The Extraordinary Business Book Club

The Extraordinary Business Book Club

By Alison Jones

Alison Jones, publisher and book coach, explores business books from both a writer's and a reader's perspective. Interviews with authors, publishers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, tech wizards, social media strategists, PR and marketing experts and others involved in helping businesses tell their story effectively.

Episodes

Episode 407 - Languishing less with Corey Keyes

"Do what you can in the circumstances you are given right now. And don't wait for the systems in the world around you to change in order to get some life into your life." Most of us are only too familiar with 'languishing' - the opposite of flourishing. It was when Adam Grant wrote his famous 2021 New York Times article that we all recognised it as the defining post-pandemic emotion, and it continues to dominate discussions of wellbeing. Grant's article credited research by Dr. Corey Keyes, a distinguished professor emeritus and a leading voice in the study of mental health and human flourishing. In this week's conversation, Corey explains the personal and professional reasons why he's spent his career advocating for a more proactive approach to fostering mental health — and the profound implications of translating a lifetime of research into a book that can change lives. This extraordinary conversation will reshape how you think about mental health, not just in business, but in every facet of life.
08/04/2441m 11s

Episode 406 - Talking business books with Meredith Norwich

'For an academic book, you are looking to demonstrate that you stand on the shoulders of giants. For a practitioner book, you ARE the giant... But you're not the first giant.' Meredith Norwich is a senior acquisitions editor at Routledge, part of Taylor and Francis Publishing, and she has seen a LOT of business book proposals. What makes a proposal stand out for her? You might be surprised... Packed with valuable insights for first-time authors and behind-the-scenes glimpses into the publishing industry, this is essential listening for anyone contemplating writing a business book. 
25/03/2433m 56s

Episode 405 - The insider's guide to London Book Fair

I’m just back from an exhausting, exhilarating few days at London Book Fair. My ears are still ringing slightly, my feet hurt, I need to spend a few days on my own in a darkened room and I can’t even tell you how many follow-up actions are on my to-do list – in other words, it was a great Fair. But what does that mean? As publishers, we at Practical Inspiration Publishing are all about selling books, but we don't actually sell our books at book fairs: so what DO we do? Here's an insider's guide to what actually goes on at London Book Fair for book trade professionals and for authors and illustrators, and what you can expect (and what you can't) if you decide to rock up to Olympia next year.
18/03/2424m 28s

Episode 404 - LinkedIn mastery with Louise Brogan

Louise Brogan helps entrepreneurs and professionals elevate their LinkedIn game. In this week's conversation she explains why LinkedIn is so important for businesses and why most people are so dreadful at it. From fundamental mindset to the most effective tactics right now, it's a masterclass in maximising your profile on LinkedIn without losing your soul.   She's also in the throes of writing her first business book, so this is a great report from the frontline if you're in that place and want some comradely advice and support.  And finally, Louise's no-nonsense, super-helpful LinkedIn how-to videos have also made her something of a YouTube star, so I made sure to ask her all about that too... 
11/03/2436m 44s

Episode 403 - Disrupting HR with Lucy Adams

"It was fantastic, just as a sheer exercise in putting something out there and being brave and saying, these are my thoughts, what does everyone else think?" Lucy Adams spends her days helping HR leaders reimagine their profession, and her classic work HR Disrupted and its sequel, The HR Change Toolkit, are critical to this mission. Her message is simple: treat employees as adults. But the implications are profound. In this conversation, we talk about how HR is changing (or not), the impact of COVID on the profession and on Lucy's decision to write a new edition, the delight of writing and the grind of editing, and the exhilaration and terror involved in opening your freshly minted book for the first time...
04/03/2435m 2s

Episode 402 - The BRAVE Leader with David McQueen

'The beautiful part of it, which is also the hardest and the most painful part, is the editing... [if] you put a book out into the world which will be around longer than you, you might as well put in the effort to get it right.' David McQueen has never been one to shy away from tough conversations. In his book, The BRAVE Leader, he challenges all leaders to lean into the difficulty, to be more courageous and ambitious in their decision-making for inclusivity.  And it turns out that willingness to engage and that refusal to settle served him well when it came to writing his first book. More at home on the stage than the page, David found this a steep learning curve, and he's open and honest about what he discovered along the way.  But just like those tough conversations, the hard work of writing and editing paid for itself in spades, and the book is now the 'centre of gravity' for his talks and other activities.   If you need to be braver with your book and/or your leadership, this week's episode is for you... 
26/02/2434m 55s

Episode 401 - Pushing through discomfort

Following last week's quadricentennial episode, a slightly belated but still brilliant best bits episode, showcasing the shiniest gems from the last few Extraordinary Business Book Club conversations.  The theme is pushing through discomfort, and it brings together extraordinary stories, illuminating insights and gloves-down challenges from:  Errol Doebler on emotional regulation and the discipline of writing;  Sir John Tusa on the traits of people who Get Things Done; Bonnie Wan on writing her way out of the darkest moments;  Andy Brown on taking ideas further;  Sara Dalrymple on getting through the discomfort of selling;  Gillian Camm on getting through the discomfort of editing;  Naren Aryal on breaking through the trust barrier;  Sara Lloyd on how publishers, and writers, face up to challenge.  Includes ice baths, coffee, deep breaths and showing up. 
19/02/2429m 37s

Episode 400 - Ask me anything!

