Gerry Hopkinson


Warriors, Rebels & Saints The Art of Leadership from Machiavelli to Malcolm X

In our Books of the Month recommendations for April, we’ve chosen a series of titles covering a wide array of issues.

Therefore, you’ll find books illuminating subjects including leadership, Silicon Valley, conspiracy-theory, disinformation, complexity science, social science, productivity, and flow-theory.

We hope you enjoy the list, and as always, we welcome your feedback.



‘Warriors, Rebels & Saints’ by Moshik Temkin

Across the world, and throughout time, there have been people who have risen to the challenge of leading others. Sometimes their power is undeserved, sometimes it's ill-used, but always their actions have impact. But do leaders really make history, or does history make leaders? And how might we harness the answers to find and become better leaders today? For the past decade, Moshik Temkin has been exploring these questions at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and at universities around the world. In this book, he offers a deep dive into the nature of leadership, from the highest ranks to the most hopeless situations. Drawing on stories from across history and culture, Temkin considers how leaders have made decisions, inspired others and forged a path in challenging circumstances and how, in a world desperate for good leadership, we can evaluate those decisions and draw lessons for ourselves today.

‘Burn Book’ by Kara Swisher

From award-winning journalist Kara Swisher comes a witty, scathing, but fair accounting of the tech industry and its founders who wanted to change the world but broke it instead. Despite the damage she chronicles, Swisher remains optimistic about tech's potential to help solve problems and not just create them. She calls upon the industry to make better, more thoughtful choices, even as a new set of powerful AI tools are poised to change the world yet again. Burn Book is part memoir, part history and, most of all, a necessary recounting of tech's most powerful players. This is the inside story we've all been waiting for of modern Silicon Valley and the biggest boom in wealth creation in the history of the world.

‘Among the Trolls’ by Marianna Spring

In 2020, Marianna Spring became the BBC's first disinformation and social media correspondent, and since then she’s been trying to understand conspiracyland. Where does the vitriol come from? What drives otherwise reasonable people to believe that almost everything - from the worst attacks and wars to global health crises and climate change - is a hoax designed to kill or control millions of us? In Among the Trolls she tells the first-hand stories of the trolls and the trolled (as she says “some of my trolls say they want to kill me”) along with those behind the information battle that threatens not just the way society works, but also some of the qualities we value most about being human: respect, fairness, tolerance, integrity and kindness.

How to Win an Information War’ by Peter Pomerantsev

From one of our leading experts on disinformation, the incredible true story of the complex and largely forgotten WWII propagandist Sefton Delmer - and what we can learn from him today. As author Peter Pomerantsev uncovers Delmer's story, he is called into a wartime propaganda effort of his own: the global response to Putin's invasion of Ukraine. This book is the story of Delmer and his modern-day investigator, as they each embark on their own quest to seduce and inspire the passions of supporters and enemies, and to turn the tide of information wars.

‘End Times’ by Peter Turchin

For decades, complexity scientist Peter Turchin has been studying world history like no-one else. Assembling vast databases mined from 10,000 years of human activity, and then developing new models, he has transformed the way we learn from the past. End Times is the result: a ground-breaking account of how society works. The lessons, he argues, are clear. When the balance of power between the ruling class and the majority tips too far in favour of elites, income inequality surges. The rich get richer, the poor further impoverished. As more people try to join the elite, frustration with the establishment brims over, often with disastrous consequences. But while we are far along the path toward violent political rupture, Turchin's models also light the way to a brighter future. Drawing insight from those occasions in history where the balance was restored, End Times also points towards a different future: an escape from the patterns of the past.

‘Design and the Social Imagination’ by Mathew DelSesto

How can social theory help us all design solutions to address the social, political and ecological challenges that confront us, and build more sustainable communities? Design professions have typically been associated with intervention and action, while social science has long been associated with thought and reflection. Design and social thought are too frequently considered distinct in terms of how theories can be applied in practice. Design and the Social Imagination brings together the creative, action-oriented sensibility of design with the reflective, analytical capacities of the social sciences to offer models, ideas and strategies for shaping the future of the world we live in. In a world of global economic inequality, racism, and environmental degradation, designing with an understanding of our social reality is increasingly crucial to our survival. Matthew DelSesto explores current practices and discourses in areas of urban design, design for social innovation, environmental design, co-design, service design, and more, illustrating how thoughtful design can contribute in a more productive way.

