p.s if you haven’t stopped by for a while – I am now thrilled to be offering free downloadable help with your Instagram and content creation. Click here to check out the new Resources section of the site available now is Branding your Instagram, a short exercise that will help you to create your best possible account, and an apps and resources list – basically, everything I use to help make great words, film, and pictures.
I love Mary Portas and I love this book. In it, she describes her journey from alpha-overachiever-hard-nose-retail-goddess-guru to discovering the business values that really matter to her – collaboration, empathy, instinct, and trust. She draws on powerful statistical (angry-making) evidence that proves how the current system still discriminates – making it virtually impossible for mothers, in particular, to flourish at work. She argues that the real change will come by changing the way everyone works. Top-down. It’s been a revelatory read for me so far – helping to unpick some of the feelings I have around work. That no one had ever pulled me to one side to explain the rules. Mary Portas is calling for a rewriting of the rules so that the suit men and women of all kinds, saying –
“Value difference. Not just in gender, race or class, but in personality too.”
I was listening to an episode of the High Low podcast with Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes the other day and they reminded me of how much I loved – loved – One Day, the David Nicholls 2009 bestseller which follows a couple from their first kiss at Edinburgh uni, over the course of their relationship for the next 20 years. It contains one of my favourite lines in any novel ever, but I can’t tell you because it is a huge plot spoiler! If you haven’t read it – do, I’m re-reading because Nicholls’ long-awaited new book Sweet Sorrow isn’t out until July. The blub suggests it’s a story of one life-changing summer – so the perfect holiday book? Mine’s on pre-order.
Jocelyn K. Glei
This is the kind of book that suits my scrappy multi-hyphenate life – one that you can dip in and out of and read in pretty much any order you wish. The writer Jocelyn K. Glei is on a mission to sort out our relationship with email. But more than that, to get us to rethink our days so that we are doing the real work – rather than keep ourselves really busy by generating and responding to email (see also, Instagram posts, Tweets…). My big takeaway so far is the stuff on how to write emails, especially ones that don’t piss people off. And how to receive them graciously, without getting pissed off yourself. Recommend.
This is a departure for me – because it was a gift (thanks Toni). Don’t tell anyone, but I’d never heard of Danielle Doby before her first book landed in my hands. I’m going to describe her as an Instagram artist. She created the viral hashtag #IAmHerTribe designed to unite women online through moments of empowerment and storytelling, inviting us to –
“Come as you are. Your tribe has arrived. Your breath can rest here.”
I Am her Tribe is a book of positive and powerful poetry and writing. Another one to dip in and out of. A great present for a friend or a colleague – or yourself.
Does this make me the last one to read a Sally Rooney book? This is in the list out of good intention. While worky inspirational books-to-learn from are all great, a decent novel is always full of lessons too. Conversations’ is Rooney’s award-winning first novel, it’s about being young, messy relationships, and cool people and is prefaced by pages and page of positive reviews. Here’s to making space for a thing, just because. Have you read it? Send more novel ideas, please!
From First Job to Dream Job – What Every Woman Needs to Know, Mishal Husain
Coming back round to where we started with Mary Portas – this one from BBC News presenter Mishal Husain was snuggled up next to it at ‘Smiths. Like Portas’s, this is a book dedicated taking down the less visible, very very tricky barriers to equality that still exist in our workplace. Dealing with how we talk to women and girls, what happens when a woman starts to speak, our digital selves, resilience and how to climb. The Skills is a practical title, and this is a practical book about focusing on learning the skills that matter – then owning them. A manual for women of all ages, featuring many wise voices –
“No matter what your current ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.”
One that I wish I had read 20 years ago, but couldn’t, so I’ll read it now.
Now – over to you – what’s looking good?