Tag Archives: #Topbooks

Top 5 Books Leadership Books to Read in 2018

They say that some people are born natural leaders… but given the boom currently occurring in the business section genre of books we are starting to think that perhaps great leaders are actually mentored and curated. Regardess, before you can lead someone else, be it a group or a company, you must first be able to lead yourself and that requires discipline, self-actualisation, sense of purpose, and humility.

There are a plethora of titles available on the topic of leadership and we have found our top five.

Let’s dive in and get inspired…

 

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

From the time we learn to speak, we’re told that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. When you become a manager, it’s your job to say it–and your obligation.

Author Kim Scott was an executive at Google and then at Apple, where she worked with a team to develop a class on how to be a good boss. She has earned growing fame in recent years with her vital new approach to effective management, Radical Candor.

Radical Candor is a simple idea: to be a good boss, you have to Care Personally at the same time that you Challenge Directly. When you challenge without caring it’s obnoxious aggression; when you care without challenging it’s ruinous empathy. When you do neither it’s manipulative insincerity.

This simple framework can help you build better relationships at work, and fulfill your three key responsibilities as a leader: creating a culture of feedback (praise and criticism), building a cohesive team, and achieving results you’re all proud of.

Radical Candor offers a guide to those bewildered or exhausted by management, written for bosses and those who manage bosses. Taken from years of the author’s experience, and distilled clearly giving actionable lessons to the reader; it shows managers how to be successful while retaining their humanity, finding meaning in their job, and creating an environment where people both love their work and their colleagues.

 

Sprint: How to solve big problems and test new ideas in just 5 days by Jake Knapp

Entrepreneurs and leaders face big questions every day – What’s the most important place to focus your effort, and how do you start? What will your idea look like in real life? How many meetings and discussions does it take before you can be sure you have the right solution? Now there’s a surefire way to answer these important questions: the sprint. Designer Jake Knapp created the five day process at Google, where sprints were used on everything from Google Search to Google X. He joined Braden Kowitz and John Zeratsky at Google Ventures, and together they have completed more than one hundred sprints with companies in mobile, e-commerce, healthcare, finance, and more. Sprint is a practical guide to answering critical business questions. Sprint is a book for teams of any size, from small startups to Fortune 100s, from teachers to nonprofits. It’s for anyone with a big opportunity, problem, or idea who needs to get answers today.

 

Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Nurture Talent by Sydney Finkelstein

Superbosses exist in nearly every industry, from the glamorous to the mundane. They are defined by consistent success in their fields and their approach to finding, nurturing and developing talent. If you study the top fifty leaders in any field, as many as one third will have once worked for a superboss. After ten years of research and more than two hundred interviews with superbosses including technology CEO Larry Ellison and fashion pioneer Ralph Lauren, Finkelstein explores this previously unidentified phenomenon and shows how each of us can emulate their best tactics to create our own powerful networks of extraordinary talent.

 

 

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle

What links a call centre in Bangalore, the 2010 Chilean mining accident and the New England Patriots? The answer: all are examples of successful organisational cultures, where individuals bond together to form a motivated, cohesive and cooperative team. In Culture Code, Daniel Coyle employs the latest psychological research to investigate how successful cultures are created and what we can learn from them. Drawing on examples from business, sports, the arts and family life, he reveals how high-performing cultures ignite motivation and encourage cooperation by tapping into a common language of subconscious signals to which we’re built to respond. As in the case of the Chilean mining accident, a culture built on trust and cooperation can be the difference between disaster and salvation. In business, the effects are scarcely less drastic according to a recent Harvard study, a strong, aligned culture can increase revenues by 516 per cent and net income by 756 per cent. Culture Code reveals for the first time the building blocks and shared language of successful cultures, and shows how we can all follow the same basic principles to improve our community.

 

and finally, one of our all time favourites…

 

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action by Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek has one of the most popular Ted Talks ever unearthing why some people are more successful than others. You can view the Ted Talk here.

Why are some people and organisations more inventive, pioneering and successful than others? And why are they able to repeat their success again and again? In business, it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters why you do it. “Start with Why” analyses leaders like Martin Luther King Jr and Steve Jobs and discovers that they all think in the same way and they all started with why. Simon Sinek explains the framework needed for businesses to move past knowing what they do to how they do it, and then to ask the more important question – Why? Why do we do what we do? Why do we exist? Learning to ask these questions can unlock the secret to inspirational business. Sinek explains what it truly takes to lead and inspire and how anyone can learn how to do it.

 

Enjoy!

Top 5 Books on Friendship

Friendships are amazing things, they have the power to shape someone’s life, and many influence who we become. Every now and again a book comes along that truly depicts what it is like to be amongst the throws of a great friendship and we think we have found a few that do just that. We’ve also spotted one that explores the language within female friendships and one that takes us on a journey of friendships though our lifecycle.

Let’s get started…

Living The Dream by Lauren Berry

Living The Dream is a sharp satire of modern British life. It features Emma, who should be a writer (but works in corporate advertising) and Clem, just back in London from New York, who is on the path to becoming a successful screenwriter (but works in a bar and lives with her mum).

