Category Archives: Community

Posts about community involvement and social change

Time to focus and set some goals, our top titles for getting some direction in 2019

Are you a planner, list maker, goal setter or someone who likes to freewheel and wing it throughout the year?

Team Booko has some planners. Super planners. So if you are looking for a bit of focus in 2019 and fancy setting some goals, you are reading the right blog!

We have scoured the internet for the latest goal planning, list making and inspiring reads that are sure to give your life a little more direction and inspiration in 2019. So whip out your pen and paper (we know you are bound to have some on hand) and get ready to make 2019 your best year yet. 

An Edited Life by Anna Newton

Everyone loves Anna. Anna Newton is just another 20-something, trying to balance work, her friends, her husband Mark, a growing handbag habit and a penchant for reformer Pilates. Over the last 5 years, she’s become a massive YouTube star, with over 450k subscribers, who tune in for her weekly videos on everything from house renovations to the best summer foundation.

Anna is a typical Virgo – she loves being organised. Like, really loves it. An Edited Life outlines her strategy for staying on top of every aspect of her world; from work schedules to making time for friends, meal prepping to making sure she stays in the black at the end of the month, the perfect capsule wardrobe to the importance of a Sunday night at-home spa. It isn’t about chucking the contents of your sock drawer out, or about abandoning that Friday night pizza habit: it’s just a question of editing it down so it works for you. 

Click through to her blog where there are downloadable PDF lists and superb life hacks.

Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

A mentor of mine said if she was a millionaire she’d give everyone she meets a copy of this book. I rushed out an bought it, and loved every page. When asked to talk to students at Broome Community College in upstate New York in the spring of 2011, Austin Kleon wrote a simple list often things he wished he’d heard when he was their age: ‘Steal like an artist; Don’t wait until you know who you are to start making things; Write the book you want to read; Use your hands; Side projects are important; Do good work and put it where people can see it; Geography is no longer our master; Be nice (the world is a small town.); Be boring (it’s the only way to get work done.); and, Creativity is subtraction.’ After giving the speech, he posted the text and slides to his popular blog, where it quickly went viral. Now Kleon has expanded his original manifesto into an illustrated guide to the creative life for writers, artists, entrepreneurs, designers, photographers, musicians, and anyone attempting to make things – art, a career, a life – in the digital age. Brief, direct, and visually interactive, the book includes illustrative anecdotes and mini-exercise sections calling out practical actions readers can take to unleash their own creative spirits.

How To Not Always Be Working by Marlee Grace

This book is a quiet revolution, a guide filled with practical advice to help you curb your obsessions and build boundaries between your work, your job, and your life. From business anecdotes about fulfilling orders to more personal stories about Marlee Grace’s recovery from divorce and addiction, this book is full of wisdom and resilience, with plenty of discussion about ritual and routine as ways to create effective and positive creative life change.

In her workshops on healing and creative process, Grace helps people acknowledge their blocks and address them by setting distinct parameters that change their behaviour. Now, she brings her methods and ideas to the wider world, offering all of us concrete ways to break free from our devices and focus on what’s really important; our own aliveness.

Part workbook, part advice manual, part love letter, How to Not Always Be Working ventures into the space where phone meets life, helping readers to define their work, what they do out of sense of purpose; their job, what they do to make money; and their breaks, what they do to recharge, and to feel connected to themselves and the people who matter to them. Grace addresses complex issues such as what to do if your work and your job are connected, provides insights to help you figure out how much is too much, and offers suggestions for making the best use of your time.

Essential for everyone who feels overwhelmed and anxious about our hyper-connected world—whether you’re a corporate lawyer, a student, a sales person, or a yoga instructor—How to Not Always Be Working includes practical suggestions and thoughtful musings that prompt you to honestly examine your behaviour—how you burn yourself out and why you’re doing it. A creative manifesto for living better, it shows you how to carve sacred space in your life.

