Category Archives: Technology

Our Top 10 Hacks to Get the Most out of Your Reading

We know, we know, reading is fairly straightforward and not the most obvious topic to hack. You choose a fabulous  book, open it, read the words and drift off into a wonderful world leaving yours alone…even if just for a moment.

However reading has changed over the past few years with the introduction of eBooks, smart phones, apps, and online news feeds. Suddenly there just isn’t enough time to sit and read, there are a ton of distractions and constant demands for our attention. But do not despair, your friendly Booko team has tried and tested a few little hacks to help you find more time in your busy day to read.

Here goes…

#1 Listen to Your Books

Audiobooks are amazing inventions; not only can you multitask while being engrossed in a book, but if you choose wisely you can have some pretty fabulous people read to you.

Find our favourite audiobooks on this Pinterest board – here’s one of our favourites at the moment:

Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George J. Thompson, PhD.

Verbal Judo is the classic guide to the martial art of the mind and mouth that can help you defuse confrontations and generate cooperation, whether you’re talking to a boss, a spouse, or even a teenager. For more than a generation, Dr. George J. Thompson’s essential handbook has taught people how to communicate more confidently and persuasively in any situation. Verbal Judo shows you how to listen and speak more effectively, engage others through empathy (the most powerful word in the English language), avoid the most common conversational disasters, and use proven strategies to successfully express your point of view — and take the lead in most disputes.

#2 Read your books in tiny pieces

Decide how log you want to read for and then set yourself a timer. If you can only do ten minutes a day, that’s fine…we bet you’ll end up wanting ‘just one more page’ after the timer goes off.

Another way of reading in small chunks is to tear a few pages out of your book and pop these in your bag (I know….yes we actually wrote that it’s okay to tear pages out of a book)… but if this is just too upsetting for you to even comprehend, then we suggest just sticking to a timer.

#3 Read at the gym

It’s okay to multitask every now and then, and your warm up on a stationary bike or cross trainer may be just the place to take your mind off what’s ahead of you… just perhaps not the treadmill though.

#4 When you’re reading online news, don’t read the comments

Make your own mind up as to how you feel towards the news and current events. Reading comments can often lead you to create a confirmation bias or drag you into pointless arguments.

#5 Make your own fabulous reading space

Reading nooks are not just for kids, though they do love them. Create a little space at home that you get to enjoy and feel comfortable in. We’ve compiled a number of different reading nooks on Pinterest, come and take a look here.

Why not take a leaf out of the Danish ethos of Hygge – here’s one of our favourite books on it.

The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking

Embrace Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) and become happier with this definitive guide to the Danish philosophy of comfort, togetherness, and well-being. Why are Danes the happiest people in the world? The answer, says Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, is Hygge. “Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience,” Wiking explains. “It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe.” Hygge is the sensation you get when you’re cuddled up on a sofa, in cozy socks under a soft throw, during a storm. It’s that feeling when you’re sharing comfort food and easy conversation with loved ones at a candlelit table. It is the warmth of morning light shining just right on a crisp blue-sky day. The Little Book of Hygge introduces you to this cornerstone of Danish life, and offers advice and ideas on incorporating it into your own life, such as: Get comfy. Take a break. Be here now. Turn off the phones. Turn down the lights. Bring out the candles. Build relationships. Spend time with your tribe.

#6 Make apps your friend

When you don’t have time to wander through a book store or library trying to choose a title, just whip out your phone. We use Booko when at a computer and Booko Buddy when we are out and about – it’s available here and it’s free!

Just like Booko, Booko Buddy can quickly and easily look up the price and availability of your favourite books and DVDs. Searches can be performed by title, author, ISBN, keyword or by scanning the barcode. Once you’ve looked up a book or DVD you can pick a vendor and be linked directly to the buy page to complete the transaction. Linking is via Booko so that your purchase still supports the best price comparison engine on the Internet!

You can also create and organise your own lists of books and DVDs, to buy later or to share with a friend.

#7 Take a reading challenge 

Every year the Premier of Victoria runs a reading challenge for children of different ages. Schools can participate, as can individuals. The Premiers’ Reading Challenge encourages children to read a set number of books and record their efforts online. It’s a great way to get young people talking about reading with their friends and pushing themselves to read as many books as they can.

Visit the link here.

#8 Read while you’re waiting 

Whip out your book or reading device when waiting for appointments, a bus, on the tube, and our favourite…at the hairdressers! Teach your children to carry a book with them too so they can always have something to do when they are waiting… in fact one little Booko reader likes to read while she’s walking to school.

#9 Get recommendations for what to read next

There’s nothing better than having someone to debrief with when you’ve finished a book and you emerge from the literary world which is why we love recommendations so much. Asking friends for recommendations for books (or handing them a book that you’ve just finished) is a great way of broadening your range of literature and reading something that you have never picked by yourself.

We have a page on Booko which shows our most clicked-on titles and the titles we recommend. Check them out here and here.