Both women navigate the challenges of dreams and aspirations vs. reality, of having the guts to take a risk vs. selling out. Amid the big questions, Emma and Clem also find themselves faced with life’s little challenges: how to look happy at work, what to do with undesirable colleagues, how a hen party can go horribly wrong and what (not) to wear at a ‘well-ness’ spa.

 

 

Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

Inseparable through university, Eva, Benedict, Sylvie and Lucien graduate into an exhilarating world on the brink of the new millennium. Eager to shrug off the hardships of her childhood, Eva breaks away to work at a big bank. Benedict stays behind to complete his PhD in Physics and pine for Eva, while siblings Sylvie and Lucien pursue a more bohemian existence. But as their twenties give way to their thirties, the four friends find their paths diverging as they struggle to navigate broken hearts and thwarted dreams. With every summer that passes, they try to remain as close as they once were, but this is far from easy. One friend’s triumph coincides with another’s disaster, one finds love as another loses it, and one comes to their senses as another is changing their mind. It’s a novel about finding the courage to carry on despite life not always turning out as expected, and a powerful testament to love and friendship as the constants in an ever-changing world. Invincible Summer is a dazzling depiction of the highs and lows of adulthood and the greater forces that shape us.

 

 

Before Everything by Victoria Redel

End of sixth grade they made it their official name. It was a joke one afternoon but they liked the way it sounded. Permanent. The Old Friends. This way, the five girls agree, it’s just a fact. And ours forever. Anna, Molly, Ming, Caroline, Helen: the Old Friends.

Since adopting their official name aged eleven, they have seen each other through careers, children, illnesses, marriage, divorce, addiction, fame, fall outs. But now, Anna, a fiercely loved mother and friend, and the Old Friends’ glue is diagnosed with cancer again, and this time, tired of recoveries and relapses, pitying looks and exhausting regimes, she simply says: no more.

As her health declines, the politics of the still lived in world merge with memories of the past while each Old Friend tries to accept the truth of what is happening: they are losing someone they cannot imagine life without. Some will fight her decision, some will accept it, but all will rejoice in a life fully lived.

 

 

You’re the Only One I Can Tell by Deborah Tannen

Deborah Tannen has explored the way we talk at work, in arguments, to our mothers and our daughters and now she turns to that most intense, precious and potential minefield: women’s friendships. Best friend, old friend, good friend, new friend, neighbour, fellow mother at the school gate, workplace confidante: women’s friendships are crucial. A friend can be like a sister, daughter, mother, mentor, therapist or confessor. She can also be the source of pain and betrayal.

From casual chatting to intimate confiding, from talking about problems to sharing funny stories, there are patterns of communication and miscommunication that affect friendships. Tannen shows how even the best of friends, with the best intentions, can say the wrong thing, how the ways women friends talk can bring friends closer or pull them apart, but also how words can repair the damage done by words. She explains the power of women friends who show empathy and can just listen; how women use talk to connect and to subtly compete; how fears of rejection can haunt friendships; how social media is reshaping relationships.

Exploring what it means to be friends, helping us hear what we are really saying, understanding how we connect to other people, this illuminating and validating book gets inside the language of one of most women’s life essentials – female friendships.

 

 

The F Word by Lily Pebbles

The F Word is a debut book by blogging sensation Lily Pebbles (you can check out her blog here) who is one of the pioneers of the industry. She’s amassed a massive league of loyal followers of her blog and self-named YouTube channel (which you can find here) for content that covers a range of beauty, style and advice. The anticipation for her book is huge.

If there’s one piece of invaluable advice for women and girls of all ages, it is that there is nothing more important than creating and maintaining strong, positive and happy friendships with other women. In a culture that largely pits women against each other, Lily Pebbles wants to celebrate female friendships…all strings attached! If her 1998 diary is anything to go by, female friendships are incredibly complex and emotional but they’re the mini love stories that make us who we are. For many women, friends are our partners in crime through life; they are the ones who move us into new homes, out of bad relationships, through births and illnesses. In The F Word Pebbles sets out to explore and celebrate the essence of female friendship at different life stages and in its many wild and wonderful forms.

 

Enjoy!

Top 5 Books on Community Involvement

Research has shown that the most common resolutions made each January include engaging more with a local community, building and maintaining friendships, advancing a career and becoming a better person. It is with this in mind that this month we are going to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions alive.

This week we’re looking at ways you can become involved in your local community and the change you can make to make your neighbourhood a better place to live and laugh with others. The top books we have found explore the notion of looking beyond a face and getting to know who is passing us on the street, how to make small changes locally that can take on the world and how to help the next generation value their community.

Oh, and despite the title of this blog… we actually have 6 books – it was just too hard to narrow it down…. Let’s call it a ‘bonus book’.

