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.
We have an inspiring Ted Talk for you today. Gever Tulley uses engaging photos and footage to demonstrate the valuable lessons kids learn at his Tinkering School. When given tools, materials and guidance, these young imaginations run wild and creative problem-solving takes over to build unique boats, bridges and even a roller coaster! It’s a short, but great talk.
We have all been staying safe at home for a number of months now and for a few people it’s been time spent thinking about their career, future jobs or even business ideas they have always wanted to explore. The world is starting to open up and it looks like we will be able to head back to the office shortly and to help our transition, Team Booko has been scouring the world for some books to help you on your journey. Luckily, there are a number of new titles hitting the market that can help with tough decisions around these ideas and (gulp!) we have found some that are pretty straight talking!
A Good Time To Be A Girl by Helena Morrissey
Years have passed since women were exhorted to ‘Lean In’. Over that time, the world has transformed beyond all expectations. But why should anyone ‘lean in’ to a patriarchal system that is out of date? Why not change it entirely for the good of us all? In A Good Time to be a Girl, Helena Morrissey sets out how we might achieve the next big breakthrough towards a truly inclusive modern society.
Drawing on her experience as a City CEO, mother of nine, and founder of the influential 30% Club which campaigns for gender-balanced UK company boards, her manifesto for new ways of working, living, loving and raising families is for everyone, not just women. Making a powerful case for diversity and difference in any workplace, she shows how, together, we can develop smarter thinking and broader definitions of success. Gender balance, in her view, is an essential driver of economic prosperity and part of the solution to the many problems we face today. Her approach is not aimed merely at training a few more women in working practices that have outlived their usefulness. Instead, this book sets out a way to reinvent the game, not at the expense of men but in ways that are right and relevant for a digital age. It is a powerful guide to success for us all.
Balance and Other B.S by Felicity Harley
According to the 2018 Global Wellness Trends Report, feminist wellness is about ‘new powerful intersections between women’s empowerment, feminism and wellness’, and it’s one of the top 10 global health trends of last year. The irony is, while many women are more health conscious than ever, many of us haven’t even been to the dentist in the past 12 months, arguably the most basic of all health appointments. Words like overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted, always on, burnt-out, fed up, over it … Felicity Harley kept hearing these again and again from women married, single, with and without kids. Close girlfriends, mums at the school gate, single women in cafes, on social, many conversations are proving we’re all in this pressure cooker, feeling trapped, carrying a semi-trailer of mental stuff on our shoulders and riding the rollercoaster. We can’t find the emergency stop button. The result of all this overwhelm is a new wave of health problems, mental and physical. We have the studies flooding in that women are unhappier, more anxious, depressed, more likely to burn out than men. Perhaps it’s time we moved the conversation away from so-called ‘balance’ – balance is bull, burnout is real.
Emotional Inflammation by Lise Van Susteren
If the news has you feeling anxious or outraged, you’re not alone. There is a name for this: emotional inflammation. With Emotional Inflammation, you’ll discover a breakthrough plan for dealing with this modern affliction. General and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Lise Van Susteren joins health journalist Stacey Colino to present a program called RESTORE, which will help you discover your “reactor type” for emotional inflammation and show you how to become more grounded and resilient in turbulent times. One of the main causes of emotional inflammation is our sense that the big issues, like climate change, gun violence, and political corruption, are beyond our control. With RESTORE, you’ll learn you have more power than you realise. With strategies for relieving stress, critical thinking, recovering inner composure, and reclaiming the gifts of nature, you’ll learn to transform your distress into steady calm and strength. As you move from a state of emotional whiplash into greater balance and harmony, you can redirect your energy, manage your feelings, and cultivate healthier habits. Ultimately, you’ll learn to become an “up-stander”, a force for improving the conditions that fuel your fears. With a relatable style and a heaping dose of hope, Emotional Inflammation is a timely antidote for a world in turmoil.
Me First by Kate Christie
You are a clever, savvy, successful woman. You are also a working mum. Which means you have it all! Right? Wrong. Managing the juggle presents an ongoing and unique challenge for working mums, and it’s time to take control of your time. Written with humour and honesty, Me First offers personal insights, practical exercises, and time-management solutions for crazy busy, stressed out and guilt-ridden working mums. Me First teaches you how to take control of your time once and for all: liberate yourself from imposter syndrome, mother’s guilt and the other time-wasting mistakes we make, start prioritising yourself, cost out exactly what your poor time habits are costing you, learn simple, smart and sustainable solutions to find 30+ lost hours a month, set and smash audacious goals for how to best use your newfound time, and gain insights from successful women from around the world who know exactly how you feel. Me First is for every time-poor working mum who has had enough of the juggle. It’s time to start putting yourself first. It’s time to be a little less self-less.
Get Out Of Your Own Way by Dave Hollis
When Rachel Hollis began writing the #1 New York Times bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face, her husband Dave bristled at her transparency about her self-deceptions. Then he had a revelation: women aren’t the only ones who believe lies. Both women and men buy into a host of lies that keep them from reaching their potential, often against a backdrop of ingrained ideas about how they should or shouldn’t act, how they should or shouldn’t reach for help, or how they show up for life. Dave knows this personally. He believed all the lies, too. He found himself stuck in a rut, unmotivated, unfulfilled, and a version of himself he didn’t like, all while being skeptical he could actually do anything about it. Then, he began to wake up. In his new book, he talks honestly about topics people aren’t normally honest about-his impulse to solve instead of listen, his struggle to accept help or admit he needs it, even his insecurities about being a parent. Unpacking the untruths he once believed, he reveals how those lies held him back and outlines the tools that helped him change his life. Offering encouragement, challenge, and a hundred moments to laugh at himself, Dave points the way for others to drop bogus ideas and finally start living the best versions of their lives too.
Make A Living Living by Nina Karnikowski
Make a Living Living is for anyone who has ever wished they could build a successful career doing something they love. Structured around the stories of inspiring individuals, from a vegan chocolatier to a nomadic photographer and a tiny-house builder, the book explains how they achieved their ideal existence, and the challenges they faced along the way. A set of practical exercises helps readers learn how to trust themselves, take risks and develop the skills needed to achieve their ideal life. It’s full of quotes to motivate you and bite size insightful chapters to inspire you to make a change.
Enjoy and stay safe!