Tag Archives: #imclever

Getting motivated in 2021; The best self-help books on the market

2021 is a year that comes with big expectations and even bigger dreams. After the whirlwind year that was 2020 everyone is banking on this year being so much brighter. While the start was a bit rocky here in Australia with new outbreaks of Covid we are still gearing up for a year where we get to take charge and dream big. The motivational and self-help genres are hugely popular and we have chosen a few of our favourites to help you get motivated to hit your 2021 goals. 

The Right-brain Workout 2 by Russel Howcroft and Alex Wadelton

Are you out of ideas? Feel your creativity drying up? Is brain fog taking over your life? Give your right brain a workout with the experts. In just ten weeks, you can reignite your imagination and tap into the creative potential inside you. Following on from the highly successful Right-brain Workout Vol 1, here are seventy more questions posed by some of Australia’s most innovative individuals – creatives from the world of comedy, film, literature, art, photography and advertising – designed to help you to think outside the box to unleash your inner genius. You wanted more, and Russel Howcroft and Alex Wadelton have delivered.

Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight 

From the author of the bestselling book everyone is talking about, The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F%*k. The no-fks-given, no-holds-barred guide to living your best life. Ever find yourself snowed under at the office, or even just glued to the sofa, when you really want to get out (for once), get to the gym (at last), and get started on that daunting dream project you’re always putting off? Then it’s time to get your sh*t together. In The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F%*k, ‘anti-guru’ Sarah Knight introduced the joys of mental decluttering. Get Your Sh*t Together takes you one stop further – organising the f*cks you want and need to give to help you quit your day job and move abroad, balance work and fun, and save money while you’re at it, or simply get out of the door for happy hour, every day.

The Now of Work by Lisa Messenger

For more than 19 years Lisa Messenger has had the absolute pleasure of inspiring game-changers, thought-leaders, stylemakers, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs across the world. After the crisis of COVID-19 the world was suddenly faced with a new way of working, people felt, and are still feeling overwhelmed and lost. The Now of Work takes you through all the steps needed to be able to thrive in a work from home environment. It covers practical, actionable ways for creating location freedom, as a solopreneur, entrepreneur or intrapreneur. You can see Lisa’s other books here.

Speak Your Truth by Fearne Cotton

Fearne Cotton’s voice is familiar to millions, whether that’s through television, radio or on her hugely successful Happy Place podcast. Her voice is her career, her livelihood and the way she communicates with her audience and her loved ones. So, when Fearne’s doctor told her she was at risk of needing a throat operation followed by two weeks of being unable to speak, she found herself facing a period of unexpected contemplation. As she considered what silence would mean, Fearne began to think about other times her voice had gone unheard as a young woman, as ‘just the talent’, as the foil to louder, more dominant figures. She found herself wondering, at what point do we internalise this message, and start silencing ourselves? When do we swallow down our authentic words to become pleasers and compromisers at the cost of our own happiness or wellbeing? Speak Your Truth dives into all the ways we learn to stay quiet for the wrong reasons, and explores how to find your voice, assert yourself and speak out with confidence. Brave, vulnerable and deeply personal, Speak Your Truth shares Fearne’s compelling story and helps you to shape your own.

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell

The routine traffic stop that ends in tragedy. The spy who spends years undetected at the highest levels of the Pentagon. The false conviction of Amanda Knox. Why do we so often get other people wrong? Why is it so hard to detect a lie, read a face or judge a stranger’s motives? Through a series of encounters and misunderstandings, from history, psychology and infamous legal cases, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual adventure into the darker side of human nature, where strangers are never simple and misreading them can have disastrous consequences. No one challenges our shared assumptions like Malcolm Gladwell. Here he uses stories of deceit and fatal errors to cast doubt on our strategies for dealing with the unknown, inviting us to rethink our thinking in these troubled times. You can see Malcolm’s other books here.

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to be Calm in a Busy World by Haemin Sunim

The world moves fast, but that doesn’t mean we have to. In this timely guide to mindfulness, Haemin Sunim, a Buddhist monk born in Korea and educated in the United States, offers advice on everything from handling setbacks to dealing with rest and relationships, in a beautiful book combining his teachings with calming full-colour illustrations. Haemin Sunim’s simple messages, which he first wrote when he responded to requests for advice on social media, speak directly to the anxieties that have become part of modern life and remind us of the strength and joy that come from slowing down. Hugely popular in Korea, Haemin Sunim is a Zen meditation teacher whose teachings transcend religion, borders and ages. With insight and compassion drawn from a life full of change, the bestselling monk succeeds at encouraging all of us to notice that when you slow down, the world slows down with you.

Enjoy. 