Your Dream Life Starts Here by Kristina Karlsson 

This book is filled with powerful ideas and simple proven tools that will help you transform your wishes into dreams, and then into an achievable one-page roadmap for creating your dream life, a life designed by you for you, and for your loved ones. Kristina Karlsson, the woman behind the inspiring global success story, kikki.K, shares personal insights from her amazing journey, from humble beginnings on a small farm in Sweden to the 3am light bulb moment that led her to chase and achieve dreams that are now inspiring a worldwide community of dreamers. Filled with simple and practical magic and inspiring stories and wisdom from people who’ve dared to dream big this book will show you how to harness the power of dreaming to transform your life in small, simple steps. Whether you want to get the most out of your personal life, career or business, the insights on dreaming and doing in this book may be your most important learnings this year. 

Calm The F**K Down by Sarah Knight

The latest no-fks-given guide from New York Times bestselling author of the international sensation The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, Get Your Sh*t Together, and You Do You. Do you waste time overthinking things you can’t do anything about? Do you freak out when things don’t go to plan? Does anxiety get in the way of you living your best life? When life hands you a big fat f**king lemon, CALM THE F**K DOWN gives you practical ways to manage the situation, not to mention your anxiety about the situation. One hundred per cent practical and zero percent Pollyanna-ish, this is a book that acknowledges all the bad shit that can and probably will happen to you – from break ups and breakdowns to floods, family feuds and France running out of butter – and shows you what you can realistically do about it so you can get on with your life, stop worrying and wallowing, and start bouncing back. Think of CALM THE F**K DOWN as the friend who, instead of reassuring you that ‘everything’s going to be okay,’ actually shows you how to make it so.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

In this timely manifesto, the authors of the New York Times bestseller Rework broadly reject the prevailing notion that long hours, aggressive hustle, and “whatever it takes” are required to run a successful business today. In Rework, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson introduced a new path to working effectively. Now, they build on their message with a bold, iconoclastic strategy for creating the ideal company culture, what they call “the calm company.” Their approach directly attacks the chaos, anxiety, and stress that plagues millions of workplaces and hampers billions of workers every day. Long hours, an excessive workload, and a lack of sleep have become a badge of honour for modern professionals. But it should be a mark of stupidity, the authors argue. Sadly, this isn’t just a problem for large organisations—individuals, contractors, and solopreneurs are burning themselves out the same way. The answer to better productivity isn’t more hours—it’s less waste and fewer things that induce distraction and persistent stress.

It’s time to stop celebrating Crazy, and start celebrating Calm. Fried and Hansson have the proof to back up their argument. “Calm” has been the cornerstone of their company’s culture since Basecamp began twenty years ago. Destined to become the management guide for the next generation, It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work is a practical and inspiring distillation of their insights and experiences. It isn’t a book telling you what to do. It’s a book showing you what they’ve done—and how any manager or executive no matter the industry or size of the company, can do it too.

Risk and Resilience by Lisa Messenger

What does it really take to survive in the start up scene? Why do some ventures thrive whilst others crumble? How does a brand the world loves end up in financial difficulties? Could it happen to you…and what should you do? As the founder of Collective Hub Lisa Messenger has helped millions of entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, thought-leaders, game-changers and style-makers turn their passions into profit. That’s only one side of the story… In the latest book in her series, Lisa reveals the tough lessons she’s learnt during the hardest 18 months of her entrepreneurial journey, when scaling too quickly, hiring without strategy and trying to please everyone almost turned her dream into disaster. And, the courageous steps she took to survive, thrive and prosper afterwards.

Enjoy!

How new technology helps blind people explore the world

Technology is an amazing thing. We can use it to navigate the world without using the sense of vision. Inventor and IBM Fellow Chieko Asakawa, who’s been blind since the age of fourteen, has been working on just this. In a charming demonstration, she shows off some new technology that’s helping blind people explore the world ever more independently … because, she suggests, when we design for greater accessibility, everyone benefits.

Tips for entertaining this holiday period

Christmas is over and we’re now in the middle of the crazy week where it’s okay to not know which day of the week it is. Many of us spend the week hanging out with friends and extended family, but to keep you from twiddling your fingers and making small talk we have found books with some great ideas that are sure to fill your afternoons and evenings until it’s time to head back to the office. 

