I love reading and have reviewed great books on NetGalley.  

The reviews will appear as part of the TesseReads Book Club

Best of Friends

Author: Kamila Shamsie

Published: September 2022

“Best of Friends” is an inspirational read. Beautifully written, it highlights the dark and light sides of friendship and relationships. In hard times and in good times we need our friends. You cannot help but to touched by the hopes and dreams of the characters in this book. A must read, it has definitely inspired me.

Atlas Of The Heart

Author: Brene Brown

Published: 2021

To be human is to know sadness.  Owning our sadness is courageous and a necessary step in finding our way back to ourselves and each other.

Brene Brown, Atlas of the Heart

Brene Brown maps out meaningful connection, necessary skills  and advocates for the language of human experience.  Her offering takes us on a journey through eighty-seven of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human and maps out an actionable framework.   We can build connection as we  share and steward the stories of our bravest and most heartbreaking moments with one another. 

Vulnerability is not weakness; its our greatest measure of courage”.

Atlas of the Heart has useful pointers for leaders

“Leaders don’t have all the answers, but ask important questions.”.   Giving and getting feedback can be uncomfortable and difficult experiences.   However there is no courage without vulnerability “Courage requires the willingness to lean into uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure”.  If  we can’t  lean into these, we can’t lead. 

“It’s brave to invite new information to the table, to sit with it and hear it out”.

And yet, we need hope

“Hope is a function of struggle – we develop hope not during the easy or comfortable times, but through adversity and discomfort”. 

Particularly comforting is Brene Brown’s take on compassion.  We build our understanding of emotion and experiences.  We share in the suffering of the other.    Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.  “Compassion is fuelled by understanding that we’re all made of strength and struggle.  Compassion is “a practice based in the beauty and pain of shared humanity”.

And on belonging?

“True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who YOU are”

Board Committees Handbook

Board Committees Handbook

Author: Sue Lawrence

Published: March 2020

Board Committees Handbook 

Board Committees Handbook is an excellent guide to implementing and running committees.    The guidance analyses core committees that can be found in  well run organisations.  Helpfully it explores less commonly run committees and forum.   Particularly enlightening are the case studies and practical advice.   The hacks on implementation are wonderful pointers to complying with governance codes and regulations. 

My favorite chapter is subsidiary boards.  I found the comparison between committees and subsidiary board helpful.  Writing about the role of a subsidiary board member  was refreshing, as it is not often put in an accessible format. 

“As with committees, transparency and clarity are key to having some semblance of consistency, transparency and clarity in managing subsidiary frameworks and the subsidiaries themselves. When appointment to subsidiary boards, care should be taken to understand the purpose of the subsidiary board, whether it is operational or dormant and what the practical requirements for board members will be in terms of the legal entity. Being appointed to a subsidiary is an opportunity for senior employees to have their first opportunity to contribute at board level.  It is a beneficial way to introduce senior individuals to governance frameworks, senior decision making and leadership.  It could be a source of committee members for the wider company. “ 

If you are involved in supporting boards or sitting on committees, this is the resource for you.  

The Company Secretary’s Checklists is a guide for the most common secretary tasks and transactions.

Company’s Secretary’s Checklists

11th Edition

Author: Douglas Armour 

Published: October 2019

The Company Secretary’s Checklists is a guide for the most common secretary tasks and transactions.   

Each checklist provides a steer through a range for common tasks such as appointing and removing directors, preparing for company meetings, Director duties , General meetings, gender pay gap reporting,  notice periods, insolvency and winding up. 

Setting out The Wates  Corporate Governance Principles is helpful as is the guidance on stakeholder relationships and engagement. 

Each entry includes an introduction, an explanation and a checklist of points for consideration.   This serves as a quick reference and increases accessibility. 

This is definitely a well thought through resource for the busy governance profession and for any company secretary. 

From Conflict to Courage

Author: Marlene Chism

Published: 2022

Unresolved conflict is workplace kryptonite. 

