Posted: Tue 19th Apr 2022
It isn’t just the story of Newton with his apple and describing gravity, or Alexander Fleming in medical science noticing that mould had developed accidentally on a set of culture dishes, leading to the discovery of penicillin.
As Penny Power says within the title of her own book: Business Is Personal.
It is, you know. That book and message helped my own mind shift towards realising that in every business there is a personal story, often an erratic and circuitous one, and that success is rarely simple.
Business owners can find inspiration in strange places
That was very clear at the Start Up Bromley panel event I was at this week, where three local business owners, Rene Perkins, co-founder of CityMaaS; Lauretta Wright, editor of Life In magazines; and Neil Mitchell, co-founder of Ollie Polly Play Café, were uniquely bookended on stage by a UK top-50 influencer & broadcaster Emily Maitlis and David Smith, Economics Editor of The Sunday Times.
They shared their own personal business stories, which were full of inspiration and the twists and turns of fate.
So, speaking personally, in 2022 I unexpectedly found inspiration in a work of pure, entertaining fiction, which I bought because I liked the cover, the title, and the ever-crucial opening line: “Nina did not want to spend her thirtieth birthday in a prison cell.”
Thirty Things I Love About Myself
Radhika Sanghani’s novel takes a recently un-engaged journalist, Nina, on a journey through jail, tantric sex, parental disapproval, the darkest of sibling troubles, social media and TV celebrity and their consequences, all wrapped up in a self-love journey based around a (sadly) also fictional self-help book that Nina encountered along the way.
This isn’t a conventional place to find business inspiration. There are many, many books about business and how to succeed.
For me, it is too late to review 2009’s Start With Why by Simon Sinek (good book, helpful, much-read, uncommonly the best of it is at the end and I wish I’d read it earlier).
Also, on reflection, I don’t know enough about sales to review sales guru James Newell’s (sorry James) instructional tome Clear Sales Message, though you should check him out online.
Like Radhika, he entertains as he educates. There are also books about resilience in business and classics such as Stephen R Covey’s Seven Habits Of Highly Successful People. Business non-fiction abounds.
However, you don’t have to have read any of these to get something from Thirty Things To Love About Yourself.
What can you get? Laughs. There are laugh out loud moments on a regular basis.
Wisdom. Such wisdom as the book contains may not make sense to everyone, but at least the book poses the question: what wisdom do you need to live your life?
Character development. There are some classic character types in the novel from the Indian mother who at the start appears to be solely concerned with posing the question to Nina as she moves from mishap to daughterly mishap: ‘Have you no shame?’
But as the novel unfolds, so too do the characters, developing progression and satisfying nuances.
By now (if you have read this far) you may still be wondering what this review is doing on Enterprise Nation!
The answer is simple: business is personal (see above), and businesses are started and staffed by human beings.
We’re all human, 24/7. It is unavoidable, and we are highly subject to our mental baggage and hang-ups, our confidence, or lack of it, our morale, or lack of that, the impact of friends, families, our peers, social media, the latest news (we’re on a crap run over the last few years in that regard), and our emotions (oh, our emotions!). Yes, we’re human.
I don’t want to spend my life watching The Apprentice, listening to TED Talks, and hearing worthy speeches.
I will and do spend some of my time doing that, but like a gladiatorial audience, I want to be entertained too.
So welcome, fiction, to the world of business inspiration, because when I finished writing Thirty Things I Love About Myself, I started writing Thirty Things I Love About My Business.
Because if we can’t all do that, why are we bothering? Like Sinek, Sanghani has also added value and insight at the end of her novel with a ‘questions for your book club’, a ‘recommended reading’, and, yes, a blank form for Thirty Things I Love About Myself.
Read this novel, be entertained and learn and laugh at the same time. It can be done.