Let’s get started…

Chapter One by Daniel Flynn

Chapter One is the story of three kids from Melbourne, Australia with zero experience in business who had an idea and the crazy belief that they all had the power to change stuff. It started with the World Water Crisis (and how to end it) but has developed into an award-winning consumer goods brand that empowers millions of people to fight poverty with every munch of muesli, sip of water or pump of hand wash. And that’s just the beginning. This is the story of epic proportions by Thankyou co-founder Daniel Flynn about Thankyou’s gut-wrenching decisions, wild mistakes and daring moves in business, marketing and social enterprise so far. You’ll laugh at their boldness, cry at their failings and be inspired by their determination. But more than that, you’ll understand that, no matter your walk of life, you too have the power to change stuff.

 

The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change by Adam Braun

Adam Braun began working summers at hedge funds when he was just sixteen years old, sprinting down the path to a successful Wall Street career. But while traveling he met a young boy begging on the streets of India, who after being asked what he wanted most in the world, simply answered, “A pencil”. This small request led to a staggering series of events that took Braun backpacking through dozens of countries before eventually leaving a prestigious job to found Pencils of Promise, the organisation he started with just $25 that has since built more than 250 schools around the world. The Promise of a Pencil chronicles Braun’s journey to find his calling, as each chapter explains one clear step that every person can take to turn their biggest ambitions into reality. If you feel restless and ready for transition, if you are seeking direction and purpose, this critically acclaimed bestseller is for you. Driven by inspiring stories and shareable insights, this is the book that will give you the tools to make your own life a story worth telling.

 

Humans of New York: The Stories by Brandon Stanton

We are huge fans of Brandon’s work and couldn’t go past showcasing this wonderful title again.  In the summer of 2010, photographer Brandon Stanton began an ambitious project to single handedly create a photographic census of New York City. The photos he took and the accompanying interviews became the blog Humans of New York. His audience steadily grew from a few hundred followers to, at present count, over eighteen million. In 2013, his book Humans of New York, based on that blog, was published and immediately catapulted to the top of the NY Times Bestseller List where it has appeared for over forty five weeks. Now, Brandon is back with the Humans of New York book that his loyal followers have been waiting for: Humans of New York: Stories. Ever since Brandon began interviewing people on the streets of New York, the dialogue he’s had with them has increasingly become as in depth, intriguing and moving as the photos themselves. Humans of New York: Stories presents a whole new group of people in stunning photographs, with a rich design and, most importantly, longer stories that delve deeper and surprise with greater candor. Let Brandon Stanton and the Humans of New York he’s photographed astonish you all over again.

 

Be A Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson

At age eleven, Jessica Markowitz learned that girls in Rwanda are often not allowed to attend school, and Richards Rwanda took shape. During his sophomore year of high school, Zach Steinfeld put his love of baking to good use and started the Baking for Breast Cancer Club.
Do you wish you could make a difference in your community or even the world? Are you one of the millions of high school teens with a service-learning requirement? Either way, “Be a Changemaker” will empower you with the confidence and knowledge you need to affect real change. You’ll find all the tools you need right here: through engaging youth profiles, step-by-step exercises, and practical tips, you can start making a difference today. This inspiring guide will teach you how to research ideas, build a team, recruit supportive adults, fundraise, host events, work the media, and, most importantly, create lasting positive change. Apply lessons from the business world to problems that need solving and become a savvy activist with valuable skills that will benefit you for a lifetime.

 

UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Dr Michele Borba

Teens today are forty percent less empathetic than they were thirty years ago. Why is a lack of empathy, which goes hand-in-hand with the self-absorption epidemic Dr. Michele Borba calls the Selfie Syndrome, so dangerous? First, it hurts kids’ academic performance and leads to bullying behaviours. Also, it correlates with more cheating and less resilience. And once children grow up, a lack of empathy hampers their ability to collaborate, innovate and problem solve – all must have skills for the global economy. In UnSelfie Dr. Borba pinpoints the forces causing the empathy crisis and shares a revolutionary, researched based, nine-step plan for reversing it. Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured. Dr. Borba offers a framework for parenting that yields the results we all want: successful, happy kids who are also kind, moral, courageous, and resilient. UnSelfie is a blueprint for parents and educators who want kids to shift their focus from I, me, and mine… to we, us, and ours.

 

100 under $100: One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women by Betsy Teutsch

This book is a comprehensive look at effective, low-cost solutions for helping women in the Global South out of poverty. Most books on this subject focus on one problem and one solution; author Betsy Teutsch instead spreads her net wide, sharing one hundred successful, proven paths out of poverty in eleven different sectors including tech, public health, law, finance, and more. A visually striking book full of images of vibrant, strong women farmers, health practitioners, entrepreneurs, and humanitarian tech stars doing exciting, cutting edge work. Eye opening and compelling, 100 Under $100 is an accessible entry point for globally attuned readers excited about using a broad range of tools to empower women and help alleviate poverty in the developing world.

 

Enjoy!

Top Travel Books to Encourage a Getaway

It’s been a long hot summer here in Melbourne and with February just around the corner, it’s now the time when we all start booking our getaways for later in the year. Whether you relax by spending time on a sandy beach, enjoy immersing yourself in bustling cities or prefer a simple camping trip we have some fabulous books for you to explore.

