Category Archives: 2022

Spotlight on Sir David Attenborough 

Sir David Attenborough – with his distinctive voice and his enthusiasm for the wonders of our natural world – is probably the best-known environmentalist in the world. As writer, presenter and narrator, he has been educating and entertaining audiences about natural history for almost 70 years. He has created a tremendous body of work that represents a comprehensive survey of animal and plant life on Earth, as well as showing generation after generation of viewers the marvellous diversity in our environment and our living things. Now 96 years old, Sir David is still an active advocate for environment protection, highlighting how issues such as climate change and population growth can impact biodiversity. If you want to learn more about Sir David’s life and career, here are some good starting points:

Wild Life

Wild Life: The Extraordinary Adventures of Sir David Attenborough by Leisa Stewart-Sharpe

Journey through the jungle and coral reefs, across the African plains and icy poles, and even to the Galapagos Islands, in this beautiful picture book about the life and work of Sir David Attenborough. We discover that David has been a nature-lover since a young age, collecting fossils, stones and natural specimens to create his own “museum”. His eighth birthday gift – a fire salamander – sparks his imagination and ultimately leads to David Attenborough travelling and filming across the continents, visiting astonishing places and mysterious animals, and showing them to audiences all over the world.

Living Planet

Living Planet: The Web of Life on Earth by David Attenborough

This is a new and updated edition of The Living Planet, originally published in 1984, which looks at how plants and animals have evolved and adapted to the differing geographies and climates found around the world. The chapters march majestically across the planetary surface, showing how adaptation has created enormous diversity: from the poles to the tundra, to forests and jungles, the grasslands, the deserts. From fresh water to salt water, deep oceans to mountains and volcanoes. With the help of zoologist Matthew Cobb, this updated edition describes our latest understanding about biodiversity and evolutionary biology, including a significantly revised chapter on human evolution. The Living Planet is packed with information and stunning photography, and like all of Sir David’s work, manages to both inform, entertain as well as inspire.

A Life on Our Planet

A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and Vision for the Future by David Attenborough

In recent years, Sir David has shifted his attention from showing us the wonders of the natural world, to highlighting the environmental threats that stands to destroy our biodiversity. A Life on Our Planet is Sir David’s “witness statement” for the “the dreadful damage” done by humanity, and his plea for urgent climate action. Using his lifetime as a framing device, Sir David captures the accelerating destruction of our planet – changes not obvious from day to day, but shown in stark clarity over nine decades. He then warns us of the painful consequences of inaction – ice-free summers in the Arctic by the 2030s, climate-induced difficulties in food production and large scale, unmanageable human migration by late this century. Nonetheless, his call for action ends on a hopeful note, with ideas on how to turn things around by reducing energy and resource consumption and adopting a more sustainable diet.

Adventures of a Young Naturalist

Adventures of a Young Naturalist: Sir David Attenborough’s Zoo Quest Expeditions by David Attenborough

One of the first television programs presented by Sir David was Zoo Quest, which followed him and his (very small) team on expedition to British Guiana (Guyana), Indonesia and Paraguay in the 1950s. These expeditions aimed to collect exotic live animals – that no other zoo possessed – and bring them back for display at the London Zoo. Adventures of a Young Naturalist takes an affectionate, funny look at these intrepid trips, where Sir David and his team encounter idiosyncratic characters, exotic animals including capybaras, komodo dragons and vampire bats, and pristine environments. We also see early glimpses of the passion, respect and confidence around animals that will become Sir David’s onscreen trademark. Adventures of a Young Naturalist also encourages us to reflect on how, through the work of Sir David and other conservationists, our attitudes towards wildlife conservation have changed.

Journeys to the Other Side of the World

Journeys to the Other Side of the World: Further Adventures Of A Young Naturalist by David Attenborough

This companion volume to Adventures of a Young Naturalist is a collection of stories from the later part of the Zoo Quest program, where the young David Attenborough and his team travelled to Madagascar, New Guinea and other Pacific Islands, and to Australia’s Northern Territory. These expeditions became lessons in anthropology as well as zoology, with the team learning about and recording the indigenous culture of these remote places, whose ways of life had never been encountered by most of the British public before. From Aboriginal rock art, to the land divers of Pentecost Island, to encounters with paradise birds and chameleons, these stories are a valuable record of rituals and wildlife never previously filmed, and that have become endangered.

