Monday 26 June 2017

Review: The Secret of My Success by Jamie Oliver

Crimson (£12.99)

Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

THIS book by Jamie Oliver (the business reporter rather than the television chef) is an easy read that is bound to have something of interest for almost every reader.

The idea is very simple: Mr Oliver has asked close to a hundred heavy hitters in the business world about the secret of their success, and then divided the responses into groups such as attitude, finance, networking and leadership.

There are no Irish respondents but there are many familiar names, from Richard Branson and Bill Gates to Carlos Slim and David Tang.

Needless to say, some of the advice is contradictory and much of the advice won't apply to every business, but there is something inspiring about reading the thoughts of so many successful business people.

The book is also a reminder that business is fairly simple; or should be. Almost nobody interviewed in the book takes a particularly complex approach to what they do, even somebody such as Carlos Slim who has his fingers in many pies.

While all this may seem commonplace, it is perhaps surprising just how many of those interviewed suffered significant setbacks of the kind that are unfortunately all too common in Irish business at the moment.

Many of today's grandees went to the wall -- or came close -- in the 1980s when the western world suffered its last great recession.

Reading The Secret of My Success, one can't help thinking many young entrepreneurs here and elsewhere are probably learning invaluable lessons for the future the hard way.

Another thing many of the respondents have in common is just how early they started to get involved in business and how few had a conventional education.

It is difficult not to wonder whether the Government's focus on education is not destroying some of the entrepreneurial spirit.

This is not a challenging book, nor is it substantial but there is nevertheless something engaging about the idea and the responses.

Reading them back-to-back is a celebration of business and a welcome reminder that while every business life has its ups and downs, it is still possible to come out on top.

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