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Phil Parry’s Festive Gift Guide

Buying Christmas gifts is often a headache so this festive season Spinnaker Chairman Phil Parry has put together a review of two of his favourite books which he would recommend as perfect gifts for your friends, family and colleagues. Books make the perfect gift as they are inexpensive presents that can last a lifetime and not only support authors but also inspire and encourage the reader to change their lives. Take it away Phil! 

“The first recommendation is Human Kind, A Hopeful History by 27-year-old Dutch historian Rutger Bregman. 

If you’ve ever – in fact who hasn’t – despaired about the human condition while watching the news, then this is the book for you. Human Kind is an extraordinary book about human nature and the human condition. This was an airport purchase for me, which is usually a mistake. On this occasion, it was a winner.  The book is part historical, part sociology, part psychology, and a big chunk of investigative analysis, research, and journalism.  It’s a really good read that will wash away some of the cynicism and pessimism we all far too often experience nowadays when thinking about ourselves as a species and about the future. Bregman’s central theme is that humans are friendly, peaceful, and healthy but we, and our motives and reasons (this being key to some of the obvious examples of behaviour during wartime) are generally misreported and misunderstood.” 

“The second book I’d like to recommend is by Matthew Syed and is called – Black Box Thinking: The surprising truth about success. I have bought more copies of this book than any other – probably about 50 copies.  I spoke at the AGM of a P&I club a few years ago and gave a copy to each of the 30 or so board members present and said then – and believe now – that if only one of them took the trouble to read the book, I would have made a difference to maritime safety.  That is how powerful the lessons of this book are.  The author (and journalist ….and former table tennis champion!) Matthew Syed, has a talent for pulling together other people’s research and writing it into a coherent line of [Black box …ouch, sorry] thinking. Anyone who works in shipping should read this book, which is all about the importance and power of using failure for good. In other words, we can learn valuable lessons from our mistakes. In some industries, this is called experimentation and iterative thinking. In others, mistakes are to be swept under the carpet and denied, largely under the guise of expertise and infallibility. Take a tour through medicine, aviation, manufacturing and software development and come away curious, inspired and ready to buy copies for you colleagues and friends.  (And then also to read Matthew Syed’s ‘Bounce’, especially if you’re the parent of young children!) 

About Phil Parry 

Phil co-founded Spinnaker in 1997 and set up the Maritime HR Association in 2005 – now the industry’s leading source of compensation & benefits data.  

Phil is widely acknowledged for his expertise and extensive network within the maritime world. 

Phil and his company have been responsible for the recruitment of countless business leaders, board members, heads of industry bodies and staff at all levels. 

He is a qualified lawyer who practised as a shipping and insurance solicitor with law firm Ince & Co. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Business by Plymouth University in 2012. He also founded and is Chair of the shipping industry OSCAR fundraising campaign for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, which has raised over £2m primarily to fund research into treatments for childhood leukaemia and immune diseases. 

Find out more about Phil Parry, Chairman at Spinnaker

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