Planning the new year in style (the best notebooks, diaries and planners) for 2021

January marks the start of a new year full of promises, fresh resolutions and plans to get things done. It’s also the time of year where we all vouch to become slightly better organised making it the perfect time to get yourself a new diary. Diaries and planners are come in so many shapes, sizes and formats. There are online versions that sit in the cloud and can be accessed from multiple devices, there are paper ones that weigh down you bag, tiny ones that slip into pockets, ones that offer daily motivational snippets and ones made to look pretty on a desk. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourites for you. 

Leuchtturm1917 Notebook A7 Plain Lemon

It’s got 169 numbered pages, a blank table of contents, handy little pocket in the inside cover large enough to store business cards and other treasure. A page marker and elastic band fastener and it’s bright yellow. What more could you want than a notebook screaming of sunshine and bright times ahead?

Leuchtturm may be a brand that we can’t pronounce but it’s one you’ll find yourself being loyal to. Founded more than 100 years ago, Leuchtturm1917 is a cult icon amongst lovers of fine stationery. With a classic air of simplicity and unmistakable attention to detail on show in their range of notebooks and diaries, Leuchtturm1917’s time-tested designs continue to be the standard by which others are measured.

Moleskine Weekly Planner 2021

Begin the new year with this hugely popular weekly 12-month planner which covers the entire year, from January to December 2021, with a page dedicated to every day of the week for a complete view. The Moleskine Weekly Planner allows you to have a complete view of the entire week on the left, while on the right it includes a ruled page for notes just like the classic notebook.

These planners include a special insert of 295 coloured stickers to personalise your weekly planner: 1 sheet of alphabet stickers and 2 sheets of icon stickers.

Born in 1997, Moleskine has brought back the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries, such as Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway. Based in Milan, Moleskine brings the timeless quality of classic notebook design to a vast family of paper objects, bags, books, travel and writing tools.

So. Many. Planner Stickers.: 2,600 Stickers to Decorate, Organise, and Brighten Your Planner

This one goes out to all the #plannerlife fanatics. The stationery experts at Pipsticks+Workman know the pure joy (not to mention organisational prowess) that comes from personalising a planner with stickers. So. Many. Planner Stickers. is a collection of 2,600 stickers, bursting with energy and colour, that are specially made for use in a planner to flag appointments and notes, track goals, spruce up any occasion or just trade with your besties. There are 50 sheets with 52 tiny, friendly stickers on each one: chic glasses to mark book club meetings, trendy sneakers for gym days, cute tote bags for travel weekends, and helpful, simple reminders.

#makechichappen: Your 52 Week Social Media Game Plan by Katy Ursta

If you have a small business or a side hustle and are looking to grow your social media presence this year then this planner may be what you need.  #makechichappen is a 52-week social media game plan by Melanie Mitro and Katy Ursta of Chic Influencer will help the busy entrepreneur stay organised, craft a niche specific message, and create a comeback audience.

The planner will help you simplify your social strategy and clarify your specific marketing messages. It also offers an Income Producing Activity Tracker, Time Blocking Tracker, Resources, Content starters, Weekly planning, Reflection, and Brainstorming activities.

Encounters Day Planner 2021 by Paulo Coelho

World-renowned author Paulo Coelho has inspired millions with bestselling classics like The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, Manuscript Found in Accra, Adultery, The Spy and most recently, Hippie. Now, with this 2021 day planner, the same wisdom that draws readers to his books time and time again can serve as a source of daily inspiration year round. Available in English and Spanish, Encounters (Encuentros) features moving and revealing quotes by internationally beloved author Paulo Coelho. More than your average planner, readers can begin each day with a word of wisdom, receive spiritual food-for-thought as they navigate through their everyday lives, and have Coelho be their guide as they plan and embark on their own travels and personal journeys.

Sad Animal Facts Weekly Planner 2021 by Brooke Barker

Kinda sad – but oh, so funny. This is a quirky and engaging weekly planner based on the Instagram phenomenon @SadAnimalFacts that became a New York Times bestselling book. From writer and illustrator Brooke Barker, Sad Animal Facts highlights a different animal species, and the unfortunate truths of its existence, every week with a drawing, a fact, and a dryly hilarious thought bubble communicating what the animal may actually be thinking. Studies show that snails prefer eating in groups to eating alone. (All this lettuce and no one to share it with.) A horse can produce a gallon of sweat in an hour. (That saddle was bone dry a minute ago.) The average worker honeybee produces a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey during her life. (Enjoy that toast.) It’s a planner that will tickle the fancies of animal lovers all year long.

Enjoy!

The very best last-minute gift guide for Christmas

With just one sleep to go until Christmas it is absolutely fine to feel a tad panicked if you have yet to start your Christmas shopping. Thankfully Team Booko has rustled up a knock-out last minute Christmas shopping list that will make you look like you had planned gifts long ago along with a few ways of ensuring their gift arrives before Christmas lunch. 

