Category Archives: Empowerment

Top 5 Books Leadership Books to Read in 2018

They say that some people are born natural leaders… but given the boom currently occurring in the business section genre of books we are starting to think that perhaps great leaders are actually mentored and curated. Regardess, before you can lead someone else, be it a group or a company, you must first be able to lead yourself and that requires discipline, self-actualisation, sense of purpose, and humility.

There are a plethora of titles available on the topic of leadership and we have found our top five.

Let’s dive in and get inspired…


Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

From the time we learn to speak, we’re told that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. When you become a manager, it’s your job to say it–and your obligation.

Author Kim Scott was an executive at Google and then at Apple, where she worked with a team to develop a class on how to be a good boss. She has earned growing fame in recent years with her vital new approach to effective management, Radical Candor.

Radical Candor is a simple idea: to be a good boss, you have to Care Personally at the same time that you Challenge Directly. When you challenge without caring it’s obnoxious aggression; when you care without challenging it’s ruinous empathy. When you do neither it’s manipulative insincerity.

This simple framework can help you build better relationships at work, and fulfill your three key responsibilities as a leader: creating a culture of feedback (praise and criticism), building a cohesive team, and achieving results you’re all proud of.

Radical Candor offers a guide to those bewildered or exhausted by management, written for bosses and those who manage bosses. Taken from years of the author’s experience, and distilled clearly giving actionable lessons to the reader; it shows managers how to be successful while retaining their humanity, finding meaning in their job, and creating an environment where people both love their work and their colleagues.


Sprint: How to solve big problems and test new ideas in just 5 days by Jake Knapp

Entrepreneurs and leaders face big questions every day – What’s the most important place to focus your effort, and how do you start? What will your idea look like in real life? How many meetings and discussions does it take before you can be sure you have the right solution? Now there’s a surefire way to answer these important questions: the sprint. Designer Jake Knapp created the five day process at Google, where sprints were used on everything from Google Search to Google X. He joined Braden Kowitz and John Zeratsky at Google Ventures, and together they have completed more than one hundred sprints with companies in mobile, e-commerce, healthcare, finance, and more. Sprint is a practical guide to answering critical business questions. Sprint is a book for teams of any size, from small startups to Fortune 100s, from teachers to nonprofits. It’s for anyone with a big opportunity, problem, or idea who needs to get answers today.


Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Nurture Talent by Sydney Finkelstein

Superbosses exist in nearly every industry, from the glamorous to the mundane. They are defined by consistent success in their fields and their approach to finding, nurturing and developing talent. If you study the top fifty leaders in any field, as many as one third will have once worked for a superboss. After ten years of research and more than two hundred interviews with superbosses including technology CEO Larry Ellison and fashion pioneer Ralph Lauren, Finkelstein explores this previously unidentified phenomenon and shows how each of us can emulate their best tactics to create our own powerful networks of extraordinary talent.



The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle

What links a call centre in Bangalore, the 2010 Chilean mining accident and the New England Patriots? The answer: all are examples of successful organisational cultures, where individuals bond together to form a motivated, cohesive and cooperative team. In Culture Code, Daniel Coyle employs the latest psychological research to investigate how successful cultures are created and what we can learn from them. Drawing on examples from business, sports, the arts and family life, he reveals how high-performing cultures ignite motivation and encourage cooperation by tapping into a common language of subconscious signals to which we’re built to respond. As in the case of the Chilean mining accident, a culture built on trust and cooperation can be the difference between disaster and salvation. In business, the effects are scarcely less drastic according to a recent Harvard study, a strong, aligned culture can increase revenues by 516 per cent and net income by 756 per cent. Culture Code reveals for the first time the building blocks and shared language of successful cultures, and shows how we can all follow the same basic principles to improve our community.


and finally, one of our all time favourites…


Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action by Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek has one of the most popular Ted Talks ever unearthing why some people are more successful than others. You can view the Ted Talk here.

