Category Archives: New Release

Exploring the Pulitzer Prize Winners of 2020

While staying safe at home we are continuing our journey into the world of award winning books with a look at some of the Pulitzer Prize winners that were announced in April. Last week we took a look at the Miles Franklin Literary Shortlist for 2020, which you can read here

The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of Joseph Pulitzer. 

There are a number of categories, you can see them all here, so we have chosen our top 6 books from the genres of fiction, drama, history, biography and general non-fiction. The winners all share stories, some true, others fictional, but all important and worth reading.

Pop the jug on for a cuppa and settle in…

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead – Winner of Fiction

Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. Abandoned by his parents, brought up by his loving, strict and clearsighted grandmother, Elwood is about to enrol in the local black college. But given the time and the place, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, and so Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy, which claims to provide ‘physical, intellectual and moral training’ which will equip its inmates to become ‘honourable and honest men’. In reality, the Nickel Academy is a chamber of horrors, where physical, emotional and sexual abuse is rife, where corrupt officials and tradesmen do a brisk trade in supplies intended for the school, and where any boy who resists is likely to disappear ‘out back’. Stunned to find himself in this vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr King’s ringing assertion, ‘Throw us in jail, and we will still love you.’ But Elwood’s fellow inmate and new friend Turner thinks Elwood is naive and worse; the world is crooked, and the only way to survive is to emulate the cruelty and cynicism of their oppressors. The tension between Elwood’s idealism and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision which will have decades-long repercussions. Based on the history of a real reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped and destroyed the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating and driven narrative. 

Michael R. Jackson, Author.
Cover art of A Strange Loop is yet to be released.

A Strange Loop by Michael R. Jackson – Winner of Drama

A Strange Loop has been performed as a musical however it is being published in book form in September this year. You can pre order a copy by clicking through the link above.

A Strange Loop is a metafictional musical that tracks the creative process of an artist transforming issues of identity, race, and sexuality that once pushed him to the margins of the cultural mainstream into a meditation on universal human fears and insecurities. Usher is a black, queer writer, working a day job he hates while writing his original musical: a piece about a black, queer writer, working a day job he hates while writing his original musical. Michael R. Jackson’s blistering, momentous new musical follows a young artist at war with a host of demons, not least of which, the punishing thoughts in his own head, in an attempt to capture and understand his own strange loop.

Sweet Taste of Liberty by W Caleb McDaniel – Winner of History 

Born into slavery, Henrietta Wood was taken to Cincinnati and legally freed in1848. In 1853, a Kentucky deputy sheriff named Zebulon Ward colluded with Wood’s employer, abducted her, and sold her back into bondage. She remained enslaved throughout the Civil War, giving birth to a son in Mississippi and never forgetting who had put her in this position. 

By 1869, Wood had obtained her freedom for a second time and returned to Cincinnati, where she sued Ward for damages in 1870. Astonishingly, after eight years of litigation, Wood won her case: in 1878, a Federal jury awarded her $2,500. The decision stuck on appeal. More important than the amount, though the largest ever awarded by an American court in restitution for slavery, was the fact that any money was awarded at all. By the time the case was decided, Ward had become a wealthy businessman and a pioneer of convict leasing in the South. Wood’s son later became a prominent Chicago lawyer, and she went on to live until 1912. 

McDaniel’s book is an epic tale of a black woman who survived slavery twice and who achieved more than merely a moral victory over one of her oppressors. Above all, Sweet Taste of Liberty is a portrait of an extraordinary individual as well as a searing reminder of the lessons of her story, which establish beyond question the connections between slavery and the prison system that rose in its place.

Sontag by Benjamin Moser – Winner of Biography 

Susan Sontag was a great literary star. Her brilliant, serious mind combined with her striking image, her rigorous intellectualism and her groundbreaking inquiries into what was then seen as ‘low culture’ – celebrity, photographs, camp – propelled her into her own unique, inimitable category and made her famous the world over, emblematic of twentieth-century New York literary glamour. 

Today we need her ideas more than ever. Her writing on art and politics, feminism and homosexuality, celebrity and style, medicine and drugs, radicalism, Fascism, Freudianism, Communism and Americanism, forms an indispensable guide to our modern world. Sontag was present at many of the most crucial events of the twentieth century: when the Cuban Revolution began, and when the Berlin Wall came down, in Vietnam under American bombardment, in wartime Israel and in besieged Sarajevo. Sontag tells these stories and examines her work, as well as exploring the woman behind Sontag’s formidable public face: the broken relationships, the struggles with her sexuality, her agonising construction of herself and her public myth. 

