Unlocking the Power of Books

Summer 2023

How Reading Changed Me and My Career

As a development geek, I have always sought ways to expand my knowledge and grow both personally and professionally. However, in my youth, reading was not a passion of mine; I much preferred to be physically active, spending as much time outdoors as possible, playing sports or throwing myself off waterfalls in a kayak. It wasn’t until later in life, during a holiday (taken reluctantly) with my now-wife, that I discovered the transformative power of books.

Incredibly restless on a sun-lounger, my wife challenged me (always a good idea), saying that I couldn’t complain about being bored unless I had read a book. Little did I know that this would mark the beginning of my journey toward becoming a better person and a more effective leader.

Since then, reading has become a gateway to endless possibilities. With each book I read, I learn more, my mind expands, and new concepts collide, igniting my curiosity and understanding of the world we live in. Books have allowed me to tap into the wisdom of successful individuals from diverse industries and sectors, helping me to improve my leadership skills, build and manage teams, and enhance performance in every aspect of my life.

From books on leadership, such as “Let My People Go Surfing” and “Legacy,” to those on performance culture, like “Pep Confidential”, I have gained invaluable insights on how to lead and inspire others. Books like “The Best: How Elite Athletes Are Made” have taught me how to apply the mindset and principles from elite sport to achieve success in any field. Through the pages of various books, I’ve also explored topics such as the environment, marketing, data visualisation, recruitment, and the future of economics.

My approach to reading is a little different – I prefer used hardback books and I always read with a highlighter and pen in hand. I actively look for ideas to take inspiration from and concepts to borrow, to then apply in my own life and work. I scribble my thoughts in the margins, jot down key actions / applications, and revisit them to share with my team and colleagues.

Today, I take immense joy in sharing books with friends and colleagues, recognising the power of a particular title to help someone in their current situation. At Oxygen Conservation, our shared love for learning and books has become a hallmark of our organisational culture, and as a result we’re delighted to share our virtual library. This serves as a treasure trove of our recommended reading for personal and professional development and will be added to frequently.

Books have become more than just a source of knowledge for me – they have become catalysts for growth, inspiration, and connection. They have enriched my life immeasurably and continue to shape my thinking and actions. So, if you’re looking to unlock new horizons of learning and transformation, don’t underestimate the power of a good book. Dive into the pages, let your mind race or fly, and prepare to be amazed by the incredible journey that reading can take you on. Happy reading!

My personal (and growing) recommendations list…

I’ve Learnt About Leadership – Let Me People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard

I’ve Learnt About Building Teams – Legacy by James Kerr

I’ve Learnt About Resilience – The Art of Resilience by Ross Edgley

I’ve Learnt About Performance Culture – Pep Confidential by Marti Perarnau

I’ve Learnt About Changing The Game – The Best, How Elite Athletes Are Made by Mark Williams & Tim Wigmore

I’ve Learnt About The Environment – Wilding by Isabella Tree

I’ve Learnt About Marketing – The Alchemist by Rory Sutherland

I’ve Learnt About Presenting Data & Information – Data / Information is Beautiful by David McCandless

I’ve Learnt About Recruitment – Work Rulez by Laszlo Bock

I’ve Learnt About The Future Of Economics – Green Swans by John Elkington

I’ve Learnt About Attention To Detail – How To Build A Racing Car by Adrian Newey

I’ve Learnt About Talent– The Originals by Adam Grant

I’ve Learnt About Margin Gains – Inside Team Sky by David Walsh

I’ve Learnt About Silicon Valley – Chaos Monkeys by Antonio Garcia Martinez

I’ve Learnt About Building An Investment Fund – What It Takes by Stephen Schwartzman


Rich Stockdale
Founder & Managing Director