Guinness World Records 2019 by Guinness World Records

The world’s most popular record book is back with thousands of new categories and newly broken records, covering everything from outer space to sporting greats via Instagram, fidget spinners and all manner of human marvels. Inside you’ll find hundreds of never-before-seen photographs and countless facts, figures, stats and trivia waiting for you on every action-packed page. Guinness World Records 2019 is the ultimate snapshot of our world today. Plus, this year it celebrates the incredible “Maker” movement with a special feature devoted to the inventors, dreamers, crafters and creators who devote their lives to amazing record-breaking projects such as the largest water pistol, a jet-powered go-kart and an elephant-sized hamburger (think you could eat a whole one!?). Take a sneak peak into their workshops to explore these epically big builds, and ask them what inspires them to go really, really large! And if you like creating, and you like LEGO®, then you’ll love the “Making History” pages that use the world’s most famous interlocking plastic bricks to illustrate and explain an important record-breaking object – such as the Statue of Liberty or the Apollo mission’s Saturn V rocket. Finally, you can jump into both the making and record-breaking action with a “Do Try This At Home” section. Challenge yourself and your family with five fun record-breaking maker-inspired records you can attempt involving origami, balloon sculptures, ring pulls and rubber bands. Who knows, your creation might just make it into the record books!

 

Genius LEGO® Inventions with Bricks You Already Have by Sarah Dees

Sarah Dees’ first two LEGO® books have launched into bestseller status, with over 80 thousand copies sold combined. Her latest book hits on the popular subject that draws many kids into LEGO® in the first place—tinkering, engineering, building, experimenting, solving problems and inventing. This book shares fun and exciting new science-powered creations, following the storyline of two fictional LEGO® mini figure kids who are inventors. As the mini figures explore LEGO® world and go on adventures, kids at home learn to build the scenes and amazing inventions step by step. The projects are fun toys that kids can play with, but they also teach the important science concepts at work behind levers, pulleys, suspension bridges, skyscrapers, gears, motorised machines, magnets and more. Kids will love that they are creating cool and unique gadgets all on their own. And parents will love that their kids are learning important science facts that help them in school, developing critical thinking skills, and, let’s be honest, keeping themselves entertained for hours on end!

 

Smart Riddles For Smart Kids by Linda Nguyen

Get ready for some unforgettable family fun with this massive riddle collection for children of all ages!

It’s been said that questions are signs of an active mind, which is crucial for children growing up to be intelligent, smart, and wise adults. Riddles are one of the best – and fun – ways of stimulating the mind so that it continues to become better and smarter. 

This book contains 400 fun and smart riddles that can provide very good mental stimulation for you and your kids, and help make your minds develop even more. I hope you enjoy them! 

 

We have even found a few titles to inspire something tasty after all of the the fun and games… 

 

Savor: Entertaining with Charcuterie, Cheese, Spreads & More by Kimberly Stevens

Serving boards possess an uncanny ability to mirror the mood of a host and transform a room’s ambiance as friends and family gather around them to both eat and enjoy time together. Savor lavishly details how to create memorable and delicious serving boards, no matter the season or the occasion. Expert advice and insights provide strategies and approaches for composing boards that balance flavour profiles and textures, using elegant and inventive recipes. Inside  this fab title, you’ll find expert advice and recipes from Murray’s Cheese, Publican Market, The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, Lady & Larder, Mike’s Hot Honey, Blake Hill Preserves, Esters Wine Shop & Bar, and Vermont Creamery along with guides on how to pair cheeses, meats, condiments, and an array of other ingredients that can be used on serving boards.

 

On Boards: Simple & Inspiring Recipe Ideas to Share at Every Gathering by Lisa Dawn Bolton

Sharing food on boards is the perfect way to entertain family and friends. With minimum effort and maximum impact you can casually host in style and focus on spending time together, rather than being stuck in the kitchen. 

In On Boards, food stylist Lisa Bolton has put together 50 ideas for instantly approachable boards, all with effortless entertaining in mind, as well as 52 recipes for delectable savory and sweet additions like Beet Hummus, Bourbon Bacon Jam, Mashed Potato Dip and Chocolate Salami. All of the boards can be pulled together in very little time, and all include presentation and styling tips to make them (and you!) shine. Lisa also shows you how to style any assortment of food into a beautiful board so you can transform whatever is in your fridge and pantry! 

With chapters on Everyday Boards, Holiday & Special Occasion Boards, Seasonal Boards and Around the World Boards, you will find inspiration for every gathering. Whether you are looking for a breakfast or brunch board; a board for a picnic, potluck or playdate; for Thanksgiving, Superbowl Sunday or New Year’s Eve; for a huge celebration or a cozy date night for two, it is included in this collection of gorgeously curated boards.