Sontag is the first biography based on exclusive access to her restricted personal archives and on hundreds of interviews conducted with many people around the world who spoke freely for the first time about Susan Sontag, including Annie Leibovitz. It is a definitive portrait of an endlessly complex, dazzling woman; one of the twentieth century’s greatest thinkers, who lived one of its most fascinating lives.

The End of the Myth by Greg Grandin – Winner of General Non-Fiction

Ever since this nation’s inception, the idea of an open and ever-expanding frontier has been central to American identity. Symbolising a future of endless promise, it was the foundation of the United States’ belief in itself as an exceptional nation; democratic, individualistic, forward-looking. Today, though, America has a new symbol: the border wall. 

In The End of the Myth, acclaimed historian Greg Grandin explores the meaning of the frontier throughout the full sweep of U.S. history from the American Revolution to the War of 1898, the New Deal to the election of 2016. For centuries, he shows, America’s constant expansion, fighting wars and opening markets, served as a “gate of escape,” helping to deflect domestic political and economic conflicts outward. But this deflection meant that the country’s problems, from racism to inequality, were never confronted directly. And now, the combined catastrophe of the 2008 financial meltdown and our un-winnable wars in the Middle East have slammed this gate shut, bringing political passions that had long been directed elsewhere back home.

It is this new reality, Grandin says, that explains the rise of reactionary populism and racist nationalism, the extreme anger and polarisation that catapulted Trump to the presidency. The border wall may or may not be built, but it will survive as a rallying point, an allegorical tombstone marking the end of American exceptionalism.

The Undying by Anne Boyer – Winner of General Non-Fiction

A week after her forty-first birthday, the acclaimed poet Anne Boyer was diagnosed with highly aggressive triple-negative breast cancer. For a single mother living pay-check to pay-check who had always been the caregiver rather than the one needing care, the catastrophic illness was both a crisis and an initiation into new ideas about mortality and the gendered politics of illness. 

A twenty first century Illness as Metaphor, as well as a harrowing memoir of survival, The Undying explores the experience of illness as mediated by digital screens, weaving in ancient Roman dream diarists, cancer hoaxers and fetishists, cancer vloggers, corporate lies, John Donne, pro-pain ”dolorists,” the ecological costs of chemotherapy, and the many little murders of capitalism. It excoriates the pharmaceutical industry and the bland hypocrisies of ”pink ribbon culture” while also diving into the long literary line of women writing about their own illnesses and ongoing deaths: Audre Lorde, Kathy Acker, Susan Sontag, and others.

A genre-bending memoir in the tradition of The Argonauts, The Undying will break your heart, make you angry, and show you contemporary America as a thing both desperately ill and occasionally, perversely glorious. 

Enjoy!

Looking at the Miles Franklin Literary Shortlist for 2020

With a new wave of restrictions in place to keep us all safe, it looks like we have a little more reading time on our hands so we have decided to dive into the world of literary awards and explore books we may have missed off our reading list. 

This week we are diving into the Miles Franklin Literary Shortlist for 2020 and wow, what a great list it is!

Just for a bit of context, the Miles Franklin Literary Award was established by author and feminist Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin, who is best known for her first novel My Brilliant Career. The Miles Franklin Awards were first presented in 1957, where the Award celebrates novels of the highest literary merit that tell stories about Australian life.

Let’s take a closer look…

The White Girl by Tony Birch

Odette Brown has lived her whole life on the fringes of a small country town. Raising her granddaughter Sissy on her own, Odette has managed to stay under the radar of the welfare authorities who are removing Aboriginal children from their communities. When the menacing Sergeant Lowe arrives in town, determined to fully enforce the law, any freedom that Odette and Sissy enjoy comes under grave threat. Odette must make an impossible choice to protect her family. 

In The White Girl, Tony Birch has created memorable characters whose capacity for love and courage are a timely reminder of the endurance of the human spirit. 

Islands by Peggy Frew

This is a spellbinding novel with a riveting and brilliant portrait of a family in crisis by the breathtakingly talented author of House of Sticks and Hope Farm.

There was a house on a hill in the city and it was full of us, our family, but then it began to empty. We fell out. We made a mess. We draped ourselves in blame and disappointment and lurched around, bumping into each other. Some of us wailed and shouted; some of us barely made a sound. None of us was listening, or paying attention. And in the middle of it all you, very quietly, were gone.

Helen and John are too preoccupied with making a mess of their marriage to notice the quiet ways in which their daughters are suffering. Junie grows up brittle and defensive, Anna difficult and rebellious.

When fifteen year old Anna fails to come home one night, her mother’s not too worried; Anna’s taken off before but always returned. Helen waits three days to report her disappearance.

