Category Archives: Learning

The Top Sporting Books for 2019 (and a few other goodies)

Everyday it seems like a sports team is on the field, court, pitch or in the pool. The great thing about sport, other than the healthy living skills you gain from taking part, is that it it can teach you lessons that go way beyond the rules of a game. 

We have had a hunt around for sporting books that have been released this year so you, too, can learn and gain insights from the wonderful world of sport. 

Just a note of warning: reading this may make you want to pop your running shoes on or ride your bike through France… or get that horse you’ve always dreamed about.  

Sevens Heaven by Ben Ryan

This is the inspirational story of how one man changed a nation, how that nation changed the man and how together they made sporting history. It is late summer 2013. Ben Ryan, a red-haired, 40-something, spectacle-wearing Englishman, is given 20 minutes to decide whether he wants to coach Fiji’s rugby sevens team, with the aim of taking them to the nation’s first-ever Olympic medal. He has never been to Fiji. There has been no discussion of contracts or salary. But he knows that no one plays rugby like the men from these isolated Pacific islands, just as no one plays football like the kids from the Brazilian favelas, or no one runs as fast as the boys and girls from Jamaica’s boondocks. He knows too that no other rugby nation has so little (no money and no resources) only basic equipment and a long, sad history of losing its most gifted players to richer, greedier nations. Ryan says yes. And with that simple word he sets in motion an extraordinary journey that will encompass witchdoctors and interfering prime ministers, sun-smeared dawns and devastating cyclones, intense friendships and bitter rows, phone taps and wild nationwide parties. It will end in Rio with a performance that not only wins Olympic gold but reaches fresh heights for rugby union and makes Ben and his 12 players living legends back home.

Red Card by Ken Bensinger

The story of FIFA’s fall from grace has it all: power, betrayal, revenge, sports stars, hustlers, corruption, sex and phenomenal quantities of money, all set against exotic locales stretching from Caribbean beaches to the formal staterooms of the Kremlin and the sun-blasted streets of Doha, Qatar. In Red Card, investigative journalist Ken Bensinger takes a journey to FIFA’s dark heart. He introduces the flamboyant villains of the piece – the FIFA kingpins who flaunted their wealth in private jets and New York’s grandest skyscrapers – and the dogged team of American FBI and IRS agents, headed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who finally brought them to book. Providing fresh insights on a scandal which has gripped the world, he shows how greed and arrogance brought down the most powerful institution in sporting history. A wild, gritty, gripping, and at times blackly comic story, Red Card combines world-class journalism with the pace of a thriller. 

Keep an eye out too as Red Card is set to become a major film produced by Pearl Street Films (the production company owned by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck).

My World by Peter Sagan


From 2015 to 2017, Peter Sagan achieved the seemingly impossible: he won three road race World Championships in a row, ensuring his entry into the history books as one of the greatest riders of all time. But to look at Peter’s record in isolation is to tell only a fraction of his story, because Peter doesn’t just win: he entertains. Every moment in the saddle is an opportunity to express his personality, and nobody else has succeeded in making elite cycling look so much fun. From no-hands wheelies on the slopes of Mont Ventoux to press conference mischief with clamouring journalists, Peter exudes a passion for the sport and a loveable desire to bring smiles to the faces of his fans. So, for the very first time, you will have the opportunity to glimpse behind the scenes of Peter’s world. You will discover the gruelling training programmes necessary for success, and how Peter copes with the pressure of high expectation. You will feel that sense of elation when crossing the line ahead of the pack, and moments of desperation, like in 2017 when Peter realised he wouldn’t be allowed to challenge for his sixth Tour de France green jersey. But what better tonic than to ensure a third year in rainbow – an achievement which may never be repeated again.

