Monthly Archives: April 2016

So you want to be a great speaker

How do you feel about public speaking? Do you think of it as a dreaded chore, something that you wish you were naturally talented in? (Yes on both counts for me.)  In fact, such feelings are not uncommon – survey results even suggest that some people fear public speaking more than they fear death.  But it doesn’t have to be this way – help is out there.  Here are some books that help us develop our public speaking skills, through inspiration, instruction, and humour.

Speeches that Changed the World with foreword by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Elizabeth I, Mahatma Gandhi, Adolf Hitler, Barack Obama… these people are powerful leaders not just through their actions, but also through their speeches – whose eloquence can persuade and initiate change.  Speeches that Changed the World is a collection of over 50 momentous speeches throughout world history.  This edition includes recent entries such as Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations, and Barack Obama’s election victory speech. Comes with a DVD showing footage of these great speeches – pure inspiration.

Talk Like TED: the 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo

Last month Team Booko showcased the entertaining and thought-provoking world of TED Talks – presentations that have introduced a new style of public speaking and audience engagement, becoming the new gold standard for these skills.  In Talk Like TED, Carmine Gallo has identified 9 techniques common to the most popular TED Talks, through analysing speeches, interviewing speakers, as well as research into psychology, neuroscience and communication.  Use strategies such as storytelling, favouring pictures over text, and delivering jaw-dropping moments to boost your communication skills to TED-standards.

How to Get Your Point across in 30 Seconds or Less by Milo O. Frank

Have you heard of the “elevator pitch”? It’s a short, succinct speech that sets out your key message and persuades your audience to buy in – all within the duration of an elevator ride.  Elevator pitches are first articulated for business ideas but are also relevant to political and charitable causes, even personal arguments.  How to Get your Point Across in 30 Seconds shares this focus in “getting to the point”.  Milo O. Frank sets out strategies towards high-impact, captivating, efficient communication.    A classic text that is still relevant today.

Umm…: a Complete Guide to Public Speaking by James O’Loghlin

Many guides to public speaking focus on business/professional themes, but what about social speeches that aim to amuse and delight?  Umm… a Complete Guide to Public Speaking offers friendly and practical advice that would work for a wedding or a retirement, as well as for a job interview.  It argues that public speakers are not born, but made – and offers strategies in how to achieve a great speech, from researching, to using your voice effectively, to overcoming nerves.  James O’Loghlin has distilled his experiences as a successful lawyer, comedian, radio- and TV-presenter, and public-speaking coach into this approachable handbook.  

The Australian Schoolkids’ Guide to Debating and Public Speaking by Claire Duffy

Kids often start off with a natural confidence in public speaking, so it’s a good idea to support that confidence with real skills, before they learn to fear it.  It might even turn that dreadful argumentativeness into something positive!  Claire Duffy’s book is a clear and accessible guide on what debating and public speaking is, and how to do it.  In addition to tips on delivery and managing nerves, she also explains and guides readers on how to create a logical structure and show critical reasoning.  Claire Duffy has used her experience coaching award-winning debaters, both as a teacher and a parent, to create this great resource for kids, teachers and parents.  

Top titles released this month – April 2016

I don’t know about you, but I don’t sit and actually READ like I used to – It’s harder to find the time.  Plus, if I do get the time, well – I want to read a book that’s worth it.  So whether you’ve promised to read more or read more widely or more selectively in 2016, the good news is: there are some new releases worth checking out.

Here’s a selection that includes historical fiction, a collection of short stories and a non fiction book that’s sure to inspire. Accidental Entrepeneur: The Juicy Bits by Janine Allis

Learn the other secrets to success from the founder of Boost Juice In The Accidental Entrepreneur, author Janine Allis shares the secrets and skills that took her from housewife to entrepreneur to head of a multi-national corporation. As the founder of Boost Juice, Janine has journeyed from zero formal business training to leading a company with over 400 stores in 12 countries. This book takes you down the long road that she travelled, including some quirky stops along the way, and gives you valuable insight into taking the alternative road to business success. Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff

This collection of stories features protagonists who reflect in frank and irreverent ways on the experiences of coming of age and seeking love, from a geology camper who has her first sexual experience to a daughter who watches the video of her Bah Mitzvah on the night of her father’s funeral. by Diane McKinney-Whetstone