Audio books, e-books and vouchers can all be sent immediately so if you fancy opting for the fastest gifts then you can just alter the version of the book by clicking on the little blue edition button below the title. Here’s a handy little pic for you where we have circled the other editions available. 

If the idea of choosing is all too much, or the recipient is slightly tricky to buy for, then a gift voucher is a fabulous option. Click through here for our guide to gift vouchers – they also make lovely gifts for those hosting the festive meal (especially when you send them on Boxing Day as a Thank You). 

These are our top picks that are sure to delight this Christmas. 

The Chiffon Trenches by Andre Leon Talley

Discover what truly happens behind the scenes in the world of high fashion in this detailed, storied memoir from fashion icon and former Vogue creative director André Leon Talley. During André Leon Talley’s first magazine job assisting Andy Warhol at Interview, a fateful meeting with Karl Lagerfeld began a decade’s long friendship with the enigmatic, often caustic designer. Propelled into the upper echelons by his knowledge and adoration of fashion, Talley moved to Paris as bureau chief of John Fairchild’s Women’s Wear Daily, befriending fashion’s most important designers. But as Talley made friends, he also made enemies. A racially tinged encounter with a member of the house of Yves Saint Laurent sent him back to New York and into the offices of Vogue under Grace Mirabella. There, he developed an unlikely but intimate friendship with Anna Wintour, and as she rose to the top of Vogue’s masthead, Talley became the most influential man in fashion. The Chiffon Trenches is a candid look at the who’s who of the last fifty years of fashion, and proof that fact is always devilishly more fascinating than fiction. André Leon Talley’s engaging and detailed memoir is his story of surviving and thriving in the notoriously cutthroat fashion industry amidst racism, homophobia, other challenges to become one of the most legendary voices and faces in fashion journalism.

The Kinfolk Garden by John Burns

Since the launch of its magazine in 2011, Kinfolk has grown into an internationally recognised brand known for its minimalist aesthetic and strong community of inspiring and influential creatives. Kinfolk have applied this lens to cooking, home design, and work. Now, in The Kinfolk Garden, the team turns its eye to outdoor spaces and the many ways they enhance our lives and help us foster community. With a focus on spaces that bring the outdoors in and the indoors out and people who have found ways to expertly incorporate the natural world into their lives, the book explores the garden as a place for work, play, entertaining, and inspiration. Featuring 30 homeowners and their spaces in locations around the globe, The Kinfolk Garden offers an easy approach to bringing nature home.

Live Beautiful by Athena Calderone

From celebrated design expert and interior designer Athena Calderone, a look into how creatives decorate their spaces. Beautiful design isn’t just pleasant to look at; it improves the quality of our lives. In Live Beautiful, the highly anticipated design book by Athena Calderone, the EyeSwoon creator taps into her international network of interior decorators, fashion designers, and tastemakers to reveal how carefully crafted interiors come together. She also opens the doors to two of her own residences. With each homeowner, Calderone explores the initial spark of inspiration that incited their design journey. She then breaks down the details of the rooms-like layered textures and patterns, collected pieces, and customised vignettes, and offers helpful tips on how to bring these elevated elements into your own space. Filled with gorgeous photography by Nicole Franzen, Live Beautiful is both a showpiece of exquisite design and a guide to creating a home that’s thoughtfully put together.

Make Life Beautiful by Syd and Shea McGee

Who doesn’t want to live a beautiful life? For the one million-plus followers who turn to Syd and Shea McGee for advice on building a beautiful home and life, Make Life Beautiful is a behind-the-scenes look into how the couple transformed Shea’s small room of fabric samples and big dream of becoming a designer into one of the most successful and fastest-growing interior design businesses in America. Both long-time and new fans will not only gain insight into how the McGees built such a successful company but also be inspired to apply design principles to their lives. Inspirational topics to help readers build an authentic life include, renovate your life, visualise the outcome, listen to your gut and elevate the everyday. It’s a wonderfully friendly read packed with helpful information for the budding designer. 

The Home Edit Life by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin

Buying a gift for someone who is house-proud? Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin are back again to bring both function and beauty to your everyday life. In The Home Edit Life they show you how to contain the chaos when it comes to absolutely everything: your work, travel, kids, pets and more. Because the truth is, you don’t have to live like a minimalist to feel happy and calm. The Home Edit mentality is all about embracing your life, whether you’re a busy person, a jetsetter – or both! You simply need to know how to set up a system that works for you so you’ll maintain it for the long run. Get to know your organising style, learn how to tailor it to your habits and, best of all, leave the guilt behind when it comes to owning things.