 

and for those planning on partying into the wee small hours…

 

Booze & Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks by André Darlington

Booze and Vinyl explores the intersection of timeless music and mixed drinks with a spotlight on 70 great records from the 1950s through the 2000s. From modern craft cocktails to old standbys, prepare to shake, stir, and just plain pour your way through some of the best wax ever pressed. Wickedly designed and featuring photography throughout, the book is organised by mood, from Rock to Chill, Dance, and Seduce. Each entry has liner notes that underscore the album’s musical highlights and accompanying cocktail recipes that complement the music’s mood, imagery in the lyrics, or connect the drink to the artist. This is your guide to a rich listening session for one, two, or more. Among the 70 featured albums are: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club, Purple Rain, Sticky Fingers, Born To Run, License to Ill, Appetite for Destruction, Thriller, Like a Virgin, Low End Theory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, Hotel California, Buena Vista Social Club, Back to Black, Pet Sounds, Vampire Weekend, and many more.

 

Enjoy!

Entertaining this festive season with a little help from the top chefs

The big day is less than three weeks away and if you are hosting the main meal or boxing day lunch this year and want to offer something a little different to your guests, then this blog post is for you. 

We have scoured the internet and found the best hosting and cooking books that have been released this festive season for you to pick and choose your Christmas menu and tabletop inspiration from. They aren’t necessarily tricky or expensive ideas, but rather ones that capture the feeling of love between friends and family. 

First off, hands down, the hottest cookbook out this festive season is Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi which we have covered it on the blog previously… in case you missed it you can read our review here. 

Special Guest by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe 

If you are someone who prepares for guests by sweeping bills, laundry and newspapers behind sofa cushions, take heart! It’s possible to be an imperfect host, but happily so. The essential ingredient is not, paradoxically, the food, nor the perfect house to host in, but the sentiment you convey when you open the door. Do your eyes say: ‘I like you and I enjoy your company,’ or does a weepy cloud of visceral horror descend as pine nuts burn quietly in the kitchen? Special Guest is a gentle guide to turning easy basic fare into something of a celebration. For when you want to say to your friends with their spouses and ten small children, ‘Why don’t you stay for lunch?’ without hating yourself afterwards. Learn the lesson of ‘one splendid thing done well’ without regard to the hundred other things, and call the day a success. Pick up some pointers for the modern conundrum that is cooking for people with seemingly incompatible dietary requirements. Hosting your friends is not about showing off; it is about delighting others. Your dining table might be decorated with a pile of unmatched socks and kids’ homework, but that’s no reason not to invite friends in for a chat, a sit-down and something delicious to eat. Annabel Crabb is one of Australia’s best-loved TV and media personalities and a joyfully imperfect host. Wendy Sharpe is Annabel’s oldest friend, a recipe consultant on Kitchen Cabinet and co-conspirator in mad-capped cookery projects.

 

Together by The Hubb Community Kitchen

In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire in London, a group of local women gathered together to cook fresh food for their families and neighbours. Over the chatter and aromas of the kitchen they discovered the power of cooking and eating together to create connections, restore hope and normality, and provide a sense of home. This was the start of the Hubb Community Kitchen. Together is a storybook of this West London community, showcasing over 50 delicious recipes from the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen and including a foreword by HRH The Duchess of Sussex. The women invite you to make their favourite simple dishes – many handed down over generations – from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Eastern Mediterranean for you and your loved ones. Every dish tells a story of history, culture and family, and each has been developed to use few ingredients and easy methods so that anyone can cook these personal recipes. Together features mouthwatering recipes including Green Chilli and Avocado Dip, Coconut Chicken Curry, Aubergine Masala, Persian Chicken with Barberry Rice, Caramelised Plum Upside-Down Cake, Spiced Mint Tea and lots more.