Life on Air

Life on Air (Revised and Updated Edition) by David Attenborough

It makes perfect (and witty) sense that Sir David, who made his name with the Life on Earth series, would call his memoirs Life on Air. This latest version is updated to include the most recent activities in his 60+ year career. The story starts in 1950, when a young David, dissatisfied with his job in a publishing house, applied for a job at the BBC. He was not successful; however, he was eventually asked to join BBC’s television department, kickstarting his long association with wildlife programming. Sir David spent considerable time as station management before his love of natural history led him to return to programme-making (just imagine – if he had become the Head of the BBC, his monumental Life on Earth series might never have been made!). Like his TV persona, Sir David writes with unfailing modesty and a warm sense of humour, none of which obscure the groundbreaking work he has done, both as a broadcaster and as station management.

Climate Change: Understanding our Changing Weather 

It is hard to ignore the increasing numbers of unusual or unseasonal severe weather events – think floods, wildfires, droughts, snowstorms – appearing all around the world. Our “climate normal” seems to be changing – but to what? Here’s a new crop of books – by scientists, journalists and even literary writers – to help us make sense of our changing weather, and what we need to do about it.

Fire, Storm and Flood: The violence of climate change

Fire, Storm and Flood: The Violence of Climate Change by James Dyke

Fire, Storm and Flood is a book of stunning photojournalism. Violent climatic events have ravaged the Earth since time began, spanning the vast eons of our planet’s existence. These events have left their mark on both the Earth’s geological and biological records. However, in the few centuries since industrialisation, human activity has increasingly become the driver of climatic events. We are becoming a geological force, impacting the earth with a series of fires, storms and floods. The images in Fire, Storm and Flood, showing the results of large-scale fires, earthquakes, floods and desertification, have a spectacular yet haunting beauty that challenge us to reflect on the devastation caused by climate change. 

Why Does Climate Change?

Why Does Climate Change? Investigate the Causes with Erica and Sven by Laura Ertimo & Mari Ahokoivu

The climate is changing, and so should we! Why Does Climate Change? helps to answer children’s tough questions about climate change, as well as help them understand what can be done to fight it. Best friends Erica and Sven are tired of their parents’ vague answers about the weird weather happening all over the planet, so they decide to research what climate change is really about. Why Does Climate Change? uses the graphic novel format to offer accurate information in an engaging way (complete with gremlins and fairies). It is an ultimately hopeful book that explains how humans are responsible for climate change and what we can do to ensure a brighter future for generations to come. For young readers aged 6-10.

A Brief History of the Earth's Climate

A Brief History of the Earth’s Climate: Everyone’s Guide to the Science of Climate Change by Steven Earle

A Brief History of the Earth’s Climate is the book to read before you debate with anyone sceptical of human-induced climate change. It first discusses the natural changes to the Earth’s climate over 4.6 billion years: including the effects of ocean currents, solar activity, volcanic eruptions; then shows how and why human-caused global warming and climate change is different. This up-to-date book even includes an overview of how the COVID pandemic may impact climate change. Steven Earle then reviews common arguments skeptical of climate change, countering them with logic and compelling scientific evidence. Written by a highly respected geologist and academic, A Brief History of the Earth’s Climate is a highly informative, yet accessible primer to this big topic.

1,001 Voices on Climate Change

1,001 Voices on Climate Change: Everyday Stories of Flood, Fire, Drought, and Displacement from Around the World by Devi Lockwood

These first-hand accounts are the human face of climate change, showing us how people and communities around the world are currently being affected. Over five years, journalist Devi Lockwood travelled through 20 countries across six continents, listening to people’s first-hand experiences of climate change – from Indigenous elders in Tuvalu on disappearing coastlines, to Australians mourning the death of their friends in the bushfires, to the Thai man who had to leave his ancestral farm because changes in rainfall made it no longer viable. Despite diverse localised experiences, themes of displacement, climate migration and food insecurity emerge. These recognisable and relatable stories make a sometimes-abstract topic vivid and urgent.

Firmament: The Hidden Science of Weather, Climate Change and the Air That Surrounds Us

Firmament: The Hidden Science of Weather, Climate Change and the Air That Surrounds Us by Simon Clark

Physicist and science communicator Simon Clark has been popularising atmospheric science through his successful YouTube channel. His first book, Firmament, takes it one step further – showing us the history of how the science was discovered, as well as the physics of how it works. Simon Clark weaves an entertaining and exciting story of discovery, featuring adventurous scientists and often danger (such as an almost fatal hot air balloon flight in Victorian times). Learning about the atmosphere helps us to understand how weather occurs and how scientists monitor and predict weather – which in turn, helps us to comprehend climate change and mitigate its effects.