The Naked House by Mollie Player

This one is for the minimalists you know. The solution is almost always fewer things. That’s the Naked House philosophy in a nutshell, though the importance of top-notch organisation (“a place for everything and everything in its place”), design unity, cleanliness and quality round out this book’s description of the most desirable, peaceful home in which to live. With a tongue-in-cheek, personal style, The Naked House is an inspiring but not-too-serious primer on cleaning, organising and reducing clutter-and on changing the way you view the purpose and soul of your home.

Enjoy and we wish you all a very safe holiday season!

How to have a clever Christmas online (and how to shop local both here and overseas)

It’s that time of year with just over two weeks left to frantically wrap parcels and pop them under the tree. This year has been somewhat bonkers and so we thought we would show you how to have a Clever Christmas shopping from your sofa and let the postie wrestle with your gift delivery instead…no matter where in the world you’re shipping to.

Here’s a little table we whipped up for you to remind you when the postie will be making his final rounds.

Handy Hint: If you are sending parcels overseas and have missed the dreaded cut off dates, fear not! You can simply change the location setting at the top right hand corner on the Booko website and shop like a local in that country. 

We have made you a clever guide stepping you through the process which you can read here

Stuck for gift ideas? Not to worry, the Booko team has been keeping an eye on which books have been popular this festive season for all ages. Sit back, have a read and then get clicking. 

Mary Berry’s Simple Comforts by Mary Berry

Mary is always a crowd pleaser and her baked creations never fail to delight. While you may want to keep this for yourself, if you do gift it, then there is always a chance that the recipient will invite you back for dinner! Win win.

Mary Berry shares over 120 of her ultimate food recipes, all made simply and guaranteed to get smiles around your kitchen table in her new cookbook. Mary’s utterly reliable recipes are perfect for days when you want tasty and dependable food. Come home to the delicious simplicity of a Whole Roasted Squash with Garlic and Chilli Butter, or a warming Spicy Sausage and Red Pepper Hot Pot. Treat your family to Slow Roast French Lamb with Ratatouille, and spoil everyone with a decadent Frangipane Apple and Brioche Pudding. Featuring all the recipes from Mary’s new series, plus many more fresh from Mary’s kitchen, every single dish is accompanied by a photography of the finished food, so you know exactly what you’re making. Each recipe includes Mary’s trademark no-nonsense tips and techniques for getting ahead, and has been rigorously tested to make your cooking stress-free.

Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya Hussain

Here’s another gift that may offer you a dinner (or possibly dessert) invitation. Nadiya Bakes is one series on Netflix that our family binged during our first lockdown and inspired the children to hop into the kitchen and whip up a storm.

At last, Nadiya returns to baking. This is her long-awaited reunion with her true love incredible cakes and bakes that we can all achieve at home. It’s a fact that baking makes us happier and this book is bursting with recipes that will bring a little sunshine into your world and the lives of your friends, family and neighbours. Nadiya explores all areas of baking, conquering cakes and tray-bakes, no-bake bakes, tarts and pies, desserts, celebration bakes, biscuits and buns as well as breads and savouries. Recipes include Money-Can’t-Buy-You-Happiness Brownies, Baked Chilli Churros, a beautiful Baked Rhubarb, Rosemary and Olive Oil Polenta Cake and a wow-factor Layered Honey and Soured Cream Cake. Yummo!

Guinness World Records 2021 by Guinness World Records

All aboard Guinness World Records 2021 for a life-changing journey of discovery! This year, there is a chapter devoted to the history of exploration, starting with the story of the very first circumnavigation, along with a “History of Adventure” timeline, featuring a host of remarkable achievements. The fully revised and updated best-seller is packed with thousands of incredible new feats across the widest spectrum of topics, providing a whistle-stop tour of our superlative universe. Travel through the Solar System and see the planets come to life with a free augmented-reality feature. Encounter the cutest, weirdest, most dangerous and exotic creatures on our home planet. Meet the world’s tallest, shortest, hairiest and heaviest humans. Marvel at the latest high scores, speed runs and players at the top of their game in eSports and beyond. Get the lowdown on the world’s most successful and prolific actors, musicians, TV stars and influencers. Review the greatest sports achievements from the past year and celebrate today’s top athletes.

Code Name Bananas by David Walliams

David Walliams’ stories are a delight to read, and always make us giggle. Code Name Bananas is his newest book and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Eleven-year-old Eric spends his days at the place that makes him most happy: London Zoo. And there’s one animal in particular he loves: Gertrude the gorilla. With bombs falling all over London, Eric must rescue Gertrude. Together with his Uncle Sid, a keeper at the zoo, the three go on the run. But while hiding out at the seaside they uncover a top-secret Nazi plot… Join David Walliams on this action-packed, laugh-out-loud adventure for all the family!

Brickman’s Family Challenge Book by Ryan McNaught

We’re slightly biased with this book (ahem…Booko has a new website in the family www.bricko.info in case you need to buy for a LEGO fanatic). 

