Tag Archives: #inspire

Biographies: Business and Innovative Ideas 

Successful businesspeople are a great source of life lessons, even if you don’t have entrepreneurial ambitions of your own. This week’s pick of business biographies combine terrific, candid storytelling with thought-provoking discussions around ambition, passion, resilience, and the importance of values. Enjoy!

We Can All Make It: My Story by Sara Davies

Sara Davies was still a university student when she founded Crafter’s Companion, a craft supplies company. Through passion, ambition and sheer hard work, Sara has grown her business to a multimillion-pound company, become the youngest female entrepreneur on the Dragons’ Den, mentored businesswomen, as well as become a media personality. Like Sara, We Can All Make It is vivacious, determined and full of wisdom. Sara’s story of learning to juggle a young family, managing a company, and an investment portfolio – all the while training to compete in Strictly Come Dancing as well as writing her book – is sure to offer inspiration to budding entrepreneurs everywhere.

Future You: Be Curious. Say Yes to Change by Frances Valintine

Frances Valintine is a futurist and entrepreneur who helps people and organisations learn new technologies and adapt to technological change. She understands that change is hard to embrace – even when you know it will be better for you in the long run. Future You draws upon her personal as well as business experience, to show you how to overcome self-doubt, pass less judgment, break away from routine and take risks. If you have ever imagined a different life – Future You will empower you to take the steps to make it happen.

Nice is Not a Biscuit: How to Build a World-Class Business by Doing the Right Thing by Peter Mead

You may not have heard of Peter Mead, but you have probably seen his work – as a founder of advertising agency Abbott Mead Vickers, Peter has been at the top of the advertising industry for over 40 years. In Nice is Not a Biscuit, Peter Mead shares 100 business lessons with a contrarian message – that, unlike a stereotype of ruthlessness, decent behaviour makes commercial sense. He cites niceness as the secret of his and his firm’s success – that it creates an environment of calm and well-being that allows creativity to flourish, fostering a sustainable business with unbelievable loyalty and commitment. At a time when the work / business landscape is going through enormous change, his upbeat advice will both challenge and enlighten you.

Authentic: a Memoir by the Founder of Vans by Paul Van Doren

When skate- and surf-culture went mainstream in the ’70s and ’80s, it also made Vans sneakers a household name, beloved for its cool, artsy, laid-back vibe. Authentic celebrates the rise of a blue-collar kid, with no higher education nor retailing experience, into an all-American success story. Memoirs and business lessons are intertwined because Paul Van Doren is a hands-on entrepreneur whose personal and professional lives became blurred. Read fascinating stories about his innovations (including setting up sneaker-only stores, selling single shoes and designing with user-input), as well as the importance he places on deep-rooted values and on vision, which has culminated in the muc-admired, people-oriented culture of his company.

Walking Through Honey: My Journey with Parkinson’s Disease by Brian Sherman with A M Jonson

“Walking through honey” describes Brian Sherman’s experience of Parkinson’s Disease – the daily struggle with moving, the inability to get your body to do what your mind wants. For the last ten years, Parkinson’s Disease has been the biggest challenge for Brian, who has had 50 years’ of success as a business leader, animal rights activist and philanthropist. The fragmented diary format, illustrated by artworks and multi-exposure photographs, vividly evokes his experience of illness. Walking Through Honey is a raw and candid memoir that offers Brian Sherman to regain control over his narrative, while helping readers understand the impact of Parkinson’s Disease.

Unprecedented: Canada’s Top CEOs on Leadership During Covid-19 by Steve Mayer

Unprecedented is not only a business book, it is a documentary record as well as a fundraising effort towards Canada’s COVID recovery. This collection of essays by the CEOs of Canadian businesses – including Lululemon, Air Canada and Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts – are deeply personal accounts of what they have experienced, and what they have learnt, during the current pandemic. These companies – including airlines, nursing homes, grocery stores and banks – have been on the frontline of the health crisis and have had to make sudden and unprecedented changes to how they operated. These candid stories – full of humour, compassion, and plenty of fear and struggle – offer us remarkable insights into top-level decision-making that overcomes adversity.

The Newest Arts and Entertainment Biographies

Inspiring people come into our lives at all different times, some are there from the beginning guiding us with their values, others are friends during our schooling years holding our hands through challenging times, and some are fleeting interactions where someone offers us words of wisdom when we needed it most.

It it with the memory of these amazing people that we are looking into the world of biographies this month. There are so many people who we can learn from, be inspired by and propelled forward by. This week we are exploring art and entertainment biographies. We have found six of our favourite stories but hold on tight because they are a mixture of amusement, heartache and devastatingly honest views of the world and each offers us a little nugget of inspiration to take away.