 

From Crook to Cook by Snoop Dogg

You can see Snoop work his culinary magic on the Emmy-nominated Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, and now, Dogg’s up in your kitchen…with his first ever cookbook. Delivering 50 recipes straight from his own collection, Snoop’s cookbook features staples like Baked Mac & Cheese and Fried Bologna Sandwiches with Chips, and new takes on classic weeknight faves like Soft Flour Tacos and Easy Orange Chicken. And it doesn’t stop there… Snoop’s giving a taste of the high life with remixes on upper echelon fare such as Lobster Thermidor and Filet Mignon. But we gotta keep it G with those favorite munchies too, ya know? From chewy Starbursts to those glorious Frito BBQ Twists, you should have an arsenal of snacks that’ll satisfy. And of course, no party is complete without that Gin and Juice and other platinum ways to entertain. The Dogg Father’s got you covered – complete with epic stories and behind-the-scenes photos that brings this masterpiece to life. Now this would make for an interesting Christmas lunch!

 

Berber and Q by Josh Katz

Ditch burnt, joyless burgers for bold, flavoursome and wonderfully surprising barbecue food. Inside there are over 120 of the very best, lip-smackingly good barbecue recipes from ex-Ottolenghi chef, Josh Katz. Perfect for sharing and pairing in different combinations, all of the recipes are a celebration of flavour. A book that is not just for meat-lovers, equal status is given to vegetables so that they are never treated like a sideshow. Instead each and every component of the meal is big, bold and completely unforgettable. Meats, fish and vegetables are left to marinate and are then smoked, grilled, slow cooked or burnt (on purpose); while essential extras such as punchy pickles, fiery sauces, creamy dips and fresh salads are prepared ahead and ready to be heaped onto the plate. Taking inspiration from East to West, from the modern to the traditional, these barbecue recipes are like nothing you have ever encountered before – mashing tastes and techniques from New York, the Middle East, London, North Africa and beyond. With recipes including Cauliflower shawarma with pomegranate, pine nuts and rose; Harissa hot wings; Blackened hispi cabbage with lemon crème fraiche; Honeyed pork belly with pineapple salsa; Monster prawns with a pil pil sauce and Saffron buttermilk-fried chicken with tahini gravy, you will be inspired to grab a bag of charcoal and a lighter, and create your very own barbecue feast.

 

Gunpowder by Harneet Baweja, Nirmal Save, Devina Seth

The famous gunpowder spice mix is a heady blend of pulses and spices, including chilli, curry leaves and asafoetida. It is a fitting title for this exciting collection of recipes from the founders of the hugely respected restaurant of the same name. In this beautiful book, complete with stunning photography, Harneet, Devina and Nirmal have managed to capture the bustle and flavours of their childhoods in Kolkata, and the intricacy of true homestyle dishes from across India. From Maa’s Kashmiri Lamb Chops (which have garnered outstanding reviews from many restaurant critics) to Wild Rabbit Pulao, these exceptional recipes are impressively authentic, yet given a modern twist. Throughout the book, the authors share personal anecdotes about their recipes and give handy cheats to make things easier for the home cook, including time-saving tips and alternative ingredients. With chapters covering Small Plates, Big Plates, Sweet Plates & Drinks and Sides & Spice, Gunpowder is the perfect opportunity to create some of these widely admired dishes in your own home.

 

Eat Happy by Melissa Hemsley

This is carefree, quick cooking with a sense of fun, and just happens to be good for you. This beautiful new book is packed with dreamy recipes. Comfort and indulgence are at the heart of Melissa Hemsley’s flavoursome, healthy food, with plenty of ideas for everyday meals, batch cooking, cutting down on kitchen waste, and meals that can be enjoyed for supper and leftovers for a packed lunch. Bestselling co-author of The Art of Eating Well and Good + Simple and home cook, Melissa Hemsley presents quick and easy dishes featuring supermarket ingredients and designed to see you through the whole week – tempting breakfasts to family dinners and lunches, as well as party food, snacks, baking, desserts, drinks, and simple, healthier versions of takeaway favourites.

Enjoy!

The best way to use Booko… a guide for clever people

We’re not really ones to blow our own trumpet but you guys have been telling us that the best way to buy cheap books online is to search through Booko – we’re rapt, of course, and couldn’t agree more. Thousands of people a day are using Booko to find the best price for books and DVDs – and that’s just here in Australia, not even counting the other 22 countries we are in.

In its infancy, Booko was just a web page with a series of small programs collecting prices and calculating delivery costs for a handful of online book shops, to find the cheapest supplier of books. The overarching objective was to find both new and second hand books online as cheaply as possible and when shops which offered free shipping could be added, it made the page even better.