#10 Read because you love to … not because you have to

Okay, so not a ‘hack’ per se, but it’s our best little nugget. Doing something you really love is what it’s all about, so it’s okay to start a book and then put it down because you aren’t enjoying it….just make sure you pick up another.

Enjoy!

How technology is shaping our world today

Technology is an essential part of our lives today and few can imagine living without it. We achieved a lot with the help of technological advances, for example, we have the possibility to travel, keep in touch with friends on the other side of the world, and cure many illnesses.

The Internet hosts an enormous information base. Technology has made it possible for this information to reach far and wide. Online education has set in, making it possible to render knowledge to students inhabiting remote locations on Earth.

Technology is not only shaping our future but is also helping to make our lives more compatible with nature. We are able to develop clean energy, transport possibilities with less emissions and build low-energy houses to save resources.

Technology allows us more freedom and choices but at the same time we have to consider the social imbalance where the same technologies aren’t available to everyone.

Here are our Top 5 books that explore the role of technology in our world.

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly

In this fascinating, provocative new book, Kevin Kelly provides an optimistic road map for the future, showing how the coming changes in our lives from virtual reality in the home to an on-demand economy to artificial intelligence embedded in everything we manufacture can be understood as the result of a few long-term, accelerating forces. Kelly both describes these deep trends interacting, cognifying, flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, tracking, and questioning and demonstrates how they overlap and are codependent on one another. These larger forces will completely revolutionise the way we buy, work, learn, and communicate with each other. By understanding and embracing them, says Kelly, it will be easier for us to remain on top of the coming wave of changes and to arrange our day-to-day relationships with technology in ways that bring forth maximum benefits.

 

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

In this illustrated history, Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation over centuries, tracing facets of modern life (refrigeration, clocks, and eyeglass lenses, to name a few) from their creation by hobbyists, amateurs, and entrepreneurs to their unintended historical consequences. Filled with surprising stories of accidental genius and brilliant mistakes this book investigates the secret history behind the everyday objects of contemporary life. In his trademark style, Johnson examines unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields: how the invention of air-conditioning enabled the largest migration of human beings in the history of the species—to cities such as Dubai or Phoenix, which would otherwise be virtually uninhabitable; how pendulum clocks helped trigger the industrial revolution; and how clean water made it possible to manufacture computer chips. How We Got to Now is the story of collaborative networks building the modern world, written in the provocative, informative, and engaging style that has earned Johnson fans around the globe.

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us about Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

By the end of an average day in the early twenty first century, human beings searching the internet will amass eight trillion gigabytes of data. This staggering amount of information can tell us a great deal about who we are; the fears, desires, and behaviours that drive us, and the conscious and unconscious decisions we make. From the profound to the mundane, we can gain astonishing knowledge about the human psyche that less than twenty years ago, seemed unfathomable. Everybody Lies offers fascinating, surprising, and sometimes laugh-out-loud insights into everything from economics to ethics to sports to race to sex, gender and more, all drawn from the world of big data. This book offers revelations that can help us understand ourselves and our lives better. Drawing on studies and experiments on how we really live and think, he demonstrates in fascinating and often funny ways the extent to which all the world is indeed a lab. With conclusions ranging from strange but true to thought provoking to disturbing, he explores the power of this digital truth serum and its deeper potential–revealing biases deeply embedded within us, information we can use to change our culture, and the questions we’re afraid to ask that might be essential to our health–both emotional and physical. All of us are touched by big data everyday, and its influence is multiplying. Everybody Lies challenges us to think differently about how we see it and the world.

The Unnatural World: The Race to Remake Civilisation in Earth’s Newest Age by David Biello

The Unnatural World chronicles a disparate band of unlikely heroes: an effervescent mad scientist who would fertilise the seas; a pigeon obsessive bent on bringing back the extinct; a low-level government functionary in China doing his best to clean up his city, and more. These scientists, billionaires, and ordinary people are all working toward saving the best home humanity is ever likely to have. What is the threat? It is us. In a time when a species dies out every ten minutes, when summers are getting hotter, winters colder, and oceans higher, some people still deny mankind’s effect on the Earth. But all of our impacts on the planet have ushered in what qualifies as a new geologic epoch, thanks to global warming, mass extinction, and such technologies as nuclear weapons or plastics.

Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito

The world is more complex and volatile today than at any other time in our history. The tools of our modern existence are getting faster, cheaper, and smaller at an exponential rate, just as billions of strangers around the world are suddenly just one click or tweet or post away from each other. When these two revolutions joined, an explosive force was unleashed that is transforming every aspect of society, from business to culture and from the public sphere to our most private moments.

Such periods of dramatic change have always produced winners and losers. The future will run on an entirely new operating system. It’s a major upgrade, but it comes with a steep learning curve. The logic of a faster future oversets the received wisdom of the past, and the people who succeed will be the ones who learn to think differently.

 

Enjoy!