We are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast

We are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer

Jonathan Safran Foer is best known for literary fiction, but his expressiveness also works to create powerful nonfiction. We are the Weather is his collection of short essays about the climate crisis. With his distinctive wit, insight and humanity, Foer argues that, rather than being an insurmountable problem, there is one small change that each individual can make, that collectively can achieve a sustained and far-reaching impact on the climate crisis: eating fewer animal products. We are the Weather is not your typical big-topic nonfiction book: amongst the facts and statistics, Foer interweaves musings on family, suicide, effort, sense and individual responsibility, as well as a delicious serving of metaphor. For anyone interested in a different approach to making sense of this topic.

Six Amazing Books That Explain Climate Change to Children

Discussing climate change with children can be both a daunting and an inspiring endeavour. Thankfully we have found six books that creatively show how such a critically important topic can actually be a positive and inspiring chat with the younger generation. If we address what many adults think is a devastating topic with a little hope and an open imagination, we can encourage the younger generation to adopt a positive attitude towards the planet of their future. 

Old Enough to Save the Planet by Loll Kirby

Meet 12 real-life children taking action against climate change. 

Old Enough To Save The Planet shares the stories of twelve children taking action against climate change. In this beautifully illustrated book you can learn about the work they do and discover how the future of our planet starts here. The author Loll Kirby is a primary school teacher and forest school leader, based in Bristol. Inspired by the children she teaches, she wrote this book for anyone who wants to make a difference.

The Story of Climate Change by Catherine Barr

The Story of Climate Change is a wonderful way to introduce young readers to one of the most important issues facing our world today. Combining history with science, this book charts the changes in our Earth’s climate, from the beginnings of the planet and its atmosphere, to the Industrial revolution and the dawn of machinery. Kids will learn all about the causes of climate change, such as factory farming and pollution, and the effects that climate change has on humans and animals across the world. As well as discovering the causes and effects of global warming, readers will discover practical ways we can work together to solve it, from using renewable energy to swapping meat for vegetables in our diet. The Story of Climate Change will give kids the information they need and inspire them to do their part to fight the climate emergency.

All the Feelings Under the Sun: How to Deal With Climate Change by Leslie Davenport,

All the Feelings Under the Sun: How to Deal With Climate Change is a timely, thoughtful workbook that will help young readers work through their feelings of anxiety about climate change. Through informative text and activities, the book gives children age-appropriate information about the climate crisis and gives them the tools they need to manage their anxiety and work toward making change.

Hot Planet: How Climate Change is Harming Our World by Anna Claybourne

Hot Planet offers young readers the perfect, non-alarmist introduction to Earth’s climate change crisis. Climate change is a reality in today’s world. From melting ice caps to forest fires, climate change is responsible for dramatic freak weather events and Earth is now warmer than it has been at any point in the last 650,000 years. Hot Planet aims to raise readers aged nine and up’s awareness of the challenges of climate change in a non-alarmist, yet realistic, way. It explores what climate change is, what is believed to cause it, its current impact on the world and what might happen in the future if it progresses at current rates. It also highlights the social inequality of climate change, as richer and more industrialised countries contribute far more heavily to climate change through their energy consumption, yet poorer, less developed nations are currently much more affected by it. The book looks ahead at how we can all help combat the climate change crisis, from global changes such as investing in sustainable energy sources to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, to green schemes such as carbon pricing, to practical solutions such as eating less meat and using public transport or cycling, rather than driving.

The Australian Climate Change Book: Be Informed and Make a Difference by Polly Marsden

The Australian Climate Change Book is an accessible and reassuring picture book that teaches children about the specific challenges of climate change for Australia so they can be informed and make a difference. Australia is a unique and incredibly diverse natural environment and we are oh-so-lucky to live here. Our country is home to a great number of amazing ecosystems. But things like fossil fuels, greenhouse gases and deforestation are creating imbalances in our ecosystems and causing climate change. Climate change leads to all sorts of crazy weather and damage to our natural environments and wildlife habitats. But it’s not too late to fix it. Even small steps can make a difference and you have the power to help. A practical and reassuring book for children to help them understand climate change and the ways in which they can make a difference.

Kids Fight Climate Change by Martin Dorey

Children can help save planet Earth with these positive, climate-focused missions from best-selling author and eco-warrior Martin Dorey.