How can I start running when I absolutely hate running? What's your one big, albeit lesser known, tip for writing your first book? Have you tried smoked chili peanut butter yet? When I put out the call for questions for this quadricentennial episode, I could never have imagined the response. From the playful to the profound, these questions have got me thinking and I hope they, and my answers, will get you thinking too.  So for one week only, to celebrate this 400-episode milestone, you're asking the questions in the Extraordinary Business Book Club and I'm in the hot seat. Very strange, but very fun! 
12/02/2428m 18s

Episode 399 - Ice Cold Leader with Errol Doebler

"You have to get in front of what you're writing. You have to look at it and you have to type a key. If you don't, it's just not going to happen." Errol Doebler knows a thing or two about discipline. He's been a Naval Surface Warfare officer, Navy SEAL officer, FBI special agent and SWAT operator before founding his leadership consulting firm Ice Cold Leader, which is also the name of his new book.  Why ice-cold? Because ice baths form a key part of his own self-regulation regime, and because managing emotional responses is so foundational to effective leadership. Errol had to develop a conscious process for emotional regulation after a traumatic injury robbed him of that area of his brain; that process turns out to be valuable for anyone facing the stress and emotional discomfort that accompany leadership.  Prepare to be challenged and inspired in roughly equal measure.  
05/02/2435m 8s

Episode 398 - AI and book publishing with Sara Lloyd

"We've been innovating forever, before digital formats came along... in a way we have some of the natural abilities we need. We need to remember that and not be too scared when new things come along." Publishing is an industry that runs on creativity and intellectual property. So how are book publishers responding to the challenges and opportunities of generative AI? Can the book, one of our oldest technologies, survive this latest technological revolution? And if so, what are the implications for authors?  As the first Global AI Lead for Pan Macmillan, one of the world's largest publishers of trade fiction and non-fiction, Sara Lloyd is grappling with these very questions. In this week's conversation she sheds some light on the conversations taking place in the industry, and the ways that publishers themselves are using AI. She also gives her best tip for authors writing their first book, and it's probably not what you expect... 
29/01/2434m 41s

Episode 397 - The Life Brief with Bonnie Wan

'It's an uncomfortable struggle to land that title of the book, land that sharp, sticky center of the life brief, but it is so worth it.' As a brand strategist, Bonnie Wan knows how to put together a creative brief that makes meaning out of mess, that goes straight to the essence of what a company is really about. So when she reached a moment of crisis in her own life, she reached instinctively for that skillset. The result was The Life Brief, not a document but a 'practice of permission' she has adopted in all areas of life now for cutting through the noise and finding what really matters to you, the vision you recognise at a visceral level when you unearth it.  Along the way she discovered the power of exploratory writing, the power of developing her ideas through speaking and workshops, and the art of leading the reader step by step through an experiential book.  You're going to love this. 
22/01/2438m 28s

Episode 396 - More Sales Please with Sara Dalrymple

"The vast majority of business owners would happily spend 99% of their time creating and recreating and tweaking and iterating on the product side of things, because we know how to do that, we feel of service when we do that. But in order to help people, or to do the work that you love, you have to also talk about it." For many small business owners, 'selling' feels deeply uncomfortable. So too often they don't do it, and the result is the business struggles along or even fails because not enough people know how great their product is. Sound familiar?  Sara Dalrymple sees you. Not only that, she has empowering and energising news for you: your sales skills are already better than you think, and you don't have to spend hours of you day selling. In this week's episode, she tells me why our assumptions about selling are outdated, and what effective, zero-ick, 21st-century small-business selling looks like.  (And also how she came to write a book by accident.)
15/01/2425m 41s

Episode 395 - Bright sparks & damp squibs with Sir John Tusa

'It's the stories we respond to in life. It's people's stories we respond to, and then... you can tease out the lessons. You don't go for the theory head on.' There are many, many books about creativity: what it is, how to do it, what steps to follow. When journalist and arts administrator Sir John Tusa turned his attention to the topic, he took a rather different approach. His book is dedicated to 'bright sparks who refuse to become damp squibs', and it tells the stories of people who match that description. Around the world, against great odds, overcoming ridicule and opposition and invariably making many people furious along the way, these individuals achieved extraordinary creative success. From these varied experiences, we see the commonalities emerge and we can't help but be inspired to do things differently. That is the power of storytelling, and this is a masterclass in how to go about it. 
08/01/2435m 3s

Episode 394 - New Year thinking for business book writers

"If you're thinking about writing a book... that's a gorgeous, sexy goal, but it's very unlikely to happen as long as it stays an outcome, a goal, in that form. But if you start to ask yourself, Okay, what's the process that's going to lead to that outcome? Then it starts to get real.' When you tell people you're a publisher, you discover pretty quickly that a significant proportion of the population wants to write a book some day. And no wonder. Writing a book is one of the most significant, rewarding uses of your time on the planet, it will challenge and stretch you, deepen your thinking and allow you to connect to the top thinkers in your field, and that's all before the book itself is out there, building your reputation and reach.  So if you're determined to achieve that goal this year, how will you go about making it happen? Here are some ideas on first steps that will help you turn that dream - or indeed any other - into reality. Happy new year; let's make it count. 
01/01/2412m 39s

Episode 393 - The Emotional Overdraft with Andy Brown

'Sometimes it's just writing to get it out... you can almost interrogate it more. You can hold it in your hand and you can explore it and you can look at it and then maybe it becomes something or maybe it doesn't.' Having a good idea is a great place to start when you're writing a business book. But it's only a start. Then comes the real work: testing that idea out, articulating it clearly, and - perhaps hardest of all - drawing out the 'so what?'  Andy Brown has been through all these stages with The Emotional Overdraft - from recognising that business growth often has a human cost that's hidden from the balance sheet but is no less real for that to developing effective metrics to help leaders manage that cost for themselves and their people.  If you're a 'doer' whose go-to answer is 'just work harder' or a writer struggling to develop your idea or - even better - both, this is for you.  
11/12/2338m 25s

