Category Archives: Personal development

Self help and personal development

Best Books for the MAMIL Dad This Father’s Day

This is one of our favourite dad stereotypes out there. You’ll recognise them, especially  if your dad is one, or your husband, or perhaps you. And their numbers are swelling at an alarming rate thanks to the Tour de France and it’s ridiculously long tv coverage time.

MAMILs are Middle Aged Men In Lycra who consider themselves a keen road cyclist, typically ride an expensive bike and wear the type of clothing which is generally associated with, and suits, professional cyclists…even though they are not.

So other than a bike, inner tubes or brightly coloured lycra, what can you buy the MAMIL for Father’s Day? Fear not, we have gathered a few literary suggestions for you…that’ll save you a trip to the bike shop.

The Modern MAMIL (Middle-aged Man in Lycra): A Cyclist’s A to Z by Spencer Wilson

There is a new breed emerging. They hunt in packs, dressed in unforgiving lycra. Their natural habitat is the local espresso bar, where they obsess about power-to-weight ratios and worship the latest high-tech road bikes. Desperate to shave a few milligrams for speed, they will spend thousands on anything made out of carbon – conveniently forgetting about their own waistlines. At night they dream they are Bradley Wiggins or Alberto Contador. They are the MAMILs, and they are taking over the world. The Modern MAMIL – a cyclist’s Notebook can be used as a training log, a place to record race dates, targets and route notes.

 

My Time: An Autobiography by Bradley Wiggins

On 22 July 2012 Bradley Wiggins made history as the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France. Ten days later at the London Olympic Games he won the time trial to become his country’s most decorated Olympian. In an instant `Wiggo’, the kid from Kilburn, was a national hero. Two years previously, however, Wiggins had been staring into the abyss. His much-hyped attempt to conquer the 2010 Tour de France had ended in public humiliation. Poor results and indifferent form left him facing the sack from Team Sky. And then he was hit with the tragic news of the death of his granddad, George, the man who had raised him as a young boy. At rock bottom, Wiggins had to reach deep inside himself and find the strength to fight his way back. Outspoken, honest, intelligent and fearless, Wiggins has been hailed as the people’s champion. In My Time he tells the story of the remarkable journey that led him from his lowest ebb to win the world’s toughest race. In his own words he reveals the personal anguish that has driven him on and what it’s like behind the scenes at Team Sky: the brutal training regimes, the sacrifices and his views on his teammates and rivals. He talks too about his anger at the spectre of doping that pursues his sport, how he dealt with the rush of taking Olympic gold and above all what it takes to be the greatest.

 

The Cycling Jersey by Oliver Knight

Aside from the bikes themselves, the jersey – maillot or maglia – has become the most iconic symbol of cycling’s history, its proud teams and preeminent riders and most recently its fashion. There is a booming collectors market for vintage jerseys, and the finest quality traditional and retro manufacturers including De Marchi, Castelli and Rapha and are registering huge increases in sales. Sir Paul Smith features jerseys in his collections and designs them for the Grand Tours.

The Cycling Jersey is the result of one man’s passion for a piece of kit that defines cyclists the world over. Naturally the book has wonderful pictures of cycling jerseys (and lots of them), all presented in large, glossy, and colourful splendour.

 

Obsessive Compulsive Cycling Disorder by Dave Barter

This is an anthology of thirty articles written by an amateur cyclist over a period of ten years. The collection exhibits the madness that engulfs those who descend into cycling obsession, celebrating the average cyclist living in a world defined by the pros. The writings range from fanciful musings concerning the Tao of single speeding to lengthy descriptions of end-to-end rides in Britain and Ireland. Mountain biking, road cycling and all sorts of other cycling events are chronicled along the way. Each is written in a lighthearted style designed to bring the reader into the author’s world which is often littered with incident and humour. Within the pages the reader will find a loose ticklist of events to ride, bikes to own and challenges to take on. Each described in the author’s own inimitable style.

