An enjoyable addition to the business bookshelf
Emma Isaacs is an inspiring bundle of energy. An entrepreneur from a young age, she is best known as the force behind Business Chicks, an organisation which brings together and supports working and businesswomen.
In her latest book The New Hustle, Isaacs pulls together some of her ideas about work and business, drawing on her years of running Business Chicks, as well as the experience of some of the women around her.
It’s a timely work, as COVID has seen many businesses forced to pivot and become more flexible, especially around working-from-home. This enforced freeing has shown that the standard eight-hour workday is questionable, at least in certain workplaces. And as more women enter (albeit still slowly) male-dominated industries, the old male ways of doing things are no longer applicable.
Isaacs is full of sensible advice such as asking, “What for?” We need to have a meeting. What for? We should get an Instagram account. What for? Let’s all do this training course. What for?
Mostly, this book is a collation of stories from Isaacs’s life, along with her tips on how to work differently. She doesn’t particularly draw on previous research, except for occasionally quoting someone else, which is perfectly acceptable for this type of work. But it does mean that the writing sometimes comes across as overly simplistic. For example, she briefly discusses the Challenger disaster as being a case of “groupthink”, when it was a bit more complex than that. David Epstein’s brilliant Range presents a fascinating deconstruction of the decision process around Challenger, and what went wrong.
The New Hustle is an enjoyable read, full of sensible advice, and written in Isaacs’s bright and breezy tone. There is nothing particularly new in here: it is more a collation of some of the contemporary themes in management and entrepreneurship, overlaid with Isaacs’s own experience. You could read it cover-to-cover in a day, or keep it to dip into at need. The “business-lite” sub-genre is a crowded one, particularly with books about new ways of working. This is one more, and is as good as many. A great gift for the hard-working woman in your life.
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Distributed by: Pan Macmillan
Released: 31 August 2021