Episode 392 - Board Talk with Kathryn Bishop & Gillian Camm

Kathryn Bishop, CBE and Gillian Camm are seasoned members of both private and public sector boards. And they've learned that effective governance comes down not to rigid structure and process but to one of the most ancient human skills of all: conversation. Conversations on the right topics, with the right people, in the right way.  So it made sense of course to structure the book around the various types of conversation essential for strong boards; but what they hadn't expected was that their collaborative writing process would itself embody the honest, energised, respectful conversational style they were advocating in the book.  Essential listening if you're a board member, a writer, or simply a human being who needs to talk to other human beings to Get Things Done.     
04/12/2336m 49s

Episode 391 - Publishing for Business with Naren Aryal

'That book that's for everyone is for no one, right?' Naren Aryal is laser-focused on the business of publishing for business. In this week's episode he talks to me about how Amplify Publishing Group developed from a single title to one of the world's leading business imprints, the unique goals and expertise of business authors, and why it's so important that you're clear on the target market for your book. (Spoiler alert: it's not 'everyone'.)  
27/11/2329m 5s

Episode 390 - Writing = Business

"Business books are unique because they are in that sweet spot between business activity and creative endeavour, that’s why I love them so much, that’s why I do this podcast, that’s why you’re here. It’s a beautiful thing." Too often, people see writing a business book as something comletely different from business itself. It's not. In this best bits episode, I draw together the choicest insights of recent Extraordinary Business Book Club guests to demonstrate that writing a business book is in fact a business activity, not simply because it contributes to your business success, but because it draws on your core business strengths. And the skills you develop as you write your book will develop those skills, too.  You'll hear from:  John Simmons on individuality in business and writing Ginny Carter on the persuasive power of stories Adrian Hornsby on the 17-mattress problem (or how you stop your stories from dying under their own weight)  Ed Haddon on how telling your own stories can build human connection  Josh Bernhoff on why stories beat bald facts every time Catherine Stothart on bringing in workshop experience to increase your writing's impact Katie Lewis & Matthew Stafford on why having a co-author is like having a co-founder Karen Williams on assembling an expert 'project team' for your book Luan Wise on making your marketing smarts the foundation for your book.  It's so full of inspiration you're going to wish you had an extra of ears... 
20/11/2330m 31s

Episode 389 - Social media strategies with Luan Wise

"I started where I think a good marketer should start, by asking some people to read the book and give me their feedback." Luan Wise, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing with over 20 years of experience in B2B and B2C sectors, is an expert on all things social media. She's also become something of an expert on writing and publishing business books over the last few years, and in this week's conversation we talk about social media tactics, the difficulty of writing about a topic that won't stand still, the value of collaborating with academia for research, the difficulty of fitting the writing around the day job, and advanced procrastination strategies. With insights into both traditional and self-publishing, this is a classic Extraordinary Business Book Club cocktail of practical inspiration.
13/11/2334m 37s

Episode 388 - Writing powerfully with John Simmons

'If I'm not doing my own writing, I'm not properly thinking.' You'll be familiar with the idea of visual identity in branding: but what about verbal identity? John Simmons, director at Interbrand, recognised that the language you use as a business is just as important - if not more so - as the logo, colours and fonts.  He also realised that most businesses were doing this badly.   In this week's though-provoking conversation, he talks me to me about human-to-human business writing, the value of learning to write well, and the joy of it. In his Dark Angels workshops he delights in introducing business people to their own creativity and building their writing confidence. Because when we write well, we think well, and when we think well, we are powerful. 
06/11/2340m 40s

Episode 387 - Build a Better Business Book with Josh Bernoff

"Unless you have a way to differentiate, then you don't really have any sort of justification for putting out yet another book." There's not much Josh Bernoff doesn't know about writing business books. And he knows that differentiation is everything. Whether it's your unique perspective or a groundbreaking solution, finding your distinctive edge makes all the difference.  He also encourages authors to think of their book as a pivotal part of a larger ecosystem - and to create a sense of immediacy right up front to capture engagement. This conversation is a treasure trove of actionable advice and profound insights, a must-listen for anyone aspiring to write a business book that makes a difference.
30/10/2335m 11s

Episode 386 - How to Write a Self-Help Book with Ginny Carter

Ginny Carter, experienced ghostwriter and award-winning author in her own right, discovered when judging the self-help category for the Business Book Awards that authors were consistently making the same mistakes. The answer was obvious: write a great self-help book explaining how to write a great self-help book! In this super-practical episode, Ginny pinpoints three critical missteps often made by self-help authors, demystifies storytelling, and introduces her ingenious 'chunking' technique as a way of structuring your content in a way that's more effective for the reader. Whether you're an aspiring self-help author or a seasoned pro, this episode not only celebrates the profound impact of self-help literature but also delivers invaluable insights to take your own writing from good to great.
23/10/2334m 49s

Episode 385 - Disruption in Action with Adrian Hornsby

'The problem that you have here, it's not a writing problem. It's a thinking problem.' When Adrian Hornsby faced the challenge of how to convey complex business information in a way that resonated with readers, he drew on his background in writing fiction for theatre to bring dense business concepts to life. But he quickly learned that using a story to convey information was the exact reverse of what he needed to do. The result is the award-winning Disruption in Action, winner of the 2023 Life and Work Business Book of the Year award.  As well as a masterclass on storytelling, we talk about learning from feedback and the decision of Adrian and his co-authors to self-publish and the advantages it brings, as well as the challenges. 
16/10/2339m 52s

Episode 384 - Motivation with Catherine Stothart

'Motivation is what drives your choice of what to do, and also how hard you try and how long you keep trying for.' With a wealth of experience in coaching and training leaders from top multinational companies like Airbus, Google, and Audi, Catherine Stothart has developed a deep understanding of what motivates individuals and teams. Understanding these needs can help managers create the right conditions for motivation and engagement within their teams. We also discuss the importance of aligning communication styles with individual preferences, as it plays a crucial role in building rapport, trust, and uncovering what truly motivates team members, and how so much of writing is actually about talking. 
09/10/2335m 20s