“From Conflict to Courage” has helped me to develop the mindset and skills to defuse disagreements, overcome division, and turn conflict into an opportunity for growth.  Brave and courageous conversations require radical listening.     Marlene’s masterpiece encourages leaders to think like a consultant, to see themselves as investigative reporters who find the key that unlock the mystery.  To do so calls for responsibility, ownership and leadership clarity. 

Real skill building takes silliness, practice and courage.  Real skills development comes from real-life practices which improves relationships, increases trust levels and enriches the quality of conversations with teammates. 

Leaders unintentionally mismanage conflict when they fall into patterns “the Three As: ” aggression, avoidance, and appeasing. “These coping mechanisms are ways human beings avoid the emotions that come with conflict, but in the end it’s all avoidance

Fearlessly dealing with conflict head-on by expanding your conflict capacity  is a combination of three elements. The foundation is the Inner Game–the leader’s self-awareness, values, discernment, and emotional integrity. The Outer Game is the skills, tools, and communication techniques built on that foundation. Finally, there’s Culture–the visible and invisible structures that can encourage or discourage conflict.

There are exercises, examples, and expert guidance on developing all three elements.  The practices and reflections offer techniques to increase leadership clarity, identify obstacles, and reduce resistance. 

As a leader, I have been better supported in developing powerful skills for dealing with high-conflict people and for initiating, engaging in, and staying with difficult conversations.  I see conflict as a teacher, courageously face it, and I am continually working on transforming myself so that I continually  get the resolution I am seeking and being better able to support other leaders as they think through their options, examine their choices and  change their minds if need be.

A massive tip – instead of talking about what you don’t want, switch to what you want.   The courage of willingness – the fulcrum point of change is where you become willing to move the needle.  A must read for leaders,  I simply love this book!

Tell me the truth about love

Tell Me The Truth About Love

Author: Susanna Arse

Expected: May 19 2022

Tell me the truth about love offers a rich feast.  

13 tales from the Therapist Couch. 

Susanna Abse, has been a psychoanalytic psychotherapist for over 30 years. She is also a superb story teller. She served as Chair of The British Psychoanalytic Council from 2018 t0 2021.

 She reminds us of quotes from Sigmund Freud “We are never so defenceless as when we love” and John Bowlby “we do as we have been done by”.  What I love most is the practicality such a letting go of one set of truths and becoming open to a more shared understanding of each other.  Talking about fragile bonds, Susanna indicates what when it comes to love, we armour ourselves against fragility, because we are afraid.  Susanna masterfully uncovers the pain and hopes of relationships. 

“To become spring, means accepting the risk of winter.  To become present, means accepting the risk of absence (Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Manon Ballerina.  The reality is that in some unhealthy relationships the couple can never quite let each other go.  Sometimes there is an understanding that an affair is a symptom of other problems.  When couples lower their expectations of each other, there is less disappointment and more capacity to enjoy and appreciate what they have. 

Susanna concludes, “The more distressed the couple, the less the pandemic seems to come into the sessions. The inner world of feelings makes such a racket that the clamour and noise of the outside world hardly makes a sound”.

This tapestry of wisdom Is a must-read that contains plenty of nuggets about love. 

Make It, Don’t Fake It Real Leadership for Real Business Success By Sabrina Horn

Make It, Don’t Fake It

Author: Sabrina Horn

Published: 2021

Sabrina’s book is a delight to read.  It starts from the very early days as a founder and touches step by step on practical steps to achieve success.  This includes consciousness of the values, focus on what works, consciousness of what is not quite hitting the mark, recognising relationship dynamics and dealing with loneliness.   I found it fascinating to see how I can use complaints to enhance my business and to use feedback as a stepping block towards greatness.   A really handy guide, I recommend it.    

Revisiting the values statement and using them as a focus

“Teamwork – We pledge to be supportive, accountable, share responsibilities, believe in

ourselves, work together as a family and in teams to support our clients.

