Tag Archives: #Learning

Climate Change: What can be done at home? Six Books that show us how we can help

Sometimes the idea of making small changes at home to help the environment can feel so small and insignificant that we begin to wonder if they really are helping. Good news. We have found six amazing books that show that your small changes really do make a big difference. What’s even better, is that they each outline a number of new and inventive ways we can change our behaviour for lasting impact.

Net Zero: How We Stop Causing Climate Change by Dieter Helm

What can we really do about the climate emergency? The inconvenient truth is that we are causing the climate crisis with our carbon intensive lifestyles and that fixing, or even just slowing, it will affect all of us. But it can be done. In Net Zero the economist Professor Dieter Helm addresses the action we would all need to take, whether personal, local, national or global, if we really wanted to stop causing climate change. Net Zero is Professor Dieter Helm’s measured, balanced view of how we stop causing climate change by adopting a net zero strategy of reducing carbon emissions and increasing carbon absorption. It is a rational look at why the past 30 years efforts has failed and why and how the next 30 years can succeed. It is a vital book for anyone who hears the clamour of Extinction Rebellion and other ecological activists, but wonders what they can actually do.

How to Garden the Low-carbon Way: The steps you can take to help combat climate change by Sally Nex

Keen on starting your own garden but unsure about your environmental impact? This guide will give you practical advice on which soil to use, plants that are best for absorbing carbon dioxide, low-carbon fertilisers, and cutting out single-use plastic. What’s more, this garden book is completely backed by scientific research! Explore the benefits of no-dig gardening, how to use fewer plants, using hedges instead of fences and how to grow shrubs that support wildlife.

This is a fantastic gardening book with a simple, step-by-step guide to either learn about gardening or to reference as your garden grows. You’ll quickly become acquainted with the benefits of growing a garden that positively contributes to the environment. Plus, you’ll have all the fun rewards a gardening hobby has to offer.

Things You Can Do: How to Fight Climate Change and Reduce Waste by
Eduardo Garcia

Award-winning climate journalist Eduardo Garcia offers a deeply researched and user-friendly guide to the things we can do every day to fight climate change. Based on his popular New York Times column “One Thing You Can Do,” this fully illustrated book proposes simple solutions for an overwhelming problem. No lectures here, just accessible and inspiring ideas to slash emissions and waste in our daily lives. In each chapter, Garcia digs into the issue, explaining how everyday choices lead to carbon emissions, then delivers a wealth of things you can do to make a positive impact. Things You Can Do is the book for people who want to know and do more to save the planet.

Kiss the Ground: How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save Our World by Josh Tickell

Kiss the Ground explains an incredible truth: by changing our diets to a soil-nourishing, regenerative agriculture diet, we can reverse global warming, harvest healthy, abundant food, and eliminate the poisonous substances that are harming our children, pets, bodies, and ultimately our planet. This richly visual look at the impact of an under-appreciated but essential resource, the very ground that feeds us, features fascinating and accessible interviews with celebrity chefs, ranchers, farmers, and top scientists. Kiss the Ground teaches you how to become an agent in humanity’s single most important and time-sensitive mission: reverse climate change and effectively save the world-all through the choices you make in how and what to eat.

Sustainable Home: Practical projects, tips and advice for maintaining a more eco-friendly household by Christine Liu

Sustainable Home is an oldie but a goodie. It is an inspirational and practical guidebook to maintaining a more environmentally friendly household. Sustainability enthusiast and zero-waste advocate Christine Liu takes you on a tour through the rooms of your home – the living area, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom – offering tips, tricks and 17 step-by-step projects designed to help you lead a more low-impact lifestyle. Whether it is by making your own toothpowder, growing your own herb garden or up-cycling old pieces of furniture, there are numerous ways – both big and small – to make a difference.

