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Five great books on leadership, and a line on the NHS reforms

Posted on 18 January 2011 | 12:01pm

Thanks to those who agreed with some (in one case all) of my choices of five books on Mariella Frostrups’ Open Book programme, which is repeated on Radio 4 at 4pm on Thursday.

They were This Sporting Life by David Storey, Madame Bovary by Flaubert, Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada and Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami.

Team of Rivals and Alone in Berlin also feature in another ‘five books’ interview I did recently, for The Broswer website. This time the theme was specifically leadership so the other three made way for Every Second Counts by Lance Armstrong, The Bodyline Autopsy by David Frith and Perstroika by Mikhail Gorbachev.

The Browser is a nice site and the Five Books interview a nice idea. You can read the interview here.

I was hoping to find time to do a blog on the NHS reforms but am running late. All I would say, in response to David Cameron’s claim to be pursuing the route taken by Tony Blair is that these reforms do not just go further than TB, they go further than anything Margaret Thatcher dreamed of as well.

  • red1

    alastair your right on the nhs its bringing back the alright jack way of life again .not a nice thought .

  • NickSmeggHead

    Cameron on yesterday’s Today program was a joke, It was wonderful to hear the Cameron comprehensively humiliated. John Humphreys never even got out of first gear. If it was Ed Miliband, the media would be jumping up and down.

    Cameron is extremely naive, idiotic and dangerous.

  • Chris lancashire

    I think you are right, they build on what Tony Blair was doing until stopped by Gordon and Tony went further than Thatcher because she was far too scared to touch the NHS at the time.

  • Ehtch

    Ford Prefect was quite a good leader in that “The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy”, that book by that Douglas Adams, as far as I am concerned. Harrumph!!

  • Nicky

    I would imagine TB is more than a bit miffed to have Cameron claim to be just carrying out TB’s plans for public service reform. I know he now feels he has to keep a diplomatic distance from UK politics, but really ….

    Blair had an electoral mandate to carry out reforms – that’s one huge difference between him and Cameron. Blair’s intentions were noble ones, although (as he wrote in his autobiography) right from the word go the opposition and vested interests were distorting those motives in order to attack him. Labour had to carry out reforms urgently because of the appalling neglect of public services during the last Tory reign of misrule.

    Cameron looks set to make the same mistakes over public services, with knobs on, and for him to try and put a spin on it that he’s doing what Blair would have done is just a travesty.

  • Sarah Dodds

    If the NHS gets screwed up, I don’t know if the public will forgive Cameron. Despite what cynics might say, you would have to be either a liar or blatantly stupid not to be impressed with how Labour transformed the NHS.
    Cameron and Lansley are like dodgy mechanics. They are suggesting a whole engine refit when it’s not needed.

  • Alone in Berlin is one of the most unique and remarkable books I have ever read, though I’m puzzled to appreciate the leadership context – or am I missing something in your piece?

  • Phil Howard

    I heard your comments about “This Sporting Life”. I have written a novel entitled “Braver Than All The Rest”. It is about a boy with a terminal illness who is determined to get the most out of life. In doing so he inspires his hero, a local professional rugby league player to reach heights he never thought possible.It is also about the way a family deals with their difficulties.
    Published by London League Publications it has had several very good reviews such as Hull Daily Mail and Able magazine . It also has 5x5star reviews on Amazon. Described by publishers as “of interest to those interested in stories on northern family life, disability issues and rugby league.” Please give it ago. It will surprise you.. Phil Howard

  • Robudd

    Why don’t the opposition focus on the triage effect of GPs owning budgets and referral decisions causing a slow down in the process and lead to more late diagnosis and therefore more deaths from cancer, heart attacks, strokes etc. General Practice is just that – specialism is needed to diagnose and prevent serious conditions.