Challenge each member of your household to a building competition that is the brainchild of Brickman himself, star judge of smash hit TV show LEGO® Masters and a LEGO Certified Professional. Each of the 30 challenges can be attempted at beginner, intermediate or advanced levels. So whether you’re 5 or 105, an infrequent brick builder or a huge LEGO fan, these challenges will get you off your screens and get your creative juices flowing with even the most basic of LEGO collections. Including: Maze runner: build a maze with obstacles and design themes, Get crazy: roll a die to determine which hybrid model you need to build in under 2 hours – a Supersonic Banana Plane, anyone? Self-portrait: one of the hardest things to build with LEGO is curves, but Brickman helps you crack the techniques for building a recognisable 3D portrait of yourself. Packed with pro tips and suggestions on how to take your builds to the next level, as well as a ‘know your bricks’ glossary, this book will turn you into a Master LEGO Builder in no time. Do you know someone up to the challenge?

Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant

From the duo behind the massively successful and award-winning podcast Stuff You Should Know comes an unexpected look at things you thought you knew. Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant started the podcast Stuff You Should Know back in 2008 because they were curious. Curious about the world around them, curious about what they might have missed in their formal educations, and curious to dig deeper on stuff they thought they understood. As it turns out, they aren’t the only curious ones. They’ve since amassed a rabid fan base, making Stuff You Should Know one of the most popular podcasts in the world. Armed with their inquisitive natures and a passion for sharing, they uncover the weird, fascinating, delightful, or unexpected elements of a wide variety of topics. The pair have now taken their near-boundless “whys” and “hows” from your earbuds to the pages of a book for the first time. Featuring a completely new array of subjects that they’ve long wondered about and wanted to explore. Each chapter is further embellished with snappy visual material to allow for rabbit-hole tangents and digressions, including charts, illustrations, sidebars, and footnotes. Follow along as the two dig into the underlying stories of everything from the origin of Murphy beds, to the history of facial hair, to the psychology of being lost.

Enjoy!

Why you should shop at your local farmers market

This festive season, perhaps more than ever, it feels important to be supporting local businesses and that includes our farmers too. This Ted Talk shows us how to put our purchasing power into action and why we should shop at our local farmers market this festive season.

Three anti-social skills to improve your writing

You need social skills to have a conversation in real life but they’re quite different from the skills you need to write good dialogue. Educator Nadia Kalman suggests a few “anti-social skills,” like eavesdropping and muttering to yourself, that can help you write an effective dialogue for your next story in this animated Ted Ed lesson. Click to watch.

The book launches we are excited about

The months leading up to Christmas are, traditionally, the busiest time for book releases. This season, booklovers are more spoiled for choice than ever – many releases had been rescheduled from earlier this year to now.   With new books ranging from important to high-impact to crowd-pleasers to cult-classics, here are some book launches we are excited about:

Boy on Fire : The Young Nick Cave by Mark Mordue

Boy on Fire is the first instalment of the long-awaited, near-mythical biography of Nick Cave, written by author, poet and veteran rock journalist Mark Mordue.  Focussing on his earliest years, Boy on Fire is Nick Cave’s creation story – how his friends, family, the Victorian countryside (in particular the town of Wangaratta) and subsequent schooling in Melbourne, had influenced and shaped Nick Cave into the artist he would become.  Not only is Boy on Fire a biography about a fascinating person, it is also a lyrical and evocative history of a  bygone time and place.

Fight for Planet A by Craig Reucassel

Following the huge success of War on Waste, Craig Reucassel turns his comedy / satire talents to  the issue of carbon emissions, Fight for Planet A.  Fight for Planet A not only explores how we can reduce carbon emissions on an individual level, it is also a call to arms, encouraging Australians to initiate conversations about climate change, that can drive systemic change within our local and wider communities.  There’s no Planet B, so we’d better fight for Planet A! This book version provides a handy reference to ideas and strategies mentioned in the original TV series. 

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

A Promised Land – the first volume of Barack Obama’s two-part memoir about his presidency –  is probably the most significant new book of 2020.  Expectations are high – this long-awaited memoir follows the astonishing success of Michelle Obama’s Becoming, which has sold over 60 million copies to date.  Available in 25 languages,  A Promised Land starts with Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, ending upon the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011, and is an account of both public progress and personal growth.  Expect additional interest in this account, following the results of the recent US elections.

