Martin Norbury has had a rather remarkable life. From starting his business with no official business management qualifications in 1991, to acting as a Senior Executive for a multi-million pound corporation, to now being awarded with the recognition of being ‘Business Mentor of the Year’. Did I mention that he is also the author of the wonderful book, I Don’t Work Fridays? The book explains Martin’s five steps to scaling a business; allowing you to run the business instead of your business running you! His work has led to him becoming known as one of the leading business scalability coaches. I was fascinated to discover which books have helped Martin achieve such incredible success, and I can assure you – there are some gems! So, here is my interview with the inspirational, Martin Norbury…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
I’m the Scalability Coach. I help business owners choose what they do with their tomorrow.
When you think about your childhood, what book comes to mind?
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Edwards, the married name of Dame Julie Andrews.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
What do you think your school aged self would think of the present day you?
I’d probably think that I could try harder.
If you could wrap up a single book and gift it to yourself as you left education – which book would it be?
Does your reading have routine? Is there a particular time or place that you like to read?
I can switch off regardless of what is going on around me so I read whenever I get the opportunity – on the train, flying, at home. Audio is huge for me – I absorb books mostly in my car, or walking across London to training sessions.
Do you have any books that you strongly associate with someone important in your life?
When I look at my bookshelf, the spines remind me of various chapters and people in my life: Self-working Card Tricks by Karl Fulves reminds me of my teens when I worked in David Cooper’s (brother of Tommy) magic shop on Slough High Street. Noble’s Wedding Venue Guide by Janet Simpson and Debrett’s Handbook by Elizabeth Wyse reminds me of our wedding back in 2001. Various Lonely Planet’s of course get me reminiscing about the wonderful places and cultures we’ve experienced. As an avid Liverpool fan, my Steven Gerrard autobiographies remind me of the rollercoaster of the seventeen seasons he played for Liverpool FC!
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
Any of Robert Ludlum’s work.
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
Both are great. I tend to get into an author and read everything, so Lee Childs, Robert Ludlum, David Nicholls etc.
Do you think reading is important?
It is SO important. It helps us see the world, helps us understand others, helps us escape and helps us learn. It’s certainly helped improve my concentration and memory – I am always automatically quoting from books these days without having to stop and think. As a father of four-year-old twins, we’ve read to them since day one. We read every night to them and they get so excited visiting the library once a month.
Do you prefer real books or digital books?
I like both – the feel of a book and the convenience of digital. When I first started running business in 1991 there wasn’t much internet around – no Amazon, no Kindles. So the only way to learn and follow great people was to visit the library or the local book shop.
Name a book that you feel every human should have to read by law.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life?
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie as it got me thinking differently and interested in personal development.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
Four brilliant books by Jim Collins: Good to Great, Great by Choice, Built to Last, How the Mighty Fall. The Balanced Scorecard by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton was a huge revelation to me in the 1990’s. I continue to take lessons from Start With Why by Simon Sinek and Key Persons of Influence by Daniel Priestley. I loved the format and succinctness of Botty Rules by Nigel Botterill. Of course, I have to mention any book by Tony Robbins – he has had more impact on people’s lives than anyone else on the planet. And finally, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – people don’t realise how many lessons in life and business there are in classic children’s books such as Alice in Wonderland and Winnie the Pooh.
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
More autobiographies, I’m just about to start Elon Musk’s Biography by Ashlee Vance.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
I Never Walked Alone.