This book is written from experience. You can really sense that from the examples shared and the language used to share them. It is a collection of curated articles written over a five year span. Jon Rennie makes this clear at the beginning of the book – which is helpful.

I Have the Watch by Jon S Rennie

The focus of the book is leading people, with a particular emphasis on people that have been in the world of work for a long time and people that have been together in teams for a long time. This is relevant because Jon Rennie was a nuclear submarine officer and then a leader of manufacturing plants from a relatively young age – probably 10 or more years younger than the majority of people doing those roles around him (that’s just my guess though). Those formative years have clearly influenced the way he treats people, respects people and draw’s from others’ wisdom.

The book takes you on a journey of leadership and shares a number of examples of leadership in action, with the learning and vulnerability you would want to experience and read about from a good leader. Each article is set out like a mini essay with helpful sub-headings that signpost you to the key concepts. This means that the book lends itself well to the formation of guides and checklists, helping you take the ideas from the page to the plant. 

It feels like a book that would be most useful to people taking on big managerial roles for the first time, rather than first-time, first-line managers.

When you’re browsing Amazon, have you noticed the section at the bottom of the item listing where it says ‘frequently bought together’? Well, l’d recommend that people read ‘The leadership Book’ by Neil Jurd OBE first, then follow on with ‘I have the Watch’. It feels like ‘the book that needs to come next’ once you’ve understood the basics. (Although l accept that I haven’t read Jon Rennie’s other books yet, so I may need to revise my view on that!)

I give this book 4 out of 5. There are a few repeated facts, figures and statements – once you know that this is a book of different and stand-alone articles, you understand why. If it was written as one complete narrative, for me, that would take it to the 5.