Style Observer

SO Readers - Cecile Levee

Interior designer, restaurateur and travel enthusiast

Sunday, January 13, 2019

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1 The Fountain Head by Ayn Rand

This book really resonated with me, and reflects one of my favourite quotes: “In matters of style swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” Thomas Jefferson

The protagonist Howard Roark's willingness to forgo wealth and acceptance for individuality and integrity is such a rarity with our success-at-all-cost culture. His willingness to lose everything except his unwavering belief in himself, his talent and integrity is Rand's way of showing her belief that individuality and personal values should be more important that collectivism.

2 Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, her 4th and final book

This book took me quite a while to read as it is over 1,500 pages. And it is what Ayn Rand describes as “the role of man's mind in existence”.

It speaks to to destruction of private businesses when there is too much red tape and Government interference. Hank Reardon, a steel entrepreneur had to fight against “looters”. Until he and his lover railroad executive Danny lead a strike against the Government resulting in the ultimate collapse of the Government. Again, Rand's belief in individuality, capitalism and objectivism which she describes as “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute”.

3 Dew Angels by Melanie Schwapp

I could not put this book down. It was gripping, engaging and, most of all, I loved how Melanie used words in the most beautiful way.

4 The Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan

Frankopan's intriguing history book on the beginning of humanity, argues that the Persian Empire was the centre of the rise of humanity, contrary to traditional views that Western Civilisation as we know it started with the Romans, who inherited it from the Greek and in some accounts inherited it from the Egyptians.

5 Mastery by Robert Greene

A book on how to become a master in any field by studying the lives and steps taken by historical successful masters like Mozart, Paul Graham, Da Vinci.

6 A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

The cult classic published after Toole committed suicide is about Ignatius J Reilly, a 30-year-old who holds a master's degree, lives with his widowed mother and is a total sloth. He has left his home town once in his life to seek a job, an event that traumatised him. He is overindulged by his mother and basically wastes his life hoping for the day when he will publish a book critiquing the great American civilisation.

7 Please Don't Touch My Tomato and Please Don't Touch My Banana by Cecile Levee

Two books written by me to help bring awareness to children regarding the issues of child molestation without scaring or putting words in their mouths, but making them aware of the languages used by predators and who to turn to for help and support in reporting any incidents.

8 Broken Windows, Broken Business by Michael Levine

The “broken window” theory, first introduced by criminologists James Q Wilson and George L Kelling, explained what a broken window is in criminal justice terms. A theory further popularised in the 1990s by New York City Commissioner of Police William Bratton and Mayor Giuliani who adapted it into their policing policies. It suggests that if minor crimes are not tolerated it helps to create an atmosphere of lawfulness, thus preventing more serious crimes. The brilliance of the theory could be adapted to business; in theory, if you have a broken window and don't fix it you are sending a message to the neighbour or your customers that you don't care, which will further break down the community or systems in your business.

9 Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor E Frankl

Tells of Frankl's life in four different Nazi death camps. He argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed hope.

10 Mozart's Brain and the Fighter Pilot by Richard Restak, MD

Teaches how to boost the brain's performance by increasing alertness, concentration, memory and more.

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