 

Wander Love by Aubrey Daquinag

Wander Love takes the world of Instagram and travel, and distils it in a beautiful pictorial book that will inspire your own adventures. Author Aubrey Daquinag is a travel blogger and photographer, most often found posting her adventures on her blog The Love Assembly from all corners of the globe. Featuring her incredible photography that shows you a world where travel meets style, her book includes sections on the essentials for a digital nomad office, how to be stylish while on the road, how to upgrade your travel photography skills, advice for solo female travellers, and unique destination guides for countries like Colombia and Morocco. Wander Love is the perfect mix of style, substance and travel adventures to inspire your own.

 

The New York Times Footsteps; From Ferrante’s Naples to Hammett’s San Francisco by The New York Times

Based on the popular New York Times travel column, Footsteps is an anthology of literary pilgrimages, exploring the geographic muses behind some of history’s greatest writers. From the “dangerous, dirty and seductive” streets of Naples, the setting for Elena Ferrante’s famous Neapolitan novels, to the “stone arches, creaky oaken doors, and riverside paths” of Oxford, the backdrop for Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, Footsteps takes a fresh approach to literary tourism, appealing to readers and travel enthusiasts alike.

 

 

 

The New Paris: The People, Places, and Ideas Fueling a Movement by Lindsey Tramuta

The city long-adored for its medieval beauty, old time brasseries, and corner cafés has even more to offer today. In the last few years, a flood of new ideas and creative locals has infused a once-static, traditional city with a new open-minded sensibility and energy. Journalist Lindsey Tramuta offers detailed insight into the rapidly evolving worlds of food, wine, pastry, coffee, beer, fashion, and design in the delightful city of Paris. Tramuta puts the spotlight on the new trends and people that are making France’s capital a more whimsical, creative, vibrant, and curious place to explore than its classical reputation might suggest. With hundreds of striking photographs that capture this fresh, animated spirit, The New Paris shows us the storied City of Light as never before.

 

Havana: A Subtropical Delirium by Mark Kurlansky

During his decade-long tenure as the Chicago Tribune’s Caribbean correspondent in the 1980s, Mark Kurlansky began traveling to Cuba. Since this introduction to the island nation, the journalist grew to know and love the beautiful, messy capital. Drawing on Havana’s history, Kurlansky starts with Columbus’ arrival in 1492 and examines the city’s role in the slave trade and its lasting effects. But he also brings us into the contemporary culture, highlighting the city’s lively music, dance and art scenes, and supplying us with recipes to tasty Cuban dishes.

 

 

 

 

Beaches by Gray Malin

Gray Malin is the artist of the moment for the Hollywood and fashion elite. His awe-inspiring aerial photographs of beaches around the world are shot from doorless helicopters, creating playful and stunning celebrations of light, shape, and perspective, as well as summer bliss. Combining the spirit of travel, adventure, luxury, and artistry, Malin built his eponymous lifestyle brand from a deep passion for photography and interior design. His work forges the synergy between wanderlust and adventure, creating the ultimate visual escape. Beaches features more than twenty cities across six continents.

 

Camping Around Australia by Explore Australia

Now on its third edition, Camping around Australia has become the go-to guide for all recreational campers. And this edition is bigger and better than ever! With over 3200 campsites included across the country, particularly highlighting free and dog-friendly campsites, the problem isn’t finding somewhere to camp – it’s deciding where to camp out of the many great options.

 

 

Enjoy!

The Top Ten Most Popular Books on Booko for 2017

Wowsers, we’re nearly at the end of 2017…is it just us or did it zoom by in a flash?

It’s been a wonderful year in the literary world and although we tried, the Booko team still have a few titles that we wished we’d read…and with summer fast approaching we will be tackling our reading lists with much anticipation.

Here’s the top ten books of 2017 that our Booko community have been reading.

The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape

One thing that you’ll find different between this book and any other finance book you have read is that getting on top of your finances gives you enormous freedom. Divorced? Made redundant? Want a change of career? Sort your finances by putting in place the ‘set and forget’ steps covered by Scott Pape and you’re halfway there. For many, this book has been life changing.

 

 

 

 

 

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls broke records as the most-funded original book in crowdfunding history, and has since become a bestseller in 30 languages. Challenging gender stereotypes, Good Night Stories profiles 100 women – scientists, athletes, politicians – who have contributed to public life. It further celebrates women by highlighting the work of the two authors and 60 illustrators, who produced this striking and colourful volume. Written in the style of fairytales, Good Night Stories is not just for bedtime or for girls – it is inspirational for all children. Adult readers can also enjoy it as a sampler offering ideas for further reading. Volume 2 is available here.

 

 

Wonder by R J Palacio

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all? WONDER is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

 

 

 

The Subtle Art of not giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up. Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited “not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek. There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

 

 

A Season with Richmond by Konrad Marshall

A Season with Richmond reveals the intimate story of the Richmond Football Club through the highs and heartaches of the 2017 season. With unprecedented access to club officials, players and coaches, author Konrad Marshall takes the reader inside the rooms at the key moments the campaign, chronicling the Tigers’ journey towards premiership contention. This is not just a book of wins and losses, it’s the story of a professional football club and how it operates at every level: from the fitness staff, to the coaching panel, the players, and the Board. Football has changed enormously since Richmond’s last flag, in 1980, and Marshall explains in great detail the enormous amount of work and thought that goes into every decision made—on and off the field. Whether the Tigers make it to the last Saturday in September or not, their story is rich and explosive. A Season with Richmond is full of unparalleled access to all the key moments, including frank and occasionally emotional interviews with all the key figures. A Season with Richmond is a compulsory read for all football fans.