Fast forward 10 years and we now have people in 23 countries using Booko every day to find the best price for new and used books, DVDs and board games. That’s a lot of clever people. 

Here are the best ways to use Booko to make sure you remain one of those clever people. 

Create an account 

We treat data very seriously at Booko and want to give you ultimate control of all of your data too. Creating an account allows you to make wish lists, set price alerts and view your search history along with deleting said history, and disabling Booko from keeping track of your history altogether. Just so you know, we don’t actually use your history for anything at all; it’s housed just for your entertainment and reading pleasure.

We have just tweaked the account function to give you more control. You can now export your data or delete your account and data altogether. Just click on the user icon in the top left of the screen when you have logged into Booko.

Make Lists

Once you have a Booko account, you can set up lists to keep track of books or DVDs you’re interested in. 

Want to know how much the 5 books you’re buying as Christmas presents will cost? Booko will take your list, find the shop that sells the whole lot for the best price and calculate shipping for the entire list.

What’s best is you can have multiple lists and even download and email them to people. There’s nothing like giving someone a nudge as to what they may like to buy you for your birthday, or Christmas…or ‘just because’.

The list feature allows you to check the prices for used books as well as new, if you wish. 

Set Price Alerts

Booko has a price alert feature (which is a super handy set-and-forget tool) that emails you as soon as the price of a book falls below the current price, or a price specified by you.

To set an alert, you need to be logged into your account (because we need to know which email to send the notifications to). Just click the ‘Add an Alert’ button directly below the book’s cover image on the left side of the page. Nominate a price you are happy to pay, type in your email and the Alert is set. Now all you need to do is wait for the Good News email!

The Booko alert function is really handy when you are shopping and have a little extra time up your sleeve (like getting on top of Christmas shopping early, or buying textbooks for courses next semester). You can have multiple alerts on books too. 

With our latest round of updates, you can also now specify a separate price alert for new and used books. This function is loved by many of the students that use Booko…because let’s be honest, not all courses ask for a brand new textbook…nor do they need one. Academic textbooks can be breathtakingly expensive – a single title can be over a hundred dollars, so imagine how much your entire reading list will cost! Booko is great for searching for specialist or academic texts. All you need to do is type a book’s ISBN into the main search box (this ensures you are searching for the correct edition) and away you go. Booko can find most books, whether they are e-Books, Reference books, Fiction or Non-Fiction. And since Booko can locate used copies, you may be able to save even more by buying second-hand!

If you fancy a little more detail have a look at this blog post.

Buy for friends and family overseas

If you want to purchase a book or DVD as a gift, Booko has some clever functionality where you can purchase in the local currency and the gift gets shipped directly to the recipient…saving you on both gift wrapping and postage! 

Here’s what you do: Jump online to Booko. In the top right hand corner, there will be a flag (it’s usually your local country flag). Click on this and all the countries that Booko works with will appear. Simply select the country that you want to send a book to and then keep using Booko the way you normally do. When you choose a different country, both the shipping charges and times are specific to that country (so it’s easy to make sure your gift will make it in time). 

Click here for a detailed How-To guide.

Finally, shopping clever means being one step ahead. Did you know we now have a newsletter? It’s super low volume and we don’t email you every week, or even every month, just when we have something exciting to share. You can click here to subscribe (oh and you can unsubscribe at any time, it’s okay we won’t bug you or make you feel guilty, we know inboxes can get a little overwhelming). 

You can also follow us on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Enjoy!

Top 5 Books on Community Involvement

Research has shown that the most common resolutions made each January include engaging more with a local community, building and maintaining friendships, advancing a career and becoming a better person. It is with this in mind that this month we are going to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions alive.

This week we’re looking at ways you can become involved in your local community and the change you can make to make your neighbourhood a better place to live and laugh with others. The top books we have found explore the notion of looking beyond a face and getting to know who is passing us on the street, how to make small changes locally that can take on the world and how to help the next generation value their community.

Oh, and despite the title of this blog… we actually have 6 books – it was just too hard to narrow it down…. Let’s call it a ‘bonus book’.