The Dressmaker’s Secret by Rosalie Ham

She’s back!  The Dressmaker’s Secret continues the story of Tilly Dunnage and the rest of the beloved cast of Rosalie Ham’s acclaimed The Dressmaker.
It is 1953 and Melbourne society is looking forward to a full social season celebrating the coronation.  Tilly Dunnage is toiling away in a second-rate Collins Street salon, lying low after exacting her revenge on her hometown of Dungatar. Her plan to evade the furious townsfolk of Dungatar was working well, until Tilly’s talents – and her name – started to feature in the fashion pages…  Reprising the mix of drama, high fashion and dark humour found in the original novel, The Dressmaker’s Secret looks to be another terrific holiday read.

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline

Ernest Cline was so energised by the process of adapting his beloved novel, Ready Player One, into a movie, that he created a surprise sequel. Ready Player Two starts only days after the end of the original novel.  Our hero, Wade Watts, stumbles across a new and unexpected quest – a last Easter Egg from James, Halliday for his heir.  Not only will it make the OASIS more wondrous and addictive, but
Wade has to beat a dangerous new rival, who has murder on his mind.  Ready Player Two offers the same winning combination of fun action-packed adventure and pop-culture nostalgia that has delighted millions of fans.

The Office: the Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s by Andy Greene

The Office was not just Ricky Gervais’ first step towards superstardom, it is also (in its American incarnation) an influential piece of pop culture. This award-winning show ran for nine seasons until 2013, and is still regularly screened. Its alumni, including Steve Carrell, Mindy Kaling and John Krasinski, have gone on to successful and varied careers as writers and performers. Andy Greene’s book is perfectly timed to celebrate the 15th anniversary of The Office’s premiere. This is an oral history based on a whopping 86 interviews with cast and crew, as well as archival material. The result takes fans behind-the-scenes, with celebrations of favourite episodes, as well as plenty of previously-unpublished anecdotes.

Top picks from the global best seller lists

Christmas is inching closer and we’ve begun to think about presents for friends and family so we thought we would explore the best seller lists that are making waves around the world. Books are a great present, not only are they super easy to wrap but they also give the receiver a reason to step away from the, sometimes bonkers, festive celebrations to loose themselves in a new novel. 

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing the Christmas postage times (in case you are sending parcels overseas), books that we are eagerly awaiting the launch of and then we’ll share an even bigger raft of present ideas to satisfy the whole family. We will also be sending out our Christmas email with a ton of tips and tricks for having a smooth festive shopping season. Make sure you have subscribed here to receive the email. 

Here are our favourites from the best seller lists around the world.

My Life in Red and White by Arsene Wenger

For the very first time, world-renowned and revolutionary football manager Arsene Wenger tells his own story. He opens up about his life, sharing principles for success on and off the field with lessons on leadership, and vivid tales of his 22 years managing Arsenal to unprecedented success. There, Wenger won multiple Premier League championships and a record number of FA Cups, and his teams included the Invincibles of 2003-2004 and a record-breaking undefeated 49-match run. He popularised an attacking approach and belief that the game should be entertaining but he also changed the attitudes of British football fans towards players’ diet, fitness and coaching methods and towards foreign managers too. In My Life in Red and White, Wenger charts his extraordinary career, including his rise in France and Japan where he managed Nancy, Monaco and Nagoya Grampus Eight (clubs that also play in red-and-white, like Arsenal!) to his 22 years at the helm of an internationally renowned club from 1996 onwards. He describes the unrest that led to his resignation in 2018, and his current role as Chief of Global Football Development for FIFA. He offers studious reflections on the game and his groundbreaking approach to motivation, mindset, fitness and football that was often beautiful to watch. This book is a must-read for not only Arsenal fans but football fans everywhere, for management and business leaders, and anyone seeking the tools for success in work and life. It will illuminate the mystique surrounding one of the most revered and successful manager’s life story, strategy and vision in the world’s most popular sport.

Life’s What you Make It by Phillip Schofield

We love the blurb for this book so much that we are just going to let Phillip Schofield’s tell you about his book himself

For a long time, I felt that I couldn’t write this book. At first, I didn’t think I’d lived enough, then life got busy and filled with distractions. In more recent years, there was always a very painful consideration – I knew where it would eventually have to go. I have recently decided that the truth is the only thing that can set me free. The truth has taken a long time to make itself clear to me, but now is the right time to share it, all of it. Television and broadcasting has been a part of my DNA for as long as I can remember. As a young boy I would make model TV sets out of cardboard boxes, while spending long summers at home, barefoot on Cornwall’s golden beaches. Landing a job at the ice-cream kiosk, I would enviously look on as my presenting heroes took to the stage of Radio 1’s Roadshow, an unforgettable event when it came to town. In Life’s What You Make It I look back with nostalgic delight on my life, from being a young boy endlessly writing letters to the BBC in pursuit of a job in broadcasting, to making it on to the Broom Cupboard, with my infamous sidekick Gordon the Gopher, to being on Going Live and starring as the lead in Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. It has taken four decades to get here but I feel lucky to have called the sets of Talking Telephone Numbers, The Cube, Dancing on Ice and of course, This Morning, home. I’m going to take you behind the scenes of my television home at ITV, into my career and my dangerously funny relationship with Holly Willoughby. I’m going to introduce you to my loving and remarkable family, and I hope most of all to tell you that life, it seems, is what you make it. Take it from someone who has sat on the very edge and looked over, it’s all about the people that love you, and after that anything is possible. So, finally, here we go, this is the real me.

