As I write Britain is experiencing a heat wave. The tepid paddling pool on the dusty remnants of my lawn is my ‘beach view’ from the laptop. My neighbour’s kids are squealing as they splash into their own paddling pool. All it would take is the smell of suncream and a good book and I could be in the med on holiday. I love reading on holiday – last year’s holiday reading included The Handmaid’s Tale. Who doesn’t like dystopia by the pool? But seriously I can really get down to reading in long stretches when on holiday. Time to read is “me time”.

So this year’s staycation has included some excellent books so far. And all from the fabulous participants on my Springboard programmes. Each programme has a resource table where women can bring items which they think will interest, help or inform the others in the room. Whilst they are busy doing exercises, I can have a really good investigate. Books are commonly placed on the table: novels, self-help and text books. I have picked 5 of my recent favourites to share here.

The Rules of Life

Richard Templar, 2011 Prentice Hall

My copy of this book has little post-it notes peaking from the pages. The post-its mark some of my favourite quotes. “Clutter overwhelms you emotionally and gets more and more cobwebby” will give you a flavour of the writing style but the book really does cover all aspects of life – not just clutter!

This book is divided into ‘Rules’. Each Rule is two pages with a great quote making it the ideal reading for dipping in and out. There are 106 with the last being ‘find a new rule every day – or at least occasionally’. Encouraging us to stop, think and learn.

Prisoners of Geography

Time Marshall, 2016 Elliott & Thompson

I confess to a somewhat nerdy love of maps and so when this book appeared I picked it up immediately. As someone who has never studied history or politics but does get geography this is a great way into understanding why our modern world is the way it is. Each chapter starts with a map and a quote and then dives in. Part story, part text book and easy to read. In 10 chapters most of the globe is covered so will you will easily become more informed about your holiday destination!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Rebecca Skloot, 2011 Pan Books

This book was passed from participant to participant on one Springboard course. HeLa cells are used worldwide and have contributed to vaccines, gene mapping and Nobel prizes. This book is the story of one woman’s detective work to uncover the truth about the poor, black tobacco farmer whose cancer cells were taken without her knowledge. A very human, readable story that touches on racism, women’s rights and scientific ethics.


Angela Saini, 2017 4th Estate

“How science got women wrong… and the new research that’s rewriting the story”. This book is both readable and shocking. Both men and women’s bodies and brains have been stereotyped by science and tradition. Well evidenced and researched this book with its deliberate pastel pink cover challenges the ‘known’. The participant who brought this was reading it as part of the Stemminist Book Club on Twitter if you are looking for more science based reads.


Oliver Burkeman, 2011 Canongate Books

Trainers collect a lot of self-help books. Anyone looking at our bookshelves would be alarmed! This is why I love this gem of a book. Friendly, sensible and evidence based Burkman investigates everything from leadership to worry. I am still working on ‘how to be a better morning person’! This little book makes frequent appearances on the resource table.

So, there we are. 5 possible reads that others have found helpful and interesting enough to bring along to their development course. I am passing them on in the same springboard spirit. Happy reading.

This article was written by Emma Williams, Director of EJW Solutions Ltd. @ejwsolutions

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of The Springboard Consultancy.

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