 

 

The Circle by Dave Eggers

When Mae is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Run out of a sprawling California campus, the Circle links users’ personal emails, social media, and finances with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of transparency. Mae can’t believe her great fortune to work for them – even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public.

 

 

 

 

Tinkering: The Complete Book of John Clarke by Text Publishing

The sudden death of John Clarke in April 2017 cut short the life of a man who was not only a great and much loved entertainer and satirist but a wonderful writer.

Tinkering- The Complete Book of John Clarke represents his work from the 1970s in both Australia and New Zealand, and includes his writing for radio, television, stage and screen, as well some previously unpublished pieces. This collection includes the irresistible commentaries of Fred Dagg, the hilarious and unforgettable absurdities of farnarkeling and selections of his famous quizzes, where he gave the answers and readers had to guess the questions. There are also moving recollections of people and places, many of which he wrote towards the end of his life.

Introduced by Lorin Clarke Tinkering is the perfect way to remember the genius who made us all laugh at ourselves and our society for so many years.

 

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

With J.K. Rowling writing the screenplay herself, and the casting of Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne in the lead role, Potterheads should be in for a treat.  Fantastic Beasts is first mentioned in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, as a textbook that Harry and his friends use at Hogwarts. It is supposedly written by Newt Scamander, a famous Magizoologist, and is a guide to the magical creatures found in the Harry Potter universe.  Sales of this book has raised millions for the charity Comic Relief.

 

 

 

 

Robert Kuok: A Memoir by Robert Kuok

Robert Kuok is one of the most highly respected businessmen in Asia. But this legendary Overseas Chinese entrepreneur, commodities trader, hotelier and property mogul has maintained a low profile and seldom shed light in public on his business empire or personal life. That is, until now. In these memoirs, the 94-year-old Kuok tells the remarkable story of how, starting in British Colonial Malaya, he built a multi-industry, multinational business group. In reflecting back on 75 years of conducting business, he offers management insights, discusses strategies and lessons learned, and relates his principles, philosophy, and moral code. Kuok has lived through fascinating and often tumultuous times in Asia – from British colonialism to Japanese military occupation to post-colonial Southeast Asia and the dramatic rise of Asian economies, including, more recently, China. From his front-row seat and as an active participant, this keen, multi-cultural observer tells nearly a century of Asian history through his life and times. Readers interested in business, management, history, politics, culture and sociology will all enjoy Robert Kuok’s unique and remarkable story.

 

Quick and Easy Food 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver

Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated – that’s why Jamie’s Quick and Easy 5-Ingredient Food is sure to become your new best friend in the kitchen. It’s all about making the journey to good food, super-simple. Every recipe uses just five key ingredients, ensuring you can get a plate of food together fast, whether it’s finished and on the table super-quickly, or after minimal hands-on prep, you’ve let the oven do the hard work for you. We’re talking quality over quantity, a little diligence on the cooking front, and in return massive flavour. Each recipe has been tried and tested (and tested again!) to ensure the book is packed with no-fuss, budget-friendly dishes that you can rustle up, any day of the week. With over 130 recipes, and chapters on Chicken, Beef, Pork, Lamb, Fish, Eggs, Veg, Salads, Pasta, Rice Noodles and Sweet Things, there’s plenty of quick and easy recipe inspiration to choose from. Think Roast tikka chicken – a whole bird rubbed with curry paste and roasted over golden potatoes and tender cauliflower, finished with fresh coriander. Or, Crazy simple fish pie – flaky smoked haddock, spring onions, spinach and melty Cheddar, all topped off with crisp, golden filo, and ready to tuck into in less than 30 minutes. With every recipe you’ll find a visual ingredient guide, serving size, timings, a short, easy-to-follow method, and quick-reference nutritional information. This is Jamie’s easiest-to-use book yet, and the perfect cookbook for busy people.

 

Enjoy!

Which was Better – the Book or the Movie?…the Great Christmas Table Debate

It’s always a dividing topic…and what better time than now to prep for one of the great debates that happen to occur around the table at Christmas lunch; Which was better, the book or the movie?

We’ve had a look into the books that have been released as movies this year so you can cram in both the reading and viewing of them all before the big day…

Wonder by R J Palacio

Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.

This one’s only in the cinemas now so you’ll need to pop along quick smart to see it.

 

 

 

 

 

The Circle by Dave Eggers

When Mae is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Run out of a sprawling California campus, the Circle links users’ personal emails, social media, and finances with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of transparency. Mae can’t believe her great fortune to work for them – even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public.

Here’s the DVD.

 

 

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

You can order the DVD here.