Remodelista – The Low-Impact Home: A Sourcebook for Stylish, Eco-Conscious
Living
by Margot Guralnick and Fan Winston

Low-impact living is about making thoughtful, eco-friendly choices in your home. But being sustainable doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style. That’s where Remodelista comes in. In this comprehensive guide, they decode the secrets to creating a home that’s good for the planet – and totally liveable. First, the team invites readers on in-depth tours of the living quarters of a dozen homeowners who have interpreted this ethos in myriad ways: an Australian architect’s state-of-the-art family home, a rental apartment in Brooklyn outfitted with materials salvaged from the neighbourhood, and even a farmhouse in England made of hemp. Then they take us room by room to dissect the most impactful swaps we can make for a healthier home, from a gentler laundry routine courtesy of the Celsious sisters to chef David Tanis’s low-tech approach to cooking. There are simple DIY projects to encourage you to reuse and repurpose rather than buy new, plus the ‘Vintage 75’ – a roundup of everyday household goods that are easy to find used, and are typically better made and more affordable than their brand-new counterparts. And, of course, there’s remodelling advice for all budgets and scopes: whether you’re looking to choose healthy paint, swap out your rug, upgrade your windows, or overhaul your whole place. It all adds up to an eco-conscious approach that’s about living not only responsibly but also with joy and style. This book is so new, it’s not even out yet. Fear not, you can click through the hyperlinks to pre-order it. 

Enjoy!

Climate Change Crusaders, the voices challenging the way we treat our world 

Climate Change is not a new issue, nor is it going to fix itself without our education, action and attention. There are a number of individuals and groups that have been trying to get society’s attention to take action for years. Some have made an impact quickly and have roused us to protest, change our behaviour and expect more from each other. Today we’re sharing six books tackling this topic in very different ways, one shows how their family has been impacted, another teaches us how to discuss this important topic and others outline how the world will look should we choose to ignore it.

How to Talk About Climate Change in a Way That Makes a Difference by Rebecca Huntley

Why is it so hard to talk about climate change? While scientists double down on the shocking figures, we still find ourselves unable to discuss climate change meaningfully among friends and neighbours or even to grapple with it ourselves. The key to progress on climate change is in the psychology of human attitudes and our ability to change. Whether you’re already alarmed and engaged with the issue, concerned but disengaged, a passive skeptic or an active denier, understanding our emotional reactions to climate change – why it makes us anxious, fearful, angry or detached – is critical to coping on an individual level and convincing each other to act. This book is about understanding why people who aren’t like you feel the way they do and learning to talk to them effectively. What we need are thousands – millions – of everyday conversations about the climate to enlarge the ranks of the concerned, engage the disengaged and persuade the cautious of the need for action.

Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change by Nathaniel Rich 

By 1979, we knew all that we know now about the science of climate change; what was happening, why it was happening, and how to stop it. Over the next ten years, we also had the very real opportunity to stop it. Obviously, we failed. Nathaniel Rich’s groundbreaking account of that failure and how tantalisingly close we came to signing binding treaties that would have saved us all before the fossil fuels industry and politicians committed to anti-scientific denialism, is already a journalistic blockbuster, a full issue of the New York Times Magazine that has earned favourable comparisons to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and John Hersey’s Hiroshima. In the book Losing Earth, Rich provides more of the context for what did, and didn’t, happen in the 1980s and, more important, is able to carry the story fully into the present day and wrestle with what those past failures mean for us today. It is not just an agonising revelation of historical missed opportunities, but a clear-eyed and eloquent assessment of how we got to now, and what we can and must do before it is truly too late.

Hot Air: The Inside Story of the Battle Against Climate Change Denial by Peter Stott 

Hot Air is the shocking inside story of the fight to halt climate change over the past twenty-five years by a world-renowned scientist, Peter Stott. Ours is the age of global warming. Rising sea levels, extreme weather, forest fires. Dire warnings are everywhere, so why has it taken so long for the crisis to be recognised? Here, for the first time, climate scientist Peter Stott reveals the bitter fight to get international recognition for what, among scientists, has been known for decades: human activity causes climate change. Hot Air is the urgent story of how the science was developed, how it has been repeatedly sabotaged and why humanity hasn’t a second to spare in the fight to halt climate change.