Why are some people and organisations more inventive, pioneering and successful than others? And why are they able to repeat their success again and again? In business, it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters why you do it. “Start with Why” analyses leaders like Martin Luther King Jr and Steve Jobs and discovers that they all think in the same way and they all started with why. Simon Sinek explains the framework needed for businesses to move past knowing what they do to how they do it, and then to ask the more important question – Why? Why do we do what we do? Why do we exist? Learning to ask these questions can unlock the secret to inspirational business. Sinek explains what it truly takes to lead and inspire and how anyone can learn how to do it.



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.



The best books for those wanting to start their own business

Now that the New Year festivities are behind us, it’s the time of year when people are heading back to work with either a spring in their step or with growing anticipation to take the plunge and start their own thing.

It can be daunting to make the decision to work for yourself so we have scoured the world of books and have come up with a list of great titles (some are old time favourites and others new) that can help you follow your dreams.

Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Tim Ferriss

When facing life’s questions, who do you turn to for advice? We all need mentors, particularly when the odds seem stacked against us. To find his own, bestselling author and podcast guru Tim Ferriss tracked down more than 100 eclectic experts to help him, and you, navigate life. Through short, action-packed profiles, he shares their secrets for success, happiness, meaning, and more. No matter the challenge or opportunity, something in these pages can help.

You will learn; the three books legendary investor Ray Dalio recommends most often, lessons and tips from elite athletes like Maria Sharapova, Kelly Slater, Tony Hawk and Dan Gable, how and why Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz says ‘no’ to most incoming requests, the meditation and mindfulness practices of David Lynch, Jimmy Fallon, Sharon Salzberg, Rick Rubin, Sarah Elizabeth Lewis and others, why TED curator Chris Anderson thinks ‘pursue your passion’ is terrible advice and why actor Ben Stiller likes to dunk his head in a bucket of ice in the morning.


Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell.

Why do some people achieve so much more than others? Can they lie so far out of the ordinary? In this provocative and inspiring book, Malcolm Gladwell looks at everyone from rock stars to professional athletes, software billionaires to scientific geniuses, to show that the story of success is far more surprising, and far more fascinating, than we could ever have imagined. He reveals that it’s as much about where we’re from and what we do, as who we are – and that no one, not even a genius, ever makes it alone. Outliers will change the way you think about your own life story, and about what makes us all unique.




The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.

This book comes with a lot of recommendations…and we mean a lot! ’If you are an entrepreneur, read this book. If you are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, read this book. If you are just curious about entrepreneurship, read this book.’ Randy Komisar, founding director of TiVo. Most new businesses fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach to business that’s being adopted around the world. It is changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. The Lean Startup is about learning what your customers really want. It’s about testing your vision continuously, adapting and adjusting before it’s too late. Now is the time to think Lean.



Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters.

What valuable company is no one building? The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them. It’s easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. Every new creation goes from 0 to 1. This book is about how to get there. Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how. Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg both offer praise for this book with Zuckerberg commenting ‘When a risk taker writes a book, read it. In the case of Peter Thiel, read it twice. Or, to be safe, three times. This is a classic’.



The Working Woman’s Handbook by Phoebe Lovatt

I’ve been dipping in and out of this book since I bought it and it’s great. It’s the ultimate guide to job satisfaction, filled with practical advice on developing and driving a working life you love. Bursting with actionable tips, this book outlines an agenda for making and managing money, setting goals, and establishing success-oriented routines, with worksheets, exercises, and fool-proof “how-to” sections to help chart your course. From the lowdown on launching your own venture to a bullet-point checklist for an essential self-care regime, it will teach you to manage any dilemmas that crop up, and take the stress out of setting a budget. This no-nonsense manual comes packed with author Phoebe Lovatt’s personal insights from her own career as a successful freelance journalist, moderator, and founder of The WW Club, the leading digital resource and global community for working women worldwide. It also includes words of wisdom from various creatives and industry leaders, such as Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth, WAH Nails founder Sharmadean Reid, The Gentlewoman’s Editor-in-Chief Penny Martin, and rising fashion designer Sandy Liang. Whether a first-time freelancer, budding businesswoman, or dedicated professional looking to enhance your prospects, The Working Woman’s Handbook is a go-to career and lifestyle guide for ambitious young women everywhere.