Range by David Epstein

Range is the ground-breaking and exhilarating exploration into how to be successful in the 21st Century, from David Epstein the acclaimed author of The Sports Gene. What if everything you have been taught about how to succeed in life was wrong? From the ‘10,000 hours rule’ to the power of Tiger parenting, we have been taught that success in any field requires early specialisation and many hours of deliberate practice. And, worse, that if you dabble or delay, you’ll never catch up with those who got a head start. This is completely wrong. In this landmark book, David Epstein shows that the way to excel is by sampling widely, gaining a breadth of experiences, taking detours, experimenting relentlessly, juggling many interests – in other words, by developing range. Studying the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, and scientists Epstein discovered that in most fields – especially those that are complex and unpredictable – generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. They are also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialised peers can’t see. Range proves that by spreading your knowledge across multiple domains is the key to success rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area. Provocative, rigorous, and engrossing, Range explains how to maintain the benefits of breadth, diverse experience and interdisciplinary thinking in a world that increasingly demands, hyper-specialisation.

Life as I know It by Michelle Payne

Ahem, technically this books wasn’t released this year, nor last, but this book is definitely worth a read so we’ve popped it in. 

Michelle Payne rode into history as the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. She and her 100-to-1 local horse Prince of Penzance took the international racing world by surprise but hers was no overnight success story. Michelle was first put on a horse aged four. At five years old her dream was to ride in the Melbourne Cup and win it. By seven she was doing track work. All of the ten Payne children learned to ride racehorses but Michelle has stayed the distance. She has ridden the miles, done the dawn training, fallen badly and each time got back on the horse. So when she declared that anyone who said women couldn’t compete in the industry could ‘get stuffed’, the nation stood up and cheered.

Michelle has the audacity to believe she can succeed against all the odds. Her story is about hope triumphing over adversity, and how resilience and character made a winner.

The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

Okay, one more cheeky book that wasn’t released this year, nor is it a sporting book, but it does cover the topic of excellence, so we thought this earned a spot alongside the great books above. 

Where does great culture come from? How do you build and sustain it in your group, or strengthen a culture that needs fixing?

In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle goes inside some of the world’s most successful organisations—including the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six, IDEO, and the San Antonio Spurs—and reveals what makes them tick. He demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation, and explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind. Drawing on examples that range from Internet retailer Zappos to the comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade to a daring gang of jewel thieves, Coyle offers specific strategies that trigger learning, spark collaboration, build trust, and drive positive change. Coyle unearths helpful stories of failure that illustrate what not to do, troubleshoots common pitfalls, and shares advice about reforming a toxic culture. Combining leading-edge science, on-the-ground insights from world-class leaders, and practical ideas for action, The Culture Code offers a roadmap for creating an environment where innovation flourishes, problems get solved, and expectations are exceeded.

Culture is not something you are—it’s something you do. The Culture Code puts the power in your hands. No matter the size of your group or your goal, this book can teach you the principles of cultural chemistry that transform individuals into teams that can accomplish amazing things together.

Enjoy! 

What ping pong taught me about life

Growing up in England, Pico Iyer was taught that the point of a game was to win. We’ve found a charming and profound ted talk where Pico explores what regular games of ping-pong in his neighborhood in Japan have revealed about the riddle of winning and shows why not knowing who’s won can feel like the ultimate victory.

#tuesdaychat

Sport has an amazing way of uniting and inspiring people from all over the world and there is always a game of something on somewhere. It’s currently footy final week here in Melbourne, the Rugby World Cup has just kicked off, the Ashes has just wound up and we are heading into the tennis season with the AO just around the corner. Which sport do you follow?


This is not business as usual

Along with many other business across the globe, we’ve signed the Not Business As Usual pledge. Today, we are joining the millions of children around the world because we believe urgent and meaningful action needs to take place to ensure future generations can enjoy our planet too.

New food ideas for the changing season

Everyone hates being stuck in a food rut. Making family favourite dishes each night for dinner can get a little tiring after a while which is why we love to sit down at the start of a new season with a handful of our favourite cookbooks and leaf through to see which recipes suit the season. This way we get to change up the flavours, and focus on buying seasonal food. We also enjoy adding in a new cookbook into the mix so we have found six glorious books that are sure to delight your taste buds. 

