Now it takes a lot for me to agree with the Daily Mail, especially as its a tabloid, but they were correct in stating that this is “a cracking good spy thriller.” This is a page turner and one you won’t want to put down. This is the second book in which Alex Milius appears, and if you haven’t read the earlier book you must read ‘A spy by nature’ before venturing on to the story set in Madrid.
Charles Cumming is very gifted writer in this genre area, and one who competes with the likes of the Jason Bourne characters. The reason is simple, his characters come across as realistic and the settings well researched. He is very adept at suddenly springing a twist in the fabric of the story and when you least expect it. This is a novel to read if you’re into your spy thrillers, pleasure is guaranteed. Like a modern day version of ‘Tinker tailor solder spy’….well not exactly, but definitely is up there. Indeed I’d say Charles is more accessible to more readers!
Now this one was a book I picked up one day when amiably walking through Foyles at their Charing Cross branch. I guess the curiosity got the better of me, and before I knew it I was at the till paying for it.
Now I will be frank, it is not the most easiest of reads to get through. It definitely is one to come to read a bit at a time and have some time out from. Truth be told, probably one of the hardest books that i’ve pushed myself through. But nonetheless it is a worthwhile read. Indeed, this is such a fascinating book that shows how one man came from the other side of what we would deem ‘sanity’ and back again, and so on and so forth. Schreber writes his most deepest and inner most thoughts, and as you read you see how intricately and detailed he speaks of his lucid and interrupted states.
If you’ve had an interest in psychosis and psychiatry then this is something to seriously consider. However, do be warned, it is not for the faint hearted, and, as mentioned previously, it is one I found myself struggling to read at times. But if you want to venture in a safe way to the other side, to try an comprehend what it may be like, then it will give you a deeper sense of how we should not judge those with mental illness. Indeed it’s an illness that can afflict us, and silently strike one down. Indeed, as once commented by Ruby Wax on TED, it’s one surrounded with much taboo and one where people don’t bring you flowers, cards and say get well soon; and instead say in a judgemental tone, ‘snap out of it!’ – as if that’s gonna cure you.
So a great book if you want to become more enlightened and challenge your preconceptions and misconceptions on this very sensitive and polarised subject.
I couldn’t agree more with Stefan Sterns words, director of strategy at Edelman and former FT management columnist. To quote him: “…we need his wise, calm and reasonable voice to put some sense back into the debate on corporate governance.” And boy does Bob Garratt do it.
This book is more so relevant with the recent trials and tribulations that have hit the news over recent months with the News of the World scandal, and most recently with the resignation of George Entwistle at the BBC.
The book sets out in a clear and coherent manner how companies should be governed, what makes good corporate governance, and how companies can prosper by following some key and simple principles. The title of his book, an Ancient Chinese saying, is true, if the people leading the company are allowing the rot to settle in, how can you expect those of your employees to act in the interests of the company, and how can you create shareholder and stakeholder value with the long term viability of a company? One only needs to cite such scandals as Enron, and it’s financial creativity that brought about its demise to the detriment of so many.
If you have an interest in corporate governance this is a definite book for your reading list, and one that should be placed firmly at the top of it. It’s one in which you can form a foundation of knowledge on, and build upwards from.
If you’re not into corporate governance, pick up the book and by the end of it, you will be. Loved it, loved it, loved it.
Franzen has written an epic book an one you just won’t want to put down. I loved every minute of it, and have to say a huge thank you to Joseph for making this book recommendation to me.
What will you learn? Well everyone will read it differently and have their own take on things. But the key message that I took away is life is unique, it flexes and freedom is yours and you can shape it by your actions, your inactions and the decisions that you take. I have never read a book which is more real and in tune with our daily lives.
What I love is it characterises life brilliantly in 595 pages, and each page you will savour reading. It shows that life is dysfunctional, that it isn’t a textbook process that you follow. It is real and it’s what you do with it. ‘Freedom’ is a must to read, so go read it. You truly won’t be disappointed.
So in closing, read, read and read some more. Let me know what you think once you have read it, I look forward to hearing your take. ‘Freedom, freedom indeed!’