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Hemingway and Freakonomics popular with business icons

17th November 2009

Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Nicholas Stern and R.J. Ellory are among the authors to have influenced the lives of some of Britain's leading entrepreneurs and chief executives.

Speaking to BBC2's Working Lunch programme, a host of business leaders have picked the books that helped them succeed in their various fields.

Designer Paul Costelloe said that Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea taught him the importance of self-reliance and perseverance, which has allowed him to survive in the cut-throat world of fashion.

Nic Coward, chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority, singled out Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, as 'it challenged the way [he] thought about things'.

Coward also pointed out that the book looks at what motivates people to cheat, which is useful in his job of keeping horseracing respectable.

JoJo Maman Bebe founder Laura Tenison told the programme that reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck educated her about the 'plight of the underdog' and encouraged her to become an entrepreneur.

Nicholas Stern's The Economics of Climate Change was described as a 'really, really important recent book' by James Smith, chairman of Shell UK, who also recommended R. J. Ellory's A Quiet Belief in Angels to those looking for a lighter read.

Earlier this month, A Survival Guide to the New Workplace author Stanley Bing urged Britain's workers to learn how to do less work and still be successful.

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