Purpose: Find your why and the how will look after itself by Lisa Messenger

I unwrapped this goodie on Christmas morning and it was read by the New Year…one of the joys of buying your own Christmas presents! Imagine if you could wake up every morning feeling energised, vibrant and excited for the work day ahead of you. If you could accept every challenge, hurdle and setback because you knew the end goal would be worth it. If you could walk your career path with courage, faith and determination. Because you know, without a doubt, that you’re going in the right direction. This is what happens when you find your PURPOSE. And that is exactly what I want for you. As the founder of Collective Hub, a multimedia platform that aims to help people unleash their full potential, Lisa Messenger has turned her passion into a profession – and now she’s on a mission to help millions of people across the world find a career with meaning. Her secret? Instead of settling for a play-it-safe career, she delved deep, thought big and disrupted an entire industry. And all because she discovered the magical feeling, the vital reason, the one powerful sentence that made her work-life worth living. Now, it’s your turn. In this soul-searching book Lisa discusses her own path to purpose, mixed with guidance and interviews from inspiring entrepreneurs and creatives who have followed their ‘why’ to a place of joy and fulfilment. Drawing on her own experiences and ground-breaking research that shows a sense of purpose makes us happier, healthier and even live longer, Lisa guides readers to find the illusive ‘why’ in their lives, so they can reinvigorate their ambition, unleash their inner rebel and make a real impact in the world.



Heroes for our children

Heroines and female villains outnumbered heroes and male baddies in a literary poll of memorable children’s novel characters in the UK marking World Book Day last year. Six of the top 10 heroes voted for were female, including Harry Potter’s Hermione Granger and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series while seven out of 10 villains were female. This made us wonder just who is next in the stakes for amazing heroes for our children.

Here’s a few titles that we found with some pretty marvellous heroes for our children to admire.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli, Francesca Cavallo

What if the princess didn’t marry Prince Charming but instead went on to be an astronaut? What if the jealous step sisters were supportive and kind? And what if the queen was the one really in charge of the kingdom? Illustrated by sixty female artists from every corner of the globe, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls introduces us to one hundred remarkable women and their extraordinary lives, from Ada Lovelace to Malala, Elizabeth I to Serena Williams. Empowering, moving and inspirational, these are true fairy tales for heroines who definitely don’t need rescuing.

Volume 2 is coming out in time for the festive season you can have a look at the preview here.


Little People Big Dreams; Rosa Parks by Lisbeth Kaiser

In the Little People, Big Dreams series, discover the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists, to scientists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream. Rosa Parks grew up during segregation in Alabama, but she was taught to respect herself and stand up for her rights. In 1955, Rosa refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Her decision had a huge impact on civil rights, eventually leading to the end of segregation on public transport. Rosa was described as “the mother of the freedom movement.” This inspiring story of Rosa’s life is moving, and approachable for young readers.


She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton

She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small. With vivid, compelling art by Alexandra Boiger, this book shows readers that no matter what obstacles may be in their paths, they shouldn’t give up on their dreams. Persistence is power. This book features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor—and one special cameo.


I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy

Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the first picture book about her life as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable! Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what’s right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG, tells the justice’s story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements.




Young Charlotte, Filmmaker by Frank Viva

Young Charlotte is a filmmaker who loves everything that s black and white, including spiders, penguins, and the old movies that she sees with her dad at the Golden Theatre (where the floors are sticky). With her camera at the ready wherever she goes, she finds inspiration for movies everywhere she looks. But when her colourful parents and colourful classmates just don t get her, she is ready to give up until a lucky encounter with a film curator at The Museum of Modern Art in New York changes her perspective. Inspired by the films she sees at MoMA and stories of other pioneering directors, Charlotte gets to work. And it is hard work but when her movie finally premieres at the Museum, Charlotte is thrilled to be doing exactly what she loves best. A follow-up to Frank Viva’s “Young Frank, Architect” and perfect for film lovers, aspiring directors, and artists of all stripes, “Young Charlotte, Filmmaker” is an inspiring tale.”


