“Why is my daughter so strong? Because I didn’t clip her wings.” Ziauddin Yousafzai reminds the world of a simple truth: Women and men deserve equal opportunities for education, autonomy, an independent identity.
It was fun in the beginning… way back at the start of 2020, to wear super comfy clothes, or only dress the top half of our bodies ready for endless zoom meetings. But now, a year on, and while we are still staying safe at home, pulling on trackies or leggings when we aren’t actually exercising is turning a little sloth-like, possibly making us a little sluggish and less like we can take on the world. Fear not, Team Booko has rustled up a few fabulous books that will inspire you to dust off the wardrobe and dress like you mean business… or at least feel like your old self again.
Get the iron at the ready because you may just fancy getting dressed after reading about these titles… don’t worry, you can still keep your slippers on.
The Little Guide to Coco Chanel Style by Orange Hippo
This little guide is full of wit and wisdom from Coco Chanel, who remains one of the world’s most celebrated fashion designers and the creative genius who gave us the Little Black Dress and Chanel No. 5. Almost 50 years after her death, Coco Chanel remains one of the world’s most influential fashion designers. Her story is one of creative brilliance and innovation, she was a driving force in freeing women from the restrictive clothing they had been obliged to wear for generations. ‘In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different,’ Chanel would say, and throughout her life she demonstrated extraordinary passion and determination to change the world around her. There is much wisdom to glean from Chanel’s self-reflections, while her sharp wit and joie de vivre will amuse, surprise and inspire in equal measure.
Vivienne Westwood Catwalk: The Complete Collections by Alexander Fury
One of the most thought-provoking and influential designers in the world, Vivienne Westwood once declared ‘the only reason I’m in fashion is to destroy the word “conformity”’. Vivienne Westwood has been reinventing, changing and challenging the world of fashion for over five decades. Celebrating 40 years of catwalk collections, this book records the inimitable creations imagined by Vivienne Westwood since her first runway show in 1981, as well as those designed by her husband and long-time collaborator, Andreas Kronthaler. Complete with an introduction and collection texts by Alexander Fury, and biographies written by the designers themselves, Vivienne Westwood Catwalk offers a rare opportunity to chart the development of a uniquely creative fashion house. This book offers an unrivalled overview of the collections of the world’s top fashion houses through original catwalk photography.
The international fashion world is not only a hotbed of creativity, but also a fast-moving and mercurial one. This book cherry-picks some of the most intriguing editorials, covers and campaigns of 2020 and places them within the zeitgeist. In a year in which the carpet was swept out from under us, the sudden loss of stability also gave rise to new creativity, freedom, and surprise as fashion magazines began taking a more active political stance. Presented here in detail are the inspiring minds of photographers, stylists, models, and editors behind this sudden change in paradigm.
This compilation was selected by an international jury of 12 that includes Ariel Foxman, former Editor-in-Chief of InStyle, Donald Schneider, former art director of French Vogue and creative mind of the H&M designer collaborations, Sara Maino, Deputy Director of Vogue Italia and head of Vogue Talents, and street-style icon and influencer Veronika Heilbrunner. The Fashion Yearbook 2021 is a précis of the protagonists behind the scenes in an impressive illustrated book.
Clothes… and other things that matter by Alexandra Shulman
Clothes…and other things that matter is a book not only about clothes but about the way we live our lives. From childhood onwards, the way we dress is a result of our personal history. In a mix of memoir, fashion history and social observation. Alexandra Shulman delves into her own life to look at the emotions, ambitions, expectations and meanings behind the way we dress. From the bra to the bikini, the trench coat to trainers, the slip dress to the suit, she explores their meaning in women’s lives and how our wardrobes intersect with the larger world the career ladder, motherhood, romance, sexual identity, ambition, failure, body image and celebrity. It’s funny, refreshingly self-deprecating and often very moving; this startlingly honest memoir from the ex-editor of British Vogue will encourage women of all ages to consider what their own clothes mean to them, the life they live in them and the stories they tell.