Let’s get started…

Chapter One by Daniel Flynn

Chapter One is the story of three kids from Melbourne, Australia with zero experience in business who had an idea and the crazy belief that they all had the power to change stuff. It started with the World Water Crisis (and how to end it) but has developed into an award-winning consumer goods brand that empowers millions of people to fight poverty with every munch of muesli, sip of water or pump of hand wash. And that’s just the beginning. This is the story of epic proportions by Thankyou co-founder Daniel Flynn about Thankyou’s gut-wrenching decisions, wild mistakes and daring moves in business, marketing and social enterprise so far. You’ll laugh at their boldness, cry at their failings and be inspired by their determination. But more than that, you’ll understand that, no matter your walk of life, you too have the power to change stuff.

 

The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change by Adam Braun

Adam Braun began working summers at hedge funds when he was just sixteen years old, sprinting down the path to a successful Wall Street career. But while traveling he met a young boy begging on the streets of India, who after being asked what he wanted most in the world, simply answered, “A pencil”. This small request led to a staggering series of events that took Braun backpacking through dozens of countries before eventually leaving a prestigious job to found Pencils of Promise, the organisation he started with just $25 that has since built more than 250 schools around the world. The Promise of a Pencil chronicles Braun’s journey to find his calling, as each chapter explains one clear step that every person can take to turn their biggest ambitions into reality. If you feel restless and ready for transition, if you are seeking direction and purpose, this critically acclaimed bestseller is for you. Driven by inspiring stories and shareable insights, this is the book that will give you the tools to make your own life a story worth telling.

 

Humans of New York: The Stories by Brandon Stanton

We are huge fans of Brandon’s work and couldn’t go past showcasing this wonderful title again.  In the summer of 2010, photographer Brandon Stanton began an ambitious project to single handedly create a photographic census of New York City. The photos he took and the accompanying interviews became the blog Humans of New York. His audience steadily grew from a few hundred followers to, at present count, over eighteen million. In 2013, his book Humans of New York, based on that blog, was published and immediately catapulted to the top of the NY Times Bestseller List where it has appeared for over forty five weeks. Now, Brandon is back with the Humans of New York book that his loyal followers have been waiting for: Humans of New York: Stories. Ever since Brandon began interviewing people on the streets of New York, the dialogue he’s had with them has increasingly become as in depth, intriguing and moving as the photos themselves. Humans of New York: Stories presents a whole new group of people in stunning photographs, with a rich design and, most importantly, longer stories that delve deeper and surprise with greater candor. Let Brandon Stanton and the Humans of New York he’s photographed astonish you all over again.

 

Be A Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson

At age eleven, Jessica Markowitz learned that girls in Rwanda are often not allowed to attend school, and Richards Rwanda took shape. During his sophomore year of high school, Zach Steinfeld put his love of baking to good use and started the Baking for Breast Cancer Club.
Do you wish you could make a difference in your community or even the world? Are you one of the millions of high school teens with a service-learning requirement? Either way, “Be a Changemaker” will empower you with the confidence and knowledge you need to affect real change. You’ll find all the tools you need right here: through engaging youth profiles, step-by-step exercises, and practical tips, you can start making a difference today. This inspiring guide will teach you how to research ideas, build a team, recruit supportive adults, fundraise, host events, work the media, and, most importantly, create lasting positive change. Apply lessons from the business world to problems that need solving and become a savvy activist with valuable skills that will benefit you for a lifetime.

 

UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Dr Michele Borba

Teens today are forty percent less empathetic than they were thirty years ago. Why is a lack of empathy, which goes hand-in-hand with the self-absorption epidemic Dr. Michele Borba calls the Selfie Syndrome, so dangerous? First, it hurts kids’ academic performance and leads to bullying behaviours. Also, it correlates with more cheating and less resilience. And once children grow up, a lack of empathy hampers their ability to collaborate, innovate and problem solve – all must have skills for the global economy. In UnSelfie Dr. Borba pinpoints the forces causing the empathy crisis and shares a revolutionary, researched based, nine-step plan for reversing it. Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured. Dr. Borba offers a framework for parenting that yields the results we all want: successful, happy kids who are also kind, moral, courageous, and resilient. UnSelfie is a blueprint for parents and educators who want kids to shift their focus from I, me, and mine… to we, us, and ours.