 

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

A young boy wakes to find his mother missing. Their house is empty but outside in the garden he sees his mother’s favourite scarf – wrapped around the neck of a snowman.

And then he will appear again. As Harry Hole and his team begin their investigation they discover that an alarming number of wives and mothers have gone missing over the years.

When a second woman disappears it seems that Harry’s worst suspicions are confirmed – for the first time in his career Harry finds himself confronted with a serial killer operating on his home turf.

If you want to watch it, you can buy the DVD here.

 

 

The Mountain Between Us by by Professor Charles Martin

This is a captivating story where two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her much anticipated wedding. Dr Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to return home to Jacksonville, Florida for a slate of surgeries he has scheduled for the following day. When the last outgoing flight is cancelled due to a broken de-icer and a forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the weather front. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, Ben offers the seat to Ashley.

Then the unthinkable happens. The pilot has a heart attack mid-flight and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness – one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States. Their survival becomes increasingly perilous as they must rely on each other to survive.

The DVD is here.

Enjoy!

Spooky Reads for All Ages This Halloween

That time of year is upon us again…where we dress up ourselves and our homes with cobwebs and spiders, visit our neighbours in search of treats and scare ourselves silly with spooky movies and books. It’s a ridiculously fun night dedicated to mischief, frights, and, most of all, treats.

But if you don’t fancy joining in with the neighbourhood there are plenty of ways you can still get in the spirit of the holiday. You can curl up on the couch on a dark and windy night (actually here in Australia it’s warm and the sun is up for ages) and watch your favourite old horror movies, or you can see how quickly you can frighten yourself with the help of a terrifying book, because there is nothing that gets you in the Halloween mood better than a good scary story.

 

Here are a few of our favourites…

 

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place…

The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied? Or is she a demon who must be slain?

Set in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison, Sleeping Beauties is a wildly provocative, gloriously absorbing father/son collaboration between Stephen King and Owen King.

 

The Grip of It by Jac Jemc

A chilling literary horror novel about a young couple haunted by their newly purchased home. Julie and James settle into a house in a small town outside the city where they met. The move prompted by James’s penchant for gambling, his inability to keep his impulses in check is quick and seamless. Both Julie and James are happy to leave behind their usual haunts and start afresh. But this house, which sits between lake and forest, has plans for the unsuspecting couple. As Julie and James try to settle into their home and their relationship, the house and its surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings. The architecture claustrophobic, riddled with hidden rooms within rooms becomes unrecognisable, decaying before their eyes. Stains are animated on the wall contracting, expanding and map themselves onto Julie’s body in the form of bruises; mould spores taint the water that James pours from the sink. Together the couple embark on a panicked search for the source of their mutual torment, a journey that mires them in the history of their peculiar neighbours and the mysterious residents who lived in the house before Julie and James. Written in creepy, potent prose, The Grip of It is an enthralling, psychologically intense novel that deals in questions of home: how we make it and how it in turn makes us, inhabiting the bodies and the relationships we cherish.

 

Friend Request by Laura Marshall

A paranoid single mother is forced to confront the unthinkable act she committed as a desperate teenager in this addictive thriller with a social media twist.

Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?

1989: When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016: Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria, or whoever’s pretending to be her, is known to all.

 

…and something for the little people in our lives…

 

Lady Bug Girl and the Dress Up Dilemma by Jacky Davis

Ladybug Girl gets dressed up for Halloween in the newest hardcover addition to the “New York Times” bestselling series. It is Halloween and Lulu must decide on a costume. Should she be Ladybug Girl or something new? She tries many different costumes, but nothing seems right. Maybe she’ll think of the perfect costume as she enjoys the autumn day with her family by pumpkin picking and going on a hayride. But it isn’t until Lulu and Bingo help a little girl who is lost that Lulu discovers who she was meant to be for Halloween Ladybug Girl, of course after all, she “is” Ladybug Girl and it is important to be true to yourself.

 

Ten Orange Pumpkins by Stephen Savage

From a sneaky spider to a ghostly chef to a sly mummy and crafty witch, join your favourite spooky creatures as ten orange pumpkins disappear in a countdown to a Halloween surprise. Bright, bold, and fun, Ten Orange Pumpkins is a perfect read-aloud and is sure to capture the imagination of the littlest trick-or-treaters.

 

 

 

The Dark by Lemony Snicket

Laszlo is afraid of the dark. The dark lives in the same house as Laszlo but mostly it spends its time in the basement. It doesn’t visit Laszlo in his room. Until one night it does.

This beauty of a book has wonderful illustration from the very talented Jon Klassen (illustrator of the hilarious Hat stories).

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

Heroes for our children

Heroines and female villains outnumbered heroes and male baddies in a literary poll of memorable children’s novel characters in the UK marking World Book Day last year. Six of the top 10 heroes voted for were female, including Harry Potter’s Hermione Granger and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series while seven out of 10 villains were female. This made us wonder just who is next in the stakes for amazing heroes for our children.