The Ten: The stories behind the fashion classics by Lauren Cochrane
White T-shirt, Miniskirt, Hoodie, Jeans, Ballet flat, Breton top, Biker jacket, Little black dress, Stiletto, Trench. What are you wearing? In all likelihood, your outfit will feature at least one of these 10 items (paired with either trackpants or leggings while we stay safe at home). Familiar, commonplace, ubiquitous – each piece has become an emblem of a certain style, carrying its own connotations and historical significance. They aren’t just clothes, our social history is contained within these perfect 10 pieces. They’re vessels that hold the history of style, politics and identity: while trends may come and go, these are here to stay. The Ten includes deep dive explorations into each item’s history, how it gained its reputation, and what it means today, accompanied by stylish photography and illustrations. Stories of iconic adopters and landmarks in the story of each piece reveal how they have achieved their status as so ubiquitous and yet so extraordinary. From the evolution of the white T-shirt from army staple to symbol of achingly cool simplicity, the hoodie’s birth in the monasteries of Rome to its domination of streetwear, and the transition of the stiletto from the feet of fifteenth-century Iranian equestrians to those of New York businesswomen, The Ten puts fashion in context. Showing how certain pieces are just as ubiquitous on the catwalk as on the street, Lauren Cochrane’s crucial volume defines the fashion items that make up your wardrobe, and how they got there, providing the perfect excuse, a pedigree, a narrative, and a realness, for the reader to wear them time and time again.
You probably know the statistics: global clothing production has roughly doubled in just 15 years, and every year an estimated 300,000 tonnes of used clothing ends up in landfill in the UK alone. In Australia we consume an average of 27 kilograms of new clothing per year and dispose an average 23 kilograms of that to landfill. Fast fashion is the ultimate toxic relationship. It’s bad news for the planet, our brains and our bank balances. We can’t go on like this; our shopping habits need an overhaul. Journalist Lauren Bravo loves clothes more than anything, but she’s called time on her affair with fast fashion in search of a slower, saner way of dressing. In this book, she’ll help you do the same. How To Break Up With Fast Fashion will help you to change your mindset, fall back in love with your wardrobe and embrace more sustainable ways of shopping, from the clothes swap to the charity shop. Full of refreshing honesty and realistic advice, Lauren will inspire you to repair, recycle and give your unloved items a new lease of life without sacrificing your style. Because fashion belongs to everyone, but no outfit should cost us the earth.
Hollywood needs to stop resisting what the world actually looks like, says actor, director and activist America Ferrera. Tracing the contours of her career, in this Ted Talk she calls for more authentic representation of different cultures in media and a shift in how we tell our stories.
Child prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs “childish” thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism. Kids’ big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups’ willingness to learn from children as much as to teach. This is an inspiring ted talk to watch.
Profit, money, shareholders: these are some of the priorities of most companies today. But at what cost? In an appeal to corporate leaders worldwide, Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya calls for an end to the business playbook of the past and shares his vision for a new, “anti-CEO playbook” that prioritises people over profits. “This is the difference between profit and true wealth,” he says.
This Ted Talk is super inspiring. When it comes to big life problems, we often stand at a crossroads: either believe we’re powerless against great change, or we rise to meet the challenge. In an urgent call to action, political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac makes the case for adopting a mindset of “stubborn optimism” to confront climate change, or whatever crisis may come our way, and sustain the action needed to build a regenerative future. As he puts it: “Stubborn optimism can fill our lives with meaning and purpose.” Click below to watch.
The concept of leadership – and what qualities define a good leader – came to the fore this year as countries worldwide started to navigate through the turmoil associated with COVID. Many of us have craved guidance on a personal level as well, as we tackled the disruptions we experienced. So this week, as inspiration, we share stories about remarkable leaders who have tackled tremendous challenges with courage, tact and resilience.
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Long Walk to Freedom was first published in 1994, only months after Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa in its first, democratic and post-apartheid election. Begun secretly during Mr Mandela’s long imprisonment, this autobiography was decades in the making. Despite knowing the worldwide reverence for his resilience, dignity and courage, the Nelson Mandela revealed here is surprisingly human – he is a naive and headstrong youth, a neglectful husband, a distracted father; a pragmatist who chooses tactics over principles. Yet it is indeed his famed resilience and positivity that enables him to survive, and even accomplish political objectives, during his 27 years at the notorious Robben Island prison. Long Walk to Freedom is also available as a picture book suitable for younger readers aged 5 and up.
Interventions: a Life in War and Peace by Kofi Annan with Nader Mousavizadeh
For over 40 years, Kofi Annan was at the centre of international diplomacy, working for the United Nations on issues including health, refugees and peacekeeping, culminating in his appointment as the Secretary-General. Interventions: a Life in War and Peace shows us glimpses of the complex and difficult task of balancing the interests of 190+ UN member states. Mr Annan writes eloquently yet candidly, not only about the successes (the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, and being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001), but also UN’s failures (such as the Bosnian War and the Rwandan genocide), as well as highlighting the ongoing challenges due to a general slow retreat of world governments from the UN’s founding purpose.
