With the holidays upon us and the beach calling, it’s time to lie back and read a good book. So this week some hot tips that might stimulate the brain cells before the bar beckons, or might simply distract from the emails which somehow sneak past the ‘out of office’.
Holidays themselves are an interesting element of the management strategy at Netflix as outlined in Reed Hastings’ highly entertaining “No Rules Rules”. The company’s policy of employing only the very best and the most motivated means that there is no holiday allocation for any employee. Yes, that’s right! Employees can take as much or as little time out as they see fit. So motivated are those employees that they are simply expected to deliver - heaven forbid that they don’t - which means that actually most of them work through and don't take the time out or abuse the ‘generosity’ of their employer.
Time out is an interesting concept, as is time itself. It’s one which many of us might have pondered over the last 18 months of elastic time during periods of lockdown and travel restrictions. Of course time is relative right? Einstein told us that. But contained in About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution by Paul Davies we learn so much more about just how elastic it is. The book is full of really clear understandable examples of the workings of time and is a highly readable exploration of some of the fundamentals of the universe and of physics.
And thinking about time and travel I’ve been reading Stephen Ambrose’s excellent Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Railway That United America. As Joe Biden attempts to rebuild the failing infrastructure of the USA it's worth reflecting on the incredible revolution that happened when private and public finance came together to join the East and West coasts with a railway in the 1860s. It was in short a revolution which changed the country as radically as the internet has changed the world in our own times – cutting the time to get from one coast to the other by many weeks ensuring the development of the country as a global power.
I’m aware that I’ve not recommended any works of fiction – but this final suggestion will perhaps prompt you to revisit one of the greats. A brilliant book by John Mullan about the artful trickery of Charles Dickens explores where the genius of the man lay, and of course much of that genius was in his use of time! If it is commonplace now for novelists to write in the present tense, it is because Dickens introduced the device into the chapters of Bleak House.
Dickens was also obsessed with the new mechanical age of the train and many of his novels feature them. Nowadays travel is more complicated and we are more likely to be going on holiday abroad by plane.
And if you are.. you will save yourself some time and complexity by preparing with the right PCR test. We just re-engineered and redesigned the site for HALO in record time. It’s worth reading how we did it… and if you are travelling, booking the tests with them.
Once more unto the beach… HAPPY HOLIDAYS !