But this time Anna doesn’t come back …

No One by John Hughes

In the ghost hours of a Monday morning a man feels a dull thud against the side of his car near the entrance to Redfern Station. He doesn’t stop immediately. By the time he returns to the scene, the road is empty, but there is a dent in the car, high up on the passenger door, and what looks like blood. Only a man could have made such a dent, he thinks. For some reason he looks up, though he knows no one is there. Has he hit someone, and if so, where is the victim? So begins a story that takes us to the heart of contemporary Australia’s festering relationship to its indigenous past. A story about guilt for acts which precede us, crimes we are not sure we have committed, crimes gone on so long they now seem criminal-less. Part crime novel, part road movie, part love story, No One takes its protagonist to the very heart of a nation where non-existence is the true existence, where crimes cannot be resolved and guilt cannot be redeemed, and no one knows what to do with ghosts that are real.

The Returns by Philip Salom

The Returns is a story about the eccentricities, failings and small triumphs that humans are capable of, a novel that pokes fun at literary and artistic pretensions, while celebrating the expansiveness of art, kindness and friendship. 

Elizabeth posts a ‘room for rent’ notice in Trevor’s bookshop and is caught off-guard when Trevor answers the ad himself. She expected a young student not a middle-aged bookseller whose marriage has fallen apart. But Trevor is attracted to Elizabeth’s house because of the empty shed in her backyard, the perfect space for him to revive the artistic career he abandoned years earlier. The face-blind, EH Holden-driving Elizabeth is a solitary and feisty book editor, and she accepts him, on probation…

In this poignant yet upbeat novel the past keeps returning in the most unexpected ways. Elizabeth is at the beck and call of her ageing mother, and the associated memories of her childhood in a Rajneesh community. Trevor’s Polish father disappeared when Trevor was fifteen, and his mother died not knowing whether he was dead or alive. The authorities have declared him dead, but is he?

Exploded View by Carrie Tiffany

Spare, poetic and intensely visual, Exploded View is the powerful new novel from the author of Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living and Mateship with Birds. Carry Tiffany is one of Australia’s most celebrated writers and winner of the inaugural Stella Prize. 

Must a girl always be a part?

How can she become a whole?

In the late 1970s, in the forgotten outer suburbs, a girl has her hands in the engine of a Holden. A sinister new man has joined the family. He works as a mechanic and operates an unlicensed repair shop at the back of their block.

The family is under threat. The girl reads the Holden workshop manual for guidance. She resists the man with silence, then with sabotage. She fights him at the place where she believes his heart lives; in the engine of the car.

The Yield by Tara June Winch

The yield in English is the reaping, the things that man can take from the land. In the language of the Wiradjuri yield is the things you give to, the movement, the space between things: baayanha. Knowing that he will soon die, Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains. Albert is determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. He finds the words on the wind. August Gondiwindi has been living on the other side of the world for ten years when she learns of her grandfather’s death. She returns home for his burial, wracked with grief and burdened with all she tried to leave behind. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends she endeavours to save their land, a quest that leads her to the voice of her grandfather and into the past, the stories of her people, the secrets of the river. Profoundly moving and exquisitely written, Tara June Winch’s The Yield is the story of a people and a culture dispossessed. But it is as much a celebration of what was and what endures, and a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling and identity.

Enjoy!

The newest books unveiling lessons you didn’t learn at school

Sarah Lebner’s 101 Things I didn’t Learn At Architecture School was the book that prompted this blog post. How many of us have found ourselves wondering ‘why didn’t someone tell me it was going to be like this’ at work? Often the reality of having that ‘dream job’ or even climbing the ladder of your chosen profession would be much easier if someone had let us know a few key tips and tricks that we could carry with us in our mental toolbox. So we have scanned the hottest new releases from this year (and last) and have rounded up six fabulous books that are definitely worth a read. 

101 Things I Didn’t Learn in Architecture School by Sarah Lebner

Your first architecture job can involve a very steep learning curve. This book helps students and graduates of architecture kick-start their career and shave months off their professional development. This book will help you: Understand construction basics so you can avoid embarrassing situations and quickly understand instructions. Grasp an overview of the industry and business of architecture so that you don’t feel kept in the dark. Gain personal tips and helpful resources for an enjoyable and successful work life.

Young architects are expected to learn much of their trade on the job, in an industry that often treats them poorly and stunts their professional development. The profession is crying out for a resource like this that can provide introductions, insight, perspective and mentor-style advice for young architects in the first five years of their career.

Readers are invited to understand concepts through 25 simple diagrams, and language that assumes no prior learning. Throughout the book, further resources are provided as a mind-map of industry information. 

