Jonathan Gifford

Jonathan Gifford - Ghostwriter Tick

Oxford, UK

I am a business author with nine published books on leadership and change. I specialise in leadership biographies and business stories.

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Overview

The first part of my career was spent on the commercial side of UK national newspapers (The Guardian, The Star, The Sunday Express and The Mail on Sunday) and then as a magazine publisher with BBC Magazines (BBC Music Magazine, BBC Wildlife Magazine and BBC History Magazine, of which I was launch publisher in 2000). I then co-founded a small digital advertising agency, Bluequest. I now write books for business people. I have five books published by Marshall Cavendish International: History Lessons (2010), 100 Great Leadership Ideas (2010), Blindsided (2012), 100 More Great Leadership Ideas (2013) and 100 Great Business Leaders (2013). These books have been translated into Chinese (complex and simplified), Thai, Indonesian and Korean. History Lessons is in its second edition; 100 Great Leadership Ideas is in its third edition. Ideas from my Great Leadership Ideas books feature in Marshall Cavendish’s An Idea a Day and More Ideas a Day. In recent years I have co-authored four books with senior management consultant and business school fellow Dr Mark Powell: My Steam Engine is Broken (2016), Perform to Win (2016), Machiavellian Intelligence (2017) and The Five Principles of Performance Thinking (2019), all published by LID Publishing. I have written numerous op ed pieces in connection with all of the books. One of these was published in The Guardian newspaper and another in Metro. Most appear in a range of business magazine titles. I have seven articles, for example, co-authored with Dr Powell, currently featured on the prominent US business site. An article by us appeared in the peer-reviewed Journal of Organisational Aesthetics. I often produce 500-2000-word op eds at short notice to deadline when a magazine expresses interest in a particular subject matter for their next issue. I can write short pieces very quickly on any subject I am well-versed in.

My books with Marshall Cavendish were based on desk research into famous business or historical leaders and events. The Great Leadership Ideas books used published magazine and journal articles and interviews featuring conversations with top business leaders and extracted from these the core ideas and behaviours that leaders said were important in their own leadership. In my work with Dr Mark Powell, he and I are credited as co-authors, but all of the writing is done by myself, based on Dr Powell’s work experience, business ideas and his leadership development programmes at Oxford Saïd Business School, where he was an associate fellow. For each book I have interviewed Dr Powell, ideally in person, sometimes by phone or Skype. After several sessions I begin to assemble core ideas into a proposed framework. Once this is agreed, I carry out desk research to flesh out and support Dr Powell’s ideas and then begin writing. Dr Powell reviews each chapter once a first draught is available and I include any subsequent new thinking or amends. Where relevant, I interview individuals who have been involved in Dr Powell’s leadership development work: colleagues, delegates and management from the client commissioning the programme. A core aspect of Dr Powell’s work is what business can learn from the performing arts and to gain material for the books I have joined programmes to watch and talk to the actors, dancers, jazz musicians, conductors and choral groups who perform for and work with delegates. The books are written in very different styles to suit the subject matter: My Steam Engine is Broken is a polemic, arguing that many modern organisational changes are inherited from our industrial past and need to be changed. Perform To Win is written as a business novel following the experiences of four business people as they attend a lightly-fictionalised account of one of Dr Powell’s programmes. Machiavellian Intelligence is written as a ‘how to’ book (‘How to survive and thrive in the modern corporation’) but is also a critique of aspects of corporate behaviour. The Five Principles of Performance Thinking is written in a short, punchy style with illustrated quotations from Dr Powell.
Services
Short-Form Content
Languages
English (UK)
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
Business & Management

Certifications

  • Published works

Work experience

Partner

The Human Energy Organisation
October, 2015 – Present (over 3 years)

Author

Marshall Cavendish International and LID Publishing
July, 2009 – Present (almost 10 years)

I have five books published by Marshall Cavendish International: History Lessons; Blindsided; 100 Great Leadership Ideas; 100 More Great Leadership Ideas and 100 Great Business Leaders.

I have four books published by LID Publishing co-authored with management and strategy consultant Dr Mark Powell: My Steam Engine is Broken; Perform to Win; Machiavellian Intelligence and The Five Principle of Performance Thinking.

Co-founder

Bluequest
October, 2006 – March, 2015 (over 8 years)

After founding my own advertising and design consultancy Gifford Creative Services I began to work closely with the founder of Definitely Mably creative services and together we co-founded the digital advertising agency Bluequest.

Publisher

BBC Worldwide
February, 1992 – October, 2006 (over 14 years)

Working on BBC Magazines' specialist titles: BBC Wildlife, BBC History and BBC Music Magazines. I was the launch publisher of BBC History Magazine in 2000.

Director

Hughes Roche Gifford
April, 1989 – February, 1992 (almost 3 years)

I was a co-fonder of the advertising sales consultancy Hughes Roche Gifford.

Special Projects Manager

National Newspapers
November, 1979 – April, 1989 (over 9 years)

In the 80s worked on the commercial side of various national Newspapers: The Guardian, The Star, The Sunday Express and the Mail on Sunday.