This historical novel is about a cast of nineteenth-century characters whose colorful lives intersect at the legendary Lazaretto—America’s first quarantine hospital. Isolated on an island where two rivers meet, the Lazaretto quarantine hospital is the first stop for immigrants who wish to begin new lives in Philadelphia. Diane McKinney-Whetstone seamlessly transports us to Philadelphia in the aftermath of the Civil War and Lincoln’s assassination, beautifully evoking powerful stories of love, friendship and humanity amid the vibrant black community that flourished amid the troubled times. by David Means

A visionary first novel taking place in an alternate version of Vietnam-War-era America”.  Means novel imagines what America might be like if President John F. Kennedy survived his assassination and the Vietnam War never really ended. Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan

For readers of Mohsin Hamid, Dave Eggers, Arundhati Roy, and Teju Cole, The Association of Small Bombs is an expansive and deeply humane novel that is at once groundbreaking in its empathy, dazzling in its acuity, and ambitious in scope. When brothers Tushar and Nakul Khurana, two Delhi schoolboys, pick up their family’s television set at a repair shop with their friend Mansoor Ahmed one day in 1996, disaster strikes without warning.

If you’re looking for some more options, why not check out our pinterest board featuring the hot new releases of 2016.

Earth Day: a catalyst for change

April 22 is Earth Day, the event when we tackle the challenges that face us as carers of our planet. However while raising awareness and promoting participation in community and environmental actions, Earth Day is also a catalyst for change.

Many people — from children to the elderly — are inspired by Earth Day and become lifelong fighters for our planet, said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network.

“Millions of people in dozens of different countries will become lifelong environmentalists this and every Earth Day. Hundreds of thousands will be children – our planet’s future,” she said.

More than one billion people throughout 192 countries celebrate Earth Day. These people aren’t special, they’re the same as you and me, yet they are environmental heroes and their stories are well suited to Earth Day. Here are three examples. Plastic Bag — Miranda Paul

One Plastic Bag is the true story of Isatou Ceesay, the “Queen of Recycling” in the western African country of The Gambia. As a young girl, Isatou noticed how quickly plastic bags had multiplied in her local environment, choking gardens, roads and waterways. The plastic collected water, becoming a haven for deadly mosquitoes that carried disease. Isatou and her friends solved the problem by crafting the plastic into wallets, purses and other items for sale, transforming their local communities in the process. clean — Ian Kiernan

Famous yachtsman, builder and author, Ian became aware of the amount of rubbish dumped in the world’s oceans while competing in yacht races. Beginning in his hometown of Sydney, Ian started organising teams of people to clean up the mess. His determination and leadership has now seen the Clean Up campaign go international. One — Thankyou

Daniel Flynn and his colleagues in the Thankyou. team have set up a remarkable charity, the story of which is documented in the book Chapter One. The book tells the story of the Thankyou social enterprise which has achieved enormous success by providing an alternative in such products as snack bars, bottled water, cereals, soaps and sanitisers. Funds raised from sales go towards charitable causes and consumers can track the impact of their purchases through a unique code on each product.

These are just three examples of ordinary folk who have become true leaders, true activists for our planet. Through their books, we can see how they continue to change the society in which we live.  Why not use these people as examples of how you can make a difference this Earth Day and beyond?

Thanks Mum! Booko’s Mother’s Day Picks

It is nice to have a special day in the calendar to acknowledge the love and hard work of mothers – even though I would like to think that every day should be Mother’s Day. Well, a wonderful book – beautiful to look at, hers to keep forever, with captivating stories that can be revisited again and again – can stretch out that Mother’s Day feeling a little longer.  Here is a selection of wonderful recent titles by mothers, for mothers and about mothers:

Room by Emma Donoghue

Jack is a cheerful 5-year-old who lives with his Ma in a small room.  His days are fun and filled with activities with Ma.  Gradually, we realise that Jack and Ma never leave their Room because they are held captive – and that Jack is the result of Ma’s repeated rape by their captor.  Echoing several real-life cases, Room is remarkable for its tender mother-child relationship, and for having Jack as the narrator.  These elements turn an otherwise horrifying story into something luminous.  Room is a gripping novel that has become a much-praised film – with Brie Larson’s sensitive portrayal of Ma winning her the Best Actress Oscar.