Work Like A Woman by Mary Portas

A force for good, for change. This book will make you change the way you think. Packed with advice, tips and decades of business experience from Mary Portas, this is a book for every one of us: whatever level you are, wherever you work. It’s about calling time on alpha culture and helping every one of us to be happier, more productive and collaborative. 

Taking us through her working life, Mary addresses a range of topics from workplace bullying and accessing promotion, to combining a career with children and the affect that getting divorced and becoming a single parent had on her professional life. Speaking candidly about the traps she fell into, from aping the behaviour seen in aggressive corporate environments to recreating a male working culture within her own business, Mary explodes the myth of women ‘having it all’. She will also track her evolution as a business leader and the decision to rebuild her company from the ground up on a model that today embraces female values. Arguing for a revolution in the way in which we work, Work Like A Woman is a manifesto for all: from young women entering the workforce and older women trying to integrate professional and family ambitions, to executives running businesses and creating best practice and the businesses that employ them. Honest, accessible and entertaining, it is a bold and inspiring vision of the future world of work.

In-distract-able by Nir Eyal

A former Stanford lecturer and behavioural designer, Nir Eyal spent over a decade researching the psychology behind habit-forming products. The result was his international bestseller, Hooked. Now, the man who identified the habit has delivered the cure. Eyal describes how to manage the discomfort that drives distraction, and explains why solving the problem is not as simple as swearing off your devices. With a four-step, research-backed model, Indistractable lays bare the secret to getting the best out of technology, without letting it get the best of you. Empowering and optimistic, this is the book that will allow you to control your time and attention and live the life you really want.

Loonshots by Safi Bahcall

What do James Bond and Lipitor have in common? Why do traffic jams appear out of nowhere on highways? What can we learn about innovation from a glass of water? In Loonshots, physicist and entrepreneur Safi Bahcall reveals a surprising new way of thinking about the mysteries of group behaviour and the challenges of nurturing radical breakthroughs. Drawing on the science of phase transitions, Bahcall shows why teams, companies, or any group with a mission will suddenly change from embracing wild new ideas to rigidly rejecting them, just as flowing water will suddenly change into brittle ice. Oceans of print have been written about culture. Loonshots identifies the small shifts in structure that control this transition, the same way that temperature controls the change from water to ice. Using examples that range from the spread of fires in forests to the hunt for terrorists online, and stories of thieves and geniuses and kings, Bahcall shows how this new kind of science helps us understand the fate of companies and empires. Loonshots distills these insights into lessons for creatives, entrepreneurs, and visionaries everywhere. Over the past decade, researchers have been applying the tools and techniques of phase transitions to understand how birds flock, fish swim, brains work, people vote, criminals behave, ideas spread, diseases erupt, and ecosystems collapse. If twentieth-century science was shaped by the search for fundamental laws, like quantum mechanics and gravity, the twenty-first will be shaped by this new kind of science. Loonshots is the first to apply this science to help all of us unlock our potential to create and nurture the crazy ideas that change the world.

Roxy’s Little Black Book of Tips and Tricks by Roxy Jacenko

When the totally tenacious PR and brand-building expert delivers her industry-insider advice, you listen. If you’re growing your own brand, or you’re a budding PR dynamo, Roxy’s Little Black Book of Tips & Tricks is invaluable. 

‘The fact that I’m sitting here writing a business book when, at school, I was the student who read the crib notes rather than the actual books is rather ironic. However, if I’ve proved anything over the years, it’s that you needn’t be the smartest girl in the room or get the highest marks (heck, I didn’t even go to uni!) to succeed in PR or business. If I can do it, anyone can. The trick is to be willing to give up your excuses and consistently put in the work’. Roxy Jacenko built a PR empire on intuition, common sense and an unbreakable work ethic. Now she’s passing on her best business advice, tips and tricks in a handsome handbag-sized volume that’s perfectly sized for the millennial worker on the run. From writing a stand-out application to building your brand to generating killer social media buzz, Roxy’s Little Black Book of Hints & Tips is a must-read resource for aspiring publicists and business builders, and for anyone already in the PR industry.

Brave New Work by Aaron Dignan

The way we work is broken. It takes forever to get anything done. Meetings and emails are incessant. Bureaucracy stifles talent and creativity. After decades of management theory and multiple waves of technological and societal change, is this really the best we can do? Aaron Dignan teaches companies how to eliminate red tape, tap into collective intelligence, and rethink long-held traditions that no longer make sense. In Brave New Work, he shows you how to revolutionise the way your company works forever. Using stories from companies at the cutting edge of organisational transformation, Brave New Work will show you how to transform your team, department and business from the inside-out-making work more adaptable, abundant and human. It is packed with new tactics and tips for updating your company’s operating system: the simple rules and assumptions so deeply embedded that you don’t even think to question them. Learn how to reignite passion and energy throughout your organisation. Build a company that runs itself.

