Four books to read before starting your Training Contract

In this blog post, trainee James Flint shares his thoughts on the best books to read before starting your training contract

26 May 2022

This article was written by James Flint.

Go Luck Yourself by Andy Nairn

In this insightful handbook, Andy Nairn – a creative genius in the advertising world and named the country’s top strategist for the last three years in a row – explains how we are often blind to the valuable skills and experiences that we have and that through revaluating our existing assets we can make full use of a competitive advantage that we may have previously underappreciated.

In Go Luck Yourself, you’ll learn how an odd accent led the way for an effective rebrand (Loyd Grossman), how a business’ geographic origins was the catalyst for a successful campaign centred around product quality (Yorkshire Tea), and how a heavyweight supermarket harnessed a three year old’s suggestion to go viral (Tesco).

Best book for: improving your communication skills

 

Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath

In an age of both information overload and disinformation, how do you make information stick?

Made to Stick encourages you to be ruthless with your messaging, you’ll be enlightened that as curious, inquisitive animals, unpredictability is key to commandeering our attention, and you’ll be armed with the knowledge that specific details (such as the Millennium Falcon making the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs) make a story more credible.

Best book for: what to do when you’re not sure

 

Improvise! by Max Dickins

For most of us, it would be our worst nightmare.

Imagine that you are standing aimlessly on a stage, with no direction as to what is going to happen next. This would be nothing short of a petrifying, blood-curdling experience.

In Improvise!, Max Dickens reveals the secrets of improvisation and how you can use them. These secrets are valuable because we all improvise all of the time – in every conversation, for instance – and as a Trainee Solicitor you will improvise in pretty much every task that you’re set.

After reading this book, you’ll discover why your first twenty ideas in response to a problem are less original than your next fifteen, you’ll understand how being present to the words people use will help you to decipher what they value and their pain points, and you’ll be reminded that the goal of collaboration is to unlock the collective intelligence of a group.

Best book for: learning something from everything

 

Range by David Epstein

Your stomach drops, like you’re on Oblivion at Alton Towers. The dreaded email has arrived – you have received a ‘no choice’. This is where your next seat in your training contract will be one that you did not put down as a ‘preference’. Essentially, you’ll be heading to a department that you might not want to.

However, you might be able to apply the drafting and research approaches in that area of law, for example, going forward. This is the breadth and interdisciplinary thinking that David Epstein advocates for.

In Range, you’ll be shocked to learn that the world’s most successful sportspersons (counterintuitively) sample widely when younger, you’ll see how transferring knowledge across domains (namely, from the use of a calculator on a commute) supercharged Nintendo’s success, and you’ll consider how (unbelievably) a calligraphy class influenced Steve Jobs’ beliefs on design aesthetics.

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Bessie Phelps Resourcing Business Partner

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