Breakfast by Emily Miller

Breakfast is the most important – and comforting – time of day for billions of people everywhere. Here, for the first time, a collection of hundreds of home-cooking recipes celebrates morning meals as they’re prepared in kitchens across the globe. Each recipe is accessible and straightforward, with notes offering cultural context and culinary insight. Whether it’s sweet or not, classic or regional, it’s here: Egyptian Ful Medames (stewed fava beans); Mexican Chilaquiles; Chinese Pineapple Buns; American Scones; Scottish Morning Rolls; and so much more.

Modern Lunch by Allison Day 

Modern Lunch is the new lunchtime hero for time-strapped, budget-conscious, and salad-fatigued people everywhere. Focusing on healthy, quick (and, yes, Instagrammable) recipes, Allison takes readers on a feasting journey inspired by fresh flavours and ingredients, her travels, and minimal effort. Meals in jars and adult-appropriate lunchboxes will actually make you look forward to lunch now, especially when recipes like Chicken and Cucumber Ribbon Salad with Peanut Butter Vinaigrette, Tomato Sourdough Soup with Cacio e Pepe Socca Triangles, and Walnut-Crusted Avocado, Feta, and Eggs with Pesto Rice are waiting for you. 

Find inspiration for delicious lunches to eat at home, too, like Greek Chopped Salad with Crispy Peppercorn Salmon, and a new take on the classic ploughman’s lunch. 

Spend weekends with friends gathered around easy-to-assemble platters and picnic baskets, and enjoy homemade brunches that rival any restaurant’s. And, if you’re someone who likes to improvise, Allison shares her staple recipes and tried-and-tested strategies for mastering meal prep, as well as ideas and combinations for quick, on-the-fly lunches that encourage creativity but promise satisfaction – even if you have to dine at your desk. 

With dazzling recipes and photography, and smart tips on hacking the lunchtime game, Modern Lunch proves that a delicious, exciting, and inventive lunch can be achievable for any appetite, wallet, and busy schedule, and maybe even spark a little office envy.

Eat. Cook. LA by Aleksandra Crapanzano

This book offers an intimate culinary portrait of Los Angeles today, a city now recognised among food lovers for its booming, vibrant, international restaurant landscape, with 100 recipes from its restaurants, juice bars, coffee shops, cocktail lounges, food trucks, and hole-in-the-wall gems. 

Once considered a culinary wasteland, Los Angeles is now one of the most exciting food cities in the world. Like the multi-faceted, sprawling city itself, the food of Los Angeles is utterly its own, an amalgam of international influence, disposable income, glamour, competition, immigrant vitality, health consciousness, purity, and beach-loving, laid back, hip, unrestrained creativity. With 100 recipes pulled from the city’s best restaurants but retooled for the home cook—like Charred Cucumber Gazpacho, Roast Chicken with Spicy Harissa, Vietnamese Coffee Pudding, Blackberry Mint Mojito Ice Cream and Thai Basil Margaritas—Eat. Cook. L.A. is both a culinary roadmap and a sophisticated insider’s look at one of America’s most iconic and fascinating cities.

Ruffage by Abra Berens

Ruffage tackles the questions that home cooks (of any skill level) ask themselves about vegetables: how do I cook this? How do I make this exciting? Do I store this in the fridge? How do I make this into dinner? This accessible (but comprehensive) vegetable-focused cookbook picks up where Vegetable Literacy left off, focusing on the simple techniques and information that help any cook prepare a variety of delicious vegetables in a number of ways. Organised into 20 short chapters by vegetable, including a good balance of vegetables that are best used fresh and in-season (asparagus, peas) and those that store well during those long winters (potatoes, celery root), as well as a comprehensive-but-accessible pantry chapter (no Calabrian chili paste here!), this is the vegetable book that both new and seasoned cooks everywhere can turn to again and again.