Enjoy!

Learning from the new gurus – a new wave of biographies on the market

Every now and again there is a shift in what we consider great leadership. Biographies and autobiographies give us terrific insight into the minds of these leading individuals and there seems to be a shift as to which biographies are trending. It’s no longer mainly saturated with business giants, the biography genre is more balanced and uses athletes, small business owners, musicians to help us in our own lives. Understanding what athletes face on the sporting field can be applied to many businesses, acknowledging the grit required for a start-up is eye opening, and challenging an entire industry can lead to extraordinary results and a new normal. We have found six inspiring stories that are jam packed with lessons that you can transfer to your career and business. 

Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter by Curtis Jackson

For the first time, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson opens up about his amazing comeback from tragic personal loss to thriving businessman and cable’s highest paid executive. In this unique self-help guide, his first since his blockbuster New York Times bestseller The 50th Law.

In his early twenties Curtis Jackson, known as 50 Cent rose to the heights of fame and power in the cutthroat music business. A decade ago the multi-platinum selling rap artist decided to pivot. His ability to adapt to change was demonstrated when he became the executive producer and star of Power, a high-octane, gripping crime drama centred around a drug kingpin’s family. The series quickly became “appointment” television, leading to Jackson inking a four-year, $150 million contract with the Starz network, the most lucrative deal in premium cable history. Now, in his most personal book, Jackson shakes up the self-help category with his unique, cutting-edge lessons and hard-earned advice on embracing change. Where The 50th Law tells readers “fear nothing and you shall succeed,” Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter builds on this message, combining it with Jackson’s street smarts and hard-learned corporate savvy to help readers successfully achieve their own comeback, and to learn to flow with the changes that disrupt their own lives.

That Will Never Work by Marc Randolph

This is the incredible untold story of how Netflix went from concept to company.

Once upon a time, brick-and-mortar video stores were king. Late fees were ubiquitous, video streaming unheard of, and widespread DVD adoption seemed about as imminent as flying cars. These were the widely accepted laws of the land in 1997, when Marc Randolph had an idea. 

It was a simple thought, leveraging the internet to rent movies, and was just one of many more proposals, like personalised baseball bats and a shampoo delivery service, that Randolph would pitch to his business partner, Reed Hastings, on their commute to work each morning. 

But Hastings was intrigued, and the pair, with Hastings as the primary investor and Randolph as the CEO, founded a company. Now with over 150 million subscribers, Netflix’s triumph feels inevitable, but the 21st century’s most disruptive start-up began with few believers and calamity at every turn. From having to pitch his own mother on being an early investor, to the motel conference room that served as a first office, to server crashes on launch day, to the now-infamous meeting when they pitched Blockbuster to acquire them, Marc Randolph’s transformational journey exemplifies how anyone with grit, gut instincts and determination can change the world, even with an idea that many think will never work. 

What emerges, however, isn’t just the inside story of one of the world’s most iconic companies. Full of counterintuitive concepts and written in binge-worthy prose, it answers some of our most fundamental questions about taking that leap of faith in business or in life: How do you begin? How do you weather disappointment and failure? How do you deal with success? What even is success? From idea generation to team building to knowing when it’s time to let go, That Will Never Work is not only the ultimate follow-your-dreams parable but also one of the most dramatic and insightful entrepreneurial stories of our time. 

What It Takes by Raegan Moya-Jones

This book is set to inspire many business ideas. I loved it and read it in a day and it is the perfect read while staying safe at home.

When Raegan Moya-Jones was told by her overbearing male boss that she didn’t have an ‘entrepreneurial bone’ in her whole body, she almost laughed in his face. What he didn’t know was that the business she’d been secretly working on in the small hours of the night after putting her baby to bed had just hit a revenue of $1 million. Today, aden + anais, the swaddling blanket and baby goods company Moya-Jones founded is a global, multi-million dollar franchise and one that Beyonce, Gwen Stefani and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge loyally support. In this clever, relatable and iconoclastic success story, Moya-Jones busts every myth and misconception about women in business and argues that women should embrace the attributes that set them apart from men. Blanket conventions and perceived barriers attached to the female entrepreneur can be transformed into assets and profit – all you have to do is take the leap.

Quirky by Melissa Schilling

From historical figures such as Marie Curie to contemporaries such as Steve Jobs, a handful of innovators have changed the world. What made them so spectacularly inventive? Melissa A. Schilling, one of the world’s leading experts on innovation, looks at the lives of seven creative geniuses; Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Elon Musk, Dean Kamen, Nicola Tesla, Curie, and Jobs to identify the traits and quirks that led them to become breakthrough innovators.

