Category Archives: Top Books

Our best picks and recommendations

The best books to buy Dad this Father’s Day

With so many amazing new books being released it can be daunting choosing one to buy Dad for Father’s Day. But fear not, we have had a poke around the literary world and have rounded up the hottest titles to buy Dad this September. So get your bookmark button ready and prepare to shop for Dad.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

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 ‘honorable 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, driven narrative by a great American novelist whose work is essential to understanding the current reality of the United States.

Brabham by Tony Davis

This is the story of Australia’s greatest motoring hero, and the dynasty he founded. Sir Jack Brabham was unique in the world of motor racing. He was the boy from Sydney who took on the elite of motor racing and won – not only three major F1 championships but the last one in a car he had built in his home country to his own specifications. To those who saw him on the podium, Jack Brabham might have seemed glorious and triumphant, but his story is full of pain, risk, snubs, endurance, wins, and losses. And only now is he gaining the recognition he deserves as someone who revolutionised Formula One. In 2017 he was inducted into the F1 Hall of Fame. Racing with greats including Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart and Bernie Ecclestone, he not only revolutionised Formula One he also encouraged others, such as Bruce McLaren. But he remained an outsider – a colonial. Now his sons want to revive the Brabham name and the Brabham brand. With interviews from those who raced with and against ‘Black Jack’, those who built cars with him, those who loved him, and those who crossed him, this is a brilliant and vivid portrait of a motor genius and the racing dynasty he founded.

Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe

Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating, and storing; behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag. Gerritsen and Gammage in their latest books support this premise but Pascoe takes this further and challenges the hunter-gatherer tag as a convenient lie. Almost all the evidence in Dark Emu comes from the records and diaries of the Australian explorers, impeccable sources. Dark Emu is a must read for anyone who wants to understand what Australia once was, or what it might yet be if we heed the lessons of long and sophisticated human occupation.

Bowraville by Dan Box

A true crime story cannot often be believed, at least at the beginning. In Bowraville, all three of the victims were Aboriginal. All three were killed within five months, between 1990 and 1991. The same white man was linked to each, but nobody was convicted. More than two decades later, homicide detective Gary Jubelin contacted Dan Box, asking him to pursue this serial killing. At that time, few others in the justice system seemed to know, or care, about the murders in Bowraville. Dan spoke to the families of the victims, Colleen Walker-Craig, Evelyn Greenup and Clinton Speedy-Duroux, as well as the lawyers, police officers and even the suspect involved in what had happened. His investigation, as well as the families’ own determined campaigning, forced the authorities to reconsider the killings. This account asks painful questions about what ‘justice’ means and how it is delivered, as well as describing Dan’s own shifting, uncomfortable realisation that he was a reporter who crossed the line.

Good Girl Bad Girl by Michael Robotham

Six years ago, Evie Cormac was discovered, filthy and half-starved, hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a shocking crime. Now approaching adulthood, Evie is damaged, self-destructive and has never revealed her true identity. Forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven, a man haunted by his own past, is investigating the death of champion figure-skater Jodie Sheehan. When Cyrus is called upon to assess Evie, she threatens to disrupt the case and destroy his ordered life. Because Evie has a unique and dangerous gift – she knows when someone is lying. And nobody is telling the truth. Good Girl Bad Girl is an unnerving psychological thriller from one of the greatest crime writers of today, Michael Robotham, bestselling author of The Other Wife and The Secret She Keeps.

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 best books from famous book clubs around the world

Book clubs have come a long way with the digital age; no longer do you have to head to a cafe on a Winter’s night to chat through a book that you may have only *just* finished (or let’s be honest, sometimes only read the first, middle and last chapter of…we won’t judge, some books are just too hard to get through in 4 weeks!). The increasingly popularity of book clubs on the internet allow us to stay at home in our slippers curled up on a comfy chair and given the huge number of participants we may no longer be the only person who hasn’t finished the book. 

All joking aside, we do love a good book recommendation and we know you do, too, so the Booko team has scoured the internet and found the best picks from some of the world’s most famous book clubs (with books that we know you’ll actually want to read). 

Let’s start with the biggest book club of them all…Oprah’s. Anything recommended by this lady is sure to be a bestseller!

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her centre. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

A compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream. This is the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty, and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future. However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ facades. When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice. 

Emma Watson started a book club in 2015 with a firm focus on feminism. The books the club, known as The Shared Shelf, reviews and discusses books every two months. Here are their latest titles. 

Solito, Solita by Steven Mayers

They are a mass migration of thousands, yet each one travels alone. Solito, Solita (Alone, Alone) is an urgent collection of oral histories that tells the story of young refugees fleeing countries in Central America and traveling for hundreds of miles to seek safety and protection in the United States.

Fifteen narrators describe why they fled their homes, what happened on their dangerous journeys through Mexico, how they crossed the borders, and for some, their ongoing struggles to survive in the United States. In an era of fear, xenophobia, and outright lies, these stories amplify the compelling voices of migrant youth. What can they teach us about abuse and abandonment, bravery and resilience, hypocrisy and hope? They bring us into their hearts and onto streets filled with the lure of freedom and fraught with violence. From fending off kidnappers with knives and being locked in freezing holding cells to tearful reunions with parents, Solito, Solita’s narrators bring to light the experiences of young people struggling for a better life across the border.

This collection includes the story of Adrián, from Guatemala City, whose mother was shot to death before his eyes. He refused to join a gang, rode across Mexico atop cargo trains, crossed the US border as a minor, and was handcuffed and thrown into ICE detention on his eighteenth birthday. We hear the story of Rosa, a Salvadoran mother fighting to save her life as well as her daughter’s after death squads threatened her family. Together they trekked through the jungles on the border between Guatemala and Mexico, where masked men assaulted them. We also meet Gabriel, who after surviving sexual abuse starting at the age of eight fled to the United States, and through study, legal support and work, is now attending UC Berkeley.

Butterfly by Yusra Mardini

Yusra Mardini fled her native Syria to the Turkish coast in 2015 and boarded a small dinghy full of refugees bound for Greece. When the small and overcrowded boat’s engine cut out, it began to sink. Yusra, her sister and two others took to the water, pushing the boat for three and a half hours in open water until they eventually landed on Lesbos, saving the lives of the passengers aboard. Butterfly is the story of that remarkable woman, whose journey started in a war-torn suburb of Damascus and took her through Europe to Berlin and from there to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Yusra Mardini is an athlete, one of People magazine’s twenty-five women changing the world, a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and one of Time Magazine’s thirty most influential teens of 2016.

