Reading to Lead

Dr John Shosky has worked for 3 US presidential administrations

Dr John Shosky has worked for 3 US presidential administrations


Fresh from the United States and a public speaking training day with the esteemed John Shosky, he has some advice for all of us in regards to the right books to be reading.


I am often asked to recommend readings on conservative thought.  I hesitate because my list is very individual and personal.  I am sure no one else would choose the same readings.  So I concede my list is very idiosyncratic.  I also want to select volumes that may not be apparent or current.

I came to conservatism by working for Ronald Reagan.  I was a low-level, never important, lucky-to-be-there guy.  I worked on the cabinet level and in some very minor jobs in the White House.  I wasn’t a conservative before that…just a guy leaning that way, looking for some direction, searching for self.  The Reagan Administration reached out to independents, democrats, and even confused people like me.  So I picked up the background as I sent along, except for two books which I will mention below (Buck and Cowling, which explain why I was leaning right).  It would have been more meaningful for me if I had a background before the Reagan Administration.  I would have understood more of the context and the conversations during that time.  But working in that environment made we aware of the need to acquire a deeper foundation at some point.  I have tried to do that over the years.

Because my sojourn has been wide-ranging and somewhat intense, the ten books listed here I offer with confidence.  I know they are helpful.

My own belief is that conservatism is a substantial, formative, and supportive view of political thought and the democratic process.  It is a political philosophy with deep and strong roots.  In my view, it offers the best approach for the protection of freedom, equality, and human rights.  It empowers and ennobles citizens through its teachings and practice.  We should be proud to be conservatives.  Conservatism offers protection of democracy and liberty.  It demands individual responsibility, transparency in government, checks and balances, honesty, fairness, decency in behavior, civility, concern for others, compassion, and citizen involvement.  A conservative is always questioning authority, looking for information, examining the past, and demanding proof.  A conservative embraces the values of good education, loyalty, hard work, ethical conduct, respect for others, organic connection with history, and hope for the future.  Many, like T.S. Eliot, link conservatism with religion.  I would merely say that the values inherent in most religions are compatible with conservatism, such as self-improvement, love of our fellow man, living a life of service, rule of law, and rejecting unethical conduct.  Of course, others would make stronger claims here.

So here are ten books I recommend.  Any of them would provide a stronger knowledge base for conservatism.  Each is inspirational, motivational, and sound (YBF sound). Continue reading

Was it YBF wot won it?

Spectator LogoDozens of YBF activists descended on Newark, scene of the Conservatives’ recent by-election victory and a similar surge in Ukip support. Maybe you were one..?

The Spectator has written on the central role played by young conservative leaders as part of Road Trip 2015.

Interview Techniques by Peter Botting

Peter BottingFinishing University this year? Looking for a Job? Here are some useful notes on interviews from YBF coach and speaker, Peter Botting. When Peter is not running campaigns or helping candidates get selected and elected, he helps people prepare for interviews. Find out more about what Peter does, his discounted graduate interview preparation courses and more interview preparation tips at

What happens if they ask “Do you have any questions?” What should I say?

This is something every corporate interview client asks me. The answer is Yes, Yes, Yes.

They should all be future “we” related, not past and not  “me”.

Good questions can make all the difference in an interview. They can elevate or rerank you, highlight your skills and experience and showcase your confidence, commitment and accountability. Please add your suggestions…

  1. Apart from the job itself, how could I help make the team/company perform better?
  2. Assuming you think I fit the role, what’s the most important thing I should achieve in the first 14/60 days?
  3. What skills, traits and characteristics does this company value the most?
  4. Is there a mentoring programme and how does it work?
  5. This position sounds even better now and I am really excited about it. Is there anything that I should be demonstrating to you today, that I haven’t yet?
  6. What should I have achieved or proven 6/12 months from now that will demonstrate that I have met or exceeded your expectations?
  7. How would you describe your company’s culture?
  8. What attracted you to the organization?
  9. What are the next steps in the selection process?
  10. Could you clarify what you said about…?

Interview tips: Preparing for an interview

First of all do the boring stuff. Precisely because it is boring, the fact that you have done it could help you stand out.

