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My reading list for May

Scott Taylor
Scott Taylor
- 5 min read
My reading list for May

Last week I had to go into the centre of town, and on my way I spotted  a Waterstones (book store). By this time you'll probably know that I can't walk by a book store without calling in and grabbing a book.

Embracing this addition, before I knew it I was standing in front of 'Latest Non-Fiction'. Below are a few of the books that I picked up and hope to read this month. Check them out and let me know @ScottTaylor if you start reading any of them!

Mark Carney: Value(s)

What do you value? Why is it that often the things we value the most – from frontline nurses to the natural environment to keeping children well fed and educated – seem of little importance to economic markets?

In Value(s), one of the great economic thinkers of our time examines how economic value and social values became blurred, how we went from living in a market economy to a market society, and how to rethink and rebuild before it’s too late. The book will help arm the best in business, finance and government, and disarm the worst.

During his time as a G7 central banker and seven years spent as Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney witnessed the collapse of public trust in elites, globalisation, and technology; the challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution and the existential threat of the growing climate emergency. Drawing on a truly international perspective to our greatest problems, this book sets out a framework for the change needed for an economic and social renaissance in a post-Covid world. Embedding the values of sustainability, solidarity and responsibility into all decision-making is integral to his argument for how we can channel the dynamism of the market to turn intractable problems into enormous opportunities. His deeply researched and forward-looking manifesto goes to the heart of what we’ve got wrong in the past and offers action plans to set it right for individuals, businesses, investors and governments.

In short, Value(s) sets out how we can build a better world for all. It is a book that offers achievable solutions to global problems, building a future fit for our children, grandchildren and generations to come. ‘The ten pages where he takes down routine market fables are worth the price of the book alone.’ writes Will Hutton.

Jordan B Peterson: Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life

In 12 Rules for Life, acclaimed public thinker and clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson offered an antidote to the chaos in our lives: eternal truths applied to modern anxieties. His insights have helped millions of readers and resonated powerfully around the world.

Now in this much-anticipated sequel, Peterson goes further, showing that part of life's meaning comes from reaching out into the domain beyond what we know, and adapting to an ever-transforming world. While an excess of chaos threatens us with uncertainty, an excess of order leads to a lack of curiosity and creative vitality. Beyond Order therefore calls on us to balance the two fundamental principles of reality - order and chaos ­- and reveals the profound meaning that can be found on the path that divides them.

In times of instability and suffering, Peterson reminds us that there are sources of strength on which we can all draw: insights borrowed from psychology, philosophy, and humanity's greatest myths and stories. Drawing on the hard-won truths of ancient wisdom, as well as deeply personal lessons from his own life and clinical practice, Peterson offers twelve new principles to guide readers towards a more courageous, truthful and meaningful life.

Scholastique Mukasonga: Our Lady of the Nile

Parents send their daughters to Our Lady of the Nile to be moulded into respectable citizens, and to protect them from the dangers of the outside world. The young ladies are expected to learn, eat, and live together, presided over by the colonial white nuns.

It is fifteen years prior to the 1994 Rwandan genocide and a quota permits only two Tutsi students for every twenty pupils. As Gloriosa, the school's Hutu queen bee, tries on her parents' preconceptions and prejudices, Veronica and Virginia, both Tutsis, are determined to find a place for themselves and their history. In the struggle for power and acceptance, the lycée is transformed into a microcosm of the country's mounting racial tensions and violence. During the interminable rainy season, everything slowly unfolds behind the school's closed doors: friendship, curiosity, fear, deceit, and persecution.

Our Lady of the Nile is a landmark novel about a country divided and a society hurtling towards horror. In gorgeous and devastating prose, Mukasonga captures the dreams, ambitions and prejudices of young women growing up as their country falls apart.

Paul Strathern: The Florentines - From Dante to Galileo

Between the birth of Dante in 1265 and the death of Galileo in 1642 something happened which completely revolutionized Western civilization. Painting, sculpture and architecture would all visibly change in a striking fashion. Likewise, the thought and self-conception of humanity would take on a completely different aspect. Sciences would be born - or emerge in an entirely new guise.

In this sweeping 400-year history, Paul Strathern reveals how, and why, these new ideas which formed the Renaissance began, and flourished, in the city of Florence. Just as central and northern Germany gave birth to the Reformation, Britain was a driver of the Industrial Revolution and Silicon Valley shaped the digital age, so too, Strathern argues, did Florence play a similarly unique and transformative role in the Renaissance.

While vividly bringing to life the city and a vast cast of characters - including Dante, Botticelli, Machiavelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Galileo - Strathern shows how these great Florentines forever altered Europe and the Western world.

Stephen Fry: Troy - Our Greatest Story Retold

'Troy. The most marvellous kingdom in all the world. The Jewel of the Aegean. Glittering Ilion, the city that rose and fell not once but twice . . .'

The story of Troy speaks to all of us - the kidnapping of Helen, a queen celebrated for her beauty, sees the Greeks launch a thousand ships against that great city, to which they will lay siege for ten whole and very bloody years.

It is Zeus, the king of the gods, who triggers war when he asks the Trojan prince Paris to judge the fairest goddess of them all. Aphrodite bribes Paris with the heart of Helen, wife of King Menelaus of the Greeks, and naturally, nature takes its course.

It is a terrible, brutal war with casualties on all sides. The Greeks cannot defeat the Trojans - since Achilles, the Greek's boldest warrior, is consumed with jealousy over an ally's choice of lover, the Trojan slave Briseis, and will not fight . . .

The stage is set for the oldest and greatest story ever told, where monstrous passions meet the highest ideals and the lowest cunning.

In Troy you will find heroism and hatred, love and loss, revenge and regret, desire and despair. It is these human passions, written bloodily in the sands of a distant shore, that still speak to us today.

Troy is a myth in which we seek the truth about ourselves, which Stephen Fry brings breathtakingly to life for our modern age.

Malcolm Gladwell: The Bomber Mafia - A Story Set in War

'The Bomber Mafia is a case study in how dreams go awry. When some shiny new idea drops from the heavens, it does not land softly in our laps. It lands hard, on the ground, and shatters.'

In the years before the Second World War, in a sleepy air force base in central Alabama, a small group of renegade pilots put forth a radical idea. What if we made bombing so accurate that wars could be fought entirely from the air? What if we could make the brutal clashes between armies on the ground a thing of the past?

This book tells the story of what happened when that dream was put to the test. The Bomber Mafia follows the stories of a reclusive Dutch genius and his homemade computer, Winston Churchill's forbidding best friend, a team of pyromaniacal chemists at Harvard, a brilliant pilot who sang vaudeville tunes to his crew, and the bomber commander, Curtis Emerson LeMay, who would order the bloodiest attack of the Second World War.

In this tale of innovation and obsession, Gladwell asks: what happens when technology and best intentions collide in the heat of war? And what is the price of progress?

Happy reading!

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Scott Taylor

Started and sold a few companies. My aim is to make sense of the world, constantly improve and become increasingly empathetic. Sharing what I learn along the way.