Andrew Thompson, International HR director, Oxfam
When it comes to magazines, I’m a binge-reader. I starve myself of
intelligent reading for up to three weeks, until the stack of magazines in my
reading tray has reached crisis proportions, and then I take the lot on the
train and read them all in one go – skimming through the articles until I find
ones I want to ‘feed’ on.
We also subscribe to an excellent service that Cranfield University offers
for binge-readers – every few months, it circulates the contents pages of a
wide range of management magazines published recently and you select the
articles you want copies of.
With newspapers and Personnel Today, I am much more of a grazer. I read them
as they come in or as people leave them on the train – The Metro, The Mirror,
whatever happens to be lying around.
Of course, I also need to keep up with world events but I vary my intake
from day-to-day: The Guardian, The Economist, The Times, Radio 4 Today
programme, BBC News, BBC World Service, and any newspaper written in English
outside the UK, depending on what I’m doing and where in the world I’m doing
It’s been a while since I read anything academic or conceptual longer than
Most of the gurus manage to turn a concept that could be summed up in a few
pages into 300 pages by the simple but boring device of giving us lots of
similar examples. However, I have just ordered David Urich’s Human Resource
Champions and HR Scorecard, as five pages is not enough sometimes.
Normally, I like to lose myself in a good fantasy story such as The Wheel Of
Time series by Robert Jordan. I have always tried to stimulate my imagination
by whatever means, as it helps me to think out of the box and tell stories
about my vision to my team and colleagues.
Television is something I watch after the kids are in bed and while I’m
waiting for my wife to come off the internet. I rarely watch a whole programme,
as I’d rather be sitting with my wife while she is on the computer. With
travelling, friends, three children and DIY, we don’t get many other
opportunities to be alone.
The radio is always on in our house. We really enjoy music in the background
and our youngest child now seems to know the words to most songs.
Music is another source of inspiration and energy, but it seems that
everyone tells me to turn the music down, even my children. Surely it should be
the other way around?
Hate them, unless they’ve got decent music or make me laugh. The Linx ad
with the Room 5 track is my ideal.
Having recently upgraded my PC and signed up to broadband, I am now hooked.
But not to the worldwide web. There’s this great online jukebox service that
has the full track history of more than 10,000 artists. You can dial-up an
artist and listen to all the tracks at random without paying for each download.
Great for dinner parties or just to have constantly playing in the background.
I also download music from subscription sites so I can load it onto my laptop
for when I’m travelling. Afghanistan can be a home from home as long as I have
my music with me.