 

And for the MAMIL who has no time to read, but will pop his bike up onto rollers in front of the tv we’ve found two great DVDs to gift.

 

Middle Aged Men In Lycra

During the week, they are white-collar professionals with responsible jobs, families and mortgages. Come the weekend, they transform into Lycra-clad super heroes; road warriors on expensive carbon framed bikes traveling in packs and competing with other males for dominance in the group. MAMIL is a feature length documentary that dares to enter this secret world of middle-aged men to uncover the reasons they take to the road. Narrated by Tour de France and cycling commentator, Phil Liggett.

 

 

 

 

Road to Roubaix

Road To Roubaix is a documentary on the most prestigious one-day cycling race in the world, Paris-Roubaix. First held in 1896, the race is a gruelling contest over 160 miles of narrow, cobbled farm roads in the Picardie and Norde-Pas-de-Calais regions of France with a finish in the historic Roubaix velodrome. Road to Roubaix is a visual narrative of an old-school, bare-knuckle clash of the finest athletes in the world with each other and one of the world’s most unforgiving sporting environments. The filmmakers tell the story of the riders, the fans, the mechanics, and the unpredictable landscape that is the setting for the Paris-Roubaix.

 

Happy Father’s Day to all of the MAMIL Dads!

Sinking into the world of podcasts

Podcasts can be a tricky medium. There is a fine line between feeling like you are part of a conversation and those speaking are including you and care about your views (even if they can’t hear you)…and then there’s the awkward ones where it feels as if you are listening in on a conversation that you really shouldn’t be.

Great podcasts make us think about something in a new light, or make us experience the wonderful joy of the belly laugh. Here are a few of our favourites that help us do just that.

 

Wilosophy

We’re big fans of Wil Anderson and his comedy…and our marketing team loves him on ABC’s Gruen. In his podcast, Wilosophy, Wil Anderson asks smart people stupid questions and tries to find out the meaning of life. Or something like that.

 

 

The Weekly Planet 

The Weekly Planet covers all things movies, TV shows and comics as well as news, reviews and general nonsense related to comic book movies.

 

 

Revisionist History

Revisionist History is Malcolm Gladwell’s journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode re-examines something from the past, be it an event, a person, an idea, even a song and then asks whether we got it right the first time.

Malcom Gladwell is an international best seller who has written enough books to fill  bookshelf (click here for a list of his titles). David and Goliath is his latest one which poses the question: What if everything we thought about power was wrong?

Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a pebble and a sling-and ever since, the names of David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. David’s victory was improbable and miraculous. He shouldn’t have won.
Or should he?
Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means endure any number of  setbacks.

 

Probably Science

Professional comedians with so-so STEM pedigrees take you through ideas in science…incompetently. Featuring Matt Kirshen, Andy Wood and a variety of great guests – last week they spoke with Dean Burnett who is a neuroscientist, comedian, blogger and author of the new book Happy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From, and Why.

The pursuit of happiness is one of the most common and enduring quests of human life. It’s what drives us to get a job, fall in love, watch stand-up comedy, go to therapy, have questionable obsessions, and come home at the end of the day. But where does happiness come from, and why do we need it so much? Is lasting, permanent happiness possible or should it be? And what does any of this have to do with the brain?

Happy Brain elucidates our understanding of what happiness actually is, where it comes from, and what exactly is going on in our brains when we’re in a cheery state.

 

The Dollop 

The Dollop is a bi-weekly American History Podcast. Every week, Dave Anthony reads a story to his friend, Gareth Reynolds, who has no idea what the topic is going to be about…and they have just launched a new book: The United States of Absurdity: Untold stories from American history.

The United States of Absurdity presents short, informative, and hilarious stories of the most outlandish (but true) people, events, and more from United States history. Comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds cover the weird stories you didn’t learn in history class, such as 10-Cent Beer Night, the Jackson Cheese, and the Kentucky Meat Shower, accompanied by full-page illustrations that bring each historical “milestone” to life in full colour.