Our planet is in trouble. But with the help of this book, every kid can be a superhero making a difference. Sixty engaging missions guide readers through making carbon-saving changes in all aspects of their lives, from gardening to gadgets -even a DIY water-saving device for their toilet tank. Aided by lively illustrations, Martin Dorey weaves crucial climate statistics and helpful resources with stories of positive change already happening, such as the resurgence of the Eurasian beaver due to conservation efforts. Along the way, readers meet other superheroes, both animal and human, who are changing the world too. With advice about speaking up and inspiring others to join in, veteran environmentalist Martin Dorey infuses optimism and encouragement into this essential guide to saving Earth, two minutes at a time.

We have also found this kurzgesagt video a great help in discussing climate change with our children. It gives hope to our children without sugar coating over the seriousness of the issues.

Enjoy!

Climate Change Crusaders, the voices challenging the way we treat our world 

Climate Change is not a new issue, nor is it going to fix itself without our education, action and attention. There are a number of individuals and groups that have been trying to get society’s attention to take action for years. Some have made an impact quickly and have roused us to protest, change our behaviour and expect more from each other. Today we’re sharing six books tackling this topic in very different ways, one shows how their family has been impacted, another teaches us how to discuss this important topic and others outline how the world will look should we choose to ignore it.

How to Talk About Climate Change in a Way That Makes a Difference by Rebecca Huntley

Why is it so hard to talk about climate change? While scientists double down on the shocking figures, we still find ourselves unable to discuss climate change meaningfully among friends and neighbours or even to grapple with it ourselves. The key to progress on climate change is in the psychology of human attitudes and our ability to change. Whether you’re already alarmed and engaged with the issue, concerned but disengaged, a passive skeptic or an active denier, understanding our emotional reactions to climate change – why it makes us anxious, fearful, angry or detached – is critical to coping on an individual level and convincing each other to act. This book is about understanding why people who aren’t like you feel the way they do and learning to talk to them effectively. What we need are thousands – millions – of everyday conversations about the climate to enlarge the ranks of the concerned, engage the disengaged and persuade the cautious of the need for action.

Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change by Nathaniel Rich 

By 1979, we knew all that we know now about the science of climate change; what was happening, why it was happening, and how to stop it. Over the next ten years, we also had the very real opportunity to stop it. Obviously, we failed. Nathaniel Rich’s groundbreaking account of that failure and how tantalisingly close we came to signing binding treaties that would have saved us all before the fossil fuels industry and politicians committed to anti-scientific denialism, is already a journalistic blockbuster, a full issue of the New York Times Magazine that has earned favourable comparisons to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and John Hersey’s Hiroshima. In the book Losing Earth, Rich provides more of the context for what did, and didn’t, happen in the 1980s and, more important, is able to carry the story fully into the present day and wrestle with what those past failures mean for us today. It is not just an agonising revelation of historical missed opportunities, but a clear-eyed and eloquent assessment of how we got to now, and what we can and must do before it is truly too late.

Hot Air: The Inside Story of the Battle Against Climate Change Denial by Peter Stott 

Hot Air is the shocking inside story of the fight to halt climate change over the past twenty-five years by a world-renowned scientist, Peter Stott. Ours is the age of global warming. Rising sea levels, extreme weather, forest fires. Dire warnings are everywhere, so why has it taken so long for the crisis to be recognised? Here, for the first time, climate scientist Peter Stott reveals the bitter fight to get international recognition for what, among scientists, has been known for decades: human activity causes climate change. Hot Air is the urgent story of how the science was developed, how it has been repeatedly sabotaged and why humanity hasn’t a second to spare in the fight to halt climate change.

Climate: Powerful Voices, Inspiring Ideas by Christina Limpert

With climate change at the forefront of current discussion, Words of change in Climate offers a curated collection of thought-provoking quotes and passages from the writings and speeches of activists in the environmental community, with a focus on diverse and previously unheard voices.

Compiled by social scientist and researcher Christina Limpert, this collection of stirring words is intended to enlighten, to prompt change, to provide encouragement, and to deepen readers’ conviction. Celebrating activism, focusing on solutions, and avoiding apathy and pessimism, this book is call to action. The back matter includes a brief bio for each person quoted to provide context for their life and work.

