Reading slowly with her finger running beneath the words has led Jacqueline Woodson to a life of writing books to be savoured. In a lyrical talk, she invites us to slow down and appreciate stories that take us places we never thought we’d go and introduce us to people we never thought we’d meet.
They say that play is the highest form of research…so what are you waiting for? Time to get your coloured pencils out and scribble your way through this mornings meetings! Or Lego…maybe pop a bowl of it in the middle of your boardroom table and see what you can create. Did you know you could buy Lego through Booko? Oh yes you read that right! Stick around and we’ll show you how on Thursday’s blog.
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.
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.
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).
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 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.
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.
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.
Growing up in England, Pico Iyer was taught that the point of a game was to win. We’ve found a charming and profound ted talk where Pico explores what regular games of ping-pong in his neighborhood in Japan have revealed about the riddle of winning and shows why not knowing who’s won can feel like the ultimate victory.
Along with many other business across the globe, we’ve signed the Not Business As Usual pledge. Today, we are joining the millions of children around the world because we believe urgent and meaningful action needs to take place to ensure future generations can enjoy our planet too.
Everyone hates being stuck in a food rut. Making family favourite dishes each night for dinner can get a little tiring after a while which is why we love to sit down at the start of a new season with a handful of our favourite cookbooks and leaf through to see which recipes suit the season. This way we get to change up the flavours, and focus on buying seasonal food. We also enjoy adding in a new cookbook into the mix so we have found six glorious books that are sure to delight your taste buds.
Breakfast is the most important – and comforting – time of day for billions of people everywhere. Here, for the first time, a collection of hundreds of home-cooking recipes celebrates morning meals as they’re prepared in kitchens across the globe. Each recipe is accessible and straightforward, with notes offering cultural context and culinary insight. Whether it’s sweet or not, classic or regional, it’s here: Egyptian Ful Medames (stewed fava beans); Mexican Chilaquiles; Chinese Pineapple Buns; American Scones; Scottish Morning Rolls; and so much more.
Modern Lunch is the new lunchtime hero for time-strapped, budget-conscious, and salad-fatigued people everywhere. Focusing on healthy, quick (and, yes, Instagrammable) recipes, Allison takes readers on a feasting journey inspired by fresh flavours and ingredients, her travels, and minimal effort. Meals in jars and adult-appropriate lunchboxes will actually make you look forward to lunch now, especially when recipes like Chicken and Cucumber Ribbon Salad with Peanut Butter Vinaigrette, Tomato Sourdough Soup with Cacio e Pepe Socca Triangles, and Walnut-Crusted Avocado, Feta, and Eggs with Pesto Rice are waiting for you.
Find inspiration for delicious lunches to eat at home, too, like Greek Chopped Salad with Crispy Peppercorn Salmon, and a new take on the classic ploughman’s lunch.
Spend weekends with friends gathered around easy-to-assemble platters and picnic baskets, and enjoy homemade brunches that rival any restaurant’s. And, if you’re someone who likes to improvise, Allison shares her staple recipes and tried-and-tested strategies for mastering meal prep, as well as ideas and combinations for quick, on-the-fly lunches that encourage creativity but promise satisfaction – even if you have to dine at your desk.
With dazzling recipes and photography, and smart tips on hacking the lunchtime game, Modern Lunch proves that a delicious, exciting, and inventive lunch can be achievable for any appetite, wallet, and busy schedule, and maybe even spark a little office envy.
This book offers an intimate culinary portrait of Los Angeles today, a city now recognised among food lovers for its booming, vibrant, international restaurant landscape, with 100 recipes from its restaurants, juice bars, coffee shops, cocktail lounges, food trucks, and hole-in-the-wall gems.
Once considered a culinary wasteland, Los Angeles is now one of the most exciting food cities in the world. Like the multi-faceted, sprawling city itself, the food of Los Angeles is utterly its own, an amalgam of international influence, disposable income, glamour, competition, immigrant vitality, health consciousness, purity, and beach-loving, laid back, hip, unrestrained creativity. With 100 recipes pulled from the city’s best restaurants but retooled for the home cook—like Charred Cucumber Gazpacho, Roast Chicken with Spicy Harissa, Vietnamese Coffee Pudding, Blackberry Mint Mojito Ice Cream and Thai Basil Margaritas—Eat. Cook. L.A. is both a culinary roadmap and a sophisticated insider’s look at one of America’s most iconic and fascinating cities.
Ruffage tackles the questions that home cooks (of any skill level) ask themselves about vegetables: how do I cook this? How do I make this exciting? Do I store this in the fridge? How do I make this into dinner? This accessible (but comprehensive) vegetable-focused cookbook picks up where Vegetable Literacy left off, focusing on the simple techniques and information that help any cook prepare a variety of delicious vegetables in a number of ways. Organised into 20 short chapters by vegetable, including a good balance of vegetables that are best used fresh and in-season (asparagus, peas) and those that store well during those long winters (potatoes, celery root), as well as a comprehensive-but-accessible pantry chapter (no Calabrian chili paste here!), this is the vegetable book that both new and seasoned cooks everywhere can turn to again and again.
We’re all looking for interesting, achievable ways to enjoy vegetables more often. This must-have addition to your cookbook shelf has more than 700 kitchen-tested recipes that hit that mark. Sure, you’ll learn nearly 40 ways to cook potatoes and 30 ways with broccoli. But you’ll also learn how to make a salad with roasted radishes and their peppery leaves; how to char avocados in a skillet to use in Crispy Skillet Turkey Burgers; and how to turn sunchokes into a chowder and kale into a Super Slaw for Salmon Tacos. Every chapter, from Artichokes to Zucchini, includes shopping, storage, seasonality, and prep pointers and techniques, including hundreds of step-by-step photographs and illustrations, gorgeous watercolour illustrations, and full-colour recipe photography. The inspirational, modern recipes showcase vegetables’ versatility in everything from sides to mains. All along the way America’s Test Kitchen shares loads of invaluable kitchen tips and insights from their test cooks, making it easy, and irresistibly tempting, to eat more veggies every day.
…and because Summer is right around the corner it would be rude of us not to include at least one ode to ice-cream!
Salt & Straw is the brainchild of two cousins, Tyler and Kim Malek, who stumbled into ice cream making. But that stumbling is what made them great. With barely an idea of how to make ice cream, they turned to their friends for advice – chefs, chocolatiers, brewers, and food experts of all kinds, and what came out is an ice cream company that sees new flavours and inspiration everywhere they look. Using a super-simple ice cream base you can make in about the time it takes you to decide on a scoop in their shop, here are dozens of their most beloved, innovative, (and a couple of their most controversial) flavours, like Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, Roasted Strawberry and Toasted White Chocolate, Roasted Parsnip and Banana, Buttered Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, and Olde People. But more importantly, this book reveals what they’ve learned, how to tap your own creativity and how to invent flavours of your own, based on whatever you see around you. Because ice cream isn’t just be a thing you eat, it’s a way to live.
What’s your favourite dish to cook? At the moment in our house it’s grilled fish and salads (especially when the sun is shining), that said, we’re a little partial to something sweet too. And if you’re stuck for dinner ideas, then be sure to read tomorrow’s blog which covers our fav new cookbooks that have just been released.
With energy and humour, Pam Warhurst shares the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of food in their community.