 

100 under $100: One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women by Betsy Teutsch

This book is a comprehensive look at effective, low-cost solutions for helping women in the Global South out of poverty. Most books on this subject focus on one problem and one solution; author Betsy Teutsch instead spreads her net wide, sharing one hundred successful, proven paths out of poverty in eleven different sectors including tech, public health, law, finance, and more. A visually striking book full of images of vibrant, strong women farmers, health practitioners, entrepreneurs, and humanitarian tech stars doing exciting, cutting edge work. Eye opening and compelling, 100 Under $100 is an accessible entry point for globally attuned readers excited about using a broad range of tools to empower women and help alleviate poverty in the developing world.

 

Enjoy!

Changing your world: how to make a difference in 2017

If you’re anything like me, your New Year’s resolutions are already in tatters. The standards of losing weight, doing more exercise and improving one’s diet have all been compromised by the Christmas/New Year festivities and holidays.

And the others? Well maybe next year.

However don’t despair. One resolution that everyone can still achieve is the determination to make a difference this year : to make 2017 the year you put back into your community and world, engage with people and help those worthy causes in your world and local community.

How best to go about this though? Where to start with your new altruistic approach?

Here are a few books that will help inspire you and make this year one where you make an important change in your world.

Change from within

Learn meditation. Charity begins at home is the saying and improving oneself is the first step to making a difference with others. So, why not learn meditation?

This ancient skill is proving more and more relevant (and useful) these days in the battle with the stress of modern day living. Learning to meditate is an important tool to be able to relax and focus and therefore learning how to be able to put back into our community.

Not only will learning to meditate allow you to relax, it will also help improve physical and mental health and boost creativity. Eric Harrison’s excellent book “Teach Yourself to Meditate” is an entry-level place to learn the art of meditation at your own pace with over 20 easy exercises for daily practice.

 

Change your community

Manage time better. One of the key factors in not being able to help out in your local community is time. You probably have work and family commitments and balancing this alone is a struggle in our time-poor society before you can consider volunteering for organisations.

However Katherine Noyes Campbell and Susan J. Ellis aptly-titled “The (Help) I-Don’t-Have-Enough-Time Guide to Volunteer Management”, will help you organise your time to build a volunteer management team and conquer those community activism goals that you’ve been aiming to do for some time.

The book is a must for the bookshelf of anyone who is looking to juggle work and family with volunteer pursuits. It contains a wealth of strategies and solutions that will help you become a more effective volunteer manager.

 

Social entrepreneurship. Whether you are changing the world or your local community, one effective way is to be a social entrepreneur.

David Bornstein’s How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas is both a guide and a source of inspiration for those looking at entering this sector. He shows that social entrepreneurs are people with amazing ideas that act to transform their societies.

Using the examples of a number of people who have changed their communities through ideas, the author shows the benefit that these people can make in their society. What better way to be inspired to change your own world than to read of the deeds of others?

 

Make the impossible happen. Sometimes trying to make a positive change in the world can seem overwhelming. There are so many needs in the community that choosing just one is difficult, if not impossible. It is common to be overwhelmed by our apparent insignificance in being able to act as a catalyst for change.

Not so, according to the groundbreaking book “Getting to Maybe: How the World is Changed” by Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmermann and Michael Patton. The book shows the real driving force behind positive change is being able to harness the various forces that surround us rather than taking on all the tasks by yourself.

The authors use an array of examples from around the world that demonstrate this new, exciting way of moving positive change in our communities and the world.

 

Podcasting. Finally, have you considered taking your message to make a difference to potentially the world? Podcasting has increased in popularity in leaps and bounds as more folk look to download programs that can be accessed “on the go”: on mp3 files while on trains, buses, in the car or just walking or jogging.

Now you can bring positive change to the world through the power of the Internet. Choose the issue that you want to highlight: homelessness, organic food, equal rights, inequality and set up a website and podcast to deliver news items, content and podcasts to interested people.

Paul Colligan’s “How to Podcast 2016: 4 Simple Steps to Broadcast your Message to the Entire Connected Planet” is a must have ebook or book if you are thinking of reaching people in this way to change their lives. The easy-to-understand four step guide will get you on your way to connect your unique ideas to the world.

The author outlines the steps needed to deliver a quality podcast to the world without the need for expensive equipment or an extensive knowledge of computers. Perfect for the amateur looking to make a positive change.