Our favourite Southern gal Reece Witherspoon also has a hugely popular book club called Hello Sunshine. We love following along with what Reece is reading and just know you’ll enjoy her latest picks.

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

Sloane, Ardie, Grace, and Rosalita have worked at Truviv, Inc. for years. The sudden death of Truviv’s CEO means their boss, Ames, will likely take over the entire company. Each of the women has a different relationship with Ames, who has always been surrounded by whispers about how he treats women. Those whispers have been ignored, swept under the rug, hidden away by those in charge. But the world has changed, and the women are watching this promotion differently. This time, when they find out Ames is making an inappropriate move on a colleague, they aren’t willing to let it go. This time, they’ve decided enough is enough. Sloane and her colleagues’ decision to take a stand sets in motion a catastrophic shift in the office. Lies will be uncovered. Secrets will be exposed. And not everyone will survive. Explosive, timely, resonant and relatable. If you love Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies or Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, you will love Whisper Network.

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

Legal battles, lapses of logic and the joys and fears of motherhood are explored in this astute, funny and moving novel of a woman learning how to let go. People aren’t sure what to make of Susan Green. Family and colleagues find her prickly and hard to understand, but Susan makes perfect sense to herself, and that’s all she needs. At 45, she thinks her life is perfect, as long as she avoids her feckless brother, Edward, a safe distance away in Birmingham. She has a London flat which is ideal for one; a job that suits her passion for logic; and a personal arrangement providing cultural and other, more intimate, benefits. Yet suddenly faced with the loss of her mother and, implausibly, with the possibility of becoming a mother herself, Susan’s greatest fear is being realised: she is losing control. When she discovers that her mother’s will inexplicably favours her brother, Susan sets out to prove that Edward and his equally feckless friend Rob somehow coerced this dubious outcome. But when problems closer to home become increasingly hard to ignore, she finds help in the most unlikely of places. This sparkling debut is a breath of fresh air with real heart and a powerful emotional punch. In Susan we find a character as exasperating and delightful as The Rosie Project’s Don Tillman.

Enjoy!

Our top audiobooks and podcasts for when you don’t have time to sit and read

Some days it doesn’t seem as though there are enough hours left for relaxing with a book. Which is why we love a good podcast or an audio book. They make commuting so much more entertaining or educational (depending on the genre you like). 

We have had a dig around the internet and have made a list of the top trending audiobooks and podcasts that we know you’ll really enjoy, in fact many are on high rotation for us. If you have any others that you recommend, be sure to either comment below or jump onto instagram or facebook and let us know.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jews who survived Auschwitz and eventually made their home in Australia. In that terrible place, Lale was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – literally scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Lale used the infinitesimal freedom of movement that this position awarded him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive. If he had been caught, he would have been killed; many owed him their survival. 

There have been many books about the Holocaust – and there will be many more. What makes this one so memorable is Lale Sokolov’s incredible zest for life. He understood exactly what was in store for him and his fellow prisoners, and he was determined to survive – not just to survive but to leave the camp with his dignity and integrity intact, to live his life to the full. Terrible though this story is, it is also a story of hope and of courage. It is also – almost unbelievably – a love story. Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight, and he determined not only to survive himself but to ensure that Gita did, too. His story – their story – will make you weep, but you will also find it uplifting. It shows the very best of humanity in the very worst of circumstances. 

Like many survivors, Lale and Gita told few people their story after the war. They eventually made their way to Australia, where they raised a son and had a successful life. But when Gita died, Lale felt he could no longer carry the burden of their past alone. He chose to tell his story. 

How to be a Champion by Sarah Millican

Part autobiography, part self help, part confession, part celebration of being a common-or-garden woman, part collection of synonyms for nunny, Sarah Millican’s debut book delves into her super normal life with daft stories, funny tales and proper advice on how to get past life’s blips – like being good at school but not good at friends, the excitement of IBS and how to blossom post divorce. If you’ve ever worn glasses at the age of six, worn an off-the-shoulder gown with no confidence, been contacted by an old school bully, lived in your childhood bedroom in your thirties, been gloriously dumped in a Frankie and Benny’s, cried so much you felt great, been for a romantic walk with a dog, worn leggings two days in a row even though they smelt of wee from a distance, then this is your book. If you haven’t done those things but wish you had, this is your book. If you just want to laugh on a train/sofa/toilet or under your desk at work, this is your book.

12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson

Jordan Peterson’s work as a clinical psychologist has reshaped the modern understanding of personality, and now he has become one of the world’s most popular public thinkers, with his lectures on topics ranging from the Bible to romantic relationships drawing tens of millions of viewers. In an era of polarising politics, echo chambers and trigger warnings, his startling message about the value of personal responsibility and the dangers of ideology has resonated around the world. In this book, well actually this is the audiobook version, he combines ancient wisdom with decades of experience to provide twelve profound and challenging principles for how to live a meaningful life, from setting your house in order before criticising others to comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, not someone else today. Gripping, thought-provoking and deeply rewarding, 12 Rules for Life offers an antidote to the chaos in our lives: eternal truths applied to our modern problems.

Our current fav podcasts…

How to Curate Your Life with Lizzie Evans

SMUG founder Lizzie Evans launches her podcast ‘How to Curate Your Life – Work Life Balance for the Creative Entrepreneur’. After 10 years working as a creative entrepreneur in the design world, Lizzie has learnt a thing or two about setting up and running a creative business and managing a portfolio career. She has found that, if you’re in it for the long game, staying inspired and taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally is crucial. Lizzie has of course met lots of inspiring people along the way trying to do the same. This podcast aims to celebrate the creativity and entrepreneurial endeavours of inspiring individuals and get down into the nitty gritty of how people ‘Curate Their Lives’ so that work and other elements of their lives that are important to them, can all feel prioritised, nourishing and ultimately a success. We really enjoy this podcast…so much so that we are currently one of its sponsors.

The High Low with Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes 

The High Low is a weekly news, pop-culture and current affairs podcast which launched in February 2017.

Inspired by Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown, (a guest on the podcast, in fact) who coined the term ‘high low journalism’ in the 80s to denote an amalgamation of water-cooler gossip and hard-hitting cultural happenings, The High Low covers both the trivial and the political, from errant chin hair to Trumpian politics. The founding mantra is that there is no shame in asking questions – but reading (a lot) can help inform you.