Only Wanna Be with You: The Inside Story of Hootie & the Blowfish by Tim Sommer

In 1985, Mark Bryan heard Darius Rucker singing in a dorm shower at the University of South Carolina and asked him to form a band. For the next eight years, Hootie & the Blowfish, completed by bassist Dean Felber and drummer Soni Sonefeld, played every frat house, roadhouse, and rock club in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, becoming one of the biggest independent acts in the region. In Only Wanna Be with You, Tim Sommer, the ultimate insider who signed Hootie to Atlantic Records, pulls back the curtain on a band that defied record-industry odds to break into the mainstream by playing hacky sack music in the age of grunge. He chronicles the band’s indie days, their chart-topping success and near-cancelation of their major-label debut along with when the band inspired a plotline on the TV show Friends, also the lean years from the late 1990s through the early 2000s and one of the most remarkable comeback stories of the century. Featuring extensive new interviews with the band members, some of their most famous fans, and stories from the recording studio, tour bus, and golf course, this book is essential reading for Hootie lovers and music buffs.

Finding Me: A Memoir by Viola Davis

In this book, you will meet a little girl named Viola who ran from her past until she made a life changing decision to stop running forever. This is Viola’s story, from a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to the stage in New York City, and beyond. This is the path she took to finding her purpose and her strength, but also to finding her voice in a world that didn’t always see her. 

In her words: As I wrote Finding Me, my eyes were open to the truth of how our stories are often not given close examination. They are bogarted, reinvented to fit into a crazy, competitive, judgmental world. So I wrote this for anyone who is searching for a way to understand and overcome a complicated past, let go of shame, and find acceptance. For anyone who needs reminding that a life worth living can only be born from radical honesty and the courage to shed facades and be…you. Finding Me is a deep reflection on my past and a promise for my future. My hope is that my story will inspire you to light up your own life with creative expression and rediscover who you were before the world put a label on you.

A Funny Life by Michael McIntyre

Laugh along with Michael McIntyre as he lifts the curtain on his life in his long-awaited new autobiography. Michael’s first book ended with his big break at the 2006 Royal Variety Performance. Waking up the next morning in the tiny rented flat he shared with his wife Kitty and their one-year-old son, he was beyond excited about the new glamorous world of show business. Unfortunately, he was also clueless . . . In A Funny Life, Michael honestly and hilariously shares the highs and the lows of his rise to the top and desperate attempts to stay there. It’s all here, from his disastrous panel show appearances to his hit TV shows, from mistakenly thinking he’d be a good chat show host and talent judge, to finding fame and fortune beyond his wildest dreams and becoming the biggest-selling comedian in the world. Along the way he opens his man drawer, narrowly avoids disaster when his trousers fall down in front of three policemen and learns the hard way why he should always listen to his wife. Michael has had a silly life, a stressful life, sometimes a moving and touching life, but always A Funny Life.

Spinning Plates by Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s kitchen discos became a source of much needed escapism, catharsis and sequinned joy for a swathe of the population during lockdown. From knackered mothers and fed up fathers, to cooped up partiers with nowhere to go, Sophie’s gloriously chaotic Friday kitchen performances have cheered and revived us. Now Sophie is bringing that same mixture of down to earth candour and optimistic sparkle to her first book. Part memoir, part musings, Sophie writes about the conjuring act of adulthood and motherhood and how her experience of working while raising her five sons has given her the inescapable lesson of how to navigate life in the face of failure and imperfection. 

Covering relationships, good enough parenting, the importance of delusion and dancing, Sophie writes about the things that take on greater importance as life becomes more complicated. From the non negotiables (solitude, music, glitter) to the unimportant (clean hair, deadlines, appropriate behaviour), this is a book about learning from our experiences and not being afraid to smash a few plates for the sake of what we actually need want and value. 

The Hockneys: Never Worry What the Neighbours Think by John Hockney

Technically this book isn’t a new release, but it’s a goodie. The Hockneys is a never before seen insight into the lives of one of the world’s most famous artists and his family by youngest brother John, from growing up in the Second World War in Bradford through to their diverse lives across three continents. Hardship, successes as well as close and complex relationships are poignantly illustrated by both famous and private pictures and paintings from David Hockney. With a rare and spirited look into the lives of an ordinary family with extraordinary stories, we begin to understand the creative freedom that led to their successful careers and the launchpad for an artist’s work that has inspired and continues to inspire generations across the world.

To the End of the World by Rupert Everett

Okay, so this isn’t totally new…but it is a new paperback version, and also a great read. Rupert Everett tells the story of how he set out to make a film of Oscar Wilde’s last days, and how that ten-year quest almost destroyed him. (And everyone else). Travelling across Europe for the film, he weaves in extraordinary tales from his past, remembering wild times, freak encounters and lost friends. 

There are celebrities, of course. But we also meet glamorous but doomed Aunt Peta, who introduces Rupert (aged three) to the joys of make-up. In ’90s Paris, his great friend Lychee burns bright, and is gone. While in ’70s London, a ‘weirdly tall, beyond size zero’ teenage Rupert is expelled from the Central School of Speech and Drama. Unflinchingly honest and hugely entertaining, To the End of the World offers a unique insight into the ‘snakes and ladders’ of filmmaking. It is also a soulful and thought-provoking autobiography from one of our best-loved and most talented actors and writers. 

