Books that changed my life... | Blue Sky

Books that changed my life…



Name of the book – Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People by Bob Chapman.

What is the book about? – It’s an amazing book, one filled with moving personal stories of real employees whose lives were changed for the better forever when they began working at Bob Chapman’s company Barry-Wehmiller.

Why did this book resonate with you? What impact did it have on you? – The big message I took from this book is while businesses need to make a profit, it doesn’t have to be at the expense of its people. If you truly care for people you can create a company that flourishes, people want to show up for work, give their best and you can still make a profit. I contacted Bob to tell him how much the book had influenced me, and he actually took the time to call me and have a chat. Just wow, someone that writes about this stuff and lives and breathes it!

– Sean Spurgin – Director of Learning Design




Name of the book – The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Alborn.

What is the book about? – Following his accidental death (not a plot spoiler) the main protagonist meets the people who were unexpectedly instrumental at pivot points in his life.

Why did this book resonate with you? What impact did it have on you? – It’s a thought provoking and spiritually uplifting read that made me think about the people who have influenced how I live, and how the choices we make as individuals, contribute to the society we create. Great life lessons to be found in this book. If you haven’t read it, I’d definitely recommend!

– Hilary Missen – Head of Business Development



Name of the book – The Inside Out Revolution by Michael Neill.

What is the book about? –  Michael Neill shares an extraordinary new understanding of how life works that turns traditional psychology on its head. This revolutionary approach is built around three simple principles that explain where our feelings come from and how our experience of life can transform for the better in a matter of moments.

Why did this book resonate with you? What impact did it have on you? – At a time in my life when self-doubt and anxiety were high, this helped me understand that, although my thoughts and my way of thinking created my perception of reality – none of it was true! The epiphany I felt when I actually grasped the juxtaposition that thoughts create my reality but thoughts are not real, was pretty powerful. Life is experienced inside-out, not outside-in. That whole concept changed the way I saw the world, and life, which put me in control of how I feel and respond to external events.

– Bryn Willington – Partnership Director

Bryn Willington
Ryan Meade PD

Name of the book – The Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela.

What is the book about? – The book talks about the life of Nelson Mandela from early days as a local tribal leaders son through the struggles in apartheid South Africa, to his days as an activist (terrorist by the authorities) and describes how he supported an organisation that resorted to violence after years of not being heard, which ultimately led to his 27 years’ incarceration.

Why did this book resonate with you? What impact did it have on you? – There are so many things that fascinated me about this story:

  1. Opened my eyes to basic African life and culture from only one generation ago, the political struggle for equality in a time where the rest of the world were starting to realise the injustices of segregation made me realise just how fortunate we are to live as we do and where we do.
  2. Nelson Mandela fought against the odds using his education and intelligence to fight the system, but ended up serving 27 years hard time for his role in the African National Congress (ANC) who at time employed violence to make their point.
  3. After 27 years of incarceration, cut off from a world that had dramatically changed, a whole nation voted for him to become president.

The impact on me is the power of purpose, determination and belief: Nelson Mandela had a belief in justice and fairness for all which he held through his long trial and 27 years imprisonment (which could have been less if he had yielded) to be released and made president of the very country that put him in prison.

– Ryan Meade – Partnership Director




Name of the book – The Colour Purple by Alice Walker.

What is the book about? – It follows the struggle of African-American women in the deep South of America in the early 20th Century.

Why did this book resonate with you? What impact did it have on you? – I had absolutely nothing in common with the characters in the book being an eleven year old girl from 1990s Milton Keynes at the time, but the message of survival and forgiveness strongly spoke to me. The way Alice Walker writes through first hand narrative and letters, really pulls you in and you become invested really quickly. It ignited an interest in American History which I went on to study at University. Although the characters are fictional, people did live under so much adversity and with everything set against them and they not only survived but thrived; so it’s a great book to go back to, to keep you grounded. The film is also well worth a watch with breakout roles for Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey.

– Nicky Alger – Head of Knowledge Management




Name of the book – How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

What is the book about? – In the words of Dale Carnegie himself “Of course, you are interested in what you want. But no one else is. The rest of us are just like you: we are interested in what we want.” The whole premise of the book centres around this concept.

Why did this book resonate with you? What impact did it have on you? – So often, as a society, we are hellbent on finding the newest and latest shiny toy. This book will often be considered as an old hat, but just because it is old – it doesn’t mean it is obsolete! The messages and techniques described within the book are as relevant today as they were when it was first published in 1936! It made me realise that everything I wanted to achieve was within my grasp and could be accessed through influencing those around me. It encouraged me to take accountability for my own behaviour and actions. It’s a life’s work though – you never stop learning and growing!

– Mary Taylor – Principal Consultant, Design

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