Stand Up! Speak Up! A Story Inspired by the Climate Change Revolution by Andrew Joyner

From a #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator, and the creator of The Pink Hat, comes a timely picture book about a young girl’s mission to inspire others to help the planet. Celebrate young climate change activists in this charming story about an empowered girl who shows up, listens up, and ultimately, speaks up to inspire her community to take action against climate change. After attending a climate march, a young activist is motivated to make an effort and do her part to help the planet… by organising volunteers to work to make green changes in their community, from cleaning a lake, to planting trees, to making composting bins, to hosting a clothing swap and more! Here is an uplifting picture book that is an important reminder that no change is too small, and no person is too young, to make a difference. With simple text and lively illustrations, Andrew Joyner has given young children a timely story about activism, community, and hope.

In a few weeks we will be sharing more books on how to talk to children about climate change so be sure to check back again for more titles.

Our House is on Fire: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis by Malena Ernman, Greta Thunberg, Beata Ernman, Svante Thunberg

The profoundly moving story of how love, courage and determination brought Greta Thunberg’s family back from the brink. This is the story of a happy family whose life suddenly fell apart, never to be the same again. Of two devoted parents plunged into a waking nightmare as their eleven-year-old daughter Greta stopped speaking and eating, and her younger sister struggled to cope. They desperately searched for answers, and began to see how their children’s suffering reached far beyond medical diagnoses. This crisis was not theirs alone: they were burned-out people on a burned-out planet. And so they decided to act. Our House is on Fire shows how, amid forces that tried to silence them, one family found ways to strengthen, heal, and gain courage from the love they had for each other and for the living world. It is a parable of hope and determination in an emergency that affects us all.

You can read other titles by Greta Thunberg here.

Next week on the blog we’ll be sharing six books offering suggestions as to what changes we can do at home to aid the future of the planet. 

Enjoy!

Biographies: Australian Stories 

What counts as an Australian Story? Australia has a diversity of landscapes, cultures and attitudes; these form the basis of endless unique stories. And more and more of these diverse stories are being shared, so we can learn about each other. Whether you enjoy finding common ground, walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, or sneaking a peek into famous lives, there is an Australian biography that you will love.

All Mixed Up by Jason Om

The seed for Jason Om’s memoir was sown when, in 2017, he wrote an enormously moving story about how his father struggled to accept his (Jason’s) sexuality for 16 years, before finally voting “Yes” in the marriage equality plebiscite. Its popularity motivated him to describe more of his life. The award-winning ABC reporter grew up in a multi-ethnic, multi-faith household, with a Cambodian Buddhist dad, a Eurasian Catholic mum, and a Muslim-Malaysian half-sister. When he was 12, he watched his mother die of a heart attack while they were home alone; 20 years later, he was finally ready to process her death, by using his journalistic skills to unravel the family secrets that could explain her sorrowful outlook and often-erratic behaviour. All Mixed Up will make you laugh and cry and laugh again. It is a compelling story about trauma, identity and acceptance; it is also an uplifting celebration of the second-generation migrant experience, and of a son’s love for his mother.

Am I Black Enough For You? (10 Years On edition) by Anita Heiss

“I’m an urban beachside Blackfella, a concrete Koori with Westfield Dreaming, and I apologise to no-one.” Anita Heiss highlights the diversity in modern Indigenous Australians by sharing her own story – she is a proud Wiradyuri woman, yet has pale skin from an Austrian father, grew up in the suburbs, has a PhD and lives an urbane, cosmopolitan life. In her distinctive sassy voice, she challenges stereotypes about what qualifies as “truly” Aboriginal, illustrates the systemic and casual racism against Indigenous Australians with her own family history, and also discusses the growth of her activist consciousness. Am i Black Enough For You? also includes a gripping account of a landmark court case where Anita Heiss and eight co-plaintiffs sued shock-jock Andrew Bolt for doubting their Aboriginality (Heiss and co. won; Bolt was found to have breached the Racial Discrimination Act). Re-released on its 10th anniversary, this is still a powerful yet accessible introduction to understanding Indigenous identity and activism.

Your Own Kind of Girl by Clare Bowditch

When Clare Bowditch was 21, and recovering from a breakdown, she promised herself that she would write down the story of what led to, and how she survived, her nervous breakdown, in the hope that it can inspire anyone who’s ever struggled against their inner critic. Over 20 years later, flourishing and empowered, she has finally found the courage to complete her memoirs. Your Own Kind of Girl reveals a childhood punctuated by grief, anxiety and compulsion, telling how these forces shaped Clare’s life, and how she finally arrived at happiness when she took charge of the stories she told herself.  Your Own Kind of Girl is candid, generous and heartfelt, showing that Clare Bowditch – beloved musician, actress, broadcaster – is a powerful storyteller, in prose as in song.

