Book Club Best Read – Be More Pirate by Sam Conniff Allende (2018)

Published on: Tue 9 April 2019 by Dan

Score: 9/10 

Biggest Takeaway:

  • This book is a strong reminder that we operate in a fast changing world where old chain-of-command thinking inhibits us from thinking on our feet and responding quickly as we bump up again change
  • It encourages us to throw out business plans and swap in our consumer-focused approach to become more ‘citizen-centric’

Who should read it:

Anyone who runs a business or a not for profit organisation; directors/managers with responsibility for change; or anyone interested in taking a new perspective on organisational culture.

The book very cleverly looks back 300 years to the Golden Age of Pirates.

golden age pirates
Golden Age of Pirates

A distinctive group of sailors broke away from the British and Merchant Navies, where they had been privateers for the British Government, expected to give all but not to receive pay or decent conditions for their efforts. As sailors putting their lives at risk by plundering the national treasures of other countries on behalf of the British Government, they understandably thought they deserved better.

Popular myths deem this diverse group at worse cut-throat murdering thugs, at best greedy marauders out to make their fortune. However, they did have a code of conduct and a sense of fairness, which is only evident today in the most forward-thinking organisations. There is no doubt this group have been unfairly judged by history and branded as villains of the worse kind.  But then the establishment at the time, would say that wouldn’t they, when their unpaid workforce decided to steal for themselves rather than steal on behalf of the state.

Allende correlates structured, forward-thinking processes and codes of fairness established 300 years ago and compares with out of date approaches adopted by many organisations still today. He shines light on well-worn, well-trodden business practice aligned to an age of consumerism and reminds us this is fast becoming out of date.

This forward-looking author argues the case for old consumer-based thinking being, which is more use in a predictable world, to be put to death. It serves no one; not our stressed-out workforce and least of all our crippled planet.

If we are to move forward to a more spiritual and fulfilled world then we urgently need to change. Allende explores in some detail how modern fresh organisations, fuelled by a millennial mindset, are establishing organisations with purpose where there are no consumers but participants who share in that purpose. Far more powerful in a world where unpredictability rules.

The book provides practical actions to define what Allende calls Articles (10 codes) to support new thinking, here are four to wet the appetite:

  • Rid ourselves of chain-of command thinking, encourage more inclusive leadership where people learn again to think on their feet as the environment and conditions change around them
  • Rid ourselves of business plans, become more agile and responsive to a changing world
  • Rid ourselves of a consumer mindset, be more citizen focused
  • Take happiness seriously and understand it can make a huge difference to an organisations successfulness
No -nonsense, kick-ass style

This fascinating, inspiring, enlightening book has me all fired-up to look at the world differently and start making some ‘good-trouble’. The no-nonsense, kickass style is refreshing… I always wanted to be a pirate!


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