James Reed's three top reads

The chairman of Reed Global enjoys Alastair Campbell's tale of winners and gains some valuable life lessons from a book first published in 1894.

by James Reed
Last Updated: 31 Mar 2016

1. Winners and How They Succeed (2015) by Alastair Campbell, Hutchinson

This inspirational book (reviewed by MT) examines what it takes to be a winner in sport, politics and business. I particularly liked the chapter on boxer Floyd Mayweather - 'tough times don't last, tough people do'. There is also an amusing account of Robert Maxwell bombastically telling Nelson Mandela that in a negotiation 'patience is the key'. Mandela with great charm concurs.

2. Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914 by Max Hastings William Collins, 2013

Catastrophe is all about what went wrong in Europe in 1914. Hastings explains how Europe's Great Powers precipitated their own destruction but also highlights how individuals across the continent responded, which makes it very moving. His book puts the continent's current problems into sharp perspective. Better to be alive now than then, and let's keep it that way.

3. The Use of Life by Sir John Lubbock, BiblioBazaar, 2009

This book is a bit different. It was written in 1894. The first line is: 'The most important thing to learn in life, is how to live.' It contains plenty of good advice for the contemporary reader, not least, 'No man's private fortune can be an end any way worthy of existence. The best and greatest minds - Plato and Aristotle, Buddha and St Paul - would never have been content to perfect themselves merely for themselves.' Words that make me search for the horizon!

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