 

 

Ted Radio Hour

The TED Radio Hour is a journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create. Based on Talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage, each show is centred on a common theme such as the source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections.

 

Hip Hop Saved My Life

Romesh Ranganathan is an award winning comedian who has a gift for making interviewees spill personal stories and share their recollections of hip-hop. This podcast consistently makes us laugh by delivering great stories.

 

 

You can head to our Facebook page for further podcast recommendations by the Booko community. Enjoy!

Surviving the Australian Winter Without Hibernating

Winter has definitely arrived in Melbourne; with mornings at a record low and frost on the lawn staying home seems like the best way to survive the winter. But where’s the fun in that? All over the country cities play host to amazing events, gallery showcases and theatre extravaganzas that make it worth your while stepping out into the wintery blast.

Here are our top picks to get you out of the house this winter.

…for those of you that aren’t lucky enough to be feeling the cold here in Australia… don’t worry, next week we will be looking at what’s on in the rest of the world… and for those of you that do choose to stay indoors, we have paired these amazing events with a book version… just so you don’t miss out completely.

Melbourne, Victoria


MoMA at NGV

This Winter the National Gallery of Victoria, is working in partnership with The Museum of Modern Art, New York, presenting MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art. The exhibition will be showcasing over 200 key works of the Museum’s iconic collection, including works by van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, Picasso, Boccioni, Dalí and Kahlo. Click through the link here to book tickets and read more about the world of contemporary art.

 

 

 

 

Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N

This is a must-see attraction on Melbourne’s events calendar this Winter with all-new features and experiences in its very own purpose-built structure at the Paddock, Federation Square. Australia’s first Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N experience integrates science and modern technology with movie-based props. As a training agent of S.T.A.T.I.O.N you can train like an Avenger and delve into the history behind your favourite super heroes while checking out their equipment such as Captain America’s uniform and shield, Iron Man’s MK 45 suit, The Hulkbuster suit and Thor’s mighty hammer.

Find your favourite Marvel Books here.

 

 

The Wizard of Oz

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s London Palladium production of The Wizard of Oz is an enchanting revision of the all-time classic. This version has been developed from the ever-popular MGM screenplay and contains all of the favourite characters and iconic moments, plus a few surprises along the way, including new songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. You’ll get to rediscover the story of Oz in this fantastic musical treat, including songs like Follow the Yellow Brick Road, Over the Rainbow, Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead, If I Only Had a Heart, We’re Off to See The Wizard and The Merry Old Land of Oz…makes you want to pop on a pair of sparkly red slippers!

 

 

Sydney, New South Wales

The Bledisloe Cup

The Bledisloe Cup returns to Sydney this winter and there is only one Test match being played on Australian soil this year so this is your chance to see the biggest Trans-Tasman battle on the sporting calendar live. After beating the All Blacks in the final Bledisloe Cup match of 2017, the Wallabies will be looking to go one step better to regain the cup in 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Australia 

Bonjour Barossa

A Barossa winery tour with friends to warm the cockles of your heart in Winter. Sounds prefect! How about adding some of South Australia’s best French artisan breads, chocolate, macarons, crepes and croissants to go with your glass of Shiraz. Get ready to don your beret and striped jumper, Bonjour Barossa, Seppeltsfield’s French Festival, is returning on Sunday 8th July. Bonjour Barossa sees the Seppeltsfield estate reimagined into a Parisian style marketplace, bringing together food, wine and homeware vendors to the backdrop of French themed music and entertainment.

 

 

 

Canberra 

The Truffle Festival

Indulge in a feast of the senses and join in the fun as The Truffle Festival celebrates its 10-year anniversary. Each year from June to August more than 250 individual events are held across the Canberra region showcasing the region’s fresh Black Winter Truffle. Taste and experience the magic of these highly-prized gems. Indulge in the special flavours and aromas of truffle dishes at local restaurants and cafes. Join a hunt and see for yourself how the talented dogs unearth truffles. Learn from the chefs and other truffle experts at a cooking class or demonstration, or pop along to a market and pick up some truffle delights for yourself. The Truffle Festival is the ultimate foodie festival, and a fabulous celebration of winter in the Canberra region.