Good Riddance: Get Rid of your Fears and Doubts. Unleash your Potential by Stacey Currie

Stacie Currie grew up in a chaotic, disadvantaged family and has beaten incredible odds to become happy and successful. Pregnant at 15 and homeless at 17, she was a mother-of-three and family-abuse survivor by age 21. Government authorities gave her a stark choice: turn her life around, or lose custody of her kids. But how to strive for a better, “good” life when you can’t comprehend what that looks like? Stacie realised that she can work backwards – identify what she doesn’t want, and work to get rid of unhelpful thinking that fosters these bad habits. Good Riddance shows how it was done – each chapter focusses on a behaviour she didn’t want, and her advice on how to overcome it. Now a successful businesswoman and motivational speaker, Stacie is committed to paying it forward – using her insights to empower audiences to unlock courage and make positive changes, as well as working with charities that support at-risk children and youth.

Honey Blood by Kirsty Everett

Honey Blood is the evocative title of Kirsty Everett’s memoir, about a childhood and adolescence lived in the shadow of leukaemia. Kirsty Everett was going to be an Olympic gymnast, but her dreams were derailed by a leukaemia diagnosis at age 9. Having survived the experience, she was diagnosed again at age 16. Facing a low chance of survival, she decided to live life to the full – and, after an amazing recovery, still does to this day. Honey Blood juxtaposes vivid descriptions of cancer treatment with the nostalgic story of a girl growing up in as normal a way as her health allows – with sport, school, takeaway dinners and first kisses. This book may offer particular support to anyone touched by cancer; but Kirsty’s courage, resilience and positivity offers inspiration to everyone.

Born Into This by Adam Thompson

Born Into This is actually a short story collection rather than biography, but his characters are so vivid and heartfelt that you can feel they are drawn from life. These 16 stories, about black and white relations, colonialism, class friction, racism and the gradual destruction of heritage and environment, are clearly anchored by Adam Thompson’s ancestry, his work within the Aboriginal community, and his native Tasmanian landscape. A particular highlight is his large cast of distinctive and vividly-drawn characters, who speak to the diverse lived experiences of Indigenous people. Born Into This is dark, funny and confronting, with an in-your-face energy that nonetheless delivers thoughtful messages. A strong debut by this Tasmanian Aboriginal author.

Biographies: Business and Innovative Ideas 

Successful businesspeople are a great source of life lessons, even if you don’t have entrepreneurial ambitions of your own. This week’s pick of business biographies combine terrific, candid storytelling with thought-provoking discussions around ambition, passion, resilience, and the importance of values. Enjoy!

We Can All Make It: My Story by Sara Davies

Sara Davies was still a university student when she founded Crafter’s Companion, a craft supplies company. Through passion, ambition and sheer hard work, Sara has grown her business to a multimillion-pound company, become the youngest female entrepreneur on the Dragons’ Den, mentored businesswomen, as well as become a media personality. Like Sara, We Can All Make It is vivacious, determined and full of wisdom. Sara’s story of learning to juggle a young family, managing a company, and an investment portfolio – all the while training to compete in Strictly Come Dancing as well as writing her book – is sure to offer inspiration to budding entrepreneurs everywhere.

Future You: Be Curious. Say Yes to Change by Frances Valintine

Frances Valintine is a futurist and entrepreneur who helps people and organisations learn new technologies and adapt to technological change. She understands that change is hard to embrace – even when you know it will be better for you in the long run. Future You draws upon her personal as well as business experience, to show you how to overcome self-doubt, pass less judgment, break away from routine and take risks. If you have ever imagined a different life – Future You will empower you to take the steps to make it happen.

Nice is Not a Biscuit: How to Build a World-Class Business by Doing the Right Thing by Peter Mead

You may not have heard of Peter Mead, but you have probably seen his work – as a founder of advertising agency Abbott Mead Vickers, Peter has been at the top of the advertising industry for over 40 years. In Nice is Not a Biscuit, Peter Mead shares 100 business lessons with a contrarian message – that, unlike a stereotype of ruthlessness, decent behaviour makes commercial sense. He cites niceness as the secret of his and his firm’s success – that it creates an environment of calm and well-being that allows creativity to flourish, fostering a sustainable business with unbelievable loyalty and commitment. At a time when the work / business landscape is going through enormous change, his upbeat advice will both challenge and enlighten you.

