Which Books do Tax Leaders Read? Part Two

Which books inspire global tax experts? On Harvey John’s Media Hub, we have interviewed many of the world’s leading tax professionals and leaders, and one of the questions we always ask is: “Which books do you live by?”

The answers are fascinating. Some relate directly to the tax industry, some are inspirational manuals and some are just simply great reads.

Last month we compiled some of our favourites in the first of a new series.

Read on for the second instalment of  Which books do tax leaders read

Richard Asquith 

Plucking the Goose: A Century of Taxation from the Great War to the Digital Age

Plucking the Goose is a series of essays and contributions from politicians, policy-makers and practitioners, charting the modern development of the British tax system since Charles Tolley published the world’s first tax card of rates and allowances in 1916.

It includes a useful fold-out timeline highlighting the main events from the Tolley centenary that have shaped the modern tax code and the tax profession.

All profits from the book are donated to the Chartered Institute of Taxation’s Bridge the Gap initiative that supports the work of the two tax advice charities, Tax Aid and Tax Help for Older People.

Richard Asquith is the CEO of VATCalc

Aicha Nianzou

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens was first published in Hebrew in Israel in 2011 based on a series of lectures Harari taught at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The book surveys the history of humankind from the evolution of archaic human species in the Stone Age up to the twenty-first century, focusing on Homo sapiens.

The Guardian describes the book as “A swash-buckling account that begins with the origin of the species and ends with post-humans.”

Aicha Nianzou is a Tax Technology External Consultant at PwC. Indirect taxes Director, project management at ZF Group

Cristhian Rodríguez

The Startup of You by Reid Hoffman & Ben Casnocha

Hoffman (co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn) and Casnocha authored an inspiring book on applying the strategies of successful entrepreneurship to your career: in other words, how to run the ‘start-up of you’.

Christhian says: “What I like about this book is the metaphor that you and your career are like a startup. You need to constantly invest in yourself in order to grow, so focus on building relationships, define your competitive advantage, and be willing to take risks.”

“You should always be on ‘permanent beta’, the stage in which you’re constantly improving and evolving. At the end, no matter what you do, think big and deliver everything you have to make your dreams happen.”

Christhian Rodriguez is Head of Global Trade Compliance at Google

Michael Glover 

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek noticed that some teams trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives are offered, are doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why?

The answer became clear during a conversation with a Marine Corps general. “Officers eat last,” he said. Sinek watched as the most junior Marines ate first while the most senior Marines took their place at the back of the line. Great leaders sacrifice their own comfort – even their own survival – for the good of those in their care.

Sinak writes, “Leaders are the ones who run headfirst into the unknown. They rush toward the danger. And when we feel sure they will keep us safe, we will march behind them and work tirelessly.”

Michael Glover is the Chairman and co-founder of Taxually

Suzanne Bullitt 

Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

In Girl, Stop Apologizing, #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of a multimillion-dollar media company, Rachel Hollis sounds a wake-up call. She knows that many women have been taught to define themselves in light of other people – whether as wife, mother, daughter, or employee – instead of learning how to own who they are and what they want.

With a challenge to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviours to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and believing in yourself.

Hollis says, “I believe we can change the world. But first, we’ve got to stop living in fear of being judged for who we are.”

Suzanne Bullitt is Senior Director, Global Trade and Customs at Nike


Alex Mann is Associate Director, Indirect Tax & Tax Technology at Harvey John

For expert advice on how to get the best out of your tax career, whether in a professional services firm or in-house, contact us today.

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