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5 book recommendations from Social Care professionals

Looking for your next great read? Here are some titles to inspire you.

There's nothing like the new year to motivate us to take on a challenge. Whether you're looking to grow your skillset, read some inspiring stories, or find new ways to support your team, these are five books you need to read, as recommended by our network of Social Care experts!

1) Getting the Job Done: Practical Advice and Real-World Anecdotes to Manage Successful P.R.O.J.E.C.T.S.

Author: Kevin Torf

Length: 174 pages

Amazon link

As a project Manager, change expert and all-round organisational pro, it's no wonder Louise Gibson made this short, but punchy recommendation. Efficiency is the name of the game here - not to spoil the list, but we've got an even shorter entry to back that up, so keep reading! 

"Getting the Job Done is a really good book, about all things project management. It’s got really good advice on dealing with some of the things we encounter a lot when rolling out new solutions. 

Louise Gibson, Project Manager & Change Consultant 

Essentially, this is a book about striking the balance between having a plan and remaining flexible in order to accommodate your team and your goals when faced with the unexpected.

Kevin Toft, a large-scale project strategist and author of "Getting the Job Done," says the mission of this book is to help distill the system he's used to lead Healthcare tech consulting projects for over 15 years.

This is how the acronym P.R.O.J.E.C.T.S. came to stand for Planning, Reflection, Organisation, Juggling, Empowerment, Communication, Teamwork, and Standards.

With the compact analysis of each block followed by clear bite-sized tips, and concluding with Toft's first-hand experience of Health & Care providers as case studies, this book can help you gain a more strategic view of your own initiatives - regardless of their scale - and jumpstart new projects in 2024. 

PS: You can catch Louise on our next webinar. Register here and get a sweet treat, too! 

2) The Courage to Care

Author: Christie Watson

Length: 272 pages

Amazon link

Ben Miller dedicates his time as a Registered Manager to supporting his team and offering the best care possible to residents. These are big challenges that he's willing to take on because he's always been passionate about Care and wants to make an impact.

Needless to say, this reflects the feelings of many Care professionals out there. So when he recommended "Courage to Care" as a book that reignites this passion whenever he feels down, we wanted others to share in his joy. 

Reading "The Courage to Care" reminded me of why I became a nurse and why I love nursing. It's an inspiring story and I recommend anyone working in Health or Social Care, nurse or not, takes time to read it. It's powerful.

Ben Miller, Registered Manager at Milkwood Care

Christie Watson is a Professor of Medical Humanities at UEA and has worked as an NHS nurse for over 20 years. In writing "Courage to Care," she wanted to use her award-winning skills as a writer to bring to life the stories of frontline professionals, both for those in the sector and those outside. 

"Courage to Care" is not about statistics or general learnings, but rather about the day-to-day, individual impact each person can make, whether they're giving or receiving care. In Watson's words: "When we feel most alone, nurses remind us that we are not alone at all."

So, if like Ben, you find yourself needing a bit of inspiration to support your team, propose an initiative, or learn something new - this book is an excellent choice. 

3) Labours of Love

Author: Madeleine Bunting

Length: 320 pages

Amazon link

"Labours of Love" wins our seal of approval because it focuses on a topic that stood out in our report, The Big Reshuffle (Part 2): how to attract the next generation of carers. But most importantly, it is Neil Eastwood's recommendation, and as an author himself and CEO of Care Friends, he knows a good book when he sees one.  

Too many positive things to say about it, but loved the prediction there will be just two types of jobs seeing growth in the future: high tech and high touch. And we need to shift from obsessing about cognitive skills training for young people, to education towards social and relationship skills.

Neil Eastwood, Author and CEO of Care Friends

Expertly researched and told,  this book is the result of Madeleine Bunting's five years of travel across the country and her quest to reveal the stories of carers in a variety of settings. At the same time, she blends in a bit of history, recounting how Britain's Social Care sector came to be, and sets out to propose new ways of attracting the next generation of carers. 

Compelling, revelatory, and full of the warmth and kindness that characterise the sector are only a few of the words we could use to describe this book. 

If you're looking to feel inspired and motivated - particularly if you're working on recruiting more people in 2024 - "Labours of Love" could prove an excellent starting point. 

4) Management Development for Care & Nursing Home Managers 

Author: Liam Palmer

Length: 47 pages

Amazon link

If you don't find yourself with enough time to sit down with a tome, here's the shortest entry on our list, courtesy of Hayley Horwood. 

I find myself recommending this book to people, whether they want to be managers or not. It's more about how Liam approaches the idea of struggles and sees them as opportunities for improvement. Taking charge of a Care home, a team, or just your own priorities, and looking for the opportunity there: that's something that inspires me every day.

Hayley Horwood, Founder & Social Care Expert at HLH Consultancy

Liam Palmer believes that delivering great care comes down to effective leadership, and having the right systems in place. Furthermore, he knows from experience that everyone can display leadership skills in the right circumstances, regardless of their role.

In only 50 pages, Liam manages to weave in elements of mindfulness, staff empowerment, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in order to deliver an excellent guide for when you find yourself daunted rather than excited by the new year. 

As Hayley says, sometimes a change of perspective can flip the story from struggle to opportunity!

5) Always Time for Coffee: A Down-to-Earth Guide for Frontline Managers, Team Leaders and Supervisors 

Author: Kate Minchin

Length: 195 pages

Amazon link

Our final recommendation - "Always Time for Coffee" - really shows why the Care sector needs solutions that are designed specifically for its unique challenges. It highlights how most management advice doesn't really speak to frontline teams and sets out to remedy that with a mix of strategies and examples.

Kate Minchin has led frontline teams and their managers for more than 20 years and in writing "Always Time for Coffee," she wanted to offer every Care professional the chance to "sit down for a chat" with her. 

The numerous case studies she includes are a testament to her experience and the variety of people she's met over the years. Beyond the insightful management advice this book offers, you will find so many genuine, real-life situations, it will be nigh impossible not to relate to at least a few. 

One lesson Kate recommends to take away is that working with others is bound to be challenging at times, but the strong system of support, the kindness, and understanding she's found in the Care sector - that makes it all worth it! 

Looking for more inspiration?

We're constantly adding to our library of resources written specifically for Social Care professionals. Browse through all of our publications here.