 

 

Tasmania

Whisky Week

This is one week that will warm you up in chilly Tassie. The 2018 Tasmanian Whisky Week takes place from Monday 13th through to Sunday 19th August, with industry events held across seven days in many Tasmanian distilleries, bars, barns, stables, restaurants and hotels. Throughout the week distilleries open their doors to host behind-the-scenes tours to meet the distillers in person, provide access to unreleased whiskies, and offer dining opportunities where distilleries (both old and new) will recount the successes, challenges and events that have shaped who they are today.

 

 

Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland

Okay, so it’s not as cold in these states as some other parts of Australia so when the temperature is all little too much perhaps you could escape the winter blues to enjoy Broome’s sunshine, or the Gold Coast’s or Darwin’s.

Enjoy!

3 Rules to Spark Learning

Chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam realised something when he faced a life threatening illness…that he had been “pseudo-teaching”. It dawned on him that the true role of the educator was to cultivate curiosity.

This is a fun and personal Ted Talk, where Musallam gives 3 rules to spark imagination and learning, and get students excited about how the world works.

Looking for our happiness with Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin is changing the world..and teaching us to be happy along the way.

With four New York Times bestsellers, a podcast, speaker engagements, and being the creator of the Four Tendencies framework…she’s a real life happiness expert!

 

The Happiness Project

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany: “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to a happiness project. With humour and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the year she spent test driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Rubin didn’t have the option to uproot herself -nor did she want to- instead, she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her and what didn’t.

 

 

Better Than Before

Tackling the critical question “How do we change?”. Gretchen Rubin’s answer is simple; through habits. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives. So if habits are a key to change, then what we really need to know is: How do we change our habits? Better than Before answers that question. It presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits and to change them for good. Infused with Rubin’s compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humour, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better than Before explains the (sometimes counter-intuitive) core principles of habit formation. Along the way, Rubin uses herself as guinea pig, tests her theories on family and friends, and answers readers’ most pressing questions.

 

 

Happier at Home

One Sunday afternoon, as she unloaded the dishwasher, Gretchen Rubin felt hit by a wave of homesickness. Homesick why? She was standing right in her own kitchen. She felt homesick, she realised, with love for home itself. Of all the elements of a happy life, she thought, my home is the most important. In a flash, she decided to undertake a new happiness project, and this time, to focus on home. And what did she want from her home? A place that calmed her, and energised her. A place that, by making her feel safe, would free her to take risks. Also, while Rubin wanted to be happier at home, she wanted to appreciate how much happiness was there already. So, starting in September (the new January), Rubin dedicated a school year September through May to making her home a place of greater simplicity, comfort, and love. In The Happiness Project,  she worked out general theories of happiness. Here she goes deeper on factors that matter for home, such as possessions, marriage, time, and parenthood. Each month, Rubin tackled a different theme as she experimented with concrete, manageable resolutions and this time, she coaxed her family to try some resolutions as well.

 

 

The Four Tendencies

Gretchen Rubin realised that by asking the seemingly dry question ‘How do I respond to expectations?’ we gain explosive self-knowledge. She discovered that based on their answer, people fit into four Tendencies: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Our Tendency shapes every aspect of our behaviour, so using this framework allows us to make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress, and engage more effectively. More than 800,000 people have taken her online quiz (here’s the link), and managers, doctors, teachers, spouses, and parents already use the framework to help people make significant, lasting change. With sharp insight, compelling research, and hilarious examples, The Four Tendencies will help you get happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative.

 

You can read Gretchen’s blog here and listen to her podcast here.

Enjoy!