Episode 383 - Find your 9others with Katie Lewis & Matthew Stafford

"Oh, this is why people write books. This is actually quite addictive, this feeling that you've produced something and it is having an impact." Katie Lewis and Matthew Stafford are the co-founders of 9others, a unique community that brings together founders and entrepreneurs to find answers to the questions that are keeping them up at night. These conversations have brought some unexpected benefits too, such as the connections and friendships that have emerged from these shared dinners. In this week's conversation, Katie and Matthew reflect on how their collaborative approach to entrepreneurship and the synergy that has fuelled their business journey as cofounders played out when they became coauthors of their book - Find Your 9others.
02/10/2332m 18s

Episode 382 - Book marketing with Karen Williams

'I thought it was going to be a 20% update and I think the content has changed by about 80%.' This might sound familiar to anyone who's sat down to update their book. But this conversation isn't just for you if you're considering a second edition: Karen Williams is talking about her bestselling Book Marketing Made Simple, and this conversation is packed with insights and ideas for marketing your business book from day 1.  From tactical tools to timeless principles, discover best practice in modern marketing - including thoughts on AI - and the enduring joy of writing buddies and post-its.  
25/09/2330m 2s

Episode 381 - The Modern Maverick with Ed Haddon

'We need, at the moment, mavericks. We need people of independent thought, courageous, wanting to do things differently, but we need to do that in service of others.' Mavericks write their own rules. Modern mavericks write their own rules of success.  Ed Haddon, author of The Modern Maverick, helps people think more deeply and more courageously about what success means to them. What really matters - in their private lives and in the world around them, as well as in their professional lives? As an elite athlete, corporate rebel, and the founder of the first B Corp-certified coaching practice in the UK, he's walking the talk, and might just inspire you to change your own life... 
18/09/2342m 1s

Episode 380 - All about the Voice

In a sense writing a business book – any book, really – is quintessentially about finding and using your voice. You're talking across time and space to a reader for a conversation that lasts for hours; admittedly a bit of a one-sided conversation, but it's not possible to talk to someone for tens of thousands of words without them having a sense of your voice in their head. So how can you use that voice most effectively? Here's some advice from some of the best writers in the business books business to give you some ideas...  Anne Janzer on what your writer's voice is and why it matters Dr Lucy Ryan on writing for your reader Catherine Garrod on the holistic nature of the writer's voice Nicholas Janni on precision and the craft of rewriting Rachel Lawes on caring, not selling Robin Powell on aligning your interests with your readers' Neil Mullarkey on using humour right (and avoiding the wrong kinds...) Richard Hoare on finding a coherent voice with a co-writer Dennis Sherwood on not getting too hung up about it all too soon.  Listen in, and discover how to take your voice from meh to aMAZing! 
11/09/2325m 1s

Episode 379 - Revolting Women with Dr Lucy Ryan

When Lucy Ryan's research revealed that midlife women were walking out of corporates in droves at the same age that the men around them were stepping into senior leadership positions, she knew it would make a great PhD topic. There was a massive data gap, and a clear benefit to organizations in understanding why one of their most valuable talent pools was quietly disappearing. Yet as she searched for a supervisor, time and time again she was told the research was 'unpublishable'. Luckily Lucy is made of sterner stuff, and her research has given us not only a new understanding of why midlife women are revolting against the constraints and biases of corporate life [hint: it's not because they 'lack ambition'], but what changes leaders can make to retain their invaluable talent and experience. In this conversation we talk through her findings, and also the tricky process of translating a PhD dissertation into a practical, inspiring book for every leader. Be prepared to be enraged, but also hugely entertained.
04/09/2331m 6s

Episode 378 - How to Fund the Life you Want with Robin Powell

'There's all this academic, peer-reviewed, time-tested academic evidence as to how we should invest, and yet we have a whole industry that is trying to get us to do more or less the very opposite.' Today more than ever, if you want a comfortable retirement, it's up to you to put the thinking and the work in. And the sooner the better. Financial journalist Robin Powell has made it his mission to counter the misinformation and cut through the jargon, and the result is How to Fund the Life you Want (co-authored with Jonathan Hollow).  He talks to me about his own journey to financial literacy, via journalism, and how he went about turning his findings into a practical and readable book that could really make a difference to someone's life. We even touch on what happens when co-authors disagree! 
28/08/2332m 31s

Episode 377 - The Writer's Voice with Anne Janzer

"In everything we write, we choose a voice." Poets and novelists talk a lot about their writing 'voice', but nonfiction writers, and especially business book writers, can write a full manuscript without giving it a thought. Which is a shame, because as Anne Janzer - copywriter, ghostwriter and business book writer - knows more than most, being intentional about your voice is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal if you want to write a book that doesn't just tell the reader a bunch of facts, but engages them in a way that might just change their life.  As well as learning more about how to choose and develop your writing voice, you'll also discover how to go about one of the best ways EVER for creating content, building engagement and crafting a marketing hook: carrying out original research.  If you're going to write a business book and you want to do it well, you shouldn't miss this. 
31/07/2330m 16s

Episode 376 - Do Deal with Richard Hoare

"When we're talking about Do Deal, we're really talking about the verb of how you deal with people... as an ongoing kind of living thing." Richard Hoare didn't set out to become an expert on negotiation. In fact his first attempt at negotiation, when he was offered a poorly paid first job in the music industry involved, he admits, no negotiation at all. But after a career at the top of legal services in the music industry he's learned a thing or two, and recognized the need for a short, straightforward book that set out the principles of successful negotiation in a way that anyone could grasp and use.  Spoiler alert: It's not about getting your own way, it's about uncovering value and nurturing relationships. And because it was written with a co-author, the book involved some negotiation along the way itself. In this week's conversation Richard shares his tactics for writing collaboratively, and indeed writing at all alongside a busy work schedule, together with some practical and profound insights on the art of the (better) deal.
24/07/2331m 7s