How To Fail with Elizabeth Day

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is a podcast that celebrates the things that haven’t gone right. Every week, a new interviewee explores what their failures taught them about how to succeed better.

It is also a book. A book for anyone who has ever failed. Which means it’s a book for everyone. Part memoir, part manifesto, and including chapters on dating, work, sport, babies, families, anger and friendship, it is based on the simple premise that understanding why we fail ultimately makes us stronger. It’s a book about learning from our mistakes and about not being afraid. Uplifting, inspiring and rich in stories from Elizabeth’s own life, How to Fail reveals that failure is not what defines us; rather it is how we respond to it that shapes us as individuals. Because learning how to fail is actually learning how to succeed better. And everyone needs a bit of that.

Table Manners with Jessie Ware

Jessie Ware hosts a podcast about food, family, and the beautiful art of having a chat, direct from her very own dinner table. With a little bit of help from her chef extraordinaire mum Lennie, each week guests from the worlds of music, culture and politics drop by for a bite and a bit of a natter. Usually Jessie’s mum cooks up a storm and while the guest is wined and dined, they share amusing and inspiring moments about food in their lives. They have cooked and chatted to Yotam Ottolenghi, Nigella Lawson and Sandi Toksvig…their line up of guests never fails to entertain. 

Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young

The format is simple, a guest is invited to choose eight discs, a book and a luxury to take with them as they’re castaway on a mythical desert island. During the interview they explain their choices and discuss key moments in their lives, people and events that have influenced and inspired them and brought them to where they are today.

Journalist and broadcaster Kirsty Young opened her tenure as presenter by interviewing the illustrator Quentin Blake on 1st October 2006. Among her guests have been musicians Morrissey, Sir Tom Jones, Alice Cooper, and Barry Manilow, politicians Nick Clegg, Alex Salmond and Alan Johnson, actors Sir Michael Caine, Kathy Burke and June Spencer.

How I Built This with Guy Raz

Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists and the movements they built. It’s one of the most inspiring and interesting podcasts and is on high rotation in our office. Interviewees include James Dyson, Ben Cohen And Jerry Greenfield (the masters behind Ben and Jerry’s), Joe Gebbia from Airbnb fame and Whitney Wolf from Bumble. 

Enjoy! 

First-hand Tips from Top Leaders We Want to Learn From

Why do we love to read the memoirs of business leaders? The best ones are often a mix of relatable life stories, of the drama of persistent struggles, and of the excitement of eventual success.  This month we have been offering ideas around starting your own business – so for those of you on that career / business journey, here are some great stories about business leaders that offer a great balance of entertainment, education and inspiration.

Herding Tigers: Be the Leader that Creative People Need by Todd Henry


Todd Henry compares managing creatives to herding tigers – these brilliant, driven people are powerful beings who cannot be corralled but must be carefully, individually, and strategically led.  Creatives are usually valued for their individuality, originality, unconventional thinking – traits that may seem ‘difficult’ in more conventional teams.Herding Tigers shows that, by carefully balancing three key conditions – stability, challenge and freedom – managers can create a work environment that allows creatives to flourish, both individually and as a team.  While Herding Tigers is aimed at managers of creative teams – and is particularly useful for creatives-turned-managers – it offers thoughtful advice for anyone needing to manage a variety of personalities and working styles.

#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso 


Sophia Amoruso’s journey, from school dropout and shoplifter to successful entrepreneur, is so resonant that it has inspired a cultural movement and a Netflix show.  Being a #girlboss is about being in charge of your own life, and this memoir / business guide offers ideas on how to achieve this regardless of your talents and interests.  Luck and timing does play a part in Sophia’s success, but kudos to her for not shying away from the hard stuff – she clearly emphasises the importance of personal responsibility, vision, grit and patience.  #Girlboss is a fun, sassy read, with pithy advice grounded in good sense.  Great for young women looking for moral support as they enter the grownup world of work and business.  And if you are ready to put Sophia’s ideas into practice, there’s The Girlboss Workbook, packed with exercises, lists, ideas, and scribble room, to help you turn dreams into goals and plans.

Everything I Know about Love by Dolly Alderton

 
Once you’ve read this, you will want to share it with all your girlfriends and all the younger women you know.  Everything I Know About Love is the story of Dolly Alderton’s life as a twenty-something – hilarious, moving, and  unapologetically messy; and not just about romantic love, but about grief and the life-saving power of friendship too.  Dolly writes with an honesty that makes it super-relatable, yet better – because the clarity of her prose expresses everything better than you or I ever could. This new edition of Everything I Know About Love, published this year, contains a new chapter capturing Dolly’s thoughts on turning 30.

The Big Life: Embrace the Mess, Work your Side Hustle, Find a Monumental Relationship, and Become the Badass Babe You Were Meant to Be by Ann Shoket


Who wouldn’t want to be a Badass Babe?  Ann Shoket has written The Big Life for millenial women, but her book offers value to smart and ambitious women of any age.  Being the former editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine, Ann Shoket has spent years understanding what matters to Millenials; she understands that the definition of success is changing, and is more likely to be about having passion for your work, and control over your career direction, rather than about high status or income.  Ann also offers valuable insights into the thoughts and attitudes of Gen X / Baby Boomer bosses, helping Millenials manage upwards, and dispel negative assumptions about their working style.  Packed with actionable, personal advice from Ann and her group of Badass Babes – a networking community of high-profile, successful young women, The Big Life is like having your own big sister cheer squad.

The Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture for $200 and Turned it into a Global Brand by Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor


The Glitter Plan shares some similarities with #Girlboss – both offer a mix of memoir and business advice, sharing the stories of resourceful and determined women who grew small ideas into successful fashion brands.  Being the origin story of Juicy Couture, The Glitter Plan is also full of fun and glamour, celebrating its status as a celebrity favourite. Pamela and Gela’s friendship adds an interesting dimension to their success story – they work closely, as true equals, and their respect and regard for each other underpins their business decisions.  A good balance of entertaining biography and practical business tips, The Glitter Plan is a must-read for anyone dreaming of starting their own fashion label.

