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Library 1:1 Sessions

Feeling overwhelmed by the task of navigating SOLO to find books and journal articles, or exploring multiple business and management related databases and eresources?

You now have the option to book a personalised consultation session with one of our experienced librarians at the Sainsbury Library, either online or in person. This tailored session will provide you with the guidance and support your need to streamline your search and make the most out of the available resources. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

  • Session: Selecting business databases for your research:
    Contact: Hal Kirkwood, Bodleian Business Librarian: hal.kirkwood@sbs.ox.ac.uk
  • Session: Help with using and searching the business databases:
    Contact: Heidi Smithson, Senior Information Librarian: heidi.smithson@sbs.ox.ac.uk
  • Session: How to make the most of resources and services at the Bodleian Libraries via SOLO:
    Contact: Cui Cui, Circulation and Customer Services Librarian: cui.cui@sbs.ox.ac.uk
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Book display in the Sainsbury Library.

Financial Times and Schroders Business Book of the Year Award 2023

  • What is a ‘right kind of wrong’?
  • Have you wondered how big projects get done or why they end up in disasters?
  • Do you know about the six materials that have shaped human history and will shape our future?
  • Are you aware of the modern-day slavery involved in the production of cobalt, a material that is used to power our everyday lives?
  • Have you considered what the new era of AI means for the world?
  • What drives the innovation, triumphs, and failures of one of the most influential people in the world?

Sainsbury Library invites you to explore these questions with our Financial Times and Schroders Business Book of the Year display. You can access the Financial Times through the Bodleian Libraries, our Current News LibGuide has instructions for registering.

The Financial Times Business Book of the Year Award started in 2005 and aims to find enjoyable books that are pertinent to modern issues in business. The shortlist, for 2023, according to the judges, offers ‘exciting, engaging, and important titles that together provide a highly readable guide to the future of business’1 and ‘solutions to the pressing challenges facing executives and policymakers at a time of profound disruption and uncertainty.’2

The books shortlisted are about topics that go beyond what most people would define as a “business” book and are likely to be of interest to a wide range of readers.

Titles like Right Kind of Wrong (2023 winner) and How Big Things Get Done may be useful for managers but also for people who want to understand why things fail, and how to effectively learn and improve from mistakes. Cobalt Red, Material World, and AI: The Coming Wave, all explore the hidden world of technology, materials, and minerals. The authors shine a light on the history, exploitation, and risks to society and the environment associated with their subject matters. Finally, ‘Elon Musk’ – whether you love the man or hate him – offers readers an insight into one of the most influential and powerful figures in the world today.

A special mention and congratulations to Prof. Bent Flyvbjerg who is an Emeritus Professor at Saïd Business School and who co-authored the shortlisted book How Big Things Get Done: The Surprising Factors Behind Every Successful Project, from Home Renovations to Space Exploration.

We hope you find something that will pique your interest and that you come along and borrow one, or all of them!

Book of the Year

Right Kind of Wrong: Why Learning to Fail Can Teach Us to Thrive
By Amy Edmondson- a world-renowned organisational psychologist and Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School.


Material World: A substantial Story of our Past and Future
By Ed Conway- a writer and broadcaster, currently the Economics and Data editor for Sky News and regular columnist for The Times and Sunday Times.

How Big Things Get Done: The Surprising Factors Behind Every Successful Project, from Home Renovations to Space Exploration
By Bent Flyvbjerg- Saïd Business School Emeritus Professor and the world expert on megaprojects; and Dan Gardner, New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and consultant.

Elon Musk
By Walter Isaacson- a history professor at Tulane University, journalist, former CEO of CNN, and bestselling author of biographies including about Steve Jobs and Kissinger.

Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers our Lives
By Siddharth Kara- a British Academy Global Professor and Rights Lab Associate Professor of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery at the University of Nottingham.

The Coming Wave: AI, Power and the Twenty-First Century’s Greatest Dilemma
By Mustafa Suleyman (with Michael Bhaskar)- a serial tech entrepreneur. AI researcher and co-founder of DeepMind, part of Google, and co-founder of Inflection AI; and Michael Bhaskar – New York Times bestselling writer, and publisher on AI, technology, publishing, and the future of media.

If you are interested in seeing the books that did not reach the shortlist, then you should check out the Financial Times Book of the Year Longlist and you can also see historical entries on their Best Business Books page.

Further Reading: Book Reviews

If you want to find out more about each title above, here are snippets from reviews and you can read the full review by clicking on the book title.