Education – We strive to be the best at our jobs by continuously learning new skills, growing in

our strategic expertise and proficiency, well-roundedness, and mastery of our job responsibilities.

Accountability – We promise to our clients and to each other to be trustworthy, reliable,

productive, dependable, follow-through, and to produce high-quality, error-free work.

Motivation – We are always resourceful, never cookie-cutter. We have a can-do, energetic

attitude, go the extra mile, and are always proactive in the work we do for our clients.

Humor – We work hard and play hard, and our glass is always half full. We find opportunities to

laugh and always find a way to make things work.

Integrity – Integrity is a combination of humility, honesty, ethics, morals, accuracy, and

precision. We take pride in our work, and give it and everything we say and do, our honest and

best attention. We admit mistakes, and uphold the company’s values and standards.”

Embrace the Silence

Up to this point, we have treated loneliness as an enemy. If loneliness is a kind of silence,

understand that silence can foster insight and provide clarity. Embrace the silence, don’t turn

away from it. Distinguish between loneliness and solitude. Make it a priority to carve out time for silence:  

Complaints Are Gifts

Objections, negative responses, complaints—all of these are gifts. They need to be unwrapped.


Author: L. C. Fowler 

Published: 2022

Real Christian Living Requires the Grit, Courage & Confidence of a Navy SEAL in Training 

L. C. Fowler Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL (BUD/S) Class 89

“Begin believing like the champion you were created to be. Never give up on your dreams”

Larry’s book struck me because of its Christian leaning, and I know it will bless many lives and equip many leaders. No words seem necessary when people look at you with tears in their eyes.  If you’re hurting, it’s unlikely you’re the only one. So do what you can to help bear another’s burden. My goal is for my sorrow to propel me to love and serve others. My faith is bigger than my fear.  Believing this requires real trust.  Sometimes the worst roads lead to the most beautiful places. It’s a choice. Perhaps the toughest choice a person can imagine.

“If you’re walking through loneliness, anxiety, addiction, loss of a job, anger, lust, greed, suicidal thoughts, a broken relationship, or broken promises—this book is for you. Life’s a mess—a beautiful, strange, wonderful mess. As messy as life gets, know that you are wired to thrive through temporary failure—the kind that breeds a lifetime of unfathomable success—transforming you into a warrior”.

This is a book that will remain in my collection.   L.C Fowler shares practical tips which are accessible and will make a difference if implemented.   These include the following:

  1. Find a community of people who bring out the best in you
  2. Build relationships with them. Raise the communal bar. 
  3. Keep wise people around you who have similar goals. Iron sharpens iron.
  4. Have an “I can do anything” attitude. And believe it.
  5. Yesterday is already gone, and tomorrow is never guaranteed; so live bravely in the moment of today
  6. Hard times reveal our true ambitions, but above all else, our depth of character. How we respond and who we respond to is everything.
  7. Wisdom, skill, fortitude, work ethic . . . all of these things are built grain by grain.
  8. As you grow, be prepared to be alone without being lonely. Be comfortable going against the grain.
  9. Find the best in others. Be a thoughtful listener, and give every person dignity and respect in every interaction.
  10. Acknowledge the bigger plan that you can’t see.
  11. People who have suffered naturally expose a maturity that cannot be taught. Such maturity enables boundless compassion for others suffering similarly
  12. Don’t forget to celebrate with others

Dare to Be Courageous 

  1. The best predictor of success is grit. How you choose to respond to life’s trials—your uncommon moments—is everything. 
  2. Never underestimate the power of a single voice to change the world.
  3. Your past is important, but not nearly as important as today and tomorrow. 
  4. Your faith will be sharpened amidst trials, suffering and hardship; and your purpose will become unmistakable.
  5. Repurpose weaknesses into strengths. When fear threatens to overwhelm you, suck it up and dive in. 
  6. Be the first to volunteer. And don’t just meet your fears head on; thrive even in the midst of them
  7. A person’s character is shaped during life’s most turbulent storms.
  8. Treat every day like the gift it is, and make the most of your time by investing in others.
  9. Spend time with good friends who lift your spirits and make you laugh