Radical Candor: How to Get What you Want by Saying What you Mean by Kim Scott


Criticism is hard to both give and take – culturally we associate it with aggression and humiliation, even if it’s well-meaning.  However, this is something a good leader and boss must learn to do – appropriate criticism can be essential  to achieving good results and maintaining a cohesive team.  Radical Candour is a framework for creating a safe and respectful environment to encourage constructive criticism.  Kim Scott, a former executive at Google and at Apple, first experienced Radical Candour when she was given some harsh-but-enlightening feedback by her then-boss, Sheryl Sandberg.  The key is for leaders to “Care Personally” – show that the criticism is to help the other person grow and improve – and “Challenge Directly” – be specific, focussing on behaviours rather than personality traits. More than just a guide on how to critique, Radical Candour helps to create a frank and positive culture that allows entire teams to thrive.

The best books to read when you need to switch off.

Switching off, digital detox, unplugging, taking time out…hiding. Whatever you call it, it’s okay. 

When life gets a little too much or we just need to take some time for ourselves we tend to reach for a book (or an e-reader…whatever works right?). But not just any book will do. While here at Team Booko we love reading business books, self help titles, autobiographies and all the Marie Kondo books, sometimes we just want to put our business brains away and be entertained. 

And because we know you love a recommendation, we have found the top six books that are sure to help you switch off and enjoy sitting on the beach (looking at you London) or curling up in front the fire (yep, that’s you Melbourne). 

So pop on your SPF or your woolly jumper and have a read. 

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

She’s back!!! the author of Eat Pray Love has given us another gem of a book. 

It is the summer of 1940. Nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris arrives in New York with her suitcase and sewing machine, exiled by her despairing parents. Although her quicksilver talents with a needle and commitment to mastering the perfect hair roll have been deemed insufficient for her to pass into her sophomore year of Vassar, she soon finds gainful employment as the self-appointed seamstress at the Lily Playhouse, her unconventional Aunt Peg’s charmingly disreputable Manhattan revue theatre. There, Vivian quickly becomes the toast of the showgirls, transforming the trash and tinsel only fit for the cheap seats into creations for goddesses. Exile in New York is no exile at all – here in this strange wartime city of girls, Vivian and her girlfriends mean to drink the heady highball of life itself to the last drop. And when the legendary English actress Edna Watson comes to the Lily to star in the company’s most ambitious show ever, Vivian is entranced by the magic that follows in her wake. But there are hard lessons to be learned, and bitterly regrettable mistakes to be made. Vivian learns that to live the life she wants, she must live many lives, ceaselessly and ingeniously making them new. ‘At some point in a woman’s life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time. After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is,’ she confides. And so Vivian sets forth her story, and that of the women around her women who have lived as they truly are, out of step with a century that could never quite keep up with them.

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella has a knack of making us snort with laugher, cry with a character and slunk with recognition of our own behaviour mirrored in her books. And she’s got another goodie for us to read. 

This is a story of love, empowerment and an IOU that changes everything . . .Fixie Farr can’t help herself. Straightening a crooked object, removing a barely-there stain, helping out a friend . . . she just has to put things right. It’s how she got her nickname, after all. So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees, she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank her, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, scribbles her an IOU – but of course Fixie never intends to call in the favour. That is, until her teenage crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and needs her help – and Fixie turns to Seb. But things don’t go according to plan, and now Fixie owes Seb: big time. Soon the pair are caught up in a series of IOUs – from small favours to life-changing debts – and Fixie is torn between the past she’s used to and the future she deserves. Does she have the courage to fix things for herself and fight for the life, and love, she really wants? 

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Ever wonder what your therapist is really thinking? Now you can find out …

Meet Lori Gottlieb, an insightful and compassionate therapist whose clients present with all kinds of problems. There’s the struggling new parents; the older woman who feels she has nothing to live for; the self-destructive young alcoholic; and the terminally ill 35-year-old newlywed. And there’s John, a narcissistic television producer, who frankly just seems to be a bit of a jerk. Over the course of a year, they all make progress.

But Gottlieb is not just a therapist – she’s also a patient who’s on a journey of her own. Interspersed with the stories of her clients are her own therapy sessions, as Gottlieb goes in search of the hidden roots of a devastating and life-changing event.

Personal, revealing, funny, and wise, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone opens a rare window onto a world that is most often bound by secrecy, offering an illuminating tour of a profoundly private process.

Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Technically this isn’t a light fiction book that makes our world disappear for a moment…but we couldn’t resist popping this one in. We all need to learn how to rest anyway. 

In our 24/7 global economy, rest feels like a luxury at best and a weakness at worst. We see work and rest as competitors – but what if they’re actually partners in a productive, balanced life? Blending rigorous scientific research with examples of writers, painters and thinkers – from Darwin to Stephen King – Silicon Valley futurist and business consultant Alex Soojung-Kim Pang exposes how we’ve underestimated the power of rest for our success. Though it’s as natural as breathing, it’s also a skill we can all learn to boost our creativity and productivity. Full of tips for upping our downtime, from sleep to hobbies to vacation, Rest is a new roadmap for finding renewed energy and inspiration, and getting more done.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us – blazingly – about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney’s second novel breathes fiction with new life. Check out Sally’s first novel Conversations with Friends here

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Keiko has never really fitted in. At school and university people find her odd and her family worries she’ll never be normal. To appease them, Keiko takes a job at a newly opened convenience store. Here, she finds peace and purpose in the simple, daily tasks and routine interactions. She is, she comes to understand, happiest as a convenience store worker. But in Keiko’s social circle it just won’t do for an unmarried woman to spend all her time stacking shelves and re-ordering green tea. As pressure mounts on Keiko to find either a new job, or worse, a husband, she is forced to take desperate action. Convenience Store Woman is a best-seller in Japan, and the winner of the prestigious Akutagawa Prize. This is the English-language debut of a writer who has been hailed as the most exciting voice of her generation. 

Enjoy!

The best books to help with your copywriting

Ugh. There is nothing worse than staring at a blank screen (or piece of paper if you’re old school) and willing inspiration to hit. Earlier this week we asked for your top tips for getting through the dreaded writers block, be sure to jump onto instagram and facebook to join in the conversation. 

Copywriting is a tricky game. Sometimes we can sit and write with ease but when we reread it, it fails to excite or inspire us. We have so been there but luckily have found a handful of books that are amazing. These little gems will help you shape your copy to really connect with your audience, and also offer tips and tricks to get you started. 

So sit back, have a read with a cup of tea and prepare to be inspired. 