How authors tackle feminism to empower their readers

Lewis Carroll, the beloved author of Alice in Wonderland, once wrote that “words mean more than we mean to express when we use them, so a whole book ought to mean a great deal more than the writer means.”

This made us wonder about the books that we love and if there was anything special that the author was trying to share with us in addition to the story they had written…it turns out there was.

Here’s a closer look at a few authors who aimed to empower their female readers to take on the world.


The Moomin books by Tove Jansson

Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson used her delightful books about trolls to subtly challenge views on how women should live and behave. The books are full of strong female characters, from straight-talking Little My, to calmly confident Moominmamma, who reflects the fierce work ethic that was instilled into her by Jansson’s own mother.

This new hardback edition of The Invisible Child is part of a special partnership between Oxfam and Moomin Characters to raise funds for Oxfam projects supporting women and girls worldwide, because, as Moominmamma would tell you, every girl should be able to dream as big as every boy. Every woman has the right to make a fair living for herself and her family. And nobody deserves to be held back by violence, abuse or discrimination. The story is about an isolated heroine who regains her voice and takes her rightful place in the world when she discovers equality and respect as part of the much loved Moomin family.

But wait, there’s more! 2019 will see the launch of a new Moomin TV series, which has all kinds of celebrities doing the voiceovers, such as Kate Winslet and Rosamund Pike.



Mills & Boon Modern Girl’s Guide to Working 9 to 5 by Ada Adverse

It may come as something of a surprise to see Mills & Boon trying to stake a claim in the feminist literature market with their new series Modern Girl’s Guides. Described as “funny, feisty and feminist” There are four short hardbacks in this series and each are dedicated to a specific topic, such as relationships, 21st-century life and self-improvement at the office. The books are full of references to mansplaining, blurred lines, feminazis and dealing to the patriarchy and while they may not be as strong as other feminist literature, it’s nice to see that this traditional ‘escapist romantic fiction’ is starting to address the unfair treatment of women.




The Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood

A dark, enduring vision of the future has been made into a major TV series which reaped many trophies in the recent award season. I have both read it and watched it and it is one of the few times that I found both the book and the tv show to be amazing.

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire, neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful vision of the future gives full rein to Margaret Atwood’s irony, wit and astute perception.



All the Lives I Want by Alana Massey

From columnist and critic Alana Massey, this book is a collection of essays examining the intersection of the personal with pop culture through the lives of pivotal female figures, from Sylvia Plath to Britney Spears.

Massey examines the lives of the women who reflect our greatest aspirations and darkest fears back onto us. These essays are personal without being confessional and clever in a way that invites readers into the joke. A cultural critique and a finely wrought fan letter, interwoven with stories that are achingly personal. It is also an exploration of mental illness, the sex industry, and the dangers of loving too hard. But it is, above all, a paean to the celebrities who have shaped a generation of women, from Scarlett Johansson to Amber Rose, Lil’ Kim, Anjelica Huston, Lana Del Rey, Anna Nicole Smith and many more. These reflections aim to reimagine these women’s legacies, and in the process, teach us new ways of forgiving ourselves.


and another of our favourites for the little people in our lives…


Olivia and the Fairy Princess by Ian Falconer

In a hilarious endeavour, Olivia embarks upon a quest for identity and individuality. It seems there are far too many pink and sparkly princesses around these days and Olivia has had quite enough! She needs to stand out. And so, in typical ‘Olivia’ style, she sets about creating a whole array of fantastically dressed princesses… and shows us that everyone can be individual and special.