Authentic: a Memoir by the Founder of Vans by Paul Van Doren

When skate- and surf-culture went mainstream in the ’70s and ’80s, it also made Vans sneakers a household name, beloved for its cool, artsy, laid-back vibe. Authentic celebrates the rise of a blue-collar kid, with no higher education nor retailing experience, into an all-American success story. Memoirs and business lessons are intertwined because Paul Van Doren is a hands-on entrepreneur whose personal and professional lives became blurred. Read fascinating stories about his innovations (including setting up sneaker-only stores, selling single shoes and designing with user-input), as well as the importance he places on deep-rooted values and on vision, which has culminated in the muc-admired, people-oriented culture of his company.

Walking Through Honey: My Journey with Parkinson’s Disease by Brian Sherman with A M Jonson

“Walking through honey” describes Brian Sherman’s experience of Parkinson’s Disease – the daily struggle with moving, the inability to get your body to do what your mind wants. For the last ten years, Parkinson’s Disease has been the biggest challenge for Brian, who has had 50 years’ of success as a business leader, animal rights activist and philanthropist. The fragmented diary format, illustrated by artworks and multi-exposure photographs, vividly evokes his experience of illness. Walking Through Honey is a raw and candid memoir that offers Brian Sherman to regain control over his narrative, while helping readers understand the impact of Parkinson’s Disease.

Unprecedented: Canada’s Top CEOs on Leadership During Covid-19 by Steve Mayer

Unprecedented is not only a business book, it is a documentary record as well as a fundraising effort towards Canada’s COVID recovery. This collection of essays by the CEOs of Canadian businesses – including Lululemon, Air Canada and Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts – are deeply personal accounts of what they have experienced, and what they have learnt, during the current pandemic. These companies – including airlines, nursing homes, grocery stores and banks – have been on the frontline of the health crisis and have had to make sudden and unprecedented changes to how they operated. These candid stories – full of humour, compassion, and plenty of fear and struggle – offer us remarkable insights into top-level decision-making that overcomes adversity.

The Newest Sporting Biographies

Some people make what they do look effortless and easy. That’s the beauty of being the best at what you do. In sport, athletes are often held on a pedestal and celebrated as if they are heroes. However, if they slip up in life they are very quickly, and ruthlessly, scrutinised.

But we really know that it is never as easy as it seems. To be the at the top of your game, in whichever field you choose, you need grit, determination and hours of hard work.  This week we are taking a look at 6 new biographies of some of these legends. What these biographies share is an insight into the world in which these sporting greats live, their families, friends, and reality behind their success. 

Roger Federer: The Biography by René Stauffer 

Rene Stauffer has been closely covering Roger Federer’s career for nearly 25 years. In this comprehensive biography, Stauffer talks at length to the man himself, his family, friends, coaches and rivals to paint an unrivalled picture of the greatest male tennis player of all time.

From his early life in Basel, Switzerland, where he first picked up a tennis racquet, to the heights of his 20th Grand Slam victory and all points in between, Stauffer reveals the secrets to Federer’s success, the hardships and doubts that he has faced and examines the legacy that Federer has created in the modern game.

Barty: Much More Than Tennis by Ron Reed and Chris McLeod

Of all the uplifting sports stories that have captured the imagination of Australia as a nation, few have been greeted with such spontaneous and unanimous acclaim as tennis champion Ashleigh Barty.
Her inspirational 2021 Wimbledon win delivered a celebration not seen since Cathy Freeman’s immortal Olympic triumph 21 years ago. This book covers her journey from knockabout kid from Queensland to world champion and explores her rare gift for the game, engaging personality, innate modesty and relentless determination to be the best.

Barty’s mantra is that being a good human being is far more important than being a good tennis player, and it has been widely hailed as a lesson for all. In other words, she now transcends sport. Her unfolding, unfinished narrative has come to resonate with overtones of national pride and inspiration, community morale, cultural issues ancient and modern, the importance of family and friends, the regard for humility and grace over rampant ambition, the escalating battle for gender equality, and perspectives on fame and fortune. In this new edition of the top seller, award-winning sports writer Ron Reed and journalist Chris McLeod pay tribute to the World No. 1 covering all her games and unforgettable moments. 

Tour de Force: by Mark Cavendish 

Just how did Mark Cavendish, the greatest sprint cyclist of all time, return from being seemingly dead and buried at 36 to become the Tour de France’s most successful ever stage winner?
Deep down, Mark Cavendish thought he was finished. After illness, setbacks and clinical depression, the once fastest man in the world had been written off by most. And at the age of 36, even he believed his explosive cycling career would fade out with a whimper. The Man  x man hadn’t won a single Grand Tour stage in Italy, Spain or France since 2016.