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

This is an oldie but a goodie. When Lynne Truss wrote her “small book on punctuation”, she had no idea that it would become a bestseller that reinvigorates interest in the niceties of the English language. Eats, Shoots & Leaves is more than a guide to punctuation use, it is also a lament and a call-to-arms. Through amusing anecdotes drawn from history, literature, and real signage, Lynne Truss discusses the origin and history of different punctuations and how they should be used. Eats, Shoots & Leaves manages to be witty, informative and compulsively readable, because it shows that misplaced or absent punctuation can change the meaning of sentences in dramatic and funny ways.

Copywrong to Copywriter by Tait Ischia 

This beautifully designed book is a little gem. It’s packed from cover to cover with tips for writing clearly, with the perfect tone and with strategic purpose. It’s a great tool for small business owners, copywriters and design studios. If you’re planning a career as a copywriter, it’ll help you to explain the basic concepts to your clients. Discover how to make words work in your favour while learning the fundamentals to write your own copy. Reading, and digesting, this book will increase your knowledge, skill and confidence.

Persuasive Copywriting by Andy Maslen

With the majority of creative professionals developing their skills on the job, it is notoriously difficult to benchmark successful copy. This book provides a step up for those who already know the basics, and are seeking more advanced, psychology-driven techniques to gain the competitive edge. With practical insight into human decision making and consumer engagement, it inspires the clear-cut confidence needed to create, quantify and sell stand out copy in a cluttered marketplace.

This second edition of Persuasive Copywriting complements the “how to” perspective of copywriting, with impressive interviews from leading ad agencies and copywriters across the globe, addressing day to day issues faced in a multitude of roles. Updates include practical advice to measure and benchmark effective copy, guidance on creating and critiquing briefs, plus four new chapters on how to weave copywriting skills into the wider industry. These cover particularly useful ground around storytelling, content marketing and the impact of evolving channels like mobile and social media. Practical and inspiring, it is a vibrant, all-encompassing guide to copywriting; an essential for your bookshelf.

The Copy Book by D&AD

In 1995, the D&AD published a book on the art of writing for advertising. The then best-selling book remains an important reference work today -a bible for creative directors. D&AD and TASCHEN have joined forces to bring you an updated and redesigned edition of the publication. Regarded as the most challenging field in advertising, copywriting is usually left to the most talented professionals, often agency leaders or owners themselves. The book features a work selection and essays by 53 leading professionals in the world, including copywriting superstars such as David Abbott, Lionel Hunt, Steve Hayden, Dan Wieden, Neil French, Mike Lescarbeau, Adrian Holmes, and Barbara Nokes. The lessons to be learned on these pages will help you create clearer and more persuasive arguments, whether you are writing an inspiring speech, an engaging web banner or a persuasive letter. This is not simply a “must-have” book for people in advertising and marketing, it is also a “should-have” for anyone who needs to involve or influence people, by webpage, on paper, or in person.

The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick

*Technically* this isn’t a book on copywriting but is a great book on having conversations with your customers so we just had to include it. The Mom Test is a quick, practical guide that will save you time, money, and heartbreak. They say you shouldn’t ask your mum whether your business is a good idea, because she loves you and will lie to you. This is technically true, but it misses the point. You shouldn’t ask anyone if your business is a good idea. It’s a bad question and everyone will lie to you at least a little . As a matter of fact, it’s not their responsibility to tell you the truth. It’s your responsibility to find it and it’s worth doing right. Talking to customers is one of the foundational skills of both Customer Development and Lean Startup. We all know we’re supposed to do it, but nobody seems willing to admit that it’s easy to screw up and hard to do right. This book is going to show you how customer conversations go wrong and how you can do better.

Draft No. 4 by John McPhee

Draft No. 4 is a master class on the writer’s craft. In a series of playful, expertly wrought essays, John McPhee shares insights he has gathered over his career and has refined while teaching at Princeton University, where he has nurtured some of the most esteemed writers of recent decades. McPhee offers definitive guidance in the decisions regarding arrangement, diction, and tone that shape nonfiction pieces, and he presents extracts from his work, subjecting them to wry scrutiny. In one essay, he considers the delicate art of getting sources to tell you what they might not otherwise reveal. In another, he discusses how to use flashback to place a bear encounter in a travel narrative while observing that “readers are not supposed to notice the structure. It is meant to be about as visible as someone’s bones.” The result is a vivid depiction of the writing process, from reporting to drafting to revising―and revising, and revising.

Draft No. 4 is enriched by multiple diagrams and by personal anecdotes and charming reflections on the life of a writer. McPhee describes his enduring relationships with The New Yorker and Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and recalls his early years at Time magazine. Throughout, Draft No. 4 is enlivened by his keen sense of writing as a way of being in the world.

Enjoy!

Best Books for Business Startups

So it was our birthday this week. We turned 12 and boy are we excited.  

Taking an idea and turning it into a thriving business is a dream for many entrepreneurs and one of the best ways to make sure you can do this is to learn and listen to those you admire who have also been through the process. That’s why we are super excited about this week’s blog. Today we’re sharing some the the most recommended books for business startups in today’s digital world. We hope they will inspire you to take your idea to the next level. 

So get your pen and paper ready (well actually it’d be easier to just add them to your list in Booko or set an alert for the price you want to pay for them), here we go…

Atomic Habits by James Clear 

If we had a $1 for every time someone recommended this book on a podcast…oh boy. It’s no surprise this book is a New York Times bestseller. 

An atomic habit is defined as a small habit with big results. People say when you want to change your life, you need to think big, swap jobs, move house, change partners. But they’re wrong. World-renowned habits expert James Clear has discovered a completely different way to transform your behaviour. He knows that lasting change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of tiny decisions – doing two push-ups a day, waking up five minutes early, or holding a single short phone call. He calls them atomic habits. In Atomic Habits, Clear delves into cutting-edge psychology to explain why your brain can amplify these small changes into huge consequences. He uncovers a handful of simple life hacks (the forgotten art of Habit Stacking, or the unexpected power of the Two Minute Rule), to show how you, too, turn minuscule shifts in behaviour into life-transforming outcomes. And he reveals a simple four-stage method that will let you build atomic habits into your day-to-day routine, starting now. These nuclear changes will have an explosive effect on your career, your relationships and your life.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz 


This book is currently sitting on my nightstand and I am 3/4 of the way through. It’s amazing. 

Ben Horowitz is the cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs. In this book he offers essential advice on building and running a startup and practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover.

While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyses the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favourite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.

Filled with his trademark humour and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz’s personal and often humbling experiences.