Episode 375 - Semiotics & structure with Rachel Lawes

'I'm not going to live to be 10,000 years old, so I'd rather just write material that someone's actually going to use. So top-down writing works for me because it's a very economical way to write." Dr Rachel Lawes is the world's leading expert in semiotics and its application in the realm of marketing. (If you have no idea what that means, don't worry: I asked her for the 'explain-it-like-I'm-five' introduction and she did it brilliantly.) But as well as taking in psychology, human behaviour, cultural dynamics, and the examination of societal constructs, we talk in gritty detail about her writing process. Rachel's straightforward and 'economical' top-down approach, together with her obvious delight in taking on a book-sized project ('The best bit about writing is reading... Your only job is to read your heart out for four months and write about what it makes you think about the world. What a treat.'), makes for an even-more-than-usually practical and inspiring episode. Get the kettle on and grab a notepad and pencil... 
17/07/2340m 10s

Episode 374 - Leader as Healer with Nicholas Janni

When your work is about experience - helping people access a different physical and emotional state so that they can reconnect with their embodied, instinctual wisdom - you do it most effectively when you're in the room together. How can you possibly translate that somatic, relational, experiential work into words on a page?  That was the challenge facing Nicholas Janni, and he rose to it so impressively that Leader as Healer was named Business Book of the Year 2023 at the recent BBA awards. In this week's episode he speaks to me about the challenge of that translation process, and the somatic experience of flow in writing itself. 
10/07/2336m 43s

Episode 373 - Rethinking creativity with Dennis Sherwood

"What's important about creativity is not novelty, but difference. I want something different from what is happening now, and difference is much easier to discover because difference means different from now." There's a lot of mystique around creativity, but for practical people - people like scientists and engineers - being able to have good new ideas reliably is vitally important in a fast-changing world. Luckily, there's a process for that, and Dennis Sherwood has put it into an award-winning book.  In this generous and thoughtful conversation, we talk about that process for discovering difference (which makes, incidentally, a GREAT exploratory writing prompt), and we debate the order of writing and thinking. Fittingly, we land in different places here: what do YOU think? 
03/07/2329m 55s

Episode 372 - In the Moment with Neil Mullarkey

"It's not thinking on your feet, it's listening on your feet. Yes and, what are you saying? How can I build on that? How can I move in the direction that we are going to go together?" If the thought of trying to be funny at work brings you out in a rash, don't panic: I have it on good authority from Neil Mullarkey that there's no need to dress up as a chicken or do karaoke. And he should know. Co-founder of Europe's top improv troupe, the Comedy Store Players, Neil has spent many years sharing the principles of improv with business leaders to improve their confidence, communication, and creativity. Neil's new book In the Moment is a call to embrace the importance of listening and co-creating in the moment, a key principle of improv. It's not about being funny per se, but rather about fostering collaboration, navigating ambiguity, and embracing vulnerability. In this context, humour enhances human connections, builds rapport, and fosters creativity - the elements, in fact, that we need most in our workplaces today. 
26/06/2343m 38s

Episode 371 - Conscious Inclusion with Catherine Garrod

Catherine Garrod led Sky to become the most inclusive employer in the UK. Her message is clear: if you're not consciously including everyone, you're unconsciously excluding someone. And the rewards of conscious inclusion are extraordinary, from employee and customer satisfaction to future-proofing organizations in our ever-evolving world. When it came to publishing her book, Catherine was determined to walk her talk, ensuring both language and design were as accessible as possible. She also reveals how she managed the delicate dance between perfectionism and deadlines, and learned how important it is an author to keep your sights on the reader and the difference you want to make.
19/06/2326m 1s

Episode 370 - The agony and the ecstasy

No, not the Michelangelo biography by Irving Stone, but the highs and lows of the maddening, marvellous process of writing a business book. In this best bits episode I pick out the pearls from the last few conversations, and this time the common theme is the pain and pleasure of writing a book, the unrelenting difficulty of it, and the extraordinary joy and meaning it provides. Often all in the same moment.  Whether you're agonising over your manuscript or feeling ecstatic about the progress you're making you'll relate to all of this, and if you're lacking motivation, you'll find it here in spades.  With insights from:  Steven Adjei on the nature of pain;  Richard Charkin on the visceral vulnerability of becoming an author;  Melissa Romo on the challenges of making the complex simple;  Catherine Erdly on detail wrangling;  Susan Doering on the relentless work of marketing;  Eloise Skinner on dealing with the soul suck of social media;  Adam Bryant on the all-consumingness of writing a book; and Alex Hill on why we do it at all.  Imagine what Michelangelo could have achieved if he'd listened to this...
12/06/2325m 34s

Episode 369 - The Leap to Leader with Adam Bryant

'Everything at its core has to be one of those three things: a great insight, a great story, or a great practical approach.' Adam Bryant, creator of the New York Times's Corner Office column, has interviewed a LOT of top leaders, but not in the way they expected. He ask them  about leadership, rather than strategy, and their own leadership in particular: questions that allow them to articulate answers they haven't seen before.  In this fascinating conversation we explore how he's built on this journalistic approach to write a series of books, and how writing in public builds credibility, expands networks, and creates a perpetual motion machine for authorship. If you're interested in leadership and writing, and if you love a good metaphor riot, this is unmissable. 
05/06/2335m 10s

