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Deborah Meaden: Books that changed my life

Deborah Meaden: Books that changed my life

Deborah Meaden is a highly successful entrepreneur and one of Britain’s best-known business names. Her new book, Little Experts: Why Money Matters is out now

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell book jacket

I read this as a child because it was about horses, but beyond that I had no idea what I was about to read. The story is told through the voice of Black Beauty, a genuine and honest horse keen to do his best.

It starts happily enough with bucolic scenes of his early days in the fields with his mother, and the kindness with which he was cared for, but as the book progresses, its real intent to expose the casual cruelty to horses in the Victorian era takes hold.

The book had a profound effect on me and some of the scenes remain vivid in my memory, still invoking a feeling of dread.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird book jacket

We read many books at school but this one really got under my skin—so much so that I have read it several times since, and seen the plays!

Set in the Southern US during the Great Depression, it quickly reveals itself to be a book which exposes the complexities and opposites of people.

I find it hard to describe what the book is about, other than human nature. Of course it speaks of racism, fear of others and dehumanisation, but through the author’s carefully crafted characters and sometimes meandering storytelling, it gets to the absolute root of human nature, in all its good and bad.

Harper Lee describes the book as a “love story.” I simply call it an absolute masterclass in humanity.

Spix’s Macaw: The Race to Save the World’s Rarest Bird by Tony Juniper

Spix’s Macaw: The Race to Save the World’s Rarest Bird by Tony Juniper book jacket

This book sparked me into environmental action. It is the story of the race to rescue a species first documented in 1819 and pushed towards extinction in the wild because it was unfortunate enough to be beautiful and desirable, and therefore worth a lot of money.

It is a story of human selfishness and greed. It is also a book that shows us what humans can achieve if only they have the will, but ultimately it is a book of warning—in 2019, Spix’s Macaw was declared extinct in the wild.

Banner credit: Charles Glover

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