Enjoy!

Boredom Busters: The Best Picture Books to Read These School Holidays

While the school holidays are almost over here in Victoria we know they are just beginning in other parts of the world. One of our favourite Winter school holiday activities was finding (or making) a spot to curl up in and read all day long. We’ve currently having a cold snap here in Melbourne so it’s the perfect reading weather. We’ve also found 6 super fun picture books that we know your little ones are going to love spending the day reading in a fort made of all of the couch cushions and blankets. 

A Sprinkle of Sadie by Lana Spasevski

Say hello to Sadie … a superstar baker with a big heart! In this book, Sadie needs to throw a surprise birthday for her mum, help out at the Cookgrove fundraising day, and welcome someone new to her class. But Sadie’s sweet intentions do not always go to plan! Her vanilla ice-cream cake for Mum is as flat as a pancake. Her cupcake stall has tough competition. And her welcome treat is not welcomed! Can Sadie find a way to save the day? In these three sprinkle-filled stories (complete with recipes!) the unstoppable Sadie shows that any problem can be solved with generosity, kindness and, of course, a delicious baked treat.

Water: Protect Freshwater to Save Life on Earth by Catherine Barr

Water is a ground-breaking global introduction to water that includes sharing and protecting freshwater worldwide. Water is life! Freshwater bubbles, flows and floods with the most wonderful life on Earth – and all of us rely on it to stay alive. BUT today, because of pollution and climate change, it is becoming more and more difficult for people and animals to find the clean freshwater they need to survive. It’s time to act! Water tells the story of freshwater around the world. Discover the history of water, how the water cycle works, learn about the different kinds of water and about the amazing variety of wildlife that freshwater is home to. Then find out what happens to water because of climate change and global heating; the importance of clean water for health; the worldwide problem of water pollution and the devastating impact of water shortage on children’s lives and education. Catherine Barr challenges us to take action, to use water wisely and protect freshwater to save our planet.

Building a Home by Polly Faber

Building a Home is a beautifully illustrated picture book guide to exactly how an old building can become a brand-new home. With action-packed artwork from Klas Fahlen and a gentle narrative text by Polly Faber, find out all about the people, machines, processes and tools involved in breathing new life into an old building. Packed with builders, cranes, diggers, cement mixers and a host of other exciting tools and machinery, follow a crumbling old factory on the edge of town as it goes from being an empty shell to something entirely new… a home.

The Book Family Robinson by Jonathan Emmett

A bookish family shipwrecked on a treasure island faces off against a fearsome pirate crew. The keen-reading Robinsons set out to sea, their boat barely afloat with all their books, until a storm strikes down their holiday plans. Shipwrecked on a mysterious island, they gather their soggy books up and research how to survive – completely missing the treasure littered all around them! But the Bloodbucket pirates remember it all too well, and when they find the Robinsons have taken their turf, it’s time to walk the plank. With only Silly Monkey Goes to the Toilet left to hand, can the Robinsons read themselves free from a watery doom?

Maybe… by Chris Haughton

From Chris Haughton comes a funny, suspenseful and keenly observed cautionary tale about pushing boundaries and indulging your more mischievous, cheeky side (when nobody is looking). Three little monkeys, and their big monkey, are sat high up on their branch in the forest canopy. “Ok, monkeys! I’m off,” says the big monkey. “Now remember. Whatever you do, do NOT go down to the mango tree. There are tigers down there.” Mmm . mangos! think the little monkeys. They LOVE mangos. Hmm … maybe . maybe they could just look at the mangos? That’d be ok, right?

Amazing Activists Who Are Changing Our World by Rebecca Schiller

Discover the stories of 20 amazing activists who are caring for our planet and its people. Fascinating facts about each activist’s life and times are accompanied by bright and accessible illustrations, making this book ideal for young children wanting to learn about incredible people who through their brave actions have changed the world for the better. Positive, uplifting and packed full of information, this book will show children that no one is too small to make a difference. Activists featured: Sonita Alizdeh; Rachel Carson; Favio Chavez; Mahatma Gandhi; Jane Goodall; Helen Keller; Martin Luther King Jr; Nelson Mandela; Wangari Maathai; Aditya Mukarji; Emmeline Pankhurst; Autumn Peltier; Boyan Slat; Gareth Thomas; Greta Thunberg; Harriet Tubman; William Wilberforce; Ai Weiwei Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah; Malala Yousafzai.

Enjoy!

Six fabulous fashion titles to get you out of track pants

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 Fashion Yearbook 2021: Best of Campaigns, Editorials and Covers by Julia Zirpel

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.

How To Break Up With Fast Fashion: A guilt-free guide to changing the way you shop for good by Lauren Bravo

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.

Enjoy!

Ted Talk: What adults can learn from kids

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.

The anti-CEO playbook

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.

How to shift your mindset and choose your future

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.