Episode 368 - Centennials with Professor Alex Hill

'What you leave behind is what you write... no one talks about the article that changed their life, and they're not read for decades after they've been written. [Books are] foundational.' Working at the intersection of research and application, Professor Alex Hill has learned that it's not enough to have the 'Ta Dah' moment - you then need to have a good answer to the 'So What?' question. In this thoughtful conversation we talk about the principles of organizations that endure, the importance of naming ideas (and how to help people NOT misinterpret them), and the life-changing significance of finding out what it is you want to leave behind. 
29/05/2336m 38s

Episode 367 - The Solutionists with Solitaire Townsend

'A book is a job title that stays with you for life. I will forever be author of The Solutionists... This is your long tail. This is how you remain having influence in the world over time.' If you ever feel like the problems of the world are overwhelming and that you are powerless against the injustice, apathy, greed and prejudice out there, this is the conversation you need to listen to. Solitaire Townsend is a solutionist par excellence, and she empowers other people to become solutionists too, no matter how insignificant they think their own actions might be.  And part of having an impact on the world, it turns out, is stepping up to write a book that will exponentially increase your influence. Don't get angry: get writing. 
22/05/2335m 3s

Episode 366 - My Back Pages with Richard Charkin

Publishing as an industry has more than its fair share of extraordinary people, but there are few to rival Richard Charkin. Over his 50-year career he's worked in almost every area of publishing from children's book to scientific journals, and has not just witnessed but been instrumental in steering the industry from its gentleman's club background to the hi-tech, diverse, commercially competitive sector it is today.  But after decades of senior leadership in major publishing houses, he's just taken on his greatest challenges: launching a start-up publishing company and writing a book himself. I asked him how that's going, and why he decided against an index...   
15/05/2341m 8s

Episode 365 - Idea stewardship with Melissa Romo

'I thought I was sitting down to write a book. I was not sitting down to write a book. I was sitting down to create idea stewardship. And that's a much bigger exercise.' Melissa Romo is passionate about the opportunity that remote working presents - inclusion, access to talent, quality of life, etc etc. But as a remote worker herself, as well as the leader of a distributed team, she also knows it's not all 'roses and tulips'. Missing from all the discussion of remote work she was hearing was the emotional fallout she recognized in herself and others: guilt, paranoia, loneliness depression and boredom. If we don't solve for those, all the fancy collaboration systems in the world won't help us do our best work and be our best selves.  The result is Your Resource is Human, a deeply researched and highly practical handbook for making remote work work at the relational level. In this conversation, she tells me what it took, and what it means, to shape and share those ideas. 
08/05/2336m 10s

Episode 364 - Smart Career Moves with Susan Doering

Really recognize who your audience is... [and] parcel up the pieces, the topics, the themes according to their needs. Not according to what I know, but what they need to know.' Susan Doering's career progression mirrored that of many women: a successful early career, derailed by childcare commitments and domestic expectations, followed by a period of 'happenstance' - doing jobs as she was asked, discovering her own skills, and starting to build her confidence and qualifications along the way, until she'd created a place in the world where she could excel and where she loved what she was doing.  And then she wrote the book she wished she'd had herself, to help other women achieve the same.  Along the way she discovered how to shift away from academic writing, how to structure ideas, and how to learn to love the long, long process of marketing a book... 
01/05/2333m 9s

Episode 363 - But Are You Alive? with Eloise Skinner

'I have worked with a coach in the past who used to tell me things that have been very helpful, like it is your responsibility to the book to try and communicate its concepts out there, if you believe it is that helpful, you need to be sharing it with people. These are the things that I repeat to myself every day as I prepare to post one thing on Instagram.' Writing a book means marketing a book, and marketing a book means becoming visible as an author. And that isn't always easy, even when you have a huge following.  Eloise Skinner knows what it takes to write books (But Are You Alive? is her third), but she also knows that the writing alone isn't enough. To share her hard-won insights into what gives life meaning, which she's discovered through an extraordinary professional and personal life - including her work as a lawyer, as a psychotherapist and existential therapist and her time in an urban monastic community - she had to get comfortable being uncomfortable. In this thoughtful conversation, she tells me what that involves, and how she gets over herself to get her message out there. 
24/04/2330m 1s

Episode 362 - Pay the Price with Steven Adjei

'A lot of writers tend to shy away from the gritty parts of [entrepreneurship], the pain parts, the price part. I thought, Why not, I'm going to go for it. So I did.' If you're an entrepreneur, you'll know about the price that you pay each day to sustain your enterprise: sometimes gladly, sometimes reluctantly, sometimes without even realising it. And you'll also know about the pain that's often involved. But did you realize that there are different types of pain, and that they demand different things of you?  In this deeply personal and practical conversation, Steven Adjei offers a thoughtful way of assessing and responding to these various different kinds of entrepreneurial pain. We also discuss the too-often unheard lessons from African entrepreneurs, how to enrich the prose of a business book with poetry and music, and the vital importance of balancing compassion and competence.   
17/04/2337m 23s

Episode 361 - Tame Your Tiger with Catherine Erdly

When you run a small business - especially a retail business - it can feel very much as if a tiger has not just come to tea, but moved in. It's always hungry, often unpredictable, and it makes you feel a little, well, nervous.  Luckily, Catherine Erdly is an expert in taming tigers, and in this week's conversation she shares with me some of the ways in which she helps small retail businesses do the same (and why that matters for everyone).  We also talk about why the tiger is such a powerful metaphor, and how to write about difficult topics in an accessible way.  It's GRRRRREAT!
03/04/2337m 40s