Though all innovators possess incredible intellect, intellect alone does not create a serial innovator. There are other very strong commonalities: for instance, nearly all exhibit very high levels of social detachment. They all have extreme, almost maniacal, faith in their ability to overcome obstacles. And they have a passionate idealism that pushes them to work with intensity even in the face of criticism or failure. These individual traits would be unlikely to work in isolation being unconventional without having high levels of confidence and direction, for example, might result in rebellious behaviour that does not lead to meaningful innovation.

Schilling reveals the science behind the convergence of traits that increases the likelihood of success, and shows us how to nurture and facilitate breakthrough innovation in our own lives.

We Are The Nerds by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin

We Are The Nerds is a riveting look deep inside the legendary rise of message-board start-up Reddit; its controversies, its struggle for profitability, and the way its unique platform has changed the culture of the Internet. Reddit hails itself as ‘the front page of the Internet’. It is the fourth most-visited website in the UK and USA, whose army of highly engaged (obsessed even) users have been credited with everything from solving cold case crimes to seeding alt-right fury and helping to land Donald Trump in the White House.

We Are The Nerds is the gripping tale of how Reddit’s founders, Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, met as two idealistic young men at the University of Virginia in 2001, with the common goal of creating something that would make a mark on the world. Within a few years they had become millionaires and created an icon of the digital age, before seeing the site engulfed in controversies and nearly losing control of it for good. This is the story of Alexis and Steve losing grasp of the beast they created, as it lurched out of their control and morphed into an untameable creature, and their return to try to tame that beast. Based on Christine Lagorio’s unprecedented and exclusive access to founders Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman, We Are The Nerds is also a compelling exploration of the way we all communicate today and how we got here. Reddit and its users have become a mirror of the Internet: it has dingy corners, shiny memes, malicious trolls, and a sometimes heart-melting ability to connect people across cultures, oceans, and ideological divides. The legend of Reddit embodies all the triumphs and challenges of the start-up age.

LeBron Inc. The Making of A Billion Dollar Athlete by Brian Windhorst

With eight straight trips to the NBA Finals, LeBron James has proven himself one of the greatest basketball players of all time. And like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan before him, LeBron has also become a global brand and businessman who has altered the way professional athletes think about their value, maximise their leverage, and use their voice.

LeBron, Inc. tells the story of James’s journey down the path to becoming a billionaire sports icon – his successes, his failures, and the lessons both have taught him along the way. With plenty of news-making tidbits about his rollercoaster last season in Cleveland and high-profile move to the Lakers, LeBron, Inc. shows how James has changed the way most elite athletes manage their careers, and how he launched a movement among his peers that may last decades beyond his playing days.

Enjoy!

The best self help books for those who are looking to shake up their career

We have all been staying safe at home for a number of months now and for a few people it’s been time spent thinking about their career, future jobs or even business ideas they have always wanted to explore. The world is starting to open up and it looks like we will be able to head back to the office shortly and to help our transition, Team Booko has been scouring the world for some books to help you on your journey. Luckily, there are a number of new titles hitting the market that can help with tough decisions around these ideas and (gulp!) we have found some that are pretty straight talking! 

A Good Time To Be A Girl by Helena Morrissey 

Years have passed since women were exhorted to ‘Lean In’. Over that time, the world has transformed beyond all expectations. But why should anyone ‘lean in’ to a patriarchal system that is out of date? Why not change it entirely for the good of us all? In A Good Time to be a Girl, Helena Morrissey sets out how we might achieve the next big breakthrough towards a truly inclusive modern society.

Drawing on her experience as a City CEO, mother of nine, and founder of the influential 30% Club which campaigns for gender-balanced UK company boards, her manifesto for new ways of working, living, loving and raising families is for everyone, not just women. Making a powerful case for diversity and difference in any workplace, she shows how, together, we can develop smarter thinking and broader definitions of success. Gender balance, in her view, is an essential driver of economic prosperity and part of the solution to the many problems we face today. Her approach is not aimed merely at training a few more women in working practices that have outlived their usefulness. Instead, this book sets out a way to reinvent the game, not at the expense of men but in ways that are right and relevant for a digital age. It is a powerful guide to success for us all.