Climate: Powerful Voices, Inspiring Ideas by Christina Limpert

With climate change at the forefront of current discussion, Words of change in Climate offers a curated collection of thought-provoking quotes and passages from the writings and speeches of activists in the environmental community, with a focus on diverse and previously unheard voices.

Compiled by social scientist and researcher Christina Limpert, this collection of stirring words is intended to enlighten, to prompt change, to provide encouragement, and to deepen readers’ conviction. Celebrating activism, focusing on solutions, and avoiding apathy and pessimism, this book is call to action. The back matter includes a brief bio for each person quoted to provide context for their life and work.

Stand Up! Speak Up! A Story Inspired by the Climate Change Revolution by Andrew Joyner

From a #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator, and the creator of The Pink Hat, comes a timely picture book about a young girl’s mission to inspire others to help the planet. Celebrate young climate change activists in this charming story about an empowered girl who shows up, listens up, and ultimately, speaks up to inspire her community to take action against climate change. After attending a climate march, a young activist is motivated to make an effort and do her part to help the planet… by organising volunteers to work to make green changes in their community, from cleaning a lake, to planting trees, to making composting bins, to hosting a clothing swap and more! Here is an uplifting picture book that is an important reminder that no change is too small, and no person is too young, to make a difference. With simple text and lively illustrations, Andrew Joyner has given young children a timely story about activism, community, and hope.

In a few weeks we will be sharing more books on how to talk to children about climate change so be sure to check back again for more titles.

Our House is on Fire: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis by Malena Ernman, Greta Thunberg, Beata Ernman, Svante Thunberg

The profoundly moving story of how love, courage and determination brought Greta Thunberg’s family back from the brink. This is the story of a happy family whose life suddenly fell apart, never to be the same again. Of two devoted parents plunged into a waking nightmare as their eleven-year-old daughter Greta stopped speaking and eating, and her younger sister struggled to cope. They desperately searched for answers, and began to see how their children’s suffering reached far beyond medical diagnoses. This crisis was not theirs alone: they were burned-out people on a burned-out planet. And so they decided to act. Our House is on Fire shows how, amid forces that tried to silence them, one family found ways to strengthen, heal, and gain courage from the love they had for each other and for the living world. It is a parable of hope and determination in an emergency that affects us all.

You can read other titles by Greta Thunberg here.

Next week on the blog we’ll be sharing six books offering suggestions as to what changes we can do at home to aid the future of the planet. 

Enjoy!

Biographies: Australian Stories 

What counts as an Australian Story? Australia has a diversity of landscapes, cultures and attitudes; these form the basis of endless unique stories. And more and more of these diverse stories are being shared, so we can learn about each other. Whether you enjoy finding common ground, walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, or sneaking a peek into famous lives, there is an Australian biography that you will love.

All Mixed Up by Jason Om

The seed for Jason Om’s memoir was sown when, in 2017, he wrote an enormously moving story about how his father struggled to accept his (Jason’s) sexuality for 16 years, before finally voting “Yes” in the marriage equality plebiscite. Its popularity motivated him to describe more of his life. The award-winning ABC reporter grew up in a multi-ethnic, multi-faith household, with a Cambodian Buddhist dad, a Eurasian Catholic mum, and a Muslim-Malaysian half-sister. When he was 12, he watched his mother die of a heart attack while they were home alone; 20 years later, he was finally ready to process her death, by using his journalistic skills to unravel the family secrets that could explain her sorrowful outlook and often-erratic behaviour. All Mixed Up will make you laugh and cry and laugh again. It is a compelling story about trauma, identity and acceptance; it is also an uplifting celebration of the second-generation migrant experience, and of a son’s love for his mother.