Episode 360 - Leaning in

In a world where so many opt to lean back - to disengage, scroll the feed, consume and comment rather than create, plug into the playlist rather than connect - here's a rousing call to lean in to the work that matters. As a colleague, a leader, a writer and a reader, what does it mean to lean in, and how do we keep ourselves from leaning in so far that we end up falling over? Hear from:  Professor Lucy Easthope on leaning in to disaster and difficult feelings Dr Deb Mashek on real engagement and connection in relationships Danni Haughan on connection and purpose in podcasting Liam Black on not leaning in so hard that you fall over Catherine Baker on sustainable performance as a leader Sarah Stein Lubrano on writing as a process of engagement with ideas Tim Clark on writing more purposefully  Beth Stallwood on finding the people and the strategies to help you lean in more effectively An unmissable, unforgettable best bits episode. 
27/03/2330m 29s

Episode 359 - Gloves Off with Liam Black

'You need a higher level of challenge and truth telling if you have set the bar high for yourself and your organization.' Liam Black has become known as the 'gloves-off mentor' for his no-nonsense, straight-talking way of supporting social entrepreneurs and purpose-driven leaders. When the work you do matters so much to people's lives, it can be hard to see situations objectively, or to keep any kind of work/life balance.  But capturing that voice in a book isn't easy. In this characteristically direct conversation, Liam shares the awfulness of writing - those wet Wednesday afternoons when the words die on the page - and the joy when the magic happens, the vulnerability of putting your book out into the world and the way it creates new connections when it's there.  Probably the most truthful conversation about writing you'll hear all week. 
20/03/2338m 19s

Episode 358 - Staying the Distance with Catherine Baker

'We've all been missing a trick, because sport has been showing us day in, day out, not just how to improve, perform and achieve, but how to do so on a sustained basis, in a way that ensures that we can consistently deliver results when it matters.' Catherine Baker qualified as a tennis coach before she qualified as a lawyer, and throughout her career has been fascinated by the interconnectedness of sporting and professional excellence. In her new book Staying the Distance, though, she argues that by drawing lessons for business only from the high performance we see, we're missing out on the reality that underpins that performance: what elite athletes do when noone's watching, the routines and rest that allow them to sustain that performance.  It turns out this is also true for writing...
13/03/2334m 0s

Episode 357 - Top Tips from the IPG Spring Conference

The Independent Publishers' Guild annual Spring Conference is one of the highlights of the year for the book industry. I seized the opportunity to speak to six movers and shakers in the world of books to put to them the questions that you'd have asked if you'd only had the chance.  You're welcome.  Discover:  How to find out EVERYTHING you could possibly want to know about getting published with Alysoun Owen, editor of the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook;  A better way to buy books online if you care about independent bookshops with Nicole Vanderbilt, Bookshop.org's UK MD;  Why TikTok is moving into the book-selling space and what you can do to promote your book there with Matthew Perry, Head of Books on the TikTok Shop;  How you can think ahead to make the most of translation opportunities as an author with Clare Hodder, rights consultant and Rights Manager for Practical Inspiration Publishing; and Things to keep in mind if you're planning to start a podcast, with Small Wardour's Carla Herbertson and Danni Haghan, formerly at Apple podcasts.       
06/03/2324m 42s

Episode 356 - WorkJoy with Beth Stallwood

'Work fits into this bigger thing that we call life. And if you are more joyful in work, that will spill over and you will be more joyful in life.' You may not have used the terms 'WorkJoy' and 'WorkGloom' before, but I bet you immediately know what they mean, AND which is your most common daily experience. The good news is that you have much more control over that experience than you might think.  In this week's conversation, Beth Stallwood talks to me about how we can find ways to bring more joy into our working lives, and how those lessons spill over into the work we choose to do for ourselves, such as, say, writing a book. Discover your own power - it was there all along - and also how to build the squad that will support you: the cheerleaders, challengers, comrades, creators, connectors and conjurers who will transform your writing experience into something altogether more joyful. 
27/02/2342m 32s

Episode 355 - The School of Life with Sarah Stein Lubrano

"People don't just pick up a book once, read it, put it down, and then that's the end of their relationship with that idea.... we can move in a person's life in multiple ways." Sarah Stein Lubrano describes The School of Life as 'a modern press': books are vitally important, but they're only one part of a wider ecosystem of ideas. There are many lessons here for business book writers, and many ideas too: how might YOU build in experiential strands, and opportunities for your readers to learn and reflect for themselves alongside their reading? And what does it look like to be actively engaging for good in a content landscape that is so often based around distraction and monetizing the consumer's attention?  A fascinating interrogation of the role of books, and indeed the nature of authorship. 
20/02/2340m 14s

Episode 354 - The Valentine's Special

This is a podcast about business and business books. You might think this is unpromising territory for talk of love: but you'd be wrong.  No hearts and flowers here, but real, thoughtful, passionate insights into what it means to be in relationship with those we work alongside, how we express love as part of leadership, and how passion fuels the work we do.  With contributions from Professor Lucy Easthope, Yetunde Hoffman, Dr Deb Mashek and Richard Fox. 
13/02/2318m 36s

Episode 353 - When the Dust Settles with Lucy Easthope

'Seeing somebody need you, seeing somebody in pain, is not necessarily traumatizing: not being able to help them is a moral injury that is traumatizing. So I also wanted to challenge ideas of what hurts.' Most of us run away from disaster. Similarly, we try to avoid painful emotions.  For Professor Lucy Easthope, expert and adviser on emergency planning and disaster recovery, heading towards the most traumatic diaster scenes as others flee in the opposite direction is par for the course, as is leaning into the rawest human emotions of grief, horror and anger. How do you do this every day and stay not only sane but cheerful? And how do you write about it in a way that readers can bear?  In this truly extraordinary conversation, we explore courage, clarity, how writing helps both ourselves and others, and why books should be available on prescription. If you only listen to one podcast this week, make it this one.   
06/02/2346m 25s