Right Kind of Wrong by Amy Edmondson
‘Do good teams make fewer mistakes? It seems a reasonable hypothesis. But in the early 1990s, when a young researcher looked at evidence from medical teams at two Massachusetts hospitals, the numbers told her a completely different story: the teams who displayed the best teamwork were the ones making the most mistakes. What on earth was going on?’3

Material World- the six commodities that shape our lives
‘Ed Conway’s lucid book explores the mines and quarries beneath the ‘ethereal’ economy of technology and services.’ 4

How Big Things Get Done
‘The book has an upbeat title, perhaps because publishing lore suggests that including “failure” is a sure way to crater sales, but, rest assured, it is full of delicious anecdotes about project management disasters.’5

Elon Musk
‘An exploration of the tech billionaire’s epic feats, which is long on reporting detail but shorter on the meaning of Musk.’6

Cobalt Red
‘Takes a deep dive into the horrors of mining the valuable mineral — and the many who benefit from others’ suffering.’7

AI: The Coming Wave 
‘Bristles with breathtaking excitement about the extraordinary possibilities that the revolutions in AI and synthetic biology could bring about (…) In the 21st century, the dilemma will be how to contain technology’s power.’8

We hope you enjoy reading some of these books. If you have any ideas for other business books do contact us! You can also use the Bodleian request form to suggest a new book, e-book, database or resource.

1. 2. Hill, Andrew. “FT Business Book of the Year 2023 — the shortlist” Financial Times, September 21, 2023.
3. Harford, Tim. “The art of making good mistakes,” Financial Times, September 15, 2023.
4. Gapper, John. “Material world-the six commodities that shape our lives,” Financial Times, June 15, 2023.
5. Hill, Andrew, et al. “FT business books: What to read this month,” Financial Times, February 9, 2023.
6. Foroohar, Rana. “Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson — clashes of the titan,” Financial Times, September 13, 2023.
7. Aikins, Matthieu. “How Is Your Phone Powered? Problematically.,” New York Times, January 23, 2023.
8. Thornhill, John. “AI and the next great tech shift,” Financial Times, September 14, 2023.

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The charity book trolley in the library.

Books for Charity

Stop by the Sainsbury Library to browse a selection of pre-loved books in return for a donation to our School charity, Be Free Young Carers.

The library is looking for new homes for a number of business and management books as we refresh our collection and make space for new titles. We are offering them to our School community to raise money to support young carers in Oxfordshire through our charity partners. From classic editions to surplus copies of newer texts, a treasure trove of ideas awaits!

You’ll find the charity book trolley next to the self-issue kiosk near the library helpdesk. Do keep checking back as further titles will be added later on. Once you’ve chosen your new reading material, scan the QR code or go to our Just Giving page to make your donation – don’t forget to add ‘Books’ in the message box. Every little helps, so please give what you can! Your donation will help Be Free Young Carers to continue their vital work of supporting young people with caring responsibilities across the county.

Thank you for your support and happy reading!

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Photograph of the AI book display in the Sainsbury Library.

Welcome to the World of AI

Step into the Sainsbury Library and explore the fascinating, fun, but sometimes frightening, world of Artificial Intelligence with our book display in the lower reading room. AI is ubiquitous in many people’s daily lives and is impacting and raising questions in all areas of businesses. With AI ‘creating’ art, films, music and novels; aiding doctors, researchers and patients in the life-saving work of medicine; and assisting both defensive and offensive forces in wars. For some, the rapid growth and innovation of AI represents a golden opportunity for business, humans, and the future of our world. However, for others, AI spells impending doom, with visions of mass unemployment and even the end of the world. For both, AI is a tool that makes the imagined events of Sci-fi-the good, the bad, and the fun-a reality.

The Sainsbury Library’s display, ‘Welcome to the World of AI’, has books ranging from the threats and opportunities of AI in business and economics, the history of AI, the ethics of AI, and even chess and AI. We hope you will find something of interest to you, whether you are a doomsayer, optimist, or have no idea what AI is all about!

Please note all books are available on-line, unless otherwise specified. Please click on the links provided or even better come and browse the colourful display in-person and scan our QR codes!

General and Philosophy


Further resources

For more resources see our Business of AI LibGuide.

The O’Reilly learning platform and Gartner research library both provide free access to expert-created and curated information covering all the areas that will shape our future – including artificial intelligence.

Online Learning with O’Reilly

Gartner Campus Access

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Self-help e-books

Trinity Term is a particularly stressful time of year for our students but support is available. The University Health and Welfare team are on hand to provide a variety of resources and assistance. In addition to University services, Nightline provides a completely independent listening, support, and information service run for and by students.

