At Sail, we like books about people, full of world-changing ideas that challenge societal norms. Here are our 3 favourite books we read in 2019.

New year- it’s time to hit the gym, eat like a rabbit, get a promotion (with a pay rise obvs), become smarter and save the world. By February we’ve already failed (it’s not you, its them – unachievable, unrealistic and pointless).

I’ll stop bashing resolutions. In truth, it’s good to set goals and it’s good to strive to make a difference. One of my (realistic) 2020 goals is to finish reading the books on my shelf before I buy more (Fun fact: I own about 200).

Enthusiasm is common.
Endurance is rare.

...there are no shortcuts to excellence. Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems, it all takes time longer than most people imagine... you've got to apply those skills and produce goods or services that are valubale to people... Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you're willing to stay loyal to it... it's doing what you love, but not just falling in love staying in love.

Angela Duckworth

Kat’s choice

Grit, Angela Duckworth

‘Good effort, but you lack the raw talent’.


Why does our society idolise talent? Why is our education system IQ based? Why do children give up on their dreams and aspirations before implementation? Psychologist Dr Angela Duckworth analyses what defines success; spoiler alert – it isn’t talent, IQ or family income.


Duckworth’s ground-breaking research examines decades of high achievers such as military graduates, Spelling Bee candidates, Superbowl champions and leading corporate salespeople, with the aim to assess who is most successful and why. The answer: grit.


Talent x Effort = Skill

Skill x Effort = achievement } grit


‘Grit’ tackles the widespread misconception of talent trumps all and reveals a fundamental flaw within the Western education system. ‘Grit’s’ aim: bust the myth of talent.


Don’t get me wrong, talent counts, but effort counts twice. From Duckworth’s formula, we see that talent isn’t irrelevant, only not the domineering factor Western culture believes.


Duckworth stresses that grit is obsession, focus, passion, perseverance, practice, hope and purpose. The marathon not the sprint. The child who falls 7 times but rises 8. And that if you’re willing, you can succeed with grit too.

Image of the book 'It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be' by Paul Arden

Danni’s choice

It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be, Paul Arden


This book is not your business mantra and it’s not life changing – it’s simple. Our favourite Amazon review reads ‘equal parts tacky and great’. However, this book restores faith in yourself, and for that it’s worth a mention.

Focussed on business and creative marketing, full of bite sized info, pleasing to the eye, and engaging-it’s definitely worth the £5.00 price tag. A short and sweet pick-me-up for when you’ve lost motivation.

Arden’s words of Wisdom:

  • Strive for more
  • Talent only gets you so far
  • Don’t blame others
  • Seek Criticism
  • Fail, it’s wrong to always be right
  • Don’t be afraid
  • Eliminate Negativity
  • You can do it

Image of the book 'Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking' by Matthew Syed

Mandy’s choice 

Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking, Matthew Syed


If there was ever a book that highlighted the possibilities and significance of neurodiverse thinking, this is it. With inspiring humans like Greta Thunberg currently in the limelight showing us all the true power of ‘thinking outside the box’ there is hope that outside perspectives are being recognised and valued. Rebel Ideas tell us that it is dangerous to surround ourselves with people who think the same way as ourselves, whilst validation feels good, mirroring our own perspectives only narrows our view and deepens prejudices. So, take off those blinkers, reach for this book, open your mind and be ready to view the world from another perspective. This book is extremely enlightening and for those of us who work in the creative industry, whereby we solve complex visual and communicative problems it is essential reading.


We have plenty of books waiting to be read in 2020, if you have any recommendations please let us know!