“Though a mighty army surrounds me, My heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.” —Psalm 27:3 (NLT)

Balancing Act: Teach, Coach, Mentor , Inspire

Balancing Act: Teach, Coach Mentor and Inspire 

Author: Dr Andrew Temte CFA

Published: 2021

“Balance is a journey, not a destination.  Influence is key to success and influence is an essential leadership quality.  Influencers are critical thinkers, effective communicators, steady under pressure, empathetic and collaborative – all behavioural skills – understanding how to influence and lead.   Opportunities align to authenticity.  Opportunity comes to those who are continuously learning, moving forward and applying their talents in a constructive fashion. We can’t effectively sympathise and work with others until we gain that deep understanding – literacy an acumen”.

Balancing Act is truly a delight.  It subtly combines thought leadership concepts with purpose-driven leadership and how fulfilment can be experienced by intentionally focusing on what matters.  The commitment and combination to teach, coach, mentor and inspire is a wonderful contribution that can achieve balance in our personal and professional life. 

Andrew successfully pinpoints how leaders can facilitate a culture of trust while realizing the benefits of diverse organisations and mining the diversity of people. We pick up tips about how to faster a culture that encourages people to bring their whole self to work.  

Embarking on a continuous improvement journey can result in more balanced individuals, teams and organisations. 

I particularly liked Andrew’s invitation to ‘keep the light shining for all the world to see’.    The light in our eyes shows motivation and ability to learn and grow. Organisations that offer support, nurture and balance in their environment retain their people. 

Another useful strategy to bring our whole self to what we do is to be guided by words we live by. Andrew has six words he uses as a guide to his interactions and approaches the challenge.  Andrew turns these words into action to move forward.   For example being calm can be helped by being a knowledge seeker.  The unknown becomes less scary.   You can gain confidence over time as no matter how thorny the problem a solution can be found.   The whole self superpower is predicated on the fact that words are just words unless they’re also accompanied by deeds.  

On diversity Andrew  writes “When teams are more diverse, they are much better equipped to spot opportunities and potential problems that fall into others blind spots.    Hire team members from different backgrounds with different perspectives.  The hardest thing is to let their lights shine and reach consensus to move forward with agility and purpose”.

Trust within a team and between colleagues is built over time.  Balancing Act spotlights the importance of organizational health and organizational trust.   Health organisations perform better than their peers and exhibit higher levels of employee engagement and retention. Trust is a central component of any effective organizational health model. With the right accountability, communication  and process flow frameworks in place, trust should be the baseline assumption.  Clearly defined responsibility matrices (BACI) are also an essential ingredient in building organizational trust. 


by Kathryn Mannix

Listen , how to find the words for tender conversations, is a powerful book about life, death, relationships, mental heath and how to talk about what matters. It is an incredible guide towards connection.  Kathryn Mannix masterfully captures of power of listening. When I am listened to, I  experience being held with wisdom and kindness where deeply tender conversations are transformational and  reflect my experience of setbacks, difficulties and unanticipated outcomes.  Both the listener and listened are enriched by the experience as they  build the jigsaw one piece at a time. Strong, connected and engaged teams create shared perspective and vision, allowing for inclusivity and diminishing reactivity.  As a team member I am better able to separate myself from the person and the problem and not become part of it.  I find myself saving  energy and being impartial with increased wisdom to limp over the hot coals of my mistakes and acknowledge the anger of unmet expectations, recognising where I  have made unwise choices.  Tenderness shows up as a virtue that requires strength as  I remain alongside others who are experiencing emotional storms.   Listen offers  the invitation of listening, of  being open to changing my world, demonstrating  conscious of  how I show up in the world and masterfully communicating with myself and others..  Masterful communication is  borne out of more intentional listening,  helping others in their growth, broadening my  capacity to learn, grow and to better communicate with an increased  commitment to change.  I find that I bring my attention to the present with helpful questions,  tender listening and a  gentle way to get alongside someone in distress. With curiosity I come not as a problem-solver but as a person prepared to share uncertainty and support others in distress. Superior  listening enables me  to make space for suffering, to walk alongside others to  process their distress –  an important component of support and care. Suffering is not judged, discouraged or minimised. – As an effective listener I understand the depth of their sorrow.   In the listening spaces  I may not be able to make it better, .but I  can hold space for healing, comfort and repair. Reconciliation  becomes the place of restored friendship in a relationship of love.    Collectively we become a community where we are able to tell and hear each others stories and expanded hearing changes people, We consider when we should call for help either for the other person or for ourselves.   Powerful stories offer a style guide; a set of skills to recognise in, or add to our repertoire Together we can rethink  our roles is in the conversation. l tell myself I  am truly  here to listen, to understand, nothing more and I hold that sacred space with courage, braveness and care.   Kathryn Mannix has written a wonderful master piece.