From a library perspective, we feel we have a pastoral duty of care to our readers. We seek to provide a safe, welcoming space where students can achieve what they set out to achieve. The Bodleian as a whole has been carefully collecting and curating a selection of self-help books for students, staff, and any other interested users. The majority of these books are e-books, which we feel adds an element of discretion for those who wish for it. These e-books are available to view at any time of day, from any location; all you need is an internet connection and your Single Sign-On.

The full list of titles is available as a Reading List on ORLO. If you feel there are any titles or topics we may have missed, please do get in touch with our disability librarian.

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Garner website being accessed on an iPad. Image by rawpixel.com.

Gartner Campus Access

The University now provides full access to the Gartner research library (log in with your Oxford SSO).

Gartner is the global leader in providing accurate and current research for the IT industry and its research library helps translate complex IT issues into comprehensive advice and meaningful analysis. The Gartner research library provides access to current research, analytics and insights that are accurate, impartial, and consistent. The benefits of Gartner include the combined expertise of 2,300 research analysts and consultants who advise executives in 130 countries every day. They publish tens of thousands of pages of original research annually and answer 340,000 client questions every year.

See the LibGuide for more information.

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Recommend a book

If a book or other resource you need is not held by the Sainsbury Library or the Bodleian Libraries, we are happy to try to source or purchase this for you. We accept recommendations from students and staff. Before submitting a request, check SOLO to make sure the resource is not already available in Oxford.

The Bodleian Libraries also welcome suggestions for books and other resources to be purchased. When completing the form, please provide as much detail as possible about the resource you are recommending. Your request will be passed on to the relevant subject librarian for consideration, and you will be notified of the outcome.

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Suggest a Database or Data Set

Do let us know if there’s a resource that we don’t currently offer that you’d like to use in your studies or research. The Sainsbury Library team will then look into providing the database, or we might be able to suggest an alternative from our current offering of databases that has the same data.

Even if we cannot immediately offer the resource, all feedback and requests are helpful and can assist us in identifying new databases in the long term. Some recent database acquisitions are due to requests from staff and students, so get in touch with your suggestions!

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Get Software

Did you know that as an Oxford University member you can obtain a variety of software products? We have put together the guide below to direct you to all the software available at Oxford!

Software for University of Oxford members

The University of Oxford provides a wide variety of software for staff and students including SPSS, STATA, ArcGIS, NVivo, Windows, EndNote and MATLAB.

Software for Oxford Saïd members

The Sainsbury Library also provides additional software for Oxford Saïd members.

  • Overleaf, an easy to use, online, collaborative document editor.
    If you do not yet have an Overleaf account, register on their website and then contact us to set up your Professional account.

Library iMacs

The iMacs in the library have Orchard Software Centre installed, which is similar to the App Store. You can use the Orchard Software Centre app to install apps from the Orchard software list (some apps may require a licence).

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How do I actually borrow a book?

Stock image of brightly coloured books

This is something Sainsbury Library staff get asked a lot! So we’ve decided to make a quick guide to borrowing from the Sainsbury Library. First thing to remember is members of SBS can borrow books in the Sainsbury Library any time during the Park End Street building’s opening hours. Just tap in and out of the library with your SBS access card.

Find the book in SOLO

You can search for books in the library search tool SOLO. Enter keywords into the search bar, such as the title and author of a book. Filter in the pane on the left by library to see just Sainsbury Library items. Click the ‘Find & request’ button to see more information including an alphabetical list of the libraries that have a copy of the book. Click the arrow button to the right to see further details for each library. This book is available, as shown on the right.

A screenshot of the library search tool SOLO, showing the collection and shelfmark for a Sainsbury Library book



Find the collection and shelfmark

To find the book on the shelf you will need two pieces of information, the collection and the shelfmark (sometimes called a call number). The collection here is Lower Reading Room. The Sainsbury Library has a few different collections: Lower Reading Room, Stack, Annexe and Careers.

The shelfmark here is HG4026 BER 2020. The Sainsbury Library uses the Library of Congress classification scheme to classify books by subject matter.

Find the book on the shelf

Lower Reading Room books are on the shelves on the first floor of the Park End Street building. Stack books are on the shelves on the second floor. Annexe and Careers collection books are in a separate room, ask library staff to fetch these for you.

Search for the shelfmark of the book you need. Books are arranged in an A-Z sequence within each collection, and there are posters by each set of shelves which show which shelfmarks are in each area. The Social Science Library has a guide to Library of Congress shelfmarks which can help you to understand the scheme.