How I Met Your Father by Aminah Hart

Aminah Hart’s autobiography has so resonated with readers that this new release is already a bestseller.  Aminah has experienced the agony of losing two infant sons to a congenital disorder.  Desperate to be a mother, Aminah managed to remain resilient, and eventually conceived a healthy baby girl through IVF.  When she tracked down her daughter’s donor father, she found Scott Andersen – and their connection developed into attraction and love.  This joyous “back to front” love story is a true triumph over tragedy.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a huge hit in over 40 countries.  Her message that we should only retain items that “spark joy” speaks to us about more than tidying – to many fans, the decluttering expresses a philosophy about not becoming slaves to possessions.   Spark Joy is the follow-up, and it acts as a masterclass for the KonMari method – with illustrations explaining various folding techniques, and explanations on points that readers of the first book wish to clarify.  

Letters from Motherless Daughters: Words of Courage, Grief and Healing by Hope Edelman

Mother’s Day can be tough for those whose mothers are no longer with them.  In Letters from Motherless Daughters, many different women share their experiences of losing their mothers.  These letters were sent to author Hope Edelman in response to her bestselling self-help book, Motherless Daughters.  These brave, honest letters give insight into how their writers have been changed by, and dealt with, their mothers’ deaths.  Let these letters comfort and guide you in accepting and growing from this very personal loss.

A Mother’s Story by Rosie Batty, with Bryce Corbett

Rosie Batty is an ordinary mother whose life was irrevocably changed when her ex-partner murdered their son in public. Amazingly, even in the immediate aftermath, she has managed to channel her grief into incredibly positive actions – by highlighting that domestic violence can happen to anyone. Her resilience and humanity is widely admired, and has made her an influential campaigner against domestic violence.  In A Mother’s Story, Rosie Batty shares her heartbreaking story, showing how her experience and her work has changed cultural perceptions around domestic violence.  Her dignity and grace is truly inspirational.

Mother, Can you NOT? by Kate Siegel

There is a special (over-)familiarity in mother-daughter relationships that lends itself to hilarity and/or embarrassment – just ask Kate Siegel.  The outrageous and cringeworthy text exchanges between Kate Siegel and her mother, known as @CrazyJewishMom, have become an Instagram sensation.   Mother, can you NOT? is a loving tribute that shows how the combination of boundless love and lack of personal boundaries lead mothers (and not just Jewish ones!) to do awkward but extremely funny things to their children.

Nonna’s House: Cooking and Reminiscing with Italian Grandmothers at Enoteca Maria

If you have fond memories of cooking with your grandmother – or just wish you do – then you will enjoy Nonna’s House.  Enoteca Maria is a very special restaurant on New York’s Staten Island, whose star chefs are ten Italian nonnas (grandmothers).  The Nonnas’ families come from all over Italy, and each of them cook authentic regional dishes that have been passed down through the generations.  Packed with delicious recipes, Nonna’s House is also a celebration of family, traditions and culture.

If you’re after more Mother’s Day ideas, take a look at our Pinterest board.

Inspiring stories of great leaders

It’s the first hand experiences of difficulties great leaders have faced and overcome that provide insight and inspiration that we can apply to our own lives. That’s often why autobiographies are so incredibly popular.  By reading these books, we can gleam  invaluable insights into the human condition that we can apply to our own situations. Here are some recommended reads of inspiring books about leadership. Story of my Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Ghandi


Mohandas K. Gandhi is one of the most inspiring figures of our time. In his classic autobiography he recounts the story of his life and how he developed his concept of active nonviolent resistance, which propelled the Indian struggle for independence and countless other nonviolent struggles of the twentieth century.