100 More Great Leadership Ideas (100 Great Ideas)

Jonathan Gifford

If you are a manager in today's business environment, demonstrating that you have leadership skills is essential to success. But what does it take to become an effective and influential business manager and leader? There are no sure-fire ways, but you can take inspiration and advice from various leaders who have been successful already. This sequel to the best selling 100 Great Leadership Idea... read more

If you are a manager in today's business environment, demonstrating that you have leadership skills is essential to success. But what does it take to become an effective and influential business manager and leader? There are no sure-fire ways, but you can take inspiration and advice from various leaders who have been successful already. This sequel to the best selling 100 Great Leadership Idea... read more

Blindsided: How Business and Society is Shaped by Our Irrational and Unpredictable Behaviour

Jonathan Gifford

Human beings, it seems safe to say, are irredeemably selfish, greedy, short-sighted and prone to mass delusion. Time and again throughout history, business and society have been blindsided by people's irrational and unpredictable behaviour. More often than we would care to admit, we look back on a disastrous set of events and think: How could that happen? How could we have been so stupid? Why,... read more

Human beings, it seems safe to say, are irredeemably selfish, greedy, short-sighted and prone to mass delusion. Time and again throughout history, business and society have been blindsided by people's irrational and unpredictable behaviour. More often than we would care to admit, we look back on a disastrous set of events and think: How could that happen? How could we have been so stupid? Why,... read more

100 Great Business Leaders: Of the world’s most admired companies (100 Great Ideas Series)

Jonathan Gifford

The success of every great company or popular brand is often the vision of a great leader. Here in this book, we profile 100 Great Business Leaders, giving an account of their business career, demonstrating the innovations, opportunities and business principles that have been introduced in their companies. Also included is a practical section to demonstrate how a reader might apply these ideas... read more

The success of every great company or popular brand is often the vision of a great leader. Here in this book, we profile 100 Great Business Leaders, giving an account of their business career, demonstrating the innovations, opportunities and business principles that have been introduced in their companies. Also included is a practical section to demonstrate how a reader might apply these ideas... read more

My Steam Engine is Broken: Taking the Organization from the Industrial Era to the Age of Ideas

Mark Powell, Jonathan Gifford

The typical structure of today's corporate organization was essentially invented in the nineteenth century and based deliberately on the military's "command and control" model and on the hierarchical pyramid of the Catholic Church. As such, it is outmoded and not equipped to deliver corporate success in the 21st century. My Steam Engine is Broken calls on a new generation of organisational lea... read more

The typical structure of today's corporate organization was essentially invented in the nineteenth century and based deliberately on the military's "command and control" model and on the hierarchical pyramid of the Catholic Church. As such, it is outmoded and not equipped to deliver corporate success in the 21st century. My Steam Engine is Broken calls on a new generation of organisational lea... read more

Perform To Win: Unlocking The Secrets of the Arts for Personal and Business Success

Mark Powell, Jonathan Gifford

This book explores and demonstrates the transformative learning experiences that organizations and their leaders can derive from the arts. It is through the arts that we have always explored our humanity: through dance and music; art and sculpture; theatre and poetry. The arts allow us to explore our own selves and our relationship to others and to the world around us. This central role of the... read more

This book explores and demonstrates the transformative learning experiences that organizations and their leaders can derive from the arts. It is through the arts that we have always explored our humanity: through dance and music; art and sculpture; theatre and poetry. The arts allow us to explore our own selves and our relationship to others and to the world around us. This central role of the... read more

Machiavellian Intelligence: How to Survive and Rise in the Modern Corporation

Jonathan Gifford

The best way to secure yourself against being 'let go' in the modern economy is to rise to a level within the corporation where you are making the strategic decisions, not bearing the brunt of their consequences. It may be tough at the top, but it's dangerous in the middle -- and the rewards at the top are far greater. Machiavellian Intelligence argues that many intelligent and hard-working pr... read more

The best way to secure yourself against being 'let go' in the modern economy is to rise to a level within the corporation where you are making the strategic decisions, not bearing the brunt of their consequences. It may be tough at the top, but it's dangerous in the middle -- and the rewards at the top are far greater. Machiavellian Intelligence argues that many intelligent and hard-working pr... read more

History Lessons: What business and management can learn from the great leaders of history

Jonathan Gifford

Pericles of Athens, Lorenzo of Florence, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Elizabeth I, Napoleon Bonaparte, Zhou Enlai, Ghandi, Lee Kuan Yew – these are just some of the great names who changed the course of history. Far from being dated and irrelevant, their actions and thoughts, and the way in which they conducted themselves in history’s great events, are an invaluable source of lessons and... read more

Pericles of Athens, Lorenzo of Florence, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Elizabeth I, Napoleon Bonaparte, Zhou Enlai, Ghandi, Lee Kuan Yew – these are just some of the great names who changed the course of history. Far from being dated and irrelevant, their actions and thoughts, and the way in which they conducted themselves in history’s great events, are an invaluable source of lessons and... read more

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