Borrow the book

Once you have found the book, you can read it in the library or borrow it and take it home. Books can be borrowed and returned with library staff at the Enquiry Desk during staffed hours or using the self-issue kiosk next to the desk at other times. You will need your University/Bod card to do this (the one with the blue stripe across the top). Books are issued for a standard seven day loan and you will receive reminder emails the day before anything on your account is due back. Log in to your account on SOLO to renew items online, you will only be unable to renew if another reader has requested them.


Library staff are here to help so if you get stuck and need a hand just ask!

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Journals and Current News

Did you know that Oxford University members can access a selection of journals and daily news sources online? Titles include ImpactAlpha, The Economist, The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal. See our Journal Articles and E-books and Current News LibGuides for more information.


Christmas tree background. AI generated image by rawpixel.

Christmas Vacation Opening Times 2023

As Michaelmas term draws to a close, here is a run-down of useful information about our opening hours and staffing across Christmas and the New Year.

Library Staffed hours

The library will be unstaffed from 5pm on Friday 22nd December until 9am on Tuesday 2nd January. Once the library is unstaffed, access will be for SBS members only until the building closes for the holiday.

Building Opening hours

The Park End Street building (including the Sainsbury Library) will be closed from 6pm on Friday 22nd December and will re-open at 7am on Tuesday 2nd January. Normal opening hours will then resume.

Have a great vacation and we’ll see you in the new year!

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Library system upgrade: 16–23 August

This summer, the University of Oxford’s libraries are upgrading to a new library system. From Wednesday 16 August – Wednesday 23 August (inclusive), we will be running a reduced service while this essential work takes place.

We apologise for any inconvenience the upgrade work may cause. Our new library system will go live on 24 August, when normal services will restart.

Access to resources

During the period 16 – 23 August:

  • The self-issue machine in the Sainsbury Library will be out of action. If you wish to borrow or return a book, please speak to a member of library staff or complete a book borrowing slip and place it in the book return box. It is essential that you bring your University Card with you, as books cannot be issued without your barcode number.
  • You can access the library catalogue SOLO, but you will not be able to log into your SOLO account (My SOLO).
  • Information on SOLO will be frozen until the update work is complete, including information about item availability. If you are travelling to a library for a particular item, contact library staff or email services@bodleian.ox.ac.uk to check that it is available for you to use.
  • Your access to e-resources will not be affected, both on campus and via remote access.

Unavailable services

From 16 – 23 August, the following services will not be available:

  • Scan & Deliver
  • Ordering items from offsite storage through SOLO
  • Inter-library requests (unavailable from 5pm on Friday 11 August – Wednesday 23 August inclusive)

Please place any Scan & Deliver requests, inter-library requests or requests for items from offsite storage by 5pm on Friday 11 August to guarantee processing.

Changes to SOLO data from 16 August

As part of the library system upgrade, some SOLO data will not be carried over to the new system. This includes SOLO favourites, saved searches and loan history. If you’d like to keep your SOLO favourites, you must export them by Wednesday 16 August. To find out how to save your SOLO data, visit our SOLO guide or email reader.services@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

New rules for borrowing from 24 August

On 24 August, the Bodleian Libraries will be introducing new, simplified rules for borrowing across all our libraries. Find out more about the upcoming changes.

More information

For more details and updates on library services during the essential upgrade work, visit the Bodleian Libraries website.

Book display for Mental Health Awareness week.

Resources: Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week (15 – 23rd May). The theme this year is anxiety with the aim of starting a national conversation and encouraging people to share their experiences. At the Sainsbury Library, you can take a look at our new book display in the lower reading room and the posters near the library entrance. They are packed with reading and listening ideas for reducing stress and anxiety. You can also find the links to all the resources below.



For more resources and support see our recent post on Self-help e-books.

Self-help e-books

Hal Kirkwood.

2023 BRASS Excellence in Business Librarianship Award – Winner Hal Kirkwood

Congratulations to the The Sainsbury Library’s very own Hal Kirkwood, the winner of the 2023 BRASS Excellence in Business Librarianship Award!

“Hal’s contributions to business librarianship include extensive publication and editorial work related to business information literacy, entrepreneurship, and information sources. Other notable contributions encompass mentorship of business librarians, years of service to professional organizations, teaching and outreach to underrepresented populations, and support of veterans’ entrepreneurship initiatives.” – Award Committee statement

The full announcement is available on the RUSA Update website.