  1. Where is the interview? Exactly – in which building? If you can go there the day before so you know how much time it takes to get there.
  2. What is the format and who is interviewing you. They may not tell you this, but if they do you have some research to do on the people interviewing you – this will count! Will there be any tests or group exercises? Should you bring anything? See if there is anything on the internet about the company’s interview procedures and other people’s experiences there.
  3. What to take with you to the interview? Obviously, take the ‘invitation to interview’ email, your CV and your cover letter. If it was an online application, you should have printed that out too. Re-read these before you go in to the interview!  Take a pen (the nice one, not a chewed horrible one) and a small professional looking notebook or pad. I like the small moleskin ones.
  4. What to do immediately before the interview? Re-read your research on the company, the people who will be interviewing you and the company and industry news and any trends research that you have done. Make sure that you have skimmed over all the news of the last few weeks. You will be asked about UK and European current affairs, industry trends and their likely impact on the industry.  A client of mine was asked about Leveson 3 weeks ago. Another was about the future of the Euro.
  5. What else? The night before the interview, drink water, get some exercise in the morning and get mentally prepared. Switch your phone off! Finally, get there 30 minutes early and go through my interview preparation process to help get you “in the zone”.

Hero and Zero of the Week

–Author- Stephen Hoffman


It would be easy to give this collectively to the RMT as they certainly deserve it, but as I have bashed the RMT before and no doubt will do so in the future I thought I’d give it to someone else this week.

Step forward Gerry Adams. This week Gerry Adams was arrested for the murder of Jean McConville, who was murdered and buried on a beach in the Republic of Ireland on the orders of the IRA. Her crime was aiding a wounded British soldier. Whilst Adams still denies involvement, in his own words after being arrested he said “I have never disassociated myself from the IRA and I never will.”  That he is proud to have been part of a murderous terrorist groups which killed many innocent civilians is deeply troubling.

Honourable mention go to David Steel, the former leader of the Liberal Party when Cyril Smith was one of their most well known MPs. This mention is for his see no evil, hear no evil interview for Radio 4’s World at one, when questioned about strong evidence that Cyril Smith was a serial abuser of boys. Alongside him John Bercow gets a mention for trying to make PMQs the John Bercow show.


Hero of the week goes to Priti Patel MP. Priti is one of the rising stars of the Conservative Party and speaks common sense on criminal justice, free enterprise and the nanny state. This week, despite being a member of the prime Minister’s own policy advisory board, she led the charge against plain packaging pointing out that it would be the final nail in the coffin for hundreds of newsagents. Her exact quote being on plain packaging: “This is a very anti-Conservative thing to do. It is a blunt instrument which will have a disproportionate impact on independent retailers.” She is right and its time to consign this deeply illiberal and economically illiterate policy to the dustbin of history.

Honourable mention goes to Nigel Evans for his return to the House of Commons this week after months of sheer hell he was put through by the CPS before finally being found innocent.

Still not sure about America this summer..?

USA-UK-FlagThe deadline for applications for the YBF US Summer Conference study visit to Washington DC expires on Wednesday, 30 April 2014. This is your last chance to apply. If you are still unsure about whether or not to join us in the United States this summer, maybe this will help whet your appetite…

Saturday, 19 July: fly to Washington DC, check-in at Marymount University and dinner at Gerard Phelan Hall Continue reading

An Easter gift from YBF

YBF Small Dolphin LogoAs our gift to you for Easter, and mindful that too many people in Britain suffer from obesity such that it is not going to be yet another Easter egg or Hot Cross Bun, the Young Britons’ Foundation is pleased to confirm that the 11th YBF Activist Training Conference will take place at Churchill College, Cambridge from lunchtime on Friday, 12 December 2014 until lunchtime on Sunday, 14 December 2014.

Further details including confirmed speakers, ticket prices and award nominees will be announced in the coming weeks. So watch this space – and save the date in your diaries. Happy Easter!

YBF at the Reagan Ranch

RanchEarlier this month a delegation of YBF activists were privileged to enjoy a private escorted tour of Ronald Reagan’s Western White House, Rancho del Cielo, on the anniversary of the death of his close friend, Margaret Thatcher.

Young America’s Foundation recorded the success of this moving and memorable tour here.

If you too wish to visit the United States as part of YBF’s US Summer Conference programme, the deadline for applications has been extended to 30 April 2014.