The Crowdsourceress by Alex Daly

In the past few years, crowdfunding platforms helped generate a staggering $34 USD billion dollars in funding. But the harsh reality is that the majority of crowdfunding campaigns fail: only 40% meet their goals. And failing means failing hard. If you fall short of your goal by the deadline, not only won’t you see any of the money you’ve worked so hard to raise, but you might actually tarnish your shiny idea. Alex Daly is a hugely successful crowdfunding expert who has run some of Kickstarter’s biggest campaigns, from TLC’s new album to Neil Young’s music player to Joan Didion’s documentary “We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live.” In this book, she shows you how to build a deep fan base prior to launch, understand the psychology of why people give and create the right narrative around your project, find the right platform on which to raise funds, deal with unfulfilled promises and angry backers, create intimacy and promote shareability of your project and the best use of influence and exclusivity to get funded. Woven throughout is Alex’s own entrepreneurial story and the unconventional career path she took to ultimately start her business, Vann Alexandra, thanks to crowdfunding.Daly takes us deep into her most successful campaigns, showing how she helped them get funded. As someone who’s spent lots of time in the trenches, she has learned the hard way how to communicate and connect with people on the Internet-and offers tangible tools to run your own crowdfunding campaigns. Above all, this is a book about how to fully connect with the crowd, get people to pay attention, and inspire them to act.

Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba

This is the essential career handbook for creative working women. It’s the modern career guide every creative woman needs, whether you’re just starting out or already have years of experience. Packed with fresh ideas and no-nonsense practical advice, this travel-sized career handbook is guaranteed to become your go-to resource when it comes to building the career you want.

Writer Otegha Uwagba takes you through everything you need to build a successful self-made career: from how to negotiate a payrise to building a killer personal brand, via a crash course in networking like a pro, and tips for overcoming creative block. Plus Little Black Book is full of indispensable advice on how to thrive as a freelancer, and an entire chapter dedicated to helping you master the tricky art of public speaking.

With contributions from trailblazing creative women including acclaimed author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Refinery29 co-founder Piera Gelardi, The Gentlewoman’s Editor in Chief Penny Martin, and many more, Little Black Book is a curation of essential wisdom and hard-won career insights. Whether you’re a thinker, a maker, an artist or an entrepreneur, you’ll find plenty of inspiration for your working life here.

Playing Big by Tara Mohr

This book was named Book of the year by Apple’s iBooks. 

Tara Mohr is a groundbreaking women’s leadership expert and popular conference speaker who gives women the practical skills to voice and implement the changes they want to see in themselves and in the world. In her coaching and programs for women, Tara Mohr saw how women were “playing small” in their lives and careers, were frustrated by it, and wanted to “play bigger.” She has devised a proven way for them to achieve their dreams by playing big from the inside out. 

While not all women aspire to end up in the corner office, every woman aspires to something. Playing Big fills a major gap among women’s career books; it isn’t just for corporate women. The book offers tools to help every woman play bigger whether she’s an executive, community volunteer, artist, or stay-at-home mum.

The Creative Curve by Allen Gannett

Big data entrepreneur Allen Gannett overturns the mythology around creative genius, and reveals the science and secrets behind achieving breakout commercial success in any field. We have been spoon-fed the notion that creativity is the province of genius of those favoured, brilliant few whose moments of insight arrive in unpredictable flashes of divine inspiration.  And if we are not a genius, we might as well pack it in and give up. Either we have that gift, or we don’t.  But Allen shows that simply isn’t true.  Recent research has shown that there is a predictable science behind achieving commercial success in any creative endeavour, from writing a popular novel to starting up a successful company to creating an effective marketing campaign.  

As the world’s most creative people have discovered, we are enticed by the novel and the familiar. By understanding the mechanics of what Gannett calls “the creative curve”, the point of optimal tension between the novel and the familiar, everyone can better engineer mainstream success.  

In a thoroughly entertaining book that describes the stories and insights of everyone from the Broadway team behind Dear Evan Hansen, to the founder of Reddit, from the Chief Content Officer of Netflix to Michelin star chefs, Gannett reveals the four laws of creative success and identifies the common patterns behind their achievement.

Enjoy!

Opening our eyes and hearts to refugees

Do you know that Refugee Week has been observed in Australia for over 30 years?

Refugee Week is celebrated annually in mid June, incorporating World Refugee Day on June 20.  This is a time when Australians can acknowledge the contributions that refugees and asylum seekers have made to our country, and also for us to learn about the challenges many refugees face as they re-establish themselves and their communities in a new land.

The theme for this year’s Refugee Week is “A World of Stories” – reminding us that each refugee seeking safety has their own story of why they left home, and what they had to do to find safety. Readers who want to learn, and understand, the current conflicts and refugee situations will find these stories powerful and enlightening:

First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrant and Refugees Who Make America Great by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace

In the tradition of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls comes this collection of mini biographies celebrating the achievements of some very special first-generation immigrants and former refugees.  From musician Yo-yo Ma to scientist Albert Einstein, from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to tennis champion Martina Navratilova, this collection of high achievers span different ethnicities, religions, and professions.  And despite the America-centric title, many of their contributions have impacted / benefitted the entire world.  First Generation also offers a powerful reminder on how a safe environment, personal freedoms and educational opportunities help people realise their potential.

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

In Viet Thanh Nguyen’s mind, the experience of becoming a refugee – unwanted where they come from, unwanted where they go to – brands you forever.  He explores this idea in the eight short stories that comprise The Refugees.  These are not stories about escaping war, nor even about adapting to new cultures; they are simply stories of love, loss, memory and family – melancholy stories seen through the prism of the refugee experience.  Viet Thanh Nguyen is a respected academic who has become a literary star since winning the Pulitzer Prize (and several other awards) with his first novel, The Sympathizer.  The Refugees is his first collection of short stories. 

Stepping Stones: a Refugee Family’s Journey by Margriet Ruurs and Nizar Ali Badr

Canadian writer Margriet Ruurs was inspired by the art of Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr to create this book – they didn’t know each other and had never met, but managed to collaborate despite the distance between their two countries, and the political turmoil in Syria.  Stepping Stones tells the story of Rama and her family, who live a happy, peaceful life in Syria until war comes.  As bombs fall ever closer to their village, Rama’s family flees with only a few belongings, travelling overland and across the seas until they find a safe, new home. Nizar Ali Badr’s distinctive illustrations are made by arranging multicoloured stones – into characters and scenes with surprising levels of emotion and humour.  Stepping Stones is an excellent way to introduce the topic of war and refugees to young readers.