Balance and Other B.S by Felicity Harley 

According to the 2018 Global Wellness Trends Report, feminist wellness is about ‘new powerful intersections between women’s empowerment, feminism and wellness’, and it’s one of the top 10 global health trends of last year. The irony is, while many women are more health conscious than ever, many of us haven’t even been to the dentist in the past 12 months, arguably the most basic of all health appointments. Words like overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted, always on, burnt-out, fed up, over it … Felicity Harley kept hearing these again and again from women married, single, with and without kids. Close girlfriends, mums at the school gate, single women in cafes, on social, many conversations are proving we’re all in this pressure cooker, feeling trapped, carrying a semi-trailer of mental stuff on our shoulders and riding the rollercoaster. We can’t find the emergency stop button. The result of all this overwhelm is a new wave of health problems, mental and physical. We have the studies flooding in that women are unhappier, more anxious, depressed, more likely to burn out than men. Perhaps it’s time we moved the conversation away from so-called ‘balance’ – balance is bull, burnout is real.

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Emotional Inflammation by Lise Van Susteren

If the news has you feeling anxious or outraged, you’re not alone. There is a name for this: emotional inflammation. With Emotional Inflammation, you’ll discover a breakthrough plan for dealing with this modern affliction. General and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Lise Van Susteren joins health journalist Stacey Colino to present a program called RESTORE, which will help you discover your “reactor type” for emotional inflammation and show you how to become more grounded and resilient in turbulent times. One of the main causes of emotional inflammation is our sense that the big issues, like climate change, gun violence, and political corruption, are beyond our control. With RESTORE, you’ll learn you have more power than you realise. With strategies for relieving stress, critical thinking, recovering inner composure, and reclaiming the gifts of nature, you’ll learn to transform your distress into steady calm and strength. As you move from a state of emotional whiplash into greater balance and harmony, you can redirect your energy, manage your feelings, and cultivate healthier habits. Ultimately, you’ll learn to become an “up-stander”, a force for improving the conditions that fuel your fears. With a relatable style and a heaping dose of hope, Emotional Inflammation is a timely antidote for a world in turmoil.

Me First by Kate Christie 

You are a clever, savvy, successful woman. You are also a working mum. Which means you have it all! Right? Wrong. Managing the juggle presents an ongoing and unique challenge for working mums, and it’s time to take control of your time. Written with humour and honesty, Me First offers personal insights, practical exercises, and time-management solutions for crazy busy, stressed out and guilt-ridden working mums. Me First teaches you how to take control of your time once and for all: liberate yourself from imposter syndrome, mother’s guilt and the other time-wasting mistakes we make, start prioritising yourself, cost out exactly what your poor time habits are costing you, learn simple, smart and sustainable solutions to find 30+ lost hours a month, set and smash audacious goals for how to best use your newfound time, and gain insights from successful women from around the world who know exactly how you feel. Me First is for every time-poor working mum who has had enough of the juggle. It’s time to start putting yourself first. It’s time to be a little less self-less.

Get Out Of Your Own Way by Dave Hollis 

When Rachel Hollis began writing the #1 New York Times bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face, her husband Dave bristled at her transparency about her self-deceptions. Then he had a revelation: women aren’t the only ones who believe lies. Both women and men buy into a host of lies that keep them from reaching their potential, often against a backdrop of ingrained ideas about how they should or shouldn’t act, how they should or shouldn’t reach for help, or how they show up for life. Dave knows this personally. He believed all the lies, too. He found himself stuck in a rut, unmotivated, unfulfilled, and a version of himself he didn’t like, all while being skeptical he could actually do anything about it. Then, he began to wake up. In his new book, he talks honestly about topics people aren’t normally honest about-his impulse to solve instead of listen, his struggle to accept help or admit he needs it, even his insecurities about being a parent. Unpacking the untruths he once believed, he reveals how those lies held him back and outlines the tools that helped him change his life. Offering encouragement, challenge, and a hundred moments to laugh at himself, Dave points the way for others to drop bogus ideas and finally start living the best versions of their lives too. 

Make A Living Living by Nina Karnikowski 

Make a Living Living is for anyone who has ever wished they could build a successful career doing something they love. Structured around the stories of inspiring individuals, from a vegan chocolatier to a nomadic photographer and a tiny-house builder, the book explains how they achieved their ideal existence, and the challenges they faced along the way. A set of practical exercises helps readers learn how to trust themselves, take risks and develop the skills needed to achieve their ideal life. It’s full of quotes to motivate you and bite size insightful chapters to inspire you to make a change. 

Enjoy and stay safe!

Download of the Day: No Such Thing As A Fish Podcast

We have found a way to increase your quiz skills with today’s download: listen to the There’s No Such Thing As A Fish podcast made by the QI elves!


Download of the Day: David Walliams free audio books.

We have found a hilarious way to spend the evening with your children: listening and laughing along while David Walliams reads Bad Dad for free! If you want your own copy to read along with you can find it here.


