Edition six

Book & podcast reviews

Podcast reviews by John Toon

I'm John Toon, Manager of Beever and Struthers. I’m a big fan of podcasts and in normal times (remember those?) they were part of the commute into the office. Now they are an essential part of my working from home routine providing some light relief, background noise and occasionally a welcome distraction.

Not surprisingly my listening reflects my interests so there’s a lot about sports, business, economics, current affairs and science on heavy rotation. I don’t, as a rule, listen to any accountancy specific podcasts because I think there’s a lot to learn from other places that equally apply to our world that avoids the echo chamber. Besides, I’m well connected enough and talk to other accountants on a regular basis.

So here’s my pick of three podcasts that are worth putting on rotation:

Don’t Tell Me The Score

This is a weekly podcast from Simon Mundie exploring what sport can teach us about life. Each one usually runs between 45 minutes and an hour.

Simon talks to different people across the sporting spectrum and covers topics like adversity, success, goal setting, addiction etc and there are many themes and lessons that can be used in business.

Ben Goldacre’s Bad Evidence

Ben Goldacre is a well-known medic, author and critic of the government and the press for mangling the interpretation of science and medical data and results from studies. This is a single episode podcast from 2013 and the themes discussed are particularly prescient given the current response to COVID and the mantra of following the science.

Politics aside, there are lessons to learn for business as well. Discussions around the use of unsubstantiated evidence for decision making, how to improve evidence gathering and challenging data are all relevant.

More or Less

This one is for the data nerds!

It’s the podcast that aims to cast aside the interpretation of stats by the “man in the pub” or more typically the press and politicians! Twice a week they review and get behind the headlines and misinformed interpretations covering a wide range of topical issues.

Book reviews from Matt Flanagan

Matt Flanagan is the Co-Founder/Head Trainer at Appacus as well as MD @ BlueHub. Through his seminars & educational programmes, he helps forward-thinking accountants to get the most out of cloud accounting and the surrounding app ecosystem.

In his signature programme, The App Advisory Accelerator, he helps firms to build & implement app advisory services that generate additional revenue. Since 2014, he's worked with leading Top 100 firms such as Taylorcocks, G+E, BHP and Old Mill, as well as many small to medium-sized firms.

Matt is recognised as one of the leading voices in the cloud accounting & app ecosystem and is regularly invited to speak by software vendors such as Xero & Receipt Bank. You can find out more about Matt and how he can help your firm here.

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll

In an ever increasing digital focussed world this book focuses on how we can use bullet journalling as a method of organising our busy lives across personal and business tasks. It teaches the methods of using a journal to categorise, plan & monitor events, tasks, projects, notes, feelings in a very methodical way. The core methods that are taught are rapid-logging, bullet categorisation, collections and the importance of regular migrating of tasks. I’ve been trialling this for approximately a month and have found it very therapeutic to return to pen and paper especially in an increasing digitally focussed world, and with being involved in different businesses it has been a winning method for helping me feel in control of my tasks and removing the busy-ness from my mind.

Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman

This book is an interesting read and really focusses the mind on the character types you have in your business as well as working out whether the role you take on in your own business is quite eye opening. The key roles that the book educates the readers on is the ‘Visionary’ and the ‘Integrator’ roles within the business… The ‘Visionary’ is the big ideas person with motivation being a key attribute, the ‘Integrator’ is the person who takes the vision and binds the right connections together to deliver it. This is a read that makes you evaluate where you are and where you want to be whilst challenging your mind about what combination of attributes are needed to realise your businesses vision.

Keep Going – 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad, Austin Kleon

I actually bought and read this book back in 2019 and the main reason I did was that it’s first chapter is called ‘Everyday is Groundhog Day’ which has become even more apt through this pandemic, so I did re-read it again over Christmas. It’s a short sharp book (I can’t always read and digest in-depth business books one after the other) with lots of tips, techniques and methods to make the most of your days (which the book rightly says makes up your life). Favourite chapters of mine are ‘Build a bliss station’ where the theme of the chapter is about disconnecting from the digital world and ‘Demons hate fresh air’ which is pretty self explanatory. Overall a feel good book that can be read/digested in a short period of time with some easy to implement methods and techniques.