoters of the modern era, there are still many information gaps in what we know of the US President-elect.

Co-authored by Washington Post investigative political reporter Michael Kranish and the newspaper’s senior editor Marc Fisher, this comprehensive trawl through his life charts his family roots and formative years at the New York Military Academy, early commercial triumphs and failures, his gambles on real estate and casinos, and his latest incarnation as successful politician.

Delving into Mr Trump’s alleged connections to organised crime and his global projects in Central America, Scotland, Azerbaijan and Ireland, the authors examine his wealth, political beliefs, global billionaire identity, TV stardom, and how he managed to become the most powerful person in the world.

Twenty hours of interviews with Mr Trump helped Mr Fisher come to a better understanding of the candidate.

The Business Bullshit Book: A Dictionary for Navigating the Jungle of Corporate Speak

Kevin Duncan, Lid, €9.90

Business jargon is an ever-changing creature, extending its reach every year further into not just the corporate environment, but increasingly everyday life.

Who amongst us has not been promised the benefit of ‘reaching out’ to someone, advised to ‘walk the walk’ for better results, or indeed how to cope with the ‘shifting paradigms’ of the modern commercial arena.

Business has become so complex now, one has to constantly ‘think outside the box’ to have any chance of coping properly.

Mr Duncan, a marketing expert, deciphers the jargon encountered in business today in a collection of over 2,000 of the most annoying, pretentious and often useless business terms — each delivered with a heavy dose of humour.

Take ‘blue-sky thinking’ for instance: “Shocking verb-cum-noun-cum-adjective much loved of Americans, roughly denoting to think broadly and vaguely; useless hot air session in which many attendees talk drivel for a sustained period, congratulate themselves on a highly constructive session, and then sod off to the golf course to wear dreadful trousers.”

Sprint

Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky & Braden Kowitz, Simon & Schuster, €25

In this guide from Google’s venture capital arm, GV, its three design partners outline how to implement their signature five-day ‘sprint’ session used to launch game-changing products with companies like Blue Bottle Coffee, Slack, and Nest.

It posits the notion that the biggest challenges require less time, not more; that individuals produce better solutions than teams; and that anything can be tested in one week by building a realistic facade.

A practical guide to answering business questions — from small start-ups to Fortune 100 companies —and includes a hotel robotics maker searching for the perfect robot personality, an innovative coffee roaster expanding to new markets, and a company organising the world’s cancer data.

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the creator of Nike

Phil Knight, Simon & Schuster, €13.99

Nike founder Phil Knight
Nike founder Phil Knight

In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission — to import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan.

Selling the shoes from the boot of his car, Mr Knight grossed $8,000 in his first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30bn.

Mr Knight, who retired earlier this year, details the many risks and setbacks encountered, plus the formative relationships with his first partners and employees — a ragtag group of misfits and seekers who became a band of brothers — dedicated to a deep belief in the spirit of sport.

Not alone is Nike the world’s biggest athletic company, with a market cap of $88bn, it has also managed to retain its status as a worldwide leader of ‘cool’ since the 1970s.


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