Any good dictionary will tell you that a ‘Raconteur’ is a person who excels at telling anecdotes. They can turn even mundane experiences into hilariously entertaining stories. There is no better form of entertainment than a well-crafted tale delivered by someone who has truly mastered their craft of storytelling.

We all know that the best stories, whether fact or fiction, are those that the reader can relate to. The greatest of raconteurs deliver relatable characters, unexpected twists, the rawest of candour or possibly just the most interesting of subject matters.

Whilst few can boast of being true raconteurs themselves, and a lucky handful can claim to have worked with or known a true storyteller during their lives, the rest of us can dive into a plethora of books that will inspire, enlighten, and entertain – some may even change your life.

Whatever your subject choice you will never be short of great titles to choose from. For National Story Telling week we thought it would be the ideal time to share some of our favourite reads.

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE – Phil Knight

This is the inspirational, and at times moving story behind the global phenomenon of Nike. From the creation of this iconic brand to Phil Knight’s personal life, all aspects are covered in this biographical account spanning five decades.

The story starts in 1962 when Phil Knight is 24 years old and doesn’t know what to do with his life. The story then walks you through the next 18 years of his life, as he battles adversity, financial uncertainty, and of course self-doubt.



The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni

This is an enthralling and instructive fictional tale based on the learnings of a consultant covering the complex world of teams. How does the new CEO of this fictional, dysfunctional organisation unite her team before they bring down the entire company? Will she succeed? Will she be fired? Will the company fail? This is a gripping tale that serves as a reminder that leadership requires as much courage as it does insight.

The story is based on the five dysfunctions that cause even the best teams to fail. This account offers great guidance, proven models, and advice for how to avoid these common mistakes. A simple, yet powerful message for all those who aim to be exceptional leaders.


Our Iceberg is Melting – John P. Kotter and Holger Rathgeber

A moral tale about a colony of penguins who realise that their home might be at risk and that they need to move the entire colony to a new iceberg. The tale highlights the impact of resistance to change and the need for heroic action, whilst teaching us the necessary steps in making major changes to your company or your personal life.

A short and easy to read book, which will help you identify ways to make change happen faster and better.


Work Like a Woman: A Manifesto for Change – Mary Portas

A semi-autobiographical book from the Queen of Shops, Mary walks you through her career and the highs and lows of being a female leader and manager. She challenges the ‘alpha culture’ that often dominates the workforce, both consciously and unconsciously, and explores the idea that if we all (men included) worked a bit more

like women, we could revolutionise the workforce.

Packed with advice and tips, this book is for everyone, wherever you work and whatever your level.


FreakonomicsSteven D. Levitt

Freakonomics is a style of thinking comparing cause and effect. This book analyses the relationship between seemingly unrelated events and goes on to explain why things may not always be as they seem.

Using economic theory to demonstrate their thinking, the authors analyse several subjects from what teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common to how the Ku Klux Klan is like a group of real estate agents.

We hope you enjoy these as much as we did.