No Cure for Being Human

by Kate Bowler

Pub Date: 20 Aug 2021
No Cure for Being Human is an excellent read.   It is a tear jerker, it is funny, it is reflective, it is challenging and it is ever so realistic.   Once I started reading it, I was totally hooked.  I could not put it down.  While it deals with the really serious matter of a terminal illness, is funny and ever so alive.    Kate’s words- ‘ I have so much work to get done’ as she travels through her illness is an indication of her courage and determination to be well.  Yet she admits that what keeps her going are her family, her friends and her community.  Throughout the book we are reminded of cliches we hear and the truths we need.  Pain is described as a narrow gate and there is a lens on the new economy of scarcity that skips arguments.   Kate is reminded that her best work is yet to come.  In her own words she  says she ‘never felt more alive, more determined, never felt more determined, never knew what really matters, than when she learnt to live each day’.  She was able to honour the promise to those who had gone before by living with a feeling of purpose, leaving room for growth  and living her life with courage.    We are often trapped between a past we can’t return to and a future that is uncertain.  It takes  guts to live in this place and look forward without hedging our bets too much, living in the space between anticipation and realisation.  We are never done, even when we’re done.  As life is unpredictable, we learn to face uncertainty with courage, toggling between the past, the present and the future.   Facing the past is part of facing the future. . We learn about people who have learned from difficult times  and we come to understand why it is so hard to speak frankly about suffering.   A book of hope and fortitude this is a must read.


Digital Goddess

by Victoria R. Montgomery Brown

Pub Date: 6 Oct 2020

Victoria’s book is absolutely amazing.  She has a down to earth style and is transparent and honest about the experiences she had when things did not go well for her.   Her encounter with mental health made her endearing to me, as I know how bad a struggle it can be when a person is not at peak performance.   Her successes and triumphs are an encouragement to any one who has a dream and who can reach for the stars.   Victoria is a success because she knows how to skilfully weave the highs with the lows and to reach the stars.  I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to be assured that dreams can come true.  Ms Montgomery Brown is indeed a digital goddess!


If You Were There

by Francisco Garcia

Pub Date: 13 May 2021

A moving, tender and sensitive story of one man’s search for his lost family, If you were here is a powerful and timely reminder of our responsibility to others.   It is one of the best non-fiction books I have read.  Francisco Garcia skilfully takes us through the role of the searches, the places to go, the returning missing, those left behind and ends with the end of the line.   His  incisive investigation challenges our understanding of what it means to be missing and how it feels for those left behind.  The narrative interrogates our conception of missing people , as Francisco tells the stories of those he meets along the way.  We hear about the people, the investigators, the charity employees, the volunteers, the once missing and those perilously at risk around us, the mainly, the friends and all those left behind.  A personal story, Garcia explores his own relationship with people who go missing.  Christobal his father finally disappears for good, going back to Spain after Garcia’s  mother died. Garcia was only seven.    A range of missing persons indicates that  there are those who come back, those who choose to go missing, those who go missing or absent themselves, those who abscond from, family homes, homeless shelters, care homes and mental health wards.  The statistics are realistically alarming.  Up to eight in ten adults are living with mental illness both diagnosed and undiagnosed.  At least seven in every ten victims of child sexual exploitation will have been the subjects of a missing persons report.  Garcia shows it is possible to write non-fiction that is ethical while respecting the trust and dignity of interviewees.