The best books on photography

While we are all staying safe at home, many of us have been working on our hobbies. At Booko HQ we really enjoy taking photos. Thankfully there are a number of great tools available online to help you take your photography skills to the next level. But if you are looking for a little more inspiration, or want to take some time to flick through an actual book then look no further. We have rounded up some of the greatest books on photography to inspire you. 

Studio Anywhere by Nick Fancher

What’s your definition of a photo studio? Is it a room with a white seamless backdrop? Maybe it’s simply anywhere you’re in control of the lighting. But the reality is that you may have an outdated DSLR with two decent lenses (which took you several years to save up for), and all you have at your disposal is an unfinished basement, your garage, or the empty conference room at your office. That’s where Studio Anywhere comes in. With photographer Nick Fancher as your guide, you’ll learn how to get portfolio-ready photos while working in some of the most problematic scenarios imaginable. Whether shooting a corporate portrait, a test shoot with a model, or a promo shoot with a band, you’ll discover that most of the time, there’s no need for an expensive studio, you just have to get creative. Studio Anywhere is a resource for photographers to learn through behind-the-scenes photos and lighting diagrams from a range of photo shoots but it doesn’t stop there. Because directing a photo shoot involves more than simply knowing how to wield a camera or process a raw file, Nick also lets you in on the aesthetic decisions he makes in his signature photos, inspiring you to develop your own vision.

Photographers on Photography by Henry Carroll

Think you know photography? Think again. Through a carefully curated selection of quotes and images, this book reveals what matters most to the masters of photography. With accompanying text by Henry Carroll, author of the internationally bestselling Read This If You Want To Take Great Photographs series, you’ll learn what photography actually means to the giants of the genres and how they developed their distinctive visual styles. Divided into clear sections, quotes offer intimate insights into “the camera”, “the photograph”, “taking pictures”, “style, subject matter and technique” and ultimately answer that all-important question-“what exactly is photography?”.

Zen Camera by David Ulrich

Zen Camera is a photography and mindfulness program that guides you to the creativity at your fingertips, literally, requiring nothing more than your smartphone or any other type of camera. Over the course of six lessons gleaned from the author’s 40 years of teaching photography, you’ll learn how to use the camera in your pocket to explore self-expression as a photographer and produce photographs that are both wildly beautiful and uniquely your own. Gorgeously illustrated with 60-75 full-colour photographs, David Ulrich’s lessons combine mindfulness principles with concrete exercises and the basic mechanics of taking a good photograph. He guides you through a program of taking photos every day (called your Daily Record), similar to a journaling practice. He also offers profound insight into the nature of seeing, art, and attention, pushing you to live more authentically.

The Social Photo by Nathan Jurgenson

With the rise of the smart phone and social media, cameras have become ubiquitous, infiltrating nearly every aspect of social life. The glowing camera screen is the lens by which many of us apprehend and communicate our experience. But our thinking about photography has been slow to catch up; this major fixture of everyday life is still often treated in the terms of art or journalism. In The Social Photo, social theorist Nathan Jurgenson develops bold new ways of understanding the transformations wrought by these image-making and sharing technologies and the cultural objects they have ushered in the selfie, the faux-vintage photo, the self-destructing image, and the food photo. Jurgenson shows how these devices and platforms have re-made the world and our understanding of ourselves within it.

Annie Leibovitz at Work by Annie Leibovitz

Leibovitz addresses young photographers and readers interested in what photographers do, but any reader interested in contemporary history will be fascinated by her account of one of the richest bodies of work in the photographic canon. The subjects include photojournalism, studio work, photographing dancers and athletes, working with writers, and making the transition from shooting with film to working with digital cameras. Originally published in 2008, this revised and updated edition brings Leibovitz’s bestselling book back into print.

Midlife by Elinor Carucci

From acclaimed photographer Elinor Carucci, Midlife is a vivid chronicle of one woman’s passage through aging, family, illness, and intimacy. It is a period in life that is universal, at some point, to everyone, yet in our day-to-day and cultural dialogue, nearly invisible. Midlife is a moving and empathetic portrait of an artist at the point in her life when inexorable change is more apparent than ever. Elinor Carucci, continues her immersive and close-up examination of her own life in this volume, portraying this moment in vibrant detail. As one of the most autobiographically rigorous photographers of her generation, Carucci recruits and revisits the same members of her family that we have seen since her work gained prominence two decades ago. Even as we observe telling details, graying hair, the pressures and joys of marriage, episodes of pronounced illness, the evolution of her aging parents’ roles as grandparents, her children’s increasing independence, we are invited to reflect on the experiences that we all share contending with the challenges of life, love, and change.

Enjoy!