Leading on the by Rachael Robertson

In Leading on the Edge, Rachael Robertson shares the lessons she learned as leader of a year-long expedition to the wilds of Antarctica. Leading eighteen strangers around the clock for a full year, through months of darkness and with no escape from the frigid cold, howling winds, and each other, Robertson learned powerful lessons about what real, authentic leadership is. Here, she offers a deeply honest and humorous account of what it takes to survive and lead in the harshest environment on Earth. What emerges from her graphic account is a series of powerful and practical lessons for business leaders and managers everywhere. by Marcus Aurelius

The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (a.d. 121–180) embodied in his person that deeply cherished, ideal figure of antiquity, the philosopher-king. His “Meditations” are not only one of the most important expressions of the Stoic philosophy of his time but also an enduringly inspiring guide to living a good and just life. Written in moments snatched from military campaigns and the rigors of politics, these ethical and spiritual reflections reveal a mind of exceptional clarity and originality, and a spirit attuned to both the particulars of human destiny and the vast patterns that underlie it. A. S. L. Farquharson (1871–1942) spent a lifetime on his edition of the “Meditations,” which is one of the outstanding twentieth-century achievements of classical scholarship. All the notes to the Farquharson translation, amplifying the twelve books of the “Meditations,” are included in this volume.


Long Walk to Freedom
by Nelson Mandela

The riveting memoirs of the outstanding moral and political leader of our time, A Long Walk to Freedom brilliantly re-creates the drama of the experiences that helped shape Nelson Mandela’s destiny. Emotive, compelling and uplifting, A Long Walk to Freedom is the exhilarating story of an epic life; a story of hardship, resilience and ultimate triumph told with the clarity and eloquence of a born leader. Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Pay brand-new employees $2,000 to quit? Make customer service the responsibility of the entire company-not just a department? Focus on company culture as the #1 priority? Apply research from the science of happiness to running a business? Help employees grow-both personally and professionally? . . . Sound crazy? It’s all standard operating procedure at Zappos, the online retailer that’s doing over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales annually. After debuting as the highest-ranking newcomer in Fortune magazine’s annual “Best Companies to Work For” list in 2009, Zappos was acquired by Amazon in a deal valued at over $1.2 billion on the day of closing. In Delivering Happiness, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shares the different lessons he has learned in business and life, from starting a worm farm to running a pizza business, through LinkExchange, Zappos, and more. Fast-paced and down-to-earth, Delivering Happiness shows how a very different kind of corporate culture is a powerful model for achieving success-and how by concentrating on the happiness of those around you, you can dramatically increase your own.


If you love autobiographies, take a look at our Pinterest board for more inspiring stories.

The Booko Book Club

For a while now, we’ve been talking about expanding your mind through reading books.  We’ve watched with interest as Mark Zuckerberg spent 2015 exploring a new book every fortnight as part of his ‘Year of Books‘ and Emma Watson started ‘Our Shared Shelf‘ through Goodreads.

A few friends have asked us why we didn’t have our own book club.  We’re just a bit excited to launch the Booko Book Club.  It’s a great opportunity for us to be able to connect with our Booko community in a different forum.  We’re looking forward to getting to know you a little better and be able to have some great discussions about what we’re reading.

The Booko Book Club will review a new book every two months.  We’re open to suggestions so feel free to post your suggestions on the Booko Facebook page or the Booko Book club page.  We’ll let you know what books are coming up and which online retailer has the best prices.  We’re keen to have some friends join, so please click through and join us in reading our first book together, ‘Flesh Wounds‘ by Richard Glover. Wounds‘ by Richard Glover

A mother who invented her past, a father who was often absent, a son who wondered if this could really be his family. Richard Glover’s favourite dinner-party game is called ‘Who’s Got the Weirdest Parents?’. It’s a game he always wins.  There was his mother, a deluded snob, who made up large swathes of her past and who ran away with Richard’s English teacher, a Tolkien devotee, nudist and stuffed-toy collector. There was his father, a distant alcoholic, who ran through a gamut of wives, yachts and failed dreams. And there was Richard himself, a confused teenager, vulnerable to strange men, trying to find a family he could belong to.

RIchard Glover is an Australian talk radio presenter, journalist and author.  Flesh Wounds has received some fantastic reviews.  We’re looking forward to sharing this book with you.  Join the Booko Book Club here.  If you would like to share your comments and thoughts on the book on the Booko Facebook page, use the hashtag #bookobookclub.

Find the books featured on the Booko Book Club on our Pinterest page.