Here’s a few titles that we found with some pretty marvellous heroes for our children to admire.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli, Francesca Cavallo

What if the princess didn’t marry Prince Charming but instead went on to be an astronaut? What if the jealous step sisters were supportive and kind? And what if the queen was the one really in charge of the kingdom? Illustrated by sixty female artists from every corner of the globe, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls introduces us to one hundred remarkable women and their extraordinary lives, from Ada Lovelace to Malala, Elizabeth I to Serena Williams. Empowering, moving and inspirational, these are true fairy tales for heroines who definitely don’t need rescuing.

Volume 2 is coming out in time for the festive season you can have a look at the preview here.

 

Little People Big Dreams; Rosa Parks by Lisbeth Kaiser

In the Little People, Big Dreams series, discover the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists, to scientists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream. Rosa Parks grew up during segregation in Alabama, but she was taught to respect herself and stand up for her rights. In 1955, Rosa refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Her decision had a huge impact on civil rights, eventually leading to the end of segregation on public transport. Rosa was described as “the mother of the freedom movement.” This inspiring story of Rosa’s life is moving, and approachable for young readers.

 

She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton

She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small. With vivid, compelling art by Alexandra Boiger, this book shows readers that no matter what obstacles may be in their paths, they shouldn’t give up on their dreams. Persistence is power. This book features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor—and one special cameo.

 

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy

Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the first picture book about her life as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable! Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what’s right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG, tells the justice’s story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements.

 

 

 

Young Charlotte, Filmmaker by Frank Viva

Young Charlotte is a filmmaker who loves everything that s black and white, including spiders, penguins, and the old movies that she sees with her dad at the Golden Theatre (where the floors are sticky). With her camera at the ready wherever she goes, she finds inspiration for movies everywhere she looks. But when her colourful parents and colourful classmates just don t get her, she is ready to give up until a lucky encounter with a film curator at The Museum of Modern Art in New York changes her perspective. Inspired by the films she sees at MoMA and stories of other pioneering directors, Charlotte gets to work. And it is hard work but when her movie finally premieres at the Museum, Charlotte is thrilled to be doing exactly what she loves best. A follow-up to Frank Viva’s “Young Frank, Architect” and perfect for film lovers, aspiring directors, and artists of all stripes, “Young Charlotte, Filmmaker” is an inspiring tale.”

Enjoy!

Books That Inspire Your Inner Explorer

The weather is getting warmer now that it is spring here in Australia, and it’s time to start planning our summer vacations…or next winter’s if you like running away from the cool weather…

Here’s a few titles that are inspiring us to pack a suitcase and start exploring…

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

It’s an oldie but a goodie, and has inspired many of us to look at our life experiences through a new lens.

Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different and far more satisfying than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognising opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

 

 

 

 

The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

My Dad put me onto Bill Bryson when I was travelling around Europe and while I was a bit hesitant at first, I laughed out loud so hard that everyone on the boat to Naxos turned around…trust me, it’s worth dipping your toe into a previously considered ‘something-for-Dad-author’.

Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the green and kindly island that had become his adopted country. The hilarious book that resulted, Notes from a Small Island, was taken to the nation’s heart and became the bestselling travel book ever, and was also voted in a BBC poll the book that best represents Britain. Now, to mark the twentieth anniversary of that modern classic, Bryson makes a brand-new journey round Britain to see what has changed. Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath, by way of places that many people never get to at all, Bryson sets out to rediscover the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly unique country that he thought he knew but doesn’t altogether recognise any more. Once again, with his matchless homing instinct for the funniest and quirkiest, his unerring eye for the idiotic, the endearing, the ridiculous and the scandalous, Bryson gives us an acute and perceptive insight into all that is best and worst about Britain today.

 

The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman

Rachel Friedman has always been the consummate good girl who does well in school and plays it safe, so the college grad surprises no one more than herself when, on a whim (and in an effort to escape impending life decisions), she buys a ticket to Ireland, a place she has never visited. There she forms an unlikely bond with a free-spirited Australian girl, a born adventurer who spurs Rachel on to a yearlong odyssey that takes her to three continents, fills her life with newfound friends, and gives birth to a previously unrealised passion for adventure. As her journey takes her to Australia and South America, Rachel discovers and embraces her love of travel and unlocks more truths about herself than she ever realised she was seeking. Along the way, the erstwhile good girl finally learns to do something she’s never done before: simply live for the moment.

 

Wallpaper* City Guide – New York by The Editors of Wallpaper*

Wallpaper City Guides not only suggest where to stay, eat, and drink, but what the tourist passionate about design might want to see, whether he/she has a week or 24 hours in the city. Featured are up and coming areas, landmark buildings in an ‘Architour’, design centres, and the best shops to buy items unique to that city. Wallpaper City Guides present travellers with a fast-track ticket to the chosen location. The edited guides offer the best, most exciting, and the most beautiful of that particular city.  As well as looking beautiful, the guides are expertly designed with function as a priority, and have tabbed sections so that readers can easily find the information they are looking for. The guides include rate and currency information, maps and a colour-coding system to help you navigate the different parts of the city. They are the ultimate combination of form and function.

Actually they have a whole host of city guides…come and check them out here.