‘Slow Productivity’ by Cal Newport

Our current definition of "productivity" is broken. It pushes us to treat busyness as a proxy for useful effort, leading to impossibly lengthy task lists and ceaseless meetings. We're overwhelmed by all we have to do and on the edge of burnout, left to decide between giving into soul-sapping hustle culture or rejecting ambition altogether. But are these really our only choices? Long before the arrival of pinging inboxes and clogged schedules, history's most creative and impactful philosophers, scientists, artists, and writers mastered the art of producing valuable work with staying power. In this timely and provocative book, Cal Newport harnesses the wisdom of these traditional knowledge workers to radically transform our modern jobs. Drawing from deep research on the habits and mindsets of a varied cast of storied thinkers - from Galileo and Isaac Newton, to Jane Austen and Georgia O'Keefe - Newport lays out the key principles of "slow productivity," a more sustainable alternative to the aimless overwhelm that defines our current moment. Combining cultural criticism with systematic pragmatism, Newport deconstructs the absurdities inherent in standard notions of productivity, and then provides step-by-step advice for cultivating a slower, more humane alternative.

‘Leadership Revolution’ by Lori Mazan

In Leadership Revolution: The Future of Developing Dynamic Leaders, distinguished executive coach Lori Mazan delivers an exciting new approach to leadership development tailor-made for the 21st century. Drawing on lessons learned from coaching top executives for 25 years and from democratizing executive coaching by founding a cutting-edge scalable leadership coaching firm, you’ll learn how to attract and retain talent by accelerating and individualizing their professional growth and how to re-think leadership in the new remote and hybrid work environment. You’ll also discover how to help your staff flourish by relying on a sense of community and shared purpose, even when they’re working from a distance. An invaluable and practical strategy guide for leadership and talent development, Leadership Revolution is the perfect resource for managers, executives, coaches, and other business leaders looking for proven ways to shape the next generation of leaders in their firms.

‘Capitalism & Crises’ by Colin Meyer

The world is encountering multiple crises - climate, droughts, floods, energy, food, and pandemics, to name a few. Capitalism and Crises is about how capitalism can fix them - how it can solve not cause them. The reason why it has caused them is that we have misconceived the nature of our capitalist system. We have failed to understand the key institution at the heart of it - business - and as a result we have allowed it to cause as well as solve problems. This book describes why this has happened and what needs to change to address it. Drawing on history, philosophy, psychology, and biology as well economics, law, and finance, Mayer describes what has gone wrong, what needs to change, and how to fix it. He sets out the big challenges that capitalism must address and how it should set about doing that, and discusses how financial institutions should be at the heart of this, and how the public sector can work with the private on a common purpose of solving problems and creating shared prosperity. 

‘The Power of the Dao’ by Max Landsberg

What if you could live your life in flow? Being in flow is when you are ‘in the zone’, ‘on your game’, or even ‘on fire’. This is both a mental state and a physical one. You have a feeling of complete focus, full involvement and deep enjoyment in whatever you are doing. Most of us have glimpsed being in this state. But what if you could be in your zone not just for a moment of flow, nor merely for a day, but always? Max Landsberg, best-selling author whose previous titles have sold more than a million copies, reveals how we can live in a state of flow all the time. He shows how to achieve this, based on the enduring wisdom of Daoist principles and practice.  Max Landsberg is an award-winning author, and his eight books have sold more than a million copies in 15 languages, which draw on his expertise in strategy, his time as a Senior Partner at two global headhunting firms, and skills in personal development through private practice as an executive coach. He most recently led McKinsey’s Senior Partners Office for seven years.


Gerry Hopkinson

Following a successful career in communications, including co-founding award-winning agency Unity (now part of the Selbey Anderson Group), Gerry set up Selbey Labs in April 2022. Through his work at Unity over the past two decades he has developed a perspective on the role of brands in culture, the importance of observation and benefits of testing and learning.