Homes by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah with Winnie Yeung

Abu Bakr al Rabeeah was a young teen when he confided his dream to his English teacher: he wanted to tell his story of growing up in Iraq and Syria, and of his family’s journey to safety in Canada.  He noticed that his fellow Canadians knew little about the situation in the Middle East, and wanted to challenge those who wanted to define his family only by their experience as refugees.  Eight months later, Abu achieved his dream with the help of his teacher, Winnie Yeung.  Homes is a gripping first-person account of growing up in a war zone.  The horrors of war are interwoven with ordinary childhood pursuits in a way that shocks the reader – flying kites with cousins among bombed-out buildings; playing with shell casings in the street – yet Abu’s childhood is not without love, or fun.  

I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See by Giles Duley

Giles Duley is a photojournalist who is best known for documenting the long-term impact of war.  Despite losing both legs and an arm during an explosion whilst on assignment, he has continued his work as a photographer, reporting the stories of refugees not to evoke pity, but to encourage empathy and to inspire change.  I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See is a record of the refugee crisis in Europe during 2015/6.  Giles Duley travelled through Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan, through the Balkans and to Greece and Germany, to retrace the journeys of people forced to flee their homes in the Middle East to seek safety in Europe.  Profits from the sale of this book will be donated to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR).

We are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World by Malala Yousafzai

In We Are Displaced, Malala Yousafzai uses her considerable public profile to highlight the issue of displacement – people forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution or natural disaster.  This is a much more widespread problem than most people realise – happening all around the world, affecting more than 68 million people, mostly women and girls. Starting with Malala’s own experience of internal displacement within Pakistan while escaping from Taliban rule, we are introduced to eight other girls, from countries as diverse as Yemen, Syria, Guatemala and the Congo, and their stories of displacement and disruption (and often discrimination as well).  These accounts are powerfully personal, confronting, and ultimately hopeful, as these resilient girls rebuild their lives in new communities.

The best self help books that can help you decide what’s important

Self help books are one of the most popular genres in the world. There are thousands and thousands of titles to choose from and it can get a little over whelming. Some titles focus on discovering who you are, uncovering your strengths, and passions. Others take a different approach and teach us to take on qualities we aspire to. Sometimes a book comes along and really speaks to us, challenging our mindset and making us think about what’s really important. These are our favourite ones.

We’ve had a hunt around the internet and have found some of the best that we think will help you decide what’s really important to you. 

What do you really, really want? by Kevin Stebbings

What matters most to you? What keeps you from living a life of joy and purpose? In this unique narrative of life changing conversations, Kevin Stebbings offers an authentic framework for overcoming the distractions of life to rediscover what you really, really want.

He draws on the proven ideas and practices from the world of coaching to create a highly original and insightful book that will teach you how to discover your purpose, pursue your dreams, and achieve your goals.

You are invited into the story of two individuals who seek the help of a coach to find answers to life’s challenges. Their stories illuminate a path that you can follow to answer these questions: How do I overcome my tendency to procrastinate? What does it take to learn to say ‘no’ graciously and with confidence? How can I move beyond my fear of failure and start pursuing my dreams? What can I do to be more focused and less distracted? Stebbings uses coaching conversations to show us how to put our insights into practice so that we can live with passion and hope. What Do You Really, Really Want? is a compelling story with a powerful, yet simple message to empower you to live a life that is aligned with what matters most.

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Technically this book was written to help businesses and brands but in reality the messages in this book are applicable to more than that. After watching Sinek’s Ted Talk (you can view it here) we believe that asking and finding your ‘why’ can really help you hone in on what is important. 

There’s a naturally occurring pattern shared by the people and organisations that achieve the greatest long-term success. From Martin Luther King Jr. to Steve Jobs, from the pioneers of aviation to the founders of Southwest Airlines, the most inspiring leaders think, act, and communicate the exact same way-and it’s the complete opposite of everyone else. The common thread, according to Simon Sinek, is that they all start with why. This simple question has the power to inspire others to achieve extraordinary things. Any organisation can explain what it does; some can explain how; but very few can clearly articulate why. Why do we offer these particular products or services? Why do our customers choose us? Why do our employees stay (or leave)? Once you have those answers, teams get stronger, the mission clicks into place, and the path ahead becomes much clearer. Starting with why is the key to everything from putting a man on the moon to launching the iPod. Drawing on a wide range of fascinating examples, Sinek shows readers how to apply why to their culture, hiring decisions, product development, sales, marketing, and many other challenges. Some naturally think this way, but Sinek proves that anyone can learn how. 

Simon’s also written another book, Find Your Why, which you can find here

You are a badass by Jen Sinecero

You Are A Badass is the self-help book for people who desperately want to improve their lives but don’t want to get busted doing it. In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, bestselling author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word, helping you to identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviours that stop you from getting what you want, creating a life you totally love, and make some damn money already (the kind you’ve never made before). By the end of the book, you’ll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change, how to change what you don’t love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass. It’s a great read.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

Every time we are introduced to someone new, try to be creative, or start a difficult conversation, we take a risk. We feel uncertain and exposed. We feel vulnerable. Most of us try to fight those feelings – we strive to appear perfect. In a powerful new vision Dr. Brené Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability, and dispels the widely accepted myth that it’s a weakness. She argues that, in truth, vulnerability is strength and when we shut ourselves off from vulnerability – from revealing our true selves – we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives. Daring Greatly is the culmination of 12 years of groundbreaking social research, across every area of our lives including home, relationships, work, and parenting. It is an invitation to be courageous; to show up and let ourselves be seen, even when there are no guarantees. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly.

Brené Brown has one of the most watched Ted Talks (you can view it here) and her Netflix special was launched earlier this year (you can view the trailer here)

I thought It Was Just Me by Brené Brown

While we are diving into the inspiring world that Brené Brown opens us up to, we have another one of her books for you to read. 

