Promoting literacy in children is key to developing future readers of newspapers and magazines, whatever platform they are hosted on. But reading for adults, and adult literacy, is equally important.
Getting ‘lost in a book’, as the saying goes, liberates us from the daily grind, the stress and worry. It liberates our minds from the things that we are stressing about, just for a while. It takes us out of our homes and into a bigger world. It expands our knowledge and our view of the world, and helps us understand others, and yes, even to connect better with our fellow humans.
The five books I’ve listed below have all given me something different, something to chew on, think about, question.
Thrive by Arianna Huffington. I’ve long admired this inspirational author and businesswoman since the days she built the Huffington Post brand and its reputation for insightful often-controversial yet (in my view) credible content. This book was timely reminder-to-self for me. To put myself front and centre after a hard working career of relentless deadlines and the need to succeed. It reminded me that the definition of success is not my career accomplishments, that it is not what defines me. My family, my friends, my values, my integrity, raising funds and awareness to create hope and opportunity for South Africa’s orphaned and vulnerable children, at least one daily random act of kindness since 31st August 1997 in the name of Diana Princess of Wales, championing access to internet as a basic human right, these are my soul food and what I will reflect upon and be fulfilled by, long after my career is over.
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. I was privileged to be invited to an intimate Shabbat dinner with Anita Diamant when she was in South Africa. I bought a signed copy of her book and one wintery day while the Cape of storms raged outside, I stayed under the covers and read it cover to cover. It was an intriguing insight into Jewish life and a celebration of the bond women share.
Shame on You by Amy Heydenrych. Admittedly I am somewhat biased as I’ve had the pleasure of working with Amy. Described by Amazon as an “addictive psychological thriller that will make you question everything you read online” it was strangely prescient giving current thoughts on influencers and the question around their authenticity. When I messaged Amy to congratulate her, I told her that while I would ordinarily not want to put down a story this compelling, I actually deliberately paced myself so that I could savour the gripping story of Holly Divine right to the enthralling end.
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Published almost a century ago, these poems and the wisdom contained in them are infinite and timeless. My favourite is On Joy and Sorrow: “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the self-same well from which you laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
“And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.”
From early last century, to just a few weeks ago, my final top five book is one I am about to read. So You Want to Build a Start Up was written by the late Matthew Buckland. A visionary in the industry I have served for over 20 years, several of Matthew’s passions reflect some of my own: digital, media, entrepreneurism, mentorship. The start-up community, and the media and digital industries, were equally and utterly heartbroken, describing him as an inspiration, visionary, pioneer, trailblazer, mentor and legend. He died just weeks after he finished his book, but with it, he leaves us a legacy it will be our privilege to continue. A book I know will inspire and guide me, just as he did in life as a valued mentor of mine. It will, without doubt, be in my top five.
Media and marketing pioneer Josephine Buys is CEO for The Publisher Research Council. Buys’ diverse career has placed her at the forefront of embracing media in a variety of industries [and platforms], from publishing and entertainment, to agencies and the public sector. Her experience spans sales, marketing, brand development and e-commerce. @jozib_sa