Am I Black Enough For You? (10 Years On edition) by Anita Heiss

“I’m an urban beachside Blackfella, a concrete Koori with Westfield Dreaming, and I apologise to no-one.” Anita Heiss highlights the diversity in modern Indigenous Australians by sharing her own story – she is a proud Wiradyuri woman, yet has pale skin from an Austrian father, grew up in the suburbs, has a PhD and lives an urbane, cosmopolitan life. In her distinctive sassy voice, she challenges stereotypes about what qualifies as “truly” Aboriginal, illustrates the systemic and casual racism against Indigenous Australians with her own family history, and also discusses the growth of her activist consciousness. Am i Black Enough For You? also includes a gripping account of a landmark court case where Anita Heiss and eight co-plaintiffs sued shock-jock Andrew Bolt for doubting their Aboriginality (Heiss and co. won; Bolt was found to have breached the Racial Discrimination Act). Re-released on its 10th anniversary, this is still a powerful yet accessible introduction to understanding Indigenous identity and activism.

Your Own Kind of Girl by Clare Bowditch

When Clare Bowditch was 21, and recovering from a breakdown, she promised herself that she would write down the story of what led to, and how she survived, her nervous breakdown, in the hope that it can inspire anyone who’s ever struggled against their inner critic. Over 20 years later, flourishing and empowered, she has finally found the courage to complete her memoirs. Your Own Kind of Girl reveals a childhood punctuated by grief, anxiety and compulsion, telling how these forces shaped Clare’s life, and how she finally arrived at happiness when she took charge of the stories she told herself.  Your Own Kind of Girl is candid, generous and heartfelt, showing that Clare Bowditch – beloved musician, actress, broadcaster – is a powerful storyteller, in prose as in song.

Good Riddance: Get Rid of your Fears and Doubts. Unleash your Potential by Stacey Currie

Stacie Currie grew up in a chaotic, disadvantaged family and has beaten incredible odds to become happy and successful. Pregnant at 15 and homeless at 17, she was a mother-of-three and family-abuse survivor by age 21. Government authorities gave her a stark choice: turn her life around, or lose custody of her kids. But how to strive for a better, “good” life when you can’t comprehend what that looks like? Stacie realised that she can work backwards – identify what she doesn’t want, and work to get rid of unhelpful thinking that fosters these bad habits. Good Riddance shows how it was done – each chapter focusses on a behaviour she didn’t want, and her advice on how to overcome it. Now a successful businesswoman and motivational speaker, Stacie is committed to paying it forward – using her insights to empower audiences to unlock courage and make positive changes, as well as working with charities that support at-risk children and youth.

Honey Blood by Kirsty Everett

Honey Blood is the evocative title of Kirsty Everett’s memoir, about a childhood and adolescence lived in the shadow of leukaemia. Kirsty Everett was going to be an Olympic gymnast, but her dreams were derailed by a leukaemia diagnosis at age 9. Having survived the experience, she was diagnosed again at age 16. Facing a low chance of survival, she decided to live life to the full – and, after an amazing recovery, still does to this day. Honey Blood juxtaposes vivid descriptions of cancer treatment with the nostalgic story of a girl growing up in as normal a way as her health allows – with sport, school, takeaway dinners and first kisses. This book may offer particular support to anyone touched by cancer; but Kirsty’s courage, resilience and positivity offers inspiration to everyone.

Born Into This by Adam Thompson

Born Into This is actually a short story collection rather than biography, but his characters are so vivid and heartfelt that you can feel they are drawn from life. These 16 stories, about black and white relations, colonialism, class friction, racism and the gradual destruction of heritage and environment, are clearly anchored by Adam Thompson’s ancestry, his work within the Aboriginal community, and his native Tasmanian landscape. A particular highlight is his large cast of distinctive and vividly-drawn characters, who speak to the diverse lived experiences of Indigenous people. Born Into This is dark, funny and confronting, with an in-your-face energy that nonetheless delivers thoughtful messages. A strong debut by this Tasmanian Aboriginal author.

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.

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.

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.

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.

What makes a good life?

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.