The quest for perfection is exhausting and unrelenting. We spend too much precious time and energy managing perception and creating carefully edited versions of ourselves to show to the world. As hard as we try, we can’t seem to turn off the tapes that fill our heads with messages like, ‘Never good enough!’ and ‘What will people think?’ Why? What fuels this unattainable need to look like we always have it all together? At first glance we might think it’s because we admire perfection, but that’s not the case. We are actually the most attracted to people we consider to be authentic and down-to-earth. We love people who are ‘real’ – we’re drawn to those who both embrace their imperfections and radiate self-acceptance. There is a constant barrage of social expectations that teach us that being imperfect is synonymous with being inadequate. Everywhere we turn, there are messages that tell us who, what and how we’re supposed to be. So, we learn to hide our struggles and protect ourselves from shame, judgment, criticism and blame by seeking safety in pretending and perfection. Based on seven years of ground-breaking research and hundreds of interviews, I Thought It Was Just Me shines a long-overdue light on an important truth: Our imperfections are what connect us to each other and to our humanity. Our vulnerabilities are not weaknesses; they are powerful reminders to keep our hearts and minds open to the reality that we’re all in this together.

Girl, Stop Apologising by Rachel Hollis

I believe we can change the world. But first, we’ve got to stop living in fear of being judged for who we are.”

Rachel Hollis has seen it too often: women not living into their full potential. They feel a tugging on their hearts for something more, but they’re afraid of embarrassment, of falling short of perfection, of not being enough. In Girl, Stop Apologising, #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of a multimillion-dollar media company, Rachel Hollis sounds a wake-up call. She knows that many women have been taught to define themselves in light of other people-whether as wife, mother, daughter, or employee-instead of learning how to own who they are and what they want. With a challenge to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviours to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and believing in yourself. Rachel’s written another inspiring book that we love, it’s called Girl, Wash Your Face and you can find it here.

Enjoy!

The top books that can help us slow down

Balance. Apparently we’re all meant to find it, embrace it and have it all of the time. The problem is, when we are busy it just ends up being yet another thing added to our ever-growing to do lists. The slow movement is one that isn’t new. There are cultures around the world that do not embrace being busy and rushing about and certainly don’t consider the idea of being stressed as a badge of honour. When we slow down we can take time to reflect on what’s important, see the bigger picture when we have problems, and find things that truly make us happy. 

In a effort to help you find a moment to yourself we have scoured the internet and collated a number of great books that all discuss the notion of slowing down. So pour yourself a cup of tea and find somewhere comfy to sit for five minutes for a readyou never know, it may be just what you need. 

Rushing Woman’s Syndrome by Dr Libby Weaver

In this book, nutritional biochemist Dr Libby Weaver explains the true cost of constantly rushing and the impact this can have on our health. Through these pages you’ll learn how and why your body interprets constant rushing as a ‘stress’, how an imbalanced nervous system may be causing you to gain weight or disrupting your sleep, why you feel tired but wired and how to identify if you have adrenal fatigue, whether stress might be behind your sluggish thyroid, how daily stressors may be affecting your sex-hormone balance and contributing to issues such as PMS, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, infertility, and debilitating menopause symptoms, why stress could be at the heart of your bloating, cravings or unpredictable appetite and how your emotional landscape holds the key to leading a fulfilling life without the need to rush. This book offers real solutions to restore your health, so that you can stay productive, healthy and energised in today’s world. Don’t let it take a health crisis to wake you up to change the way you’re living and get to the heart of what’s driving your rush, allowing you to live a more meaningful life that you love.

The flourish formula, and overachiever’s guide to slowing down by Courtney Pinkerton

Courtney Pinkerton reveals a simple yet comprehensive process that will help you slow down and accomplish and savour more of what is important to you. Courtney shares eight powerful mindset and mind-body techniques to help you break out of the “busyness fog” so you can contribute your unique professional and creative gifts and thrive in your personal life. The Flourish Formula is a bit of a self-care manual that every overachieving woman should read. Every page offers fresh insights about how to lean back before you can lean in. 

It’s about time by Valorie Burton

Our culture makes it so that even the most organised and efficient among us feels the pressure of the ticking clock and the possibility and regret of missing out. Modern life has evolved in a way that sets us up for stress, pressure, and overload. New norms and attitudes tap into deeply-wired psychological impulses that make it harder than ever to take control of your time. On top of that, many of us also have innate personality traits that make the struggle even worse. No wonder time can become a tyrant that leaves us chronically stressed and discontented. In It’s About Time, you can unlock an approach to life that bestselling author Valorie Burton calls “living timelessly.” You will come to understand the gradual changes that have led us to a place where having too much to do and too little time to do it is the norm, the vision for what it could look like if you were free from the stress of time and how to blast through the obstacles to those possibilities, and the practical steps to choosing the meaningful over the urgent so that your life is unhurried yet purposeful and reflects the values and impact that are unique to you.

It’s About Time helps you reimagine a life that is meaningful, at a pace that is natural, with a load that is doable and equips you with the tools to make it happen.

Ostro by Julia Nishimura

For some of us the way to slow down is not by sitting still, it’s by doing something…something meaningful. If you’re one of those ‘active slow downers’ then Ostro is for you. Since launching Ostro online in 2014, Julia Busuttil Nishimura has gained a strong and loyal following for her generous, uncomplicated, seasonal food. As an Australian of Maltese descent and a fluent Italian speaker, who is married to a Japanese man, Julia and her food represent everything that is good about modern Australian eating. She deftly brings together a broad range of cuisines and culinary influences using the very best produce on offer. This truly is good food, made by hand. Julia guides us through the uniquely satisfying experience of making pasta or pizza dough from scratch, clearly explaining the processes and demystifying the reasons behind them. She also shares plenty of simple, flavourful salads and one-tray bakes for days when time is scarce. Baking and desserts, too, needn’t be overly complicated – as Julia shows us, some of the best go-to recipes are the ones passed down the generations. But we also need the odd show-stopper on standby for special occasions! This is simple food that is comforting and generous in spirit. Slow down, take your time and enjoy it.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

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. this is a great read. You can check out Gretchen’s other work here

The Art Of Simple by Eleanor Ozich

This book has the potential to be life changing. I read this in a day and absolutely loved it. When Eleanor Ozich moved to the outskirts of the city with her husband and young family she set about enjoying a much calmer way of life. Shedding unnecessary clutter and adopting a simpler style of living, Eleanor found herself with more time and energy to appreciate her family and friends and the natural beauty that surrounded her. In this, her third book, Eleanor shares recipes and ideas she has embraced in her quest to cherish life’s simple pleasures. Alongside recipes for nourishing meals you’ll find practical ideas to declutter your home, get your children to sleep and bring order to your day. There are also instructions for making natural beauty products and household cleaners, which promise to cost you less and be kinder to you and the environment. The author of My Petite Kitchen and My Family Table, in this book Eleanor unlocks the secrets to a more fulfilling life.

Enjoy!