But then came his incredible resurrection at the 2021 Tour de France. Included on the Deceuninck Quick-Step team at the very last minute, only after Sam Bennett suffered an injury, Mark set about rewriting history. He claimed back the green jersey he first wore in 2011, and his four stage victories finally saw him matching Belgian legend Eddy Merckx’s all-time record of 34 Tour de France stage wins. Cycling greats are never content, and Cavendish’s dogged determination and inner strength had earned him the record that few believed he could ever achieve. This is his own intimate account of that race, right from the saddle of the miracle tour. 

Murray Walker: Incredible by Maurice Hamilton

His was the voice I heard every weekend growing up while my dad and brother watched Formula One with eager anticipation of a shiny red car winning.  Murray Walker was the voice of Formula One, matching the thrill of the track with his equally fast-paced and exhilarating commentary, delivering the euphoria of motor racing to millions.

Commentating on his first grand prix for the BBC at Silverstone in 1949, Murray’s broadcasting career spanned over fifty years. His natural warmth and infectious enthusiasm won great affection with audiences, whilst his passion and knowledge of motorsport allowed him to hone his instinctive presenting style into a craft.

When Murray passed away in March 2021, tributes came flooding in from every corner of the sporting world. This book, compiled by Murray’s great friend and colleague Maurice Hamilton, celebrates the extraordinary life of this truly legendary man. With contributions from drivers and industry figures, and many friends from the world of motorsport and beyond, Incredible! combines fond memories, never-before-told stories and famous Murrayisms with reflections on the highlights of a life lived at full throttle. 

Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee by Shannon Lee

Bruce Lee’s daughter illuminates her father’s most powerful life philosophies, demonstrating how martial arts are a perfect metaphor for personal growth, and how we can practice those teachings every day.

Bruce Lee is a cultural icon, renowned the world over for his martial arts and film legacy. But Lee was also a deeply philosophical thinker, learning at an early age that martial arts are more than just an exercise in physical discipline, they are an apt metaphor for living a fully realised life.

Now, in Be Water, My Friend, Lee’s daughter Shannon shares the concepts at the core of his philosophies, showing how they can serve as tools of personal growth and self-actualisation. Each chapter brings a lesson from Bruce Lee’s teachings, expanding on the foundation of his iconic “be water” philosophy. Over the course of the book, we discover how being like water allows us to embody fluidity and naturalness in life, bringing us closer to our essential flowing nature and our ability to be powerful, self-expressed, and free.

Be Water, My Friend is an inspirational invitation to us all, a gentle call to action to consider our lives with new eyes. It is also a testament to how one man’s exploration and determination transcended time and place to ignite our imaginations and to inspire many around the world to transform their lives.

Unguarded by Scottie Pippen

This is an unflinching master class of a memoir from two-time Olympic gold medalist and NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen. Scottie Pippen has been called one of the greatest NBA players for good reason. Simply put, without Pippen, there are no championship banners, let alone six, hanging from the United Center rafters. There’s no Last Dance documentary. There’s no Michael Jordan as we know him. The 1990s Chicago Bulls teams would not exist as we know them.

So how did the youngest of twelve go from growing up poor in the small town of Hamburg, Arkansas, enduring two family tragedies along the way, to become a revered NBA legend? How did the scrawny teen, overlooked by every major collegiate basketball program, go on to become the fifth overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft? And, perhaps most compelling, how did Pippen set aside his ego (and his own limitless professional ceiling) in order for the Bulls to become the most dominant basketball dynasty of the last half century?

In Unguarded, the six-time champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist finally opens up to offer pointed and transparent takes on Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson, and Dennis Rodman, among others. Pippen details how he cringed at being labeled Jordan’s sidekick, and discusses how he could have (and should have) received more respect from the Bulls’ management and the media.

Pippen reveals never-before-told stories about some of the most famous games in league history, including the 1994 playoff game against the New York Knicks when he took himself out with 1.8 seconds to go. He discusses what it was like dealing with Jordan on a day-to-day basis, while serving as the facilitator for the offence and the anchor for the defence.

Pippen is finally giving millions of adoring basketball fans what they crave; an unvarnished, closely observed, and uncommonly modest look into his life and role within one of the greatest, most popular teams of all time.

Enjoy!