We have an inspiring Ted Talk for you today. Gever Tulley uses engaging photos and footage to demonstrate the valuable lessons kids learn at his Tinkering School. When given tools, materials and guidance, these young imaginations run wild and creative problem-solving takes over to build unique boats, bridges and even a roller coaster! It’s a short, but great talk.
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.
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.
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!
Let’s help each other out by shopping locally. Tag your small business, or favourite local store below and let everyone know about some great businesses they can support.
We’ve found quite the Ted talk in light of schools returning today. Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a shift from standardised schools to personalized learning by creating conditions where kids’ natural talents can flourish.
The more we rely on technology to make us efficient, the fewer skills we have to confront the unexpected, says writer and entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan. In this Ted Talk she shares why we need less tech and more messy human skills like imagination, humility, bravery, to solve problems in business, government and life in an unpredictable age.
What’s the best way to get people to change their behaviour? In this funny and information-packed talk, psychologist Dan Ariely explores why we make bad decisions even when we know we shouldn’t and discusses a couple tricks that could get us to do the right thing (even if it’s for the wrong reason).
Looking to give the gift of inspiration this year?
Make sure you shop our ‘recommended‘ section where we have handily popped all of the best books to make your Christmas shopping that little bit easier. You’re welcome.
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.
Some Monday mornings you need a little reminder to get on with things. Here’s one of our fav quotes from the uber cool Michael Jordan to help you start your week off the right way.