 

The Riviera Set by Mary S. Lovell

This is the story of the group of people who lived, partied, bed-hopped and politicked at the Chateau de l’Horizon near Cannes, over the course of forty years from the time when Coco Chanel made southern French tans fashionable in the twenties to the death of the playboy Prince Aly Khan in 1960. At the heart of this was the amazing Maxine Elliott, the daughter of a fisherman from Connecticut, who built the beautiful art deco Chateau and brought together the likes of Noel Coward, the Aga Khan, the Windsors and two very saucy courtesans, Doris Castlerosse and Daisy Fellowes, who set out to be dangerous distractions to Winston Churchill as he worked on his journalism and biographies during his ‘wilderness years’ in the thirties. After the War the story continued as the Chateau changed hands and Prince Aly Khan used it to entertain the Hollywood set, as well as launch his seduction of and eventual marriage to Rita Hayworth. Mary Lovell tells her story of high society behaviour with tremendous brio and relish.

Enjoy!

Bringing Books to Life for Kids

Bringing books to life for children is a lot of fun and a wonderful learning opportunity for young minds. Reading aloud, drawing pictures and imaginary play are just a few ways you can do this at home which gives children an opportunity to work on reading comprehension, creative thinking, recognising letters, numbers, colours, shapes and patterns, listening, exploring social and emotional skills and sharing and taking turns.

As we grow older our books can also come to life through audio books where the author is reading us their book with amazing inflection and passion, or through television and movie adaptations.

Here are a few of our favourite children’s books that have come alive.

 

Books we can watch…

 

Charlotte’s Web written by E.B White

An affectionate, sometimes bashful pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who lives in the rafters above his pen. A prancing, playful bloke, Wilbur is devastated when he learns of the destiny that befalls all those of porcine persuasion. Determined to save her friend, Charlotte spins a web that reads “Some Pig,” convincing the farmer and surrounding community that Wilbur is no ordinary animal and should be saved. In this story of friendship, hardship, and the passing on into time, E.B. White reminds us to open our eyes to the wonder and miracle often found in the simplest of things.

The DVD is available here.

 

 

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are a prize-winning team and the creators of many bestselling books for Macmillan. Julia Donaldson was a songwriter before becoming an author, and music continues to play an important part in her life. She is always much in demand for her brilliant events at schools and literary festivals. Axel Scheffler is a star illustrator within the children’s book world, and his books have been translated into over 30 languages. His bright, humorous illustrations are a perfect complement to Julia’s lively songs.

The DVD is available here.

 

Books we listen to…

 

Road Dahl’s Phizz-Whizzing Audio Collection by Roald Dahl

Spread over eight CDs, these three sumptuous recordings are complete and unabridged, allowing listeners to enjoy Dahl’s work word for word. The stories in this collection have all been skilfully brought to life. ”Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” read by James Bolam (Abridged): Charlie Bucket thinks he is the luckiest boy alive when he wins an amazing tour of Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory. It’s a tour of a lifetime that changes his life beyond belief! “The BFG” read by Geoffrey Palmer (Abridged): The BFG is a Big Friendly Giant who spirits Sophie out of bed one night. Together, Sophie and the BFG cook up an ingenious plan to rid the world of child-eating giants forever! “James and the Giant Peach” read by Andrew Sachs (Unabridged): James lives a lonely life with his two beastly aunts.Then one day, something very peculiar happens, something magical that will take him on the most amazing journey …

The books are available here.

 

Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales by Beatrix Potter

This is a fabulous six-CD audio box-set containing the entire collection of stories by Beatrix Potter, complete and unabridged. The twenty-three tales have never lost their popularity, and sell in their millions all over the world. Meet the famous characters that children love and adore: Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin, The Flopsy Bunnies, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Tom Kitten, Jeremy Fisher, Jemima Puddle-Duck and many more. These stories are beautifully brought to life by a talented cast of readers, including Patricia Routledge, Timothy West, Michael Hordern, Janet Maw, and Rosemary Leach.

The books are available here.

 

Books we can colour and play with…

 

I Completely Must Do Drawing Now and Painting and Colouring by Lauren Child

Even the rainiest of days is no match for the wonderful imaginations of Charlie and Lola! It may be dull outside, but Charlie and Lola’s world is full of colourful adventure, and with this unique colouring book, kids can join in on the fun. With simple text on the page, activities, and tons of space to draw, the possibilities are endless! It’s the perfect way to bring imagination to life – rainy day or any day!

 

 

Maisy’s Farm by Lucy Cousins

This is a huge favourite in our house. This pop-up-and-play book opens up with a free-standing model of Maisy’s barn, garden and farmyard. It comes with a sixteen-page full-colour booklet that features learning activities based on Maisy’s day on the farm. In each room, there’s a sheet of card pieces to press out, tabs to pull, doors to open and more…so much fun!

 

 

Also…

Keep an eye out for the new initiative from Play School. In celebration of Children’s Book Week this year there will be a delightful new Play School series featuring some of Australia’s much loved celebrities as they snuggle up on the couch and read entertaining picture books written by Australian authors and they will be accompanied by Big Ted, Little Ted, Jemima, Humpty and Joey.

Enjoy!