War Lord by Bernard Cornwell

This is the epic conclusion to the globally bestselling historical series; The Last Kingdom. In the middle years of the ninth century, the fierce Danes stormed onto British soil, hungry for spoils and conquest. Kingdom after kingdom fell to the ruthless invaders until but one realm remained. And suddenly the fate of all England, and the course of history, depended upon one man, one king. Bernard Cornwell writes a rousing epic adventure of courage, treachery, duty, devotion, majesty, love, and battle as seen through the eyes of a young warrior who straddled two worlds.

England is under attack. Chaos reigns. Northumbria, the last kingdom, is threatened by armies from all sides, by land and sea and only one man stands in their way. Torn between loyalty and sworn oaths, the warrior king Lord Uhtred of Bebbanburg faces his greatest ever battle and prepares for his ultimate fate. You can view the 12 other books in the series here

Violet Bent Backward Over The Grass by Lana Del Rey

”Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass is the title poem of the book and the first poem I wrote of many. Some of which came to me in their entirety, which I dictated and then typed out, and some that I worked laboriously picking apart each word to make the perfect poem. They are eclectic and honest and not trying to be anything other than what they are and for that reason I’m proud of them, especially because the spirit in which they were written was very authentic.” – Lana Del Rey 

Lana Del Ray’s breathtaking first book solidifies her further as the essential writer of her times. This is a collection of more than thirty poems, many exclusive to the book: Never to Heaven, The Land of 1,000 Fires, Past the Bushes Cypress Thriving, LA Who Am I to Love You?, Tessa DiPietro, Happy, Paradise Is Very Fragile, Bare Feet on Linoleum and many more. This beautiful hardcover edition showcases Lana’s typewritten manuscript pages alongside her original photography. The result is an extraordinary poetic landscape that reflects the unguarded spirit of its creator.

All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton

The bestselling author of Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton, returns with All Our Shimmering Skies; a glorious novel destined to become another Australian classic. Darwin, 1942, and as Japanese bombs rain overhead, motherless Molly Hook, the gravedigger’s daughter, turns once again to the sky for guidance. She carries a stone heart inside a duffel bag next to the map that leads to Longcoat Bob, the deep country sorcerer who put a curse on her family. By her side are the most unlikely travelling companions: a razor-tongued actress named Greta and a fallen Japanese fighter pilot named Yukio. All Our Shimmering Skies is a story about gifts that fall from the sky, curses we dig from the earth and the secrets we bury inside ourselves. It is an odyssey of true love and grave danger; of the darkness and the light; of bones and blue skies. A buoyant, beautiful and magical novel abrim with warmth, wit and wonder, a love letter to Australia and the art of looking up.

The Survivors by Jane Harper

This is the compelling new novel from Jane Harper, the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry. Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that still haunts him resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal community he once called home. Kieran’s parents are struggling in a town where fortunes are forged by the sea. Between them all is his absent brother, Finn. When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away.

Enjoy!

Lessons for Change

2020 has been a year like no other. Not only is the world suffering a deadly pandemic, racial tensions have been heightened, the environment continues to suffer and political leaders are vying for votes. Yikes. On reflection, it certainly has been a huge year. 

Looking forward, we can take the lessons learned from 2020 and apply them into the future. It’s this thought that prompted us to look at lessons that have been learned from events that have happened in the past. We’ve found six great books that do just that. Sit back and get ready to be taken on a wild history ride.

What Happened by Hillary Clinton

‘In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down.’ – Hillary Rodham Clinton.

For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference and an opponent who broke all the rules. This is her most personal memoir yet. In these pages, she describes what it was like to run against Donald Trump, the mistakes she made, how she has coped with a shocking and devastating loss, and how she found the strength to pick herself back up afterwards. With humour and candour, she tells readers what it took to get back on her feet – the rituals, relationships and reading that got her through, and what the experience has taught her about life. She speaks about the challenges of being a strong woman in the public eye, the criticism over her voice, age and appearance, and the double standard confronting women in politics. She lays out how the 2016 election was marked by an unprecedented assault on democracy by a foreign adversary. By analysing the evidence and connecting the dots, Hillary shows just how dangerous the forces are that shaped the outcome, and why Americans need to understand them to protect their values and democracy in the future. The election of 2016 was unprecedented and historic. What Happened is the story of that campaign and its aftermath – both a deeply intimate account and a cautionary tale.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

We’ve highlighted this book on the blog before and believe it is important to include again. The Guardian newspaper credits Yuval Noah Harari with making serious non-fiction cool again.  In his earlier books, the surprise bestsellers Sapiens and Homo Deus, he explained the history of humanity and the rise of civilisation in terms of evolutionary psychology.  Now Yuval Noah Harari looks at the present.  21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a collection of essays about the big issues – AI and automation, Fake News and populism, religion, climate change – and how we can manage their impact on our lives.  His talent at combining unexpected ideas into dazzling observations makes this a thought-provoking yet accessible read that helps us make sense of these uncertain times.