A Promised Land by Barack Obama
The release of A Promised Land, the first volume of Barack Obama’s memoirs about his presidency, looks to be the biggest publishing event of 2020 – with an initial print run of over 3 million copies in 25 languages. A Promised Land starts with Mr Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, ending upon the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011, and “aims to provide an honest accounting of my presidency, the forces we grapple with as a nation, and how we can heal our divisions and make democracy work for everybody”. It is an account of both public progress and personal growth. Expect fascinating insights and assured writing – Barack Obama was already a successful author before becoming President.
The Other Side of the Coin offers a rare and authoritative glimpse into the life of the Queen by a still-serving, senior member of staff. Angela Kelly is the Personal Assistant and Senior Dresser for the Queen, and has personal royal approval to reveal these charming anecdotes and never-before-seen photographs. The Queen’s distinctive outfits – which are often imbued with meaning and used as a tool of diplomacy – are not only curated by Angela Kelly, but sometimes created by her as well. Behind the focus on fashion, The Other Side of the Coin shows us the logistical demands of running the Royal Household, and glimpses of the Queen’s famed commitment to duty, hard work and service.
In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin by Lindsey Hilsum
Intrepid, uncompromising, hard-drinking, a great raconteur – Marie Colvin lived the life of a stereotypical war correspondent. She was much admired for her journalistic prowess, and also famous for her glamorous personal life – full of wild parties and unsuitable relationships. Marie Colvin’s realisation that journalism can save lives motivated her to take ever greater risks in uncovering stories. In 2012 she died in an explosion while reporting in Syria. Lindsey Hilsum wrote In Extremis as a tribute to her friend and peer, drawing on unpublished diaries and interviews with friends, family and colleagues. As a fellow war correspondent, Hilsum’s own knowledge of the world’s conflict zones adds great depth and enlightenment to the narrative.
Being Nixon: a Man Divided by Evan Thomas
Richard Nixon: villain or misunderstood? Acclaimed biographer Evan Thomas balances sympathy with criticism as he tries to unravel the psyche of a complicated man. Nixon was socially awkward, insecure, solitary, and self-conscious of his humble origins – not the ideal personality for a politician. These behaviours created a tense internal balance – at their best, these insecurities gave him the drive to push past self-doubt, to dare to be brave, and get things done; at their worst, they fuelled petty vindictiveness, racist outbursts, and a wilful disregard of the law – leading to his spectacular downfall. And despite its ignominious end, Evan Thomas reminds us that the Nixon presidency had many significant achievements, including détente with China and the Soviet Union, the creation of the EPA, and proposing major health-care reforms.
What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you’re mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this Ted talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.
It’s a modern classic and universally admired. Today’s Book of the World is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I think I have read this about 12 times, how about you?
Sarah Lebner’s 101 Things I didn’t Learn At Architecture School was the book that prompted this blog post. How many of us have found ourselves wondering ‘why didn’t someone tell me it was going to be like this’ at work? Often the reality of having that ‘dream job’ or even climbing the ladder of your chosen profession would be much easier if someone had let us know a few key tips and tricks that we could carry with us in our mental toolbox. So we have scanned the hottest new releases from this year (and last) and have rounded up six fabulous books that are definitely worth a read.
101 Things I Didn’t Learn in Architecture School by Sarah Lebner
Your first architecture job can involve a very steep learning curve. This book helps students and graduates of architecture kick-start their career and shave months off their professional development. This book will help you: Understand construction basics so you can avoid embarrassing situations and quickly understand instructions. Grasp an overview of the industry and business of architecture so that you don’t feel kept in the dark. Gain personal tips and helpful resources for an enjoyable and successful work life.
Young architects are expected to learn much of their trade on the job, in an industry that often treats them poorly and stunts their professional development. The profession is crying out for a resource like this that can provide introductions, insight, perspective and mentor-style advice for young architects in the first five years of their career.
Readers are invited to understand concepts through 25 simple diagrams, and language that assumes no prior learning. Throughout the book, further resources are provided as a mind-map of industry information.
Work Like A Woman by Mary Portas
A force for good, for change. This book will make you change the way you think. Packed with advice, tips and decades of business experience from Mary Portas, this is a book for every one of us: whatever level you are, wherever you work. It’s about calling time on alpha culture and helping every one of us to be happier, more productive and collaborative.
