I love reading. It makes me feel better.

But I don’t alway the chance to read and I end up mindlessly scrolling through social media as it sucks the life out of me.

Which is why in January I made a concerted effort to consume more books. I dusted off my kindle. Made the most of my Amazon subscription and borrowed one of my nephews books to consume as much as I could.

It felt awesome.

Here’s the books I consumed along with amazon links where if you buy I’ll get a small commission 😉

Trevor Mcdonald- An Improbable Life

Trevor Mcdonald eloquently recounts his improbable life with his distinctive soothing tone in this absorbing autobiography.

The book begins with Trevor recounting his time reporting on the Obama inauguration. The glee in his voice is palpable as he recounts how he felt seeing the first black president of the USA be sworn in.

Yet the book ends with Trevors dismay over the UK windrush scandal and the Hostile environment overseen by the UK government.

Sandwiched inbetween Trevor reminsces  his upbrining in Trinidad and how he came to become a journalist in the UK. He talks  warmly about his parents and his island upbringing which brought a tear to my eye. He looks back his meetings with Sadam Hussain and Gadafi and other important news events that he has reported on. He also recalls his time in SA during apartheid and the historic events around Mandela’s release from prison.

The book does repeat itself on occasions but all in all it was an engrossing listen and I imagine it would be a fantastic read.

If I was giving ratings it would be a 10/10.

52 Time Britain Was a Bellend- James Felton

I wanted to read this book for quite some time after seeing the author advertise it on Twitter. Ever the tight arse and as it was leading up to Christmas I tried to see if my local Library had it. No such luck. I didn’t get it off Santa either.

I did however pick it up in the Boxing day sale for £4 #winning at life.

The book recounts 52 times that the UK hasn’t been the gentle caring nation that we make ourselves out to be. It humourously summaries how the English banned speaking Welsh in Wales, to how Britain starved out the Irish during the potato famine, to going to war with China because they wouldn’t buy out opium to purposefully splitting up India killing millions of people and much much more.

As much as I’m glad I read it, I can’t help but think that it was oversold by the author and his army of followers. Like some TV programmes and films the best parts are used to advertise the book. 

However, I must humbly confess that I have a good grasp of history and knew quite a lot of  the stories but some took my by surprise like our wars with China over opium.

It’s worth getting the book if you can get it on sale but don’t go out of your way to get it.

The Fear Bubble- Ant Middleton (audio book)

Ant Middleton, one of the stars of the SAS Who Dares Wins series on Channel 4 recalls his Everest Summit and the lessons that he took from it in this highly rated book.

The Everest Summit was filmed and was shown on Channel 4 in 2018 which was a good absorbing watch but was also when I started having some bad feeling towards Ant.

Ant, I felt risked the lives of his cameraman and his sherpa by taking unneccesary risks by trecking through bad storms to get from basecamp to camp 2 on Everest despite the reservations of team amongst other things. It made great TV but it made me feel uneasy.

Anyway, I was pleased to hear in the book his explanation in the book why he wanted to take such risks. 

He talks in the book about the fear of the mind creating an alternative reality and encourages readers to take things at face value, yet throughout the book he is convinced the cameraman is trying to steal his thunder and trying to be the alpha male when in reality his sole purpose was to make some great TV.

Despite some reservations I have about Ant’s personality you have to respect a man who is obviously a high achiever. You don’t get in the SBS and climb mount Everest easily! He does have some great lessons and some absorbing anecdotes in the book which are valuable lessons to anyone, including me. 

Legacy- What the All Blacks can teach you about Business and Life. James Kerr

I was recommened this book by my university lecturer when talking about the role of culture in leadership. Needless to say as a Rugby fan I didnt hesitate in trying to snap it up.

It’s a slightly heavy read if you aren’t particularly into rugby or leadership. However, if that’s your bag than I would highly recommend picking it up.

It’s full of practical examples of how to prick leadership principles to life into business, sport and your personal life.

The funny thing about this books is that the principles that were once cutting edge when set up, are now almost common knowledge and used by rugby teams throughout the world.  

The All Blacks really are the standard bearers of rugby success.

How Green Was My Valley- Richard Llewelyn

I’ve read this book once before and watched the film on multiple occasions but had the urge to read this again. 

Reading this gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. It’s so well written. You almost transport yourself to that time and are able to live and feel what the author is talking about.

I have no idea if there is any accuracy to the authors writing but one must assume there was a certain amount of research undertaken to produce a book this good.

What I take from the book is the strength of the communeity and family amid the backdrop of the growth of mining in Valley areas towards the late 19th century.

Read it and you won’t regret it.

Pride and Passion. My Autobiography- Warren Gatland.

Warren Gatland brought some glory years back to Welsh Rugby with unprecedented success not seen since the 70’s. Of course I was going to read this book!

Warren recalls his story of his upbrining and rugby journey which took him from his native Zealand, Ireland, Wasps and to Wales and now back to New Zealand. 

He confronts all the major troubles of his coaching tenure and provides a goof insight into the behind the scenes stuff that the general oublic never see.

The big takeaway for me was that there is a lot more to Gatland than his public persona lets on. He comes accross as a thoroughly decent guy with a surprising talent of his getting the best out of people he manages.

If you’re a rugby fan, read it.

Hope you enjoyed reading and I’ve given you some recommendations on some books.

Many apologies for any grammatical mistakes, felt sick as dog over the last 3-4 days and have rushed to get this out.

Feel free to buy through the links above to support the growth of this blog 🙂