Read to Lead

by Jeff Brown; Jesse Wisnewski

Pub Date: 31 Aug 2021

As an avid reader I really liked this book. It offers smarter ways to read books. invites you to know your why, set realistic reading goals, set micro goals,  share learning. while implementing what you learned. .  It heralds the importance of building blocks of habits, creating momentum through book clubs, bolstering relationships and building leadership skill., experimenting with speedreading apps..  It offers very practical tips to encourage reading in the face of competition for time in our digital age and to provide tangible ROI..  Nine ways to free up more time to read are advocated as ways to encourage reading. Some pointers include  reading at lunch, in the evening and before going to bed.  Read to Lead reminds readers of the importance of reading..  These include increasing professional opportunities, improving decision-making skills, reducing stress, helping sleep, improving the ability to lead, increasing smartness, increasing creativity and  improving communication, .  Using a notebook, reviewing notes, summarising what you read, reinforcing your reading  and taking action are tried and tested  techniques to lean on..  Benefits of consistent and intentional reading  enrich wisdom,  support personal change, personal development, personal enrichment,, spiritual enlightenment,   The reader is advised not only to read  and listen summaries.as to do so is likened to  “chewing on a piece of nutritious food and then spitting it out”. Embracing lifelong reading is a must for the effective leader. It is helpful to be encouraged not to be too busy not to read.

The Man Who Mistook His Job for His Life

by Naomi Shragai

Business psychotherapist Naomi Shragai in “The Man who Mistook his job for his life‘ reminds us the  importance of not confusing our professional present with our personal past.  The book comes at a time when the fast nature of work demands even more of our psychological strength.  We all need emotional maturity to navigate the insecurities and setbacks that inevitably arise.    Holding a microscope to issues that cause us problems, pain and anxiety such as imposter syndrome, fear of conflict, professionalism and anxiety we are better equipped to transform how we think about ourselves and our working life.  We unconsciously re-enact our personal past in our professional present even when it holds us back.  We replay and re-enact conflicts, dynamics and relationships from our past.   We can confuse an authority figure with a parent, we can avoid conflict because of the pain squabbles with siblings or suffer with imposter syndrome because of the way our family responds to success.  When it comes to work we can be trapped in our own upbringings and the patterns of behaviour we learned while growing up.  Tolerating strong and uncomfortable feelings, having the insight to distinguish past from present and the courage and imagination to adapt our response to new circumstances leaves us better equipped to succeed in our career.   This is a riveting book with great insights, practical tips, great questions, memorable, interesting and moving human stories. Naomi invites us to explore paranoia, envy,  seeds of irrational conflict, dealing with bullies, tyrants, control freaks, narcissists and knowing when to run.  The inbuilt tension is made explicit “there is an intolerance for feelings, a belief we should keep them to ourselves and be professional. Work wants our ‘good’ feelings but doesn’t allow for our emotional nourishment”.    She tenderly encourages us to change our narrative by being curious, honest and objective.  Self examination can identify the source of our wrong thinking.   Our past should not colour our reading of current events.  Perspectives are vital.  We can get better at tuning into our emotions, expressing,  addressing  and understanding them . We are indeed gifted with tips to thrive at work, integrating the different parts of ourselves and leaving our emotional baggage, replacing these with habits and mindsets that will better serve us.  While stressing the need for personal awareness and insight, it must be translated into change and action leaving us with a future that creates a life that is uniquely ours.