Vegetables Illustrated by America’s Test Kitchen 

We’re all looking for interesting, achievable ways to enjoy vegetables more often. This must-have addition to your cookbook shelf has more than 700 kitchen-tested recipes that hit that mark. Sure, you’ll learn nearly 40 ways to cook potatoes and 30 ways with broccoli. But you’ll also learn how to make a salad with roasted radishes and their peppery leaves; how to char avocados in a skillet to use in Crispy Skillet Turkey Burgers; and how to turn sunchokes into a chowder and kale into a Super Slaw for Salmon Tacos. Every chapter, from Artichokes to Zucchini, includes shopping, storage, seasonality, and prep pointers and techniques, including hundreds of step-by-step photographs and illustrations, gorgeous watercolour illustrations, and full-colour recipe photography. The inspirational, modern recipes showcase vegetables’ versatility in everything from sides to mains. All along the way America’s Test Kitchen shares loads of invaluable kitchen tips and insights from their test cooks, making it easy, and irresistibly tempting, to eat more veggies every day.

…and because Summer is right around the corner it would be rude of us not to include at least one ode to ice-cream!

Salt & Straw Ice-cream Cookbook by Tyler and Kim Malek

Salt & Straw is the brainchild of two cousins, Tyler and Kim Malek, who stumbled into ice cream making. But that stumbling is what made them great. With barely an idea of how to make ice cream, they turned to their friends for advice – chefs, chocolatiers, brewers, and food experts of all kinds, and what came out is an ice cream company that sees new flavours and inspiration everywhere they look. Using a super-simple ice cream base you can make in about the time it takes you to decide on a scoop in their shop, here are dozens of their most beloved, innovative, (and a couple of their most controversial) flavours, like Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, Roasted Strawberry and Toasted White Chocolate, Roasted Parsnip and Banana, Buttered Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, and Olde People. But more importantly, this book reveals what they’ve learned, how to tap your own creativity and how to invent flavours of your own, based on whatever you see around you. Because ice cream isn’t just be a thing you eat, it’s a way to live.

Enjoy!

How we can eat our landscapes

What should a community do with its unused land?

Perhaps plant food.

With energy and humour, Pam Warhurst shares the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of food in their community.

Top selling professional development books for 2019

Continuing to develop your career can not only invigorate your passion for your chosen field but also help you get ahead if you are intending to climb the corporate ladder (or want to build your own ladder to climb). Sometimes to get ahead you need to extend and invest in yourself. Thankfully there are a plethora of books being released that all aim to help you extend yourself. 

Make yourself a cup of something tasty and get comfy, these titles are bound to inspire you to take the next steps for your career. 

The Third Door by Alex Banayan

The Third Door takes readers on an unprecedented adventure; from hacking Warren Buffett’s shareholders meeting to chasing Larry King through a grocery store to celebrating in a nightclub with Lady Gaga, as Alex Banayan travels from icon to icon, decoding their success. After remarkable one-on-one interviews with Bill Gates, Maya Angelou, Steve Wozniak, Jane Goodall, Larry King, Jessica Alba, Pitbull, Tim Ferriss, Quincy Jones, and many more, Alex discovered the one key they have in common – they all took the Third Door. Life, business, success is just like a nightclub. There are always three ways in. There’s the First Door – the main entrance, where ninety-nine percent of people wait in line, hoping to get in. The Second Door – the VIP entrance, where the billionaires and celebrities slip through. But what no one tells you is that there is always, always a the Third Door. It’s the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, climb over the dumpster, crack open the window, sneak through the kitchen – there’s always a way in. Whether it’s how Bill Gates sold his first piece of software or how Steven Spielberg became the youngest studio director in Hollywood history, they all took the Third Door.

Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk

In his 2009 international bestseller, Crush It!, Gary insisted that a vibrant personal brand was one of the primary paths to entrepreneurial success. In Crushing It!, Gary explains why that’s even more true today, offering his unique perspective on what has changed and what remains timeless. He also shares stories from other entrepreneurs who have grown wealthier-and not just financially – than they ever imagined possible by following Crush It! principles. The secret to their success (and Gary’s) has everything to do with their understanding of social media platforms and their willingness to do whatever it takes to make these tools work to their utmost potential. Crushing It! is a state-of-the-art guide to building your own path to professional and financial success, but it’s not about getting rich. It’s a blueprint for living life on your own terms.

Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin Hardy 

If you’re relying on willpower alone to help you lose weight, improve your relationships or achieve more at work, you’re doomed to fail. The environment around us is far too powerful, stimulating, addicting and stressful to overcome it through sheer determination. Willpower, grit, being positive – basically, all the tools you’ve been told are the keys to creating lasting change in your life – are insufficient in this high-paced, information-overloaded world we live in. The only way to stop just surviving and learn to truly thrive in today’s world is to proactively shape your environment. That’s the premise of Willpower Doesn’t Work, by organisational psychologist and Medium’s most-read self-help guru Benjamin Hardy. Building on copious existing research, as well as his own experience of growing up in a broken family afflicted by addiction and drug use, Hardy explains how people can change their lives on every level by making small, impactful changes in your environment. 

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink

Daniel H. Pink, is the bestselling author of Drive and To Sell Is Human, and is aiming to unlock the scientific secrets to good timing to help you flourish at work, at school, and at home.

Everyone knows that timing is everything. But we don’t know much about timing itself. Our lives are a never-ending stream of “when” decisions: when to start a business, schedule a class, get serious about a person. Yet we make those decisions based on intuition and guesswork.

Timing, it’s often assumed, is an art. In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink shows that timing is really a science.

Drawing on a rich trove of research from psychology, biology, and economics, Pink reveals how best to live, work, and succeed. How can we use the hidden patterns of the day to build the ideal schedule? Why do certain breaks dramatically improve student test scores? How can we turn a stumbling beginning into a fresh start? Why should we avoid going to the hospital in the afternoon? Why is singing in time with other people as good for you as exercise? And what is the ideal time to quit a job, switch careers, or get married? In When, Pink distills cutting-edge research and data on timing and synthesises them into a fascinating, readable narrative packed with irresistible stories and practical takeaways that give readers compelling insights into how we can live richer, more engaged lives.

The Alter Ego Effect by Todd Herman

There’s only one person in the way of you un-tapping your potential: You. There’s also one person who can move you out of the way so you can perform at your peak. That person is already inside you. You just need to unlock them. This other part of you is your Alter Ego. After twenty-one years of working with elite athletes, performers and leaders, Todd Herman has discovered how you can use your alter ego to achieve the seemingly impossible. It all clicked for Todd when he met Bo Jackson. When Herman met Bo Jackson, the professional athlete told him, “Bo Jackson never played a down of football in his entire life.” Bo explained that when he was young, he’d get into trouble because chaos caused by his anger issues. Then, he saw Friday the 13th and became fascinated by the cold, calculating nature of Jason Vorhees. In that moment, he resolved to stop being Bo Jackson, and start being Jason the moment he stepped on the field. In this transformative guide, Herman teaches you how to create and control an Alter Ego like Bo-and the thousands of other athletes, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and entertainers who have used this simple tool to change their lives. Herman also shares his own story: he knew that inside was a confident, self-assured, intelligent person who could help others get better results in their lives. When he started using superman’s classic trick-putting on a pair of glasses he learned to trigger the specific traits he needed to achieve his goals. The Alter Ego Effect is not about creating a false mask – it’s about finding the hero already inside you. It’s a proven way of overcoming the self-doubt, negativity, and insecurity that hold you back, and empowering you to ultimately become your best self.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