Taking us through her working life, Mary addresses a range of topics from workplace bullying and accessing promotion, to combining a career with children and the affect that getting divorced and becoming a single parent had on her professional life. Speaking candidly about the traps she fell into, from aping the behaviour seen in aggressive corporate environments to recreating a male working culture within her own business, Mary explodes the myth of women ‘having it all’. She will also track her evolution as a business leader and the decision to rebuild her company from the ground up on a model that today embraces female values. Arguing for a revolution in the way in which we work, Work Like A Woman is a manifesto for all: from young women entering the workforce and older women trying to integrate professional and family ambitions, to executives running businesses and creating best practice and the businesses that employ them. Honest, accessible and entertaining, it is a bold and inspiring vision of the future world of work.
In-distract-able by Nir Eyal
A former Stanford lecturer and behavioural designer, Nir Eyal spent over a decade researching the psychology behind habit-forming products. The result was his international bestseller, Hooked. Now, the man who identified the habit has delivered the cure. Eyal describes how to manage the discomfort that drives distraction, and explains why solving the problem is not as simple as swearing off your devices. With a four-step, research-backed model, Indistractable lays bare the secret to getting the best out of technology, without letting it get the best of you. Empowering and optimistic, this is the book that will allow you to control your time and attention and live the life you really want.
Loonshots by Safi Bahcall
What do James Bond and Lipitor have in common? Why do traffic jams appear out of nowhere on highways? What can we learn about innovation from a glass of water? In Loonshots, physicist and entrepreneur Safi Bahcall reveals a surprising new way of thinking about the mysteries of group behaviour and the challenges of nurturing radical breakthroughs. Drawing on the science of phase transitions, Bahcall shows why teams, companies, or any group with a mission will suddenly change from embracing wild new ideas to rigidly rejecting them, just as flowing water will suddenly change into brittle ice. Oceans of print have been written about culture. Loonshots identifies the small shifts in structure that control this transition, the same way that temperature controls the change from water to ice. Using examples that range from the spread of fires in forests to the hunt for terrorists online, and stories of thieves and geniuses and kings, Bahcall shows how this new kind of science helps us understand the fate of companies and empires. Loonshots distills these insights into lessons for creatives, entrepreneurs, and visionaries everywhere. Over the past decade, researchers have been applying the tools and techniques of phase transitions to understand how birds flock, fish swim, brains work, people vote, criminals behave, ideas spread, diseases erupt, and ecosystems collapse. If twentieth-century science was shaped by the search for fundamental laws, like quantum mechanics and gravity, the twenty-first will be shaped by this new kind of science. Loonshots is the first to apply this science to help all of us unlock our potential to create and nurture the crazy ideas that change the world.
Roxy’s Little Black Book of Tips and Tricks by Roxy Jacenko
When the totally tenacious PR and brand-building expert delivers her industry-insider advice, you listen. If you’re growing your own brand, or you’re a budding PR dynamo, Roxy’s Little Black Book of Tips & Tricks is invaluable.
‘The fact that I’m sitting here writing a business book when, at school, I was the student who read the crib notes rather than the actual books is rather ironic. However, if I’ve proved anything over the years, it’s that you needn’t be the smartest girl in the room or get the highest marks (heck, I didn’t even go to uni!) to succeed in PR or business. If I can do it, anyone can. The trick is to be willing to give up your excuses and consistently put in the work’. Roxy Jacenko built a PR empire on intuition, common sense and an unbreakable work ethic. Now she’s passing on her best business advice, tips and tricks in a handsome handbag-sized volume that’s perfectly sized for the millennial worker on the run. From writing a stand-out application to building your brand to generating killer social media buzz, Roxy’s Little Black Book of Hints & Tips is a must-read resource for aspiring publicists and business builders, and for anyone already in the PR industry.
Brave New Work by Aaron Dignan
The way we work is broken. It takes forever to get anything done. Meetings and emails are incessant. Bureaucracy stifles talent and creativity. After decades of management theory and multiple waves of technological and societal change, is this really the best we can do? Aaron Dignan teaches companies how to eliminate red tape, tap into collective intelligence, and rethink long-held traditions that no longer make sense. In Brave New Work, he shows you how to revolutionise the way your company works forever. Using stories from companies at the cutting edge of organisational transformation, Brave New Work will show you how to transform your team, department and business from the inside-out-making work more adaptable, abundant and human. It is packed with new tactics and tips for updating your company’s operating system: the simple rules and assumptions so deeply embedded that you don’t even think to question them. Learn how to reignite passion and energy throughout your organisation. Build a company that runs itself.