Reading list

Bookshelf

(c) Paul Simpson 2024

I have always done a lot of reading. It remains the best way for me to learn something new.

In 2024 I have decided to add my reading list to my posts with links to the books and any comments I have on the usefulness (or otherwise). I have included novels and you’ll rarely see any comments on the lessons to be learned as quality professionals. But you never know!

The 2024 books are in reverse order of reading, so the latest is at the top. I won’t keep on publishing this on LinkedIn but may occasionally put a post on that refers to it.

Beyond Contempt: The Inside Story of the Phone Hacking Trial – Peter Jukes – Not quite as political as some of the earlier books but still likely to get people shouting out loud. In the introduction the author talks about British justice being on trial and, if so, I find the system guilty of failing to meet my needs.

The 4 Pillars of Critical Thinking: 103 Techniques & Hacks to Improve Your Work and Personal Life by Mastering Mental Skills. Analyze Situations Better and Reason Well by Detecting Logical Fallacies – Patrik Meyer – An area of real interest to me and the book certainly covers a lot of ground (as the 103 tools alludes to). It can’t quite get my recommendation as there isn’t enough information on the tools and there isn’t a ‘whole’ that can get my attention.

Depraved New World: Please Hold, the Government Will Be With You Shortly – by John Crace – Another giveaway on my thoughts on the current state of the government. The author is a Guardian writer and the book is a series of his articles with the occasional link explaining what had been happening around the time the article was published. The timeline covers everything from Partygate, the ousting of Boris Johnson, and Liz Truss & Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous ‘not quite a budget’.

The Great Post Office Scandal: The story of the fight to expose a multimillion pound IT disaster which put innocent people in jail  – Nick Wallis – more required reading for quality professionals. The book has been sitting on my eBook reader for over twelve months. It took the ITV drama, Mr. Bates vs. The Post Office to move it (near to) the top of my reading list.

The author, Nick Wallis, has produced an amazing piece of investigative journalism. He balances the harrowing personal stories of the Subpostmasters and Subpostmistresses (SPM), a detailed timeline of the events that led up to the largest miscarriages of justice in British history and a forensic examination of the legal cases and evidence that proves The Post Offices prosecuted its SPMs while having and not disclosing to the defendants the information that showed that the Horizon IT system was unreliable.

This tragic case study starts with quality failings in software development and project management and throughout the scandal there were multiple opportunities for responsible professionals to stand up and challenge a toxic culture and ropey processes.

This book is required reading for quality professionals, software developers and anyone required to deal with a delivery network like the SPMs. An additional ‘recommended’ list includes anyone in the Met Police investigating possible criminal activity at the Post Office and anyone at the Crown Prosecution Service who will have to decide whether to take action.

hashtag#quality hashtag#postofficescandal

Phantom – Jo Nesbo, Don Bartlett (Translator)

Icons of Northamptonshire – CPRE and Northamptonshire County Council – no quality lessons here, I’m afraid (and not a novel). A great coffee table book showing some of the best bits of the county.

The Rooster Bar – John Grisham

The Ministry of Common Sense‘ by Martin Lindstrom – fabulous read. Although there is no mention of quality in the title or the blurb. The author uses anecdotes of a lack of common sense, starting with an airport purchase that can’t be opened in the airport for use on a flight. These are examples of where quality can make a difference to organisations.

The Leopard – Jo Nesbo, Don Bartlett (Translator)

How they broke Britain – James O’Brien  – a political tour de force. The author lists the ten people he believes are responsible for ‘breaking’ Britain. There are chapters on Rupert Murdoch, Paul Dacre and Andrew Neil of mainstream media fame, he also covers the politicians Nigel Farage, David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss and special advisors Matthew Elliott and Dominic Cummings from Vote Leave. You can probably guess my view on the individuals when I tell you that I really enjoyed the book but wish I had never had to read it. Brexit remains a stain on this country’s recent past and will continue to cause economic and political harm to the UK until long after I am dead.


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