People think when you want to change your life, you need to think big. But world-renowned habits expert James Clear has discovered another way. He knows that real change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of small decisions – doing two push-ups a day, waking up five minutes early, or holding a single short phone call. He calls them atomic habits. In this ground-breaking book, Clears reveals exactly how these minuscule changes can grow into such life-altering outcomes. He uncovers a handful of simple life hacks (the forgotten art of Habit Stacking, the unexpected power of the Two Minute Rule, or the trick to entering the Goldilocks Zone), and delves into cutting-edge psychology and neuroscience to explain why they matter. Along the way, he tells inspiring stories of Olympic gold medalists, leading CEOs, and distinguished scientists who have used the science of tiny habits to stay productive, motivated, and happy. These small changes will have a revolutionary effect on your career, your relationships, and your life.

Enjoy!

Top Books for Back To School

It’s the start of a new school year for our readers in the UK and US. This can be an exciting but often uncertain time for children (not to the mention parents who are sending children off to school for the first time). We thought we’d share our top picks for back to school reading. These stories are perfect to read cuddled up with your child as they aim to warm your heart, put aside any anxieties and make you laugh as you prepare to start a year of packing school lunchboxes. 

The Pigeon Has To Go To School by Mo Willems

Mo Willems’ Pigeon is back in a hilarious story perfect for those about to start school or nursery. The Pigeon is about to get schooled. Do you think he should go? Why does the Pigeon have to go to school? He already knows everything! Well … almost everything. And what if he doesn’t like it? What if the teacher doesn’t like him? I mean, what if he learns too much!?!

School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex and Christian Robinson

A New York Times bestselling author (The True Meaning of Smekday) and illustrator (Last Stop on Market Street) team bring you a fresh look at the first day of school, this time from the school’s perspective. It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him? The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he’s not the only one going through first-day jitters.

Pirates Don’t Go to Kindergarten by Lisa Robinson

Yo, ho, ho! It’s a mutiny against kindergarten!

Pirate Emma is about to start kindergarten! But Emma’s not so sure she’s ready for a new captain and crew. Especially since Cap’n Chu, the roughest, toughest, awesomest preschool cap’n ever, is right down the hall. So Emma decides to head back to the preschool ship to see if she can stir up a mutiny against kindergarten! Is that what she really wants? Or does she just miss her beloved Cap’n Chu? Batten down the hatches, mateys, because the first day of school is going to be stormy!

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

It’s the first day of school for Penelope Rex, and she can’t wait to meet her classmates. But it’s hard to make human friends when they’re so darn delicious! That is, until Penelope gets a taste of her own medicine and finds she may not be at the top of the food chain after all. Readers will gobble up this hilarious new story from award-winning author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins.

1 2 3 With The Notorious B.I.G by Jessica Chiha

Biggie, Biggie, Biggie One, Two, Three – Sometimes These Numbers Just Hypnotize Me!

1 2 3 with the Notorious B.I.G. is packed full of our most loved Hip Hop, Rap and RnB artists from then and now, with plenty of tongue in cheek references that even the bigs are sure to get a giggle from. This hip-hop inspired book is designed to pump up your child’s number game. Let Biggie Smalls, Jay-Z, Kanye, Nicki Minaj, Kelis and more, teach your little homie their 123s. Relive some of the greatest Rap, Hip Hop, and R&B musicians of our time, while teaching your children where it’s at. 1 2 3 with the Notorious B.I.G. is here to make learning dope, because education isn’t meant to be boring!

Inside My Heart by Jo Witek

This is a charming book where a young girl explores what different emotions feel like, such as happiness which makes her want to twirl, or sadness which feels as heavy as an elephant.

In My Heart explores emotions; happiness, sadness, bravery, anger, shyness and more. Unlike other feelings books that tend to oversimplify, In My Heart lyrically explains what an emotion feels like, physically, inside. For example: “When I get really angry, my heart feels like it’s going to explode! Don’t come near me! My heart is yelling, hot and loud. This is when my heart is mad.” Children will be empowered by this new vocabulary and able to practice articulating and identifying their own emotions.

Enjoy!