The Anarchy by William Dalrymple and Sid Sagar

In August 1765 the East India Company defeated and captured the young Mughal emperor and forced him to set up in his richest provinces a new government run by English traders who collected taxes through means of a vast and ruthless private army.

The creation of this new government marked the moment that the East India Company ceased to be a conventional international trading corporation, dealing in silks and spices, and became something much more unusual: an aggressive colonial power in the guise of a multinational business. In less than half a century it had trained up a private security force of around 260,000 men, twice the size of the British army, and had subdued an entire subcontinent, conquering first Bengal and finally, in 1803, the Mughal capital of Delhi itself. The Company’s reach stretched relentlessly until almost all of India south of the Himalayas was effectively ruled from a boardroom in London. 

The Anarchy tells the remarkable story of how one of the world’s most magnificent empires disintegrated and came to be replaced by a dangerously unregulated private company, based thousands of miles overseas and answerable only to its shareholders. In his most ambitious and riveting book to date, William Dalrymple tells the story of the East India Company as it has never been told before, unfolding a timely cautionary tale of the first global corporate power. 

Three hundred and fifteen years after its founding, with a corporate Mogul now sitting in the White House, the story of the East India Company has never been more current.

How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

Democracies can die with a coup d’etat or they can die slowly. This happens most deceptively when in piecemeal fashion, with the election of an authoritarian leader, the abuse of governmental power and the complete repression of opposition. All three steps are being taken around the world and we must all understand how we can stop them. From the rule of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile to the quiet undermining of Turkey’s constitutional system by President Recip Erdogan, Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt draw insightful lessons from history to shine a light on regime breakdown across the 20th and 21st centuries. Based on years of research, they present a deep understanding of how and why democracies die; an alarming analysis of how democracy is being subverted today; and a guide for maintaining and repairing a threatened democracy, for governments, political parties and individuals. History doesn’t repeat itself. But we can protect our democracy by learning its lessons, before it’s too late.

48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Cunning, instructive, and amoral, this controversial bestseller distills 3,000 years of the history of power into 48 well-explicated laws. Law 1: Never Outshine the Master. Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions. Law 7: Get Others to Do the Work for You, but Always Take the Credit. Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally. Law 33: Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew.

These are the laws of power in their unvarnished essence; the philosophies of Machiavelli (The Prince), Sun-tzu (The Art of War), Carl von Clausewitz, Talleyrand, the great seducer Casanova, con man Yellow Kid Weil, and other legendary thinkers and schemers. They teach prudence, stealth, mastery of one’s emotions, the art of deception, and the total absence of mercy. Like it or not, all have practical applications in real life.

Each law is illustrated with examples of observance or transgression drawn from history and featuring such famous figures as Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, Mao, Alfred Hitchcock, P.T. Barnum, Haile Selassie, Catherine the Great, and Socrates. Convincing, practical, sometimes shocking, this book will fascinate anyone interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control. 

Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World by Linda Hirshman

The relationship between Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg,  Republican and Democrat, Christian and Jew, western rancher’s daughter and Brooklyn girl, transcends party, religion, region, and culture. Strengthened by each other’s presence, these groundbreaking judges, the first and second to serve on the highest court in the land, have transformed the Constitution and America itself, making it a more equal place for all women. Linda Hirshman’s dual biography includes revealing stories of how these trailblazers fought for their own recognition in a male-dominated profession; battles that would ultimately benefit every American woman. She also makes clear how these two justices have shaped the legal framework of modern feminism, including employment discrimination, abortion, affirmative action, sexual harassment, and many other issues crucial to women’s lives. Sisters-in-Law combines legal detail with warm personal anecdotes that bring these very different women into focus as never before. Meticulously researched and compellingly told, it is an authoritative account of changing law and culture, and a moving story of a remarkable friendship.

Enjoy!

Why we must confront hard historical truths

In this thoughtful Ted Talk Hasan Kwame Jeffries emphasises the need to weave historical context, no matter how painful, into our understanding of modern society so we can disrupt the continuum of inequality massively affecting marginalised communities. Sometimes to move forward society must look back and confront the difficult history that has shaped widespread injustice.