Episode 352 - Business Model You with Tim Clark

'We as individuals are systems ourselves, aren't we?... And so when we diagram ourselves using a work model, we often see for the very first time how these elements interrelate.' You may be familiar with the Business Model Canvas - but have you ever thought about using it for yourself, rather than your business? Dr Tim Clark did, and discovered that this simple but powerful visual tool had astonishing power to help move his own and others' thinking forward.  Words are powerful, but visual thinking can help us see things differently, and in their totality.  In this fascinating conversation we talk about what it's like to adapt someone else's model, the difficult of creating a highly visual book, and the inescapable fact that writing is Really Hard Work. 
30/01/2327m 48s

Episode 351 - Collabor(h)ate with Dr Deb Mashek

'When I went into [writing a book], people were telling me, oh, it's going to be so lonely. you're going to lock yourself in a room... nothing could be further from the truth. This was the most collaborative process from day one.' If you want to do work that matters, the unavoidable truth is that you're going to need to collaborate with others at some point. And that can be the most joyful, creative, energising experience.... but very often it isn't.  What IS it about collaboration that's so damn hard? Turns out that even with the best collaboration tools and project processes, in the end it all comes down to relationships. The good news is that you can learn to collaborate better, and Deb Mashek has spent years researching exactly how to help you do that.  The other good news is that you can bring those collaboration skills to the process of writing your book, and make it not only better but more fun along the way. Find out how....  
23/01/2335m 16s

Episode 350 - What Matters

It's easy to get caught up in the fluff - in work and life. Whether it's focusing on the font family rather than the purpose behind the brand, the endless social media scroll rather than the deep thinking we know we'd rather be doing, or the drive to answer just one more email rather than stopping to rest, we're all guilty of losing sight of the really important stuff.  In this Best Bits episode, I look back over my recent conversations and pick out some insights from these extraordinary thinkers and writers on how we can - and indeed must - focus on what really matters. With contributions from:  Tessa Misiaszek on branding; Phil Barden on goals; Ollie Henderson on the relationship between work and life; Joy Burnford on writing as a route to deep thinking;  Alison Jones (hello) on the passion behind the writing;  Bec Evans on finding what works;  Rob Orchard on being infatuated with what you're doing; Mark Leruste on why YOUR story matters; and Sarah Sparks on why YOU matter, and why you need to look after yourself.  Food for thought, indeed. 
16/01/2329m 20s

Episode 349 - Work/Life Flywheel with Ollie Henderson

'I'd done a lot of reps before I started writing the book, and that helped enormously.' Ollie Henderson would like to talk to you about work-life balance. Specifically, he'd like you to understand that you will NEVER reach a state of perfect equilibrium, so why beat yourself up about it? Instead, he'd like you to consider the idea of work and life as a flywheel, working together, moving you forward.  In this conversation, he shares some deeply personal insights about what that has meant for him, and also how he pivoted not just his work/life but his approach to writing as a way of exploring ideas and building community. If you're considering starting a newsletter, launching a podcast or writing a book in 2023, this is for you. 
09/01/2343m 0s

Episode 348 - Written with Bec Evans and Chris Smith

'How can you get to more people beyond coaching courses and beyond webinars? Well, you write a book.' Bec Evans and Chris Smith met in a bookshop and have worked with books, writing and authors ever since. As co-founders of Prolifiko they coach writers to be more productive, and as co-authors of Written: How to Keep Writing and Build a Habit That Lasts they have made their experience and expertise available for anyone who needs it.  But writing about writing is perhaps the most cripplingly tricky kind of writing - and writing with your life partner is a make-or-break relationship strategy. In this week's conversation we unpick the personal and professional strands behind their writing journey, and the importance of Peggy, their labradoodle, in holding it all together. 
02/01/2339m 20s

Episode 347 - Slow journalism with Rob Orchard

'Slow journalism for us was just a way of encapsulating that feeling that when you take your time, you can do something more quality.' In a media landscape dominated by the white-hot, reactive world of social media and rolling news, it can be hard to keep a sense of perspective. That's why a small group of editors decided to do something revolutionary: create a form of journalism that deliberately avoided breaking news, but instead focused on looking back to identify the real significance of events several months after they'd happened, once the dust had settled. Throw in high-quality production values and sophisticated infographics, and you have Delayed Gratification, the flagship publication of the slow journalism movement.  Independent publishing - of books or magazines - is famously financial precarious, and in this conversation we explore the bloody-mindedness and vision that lies behind it and the joy it brings to those brave and foolish enough to take it on, and why the world needs those brave fools so badly. 
19/12/2240m 50s

Episode 346 - Exploratory Writing with Alison Jones

'If you give your brain a question, it can't help but go looking for answers. That's how we are designed. And when you know that, you suddenly think, well, all my job is, really, is to come up with the good questions, isn't it?' In a gratifying plot twist, I become the guest on my own podcast as Grace Marshall asks me all the tough questions about my own new book, Exploratory Writing: Everyday magic for life and work.  How can one of our simplest, oldest technologies - the pen on the page - be the solution to our most pressing 21st-century problems? Discover why just 6 minutes of this deceptively simple off-line, off-grid, off-piste practice turns out to be a powerful tool for better thinking, creativity, and wellbeing, and even diversity and inclusion within organizations.  Plus some thoughts on the crippling embarrassment of being a publisher who can't nail the structure for her own book... 
12/12/2240m 49s

Episode 345 - Glow in the Dark with Mark Leruste

'Your story is about you, but it's not for you. Someone, somewhere woke up this morning needing to hear your story to not feel alone.' For most of us, it's hard for us to see how our personal story fits into our professional life. But Mark Leruste believes that your personal story is the 'emotional glue' that makes sense of everything you do in the world, and people need to hear it.  In this fascinating conversation, we discuss not only how you find and own your story, but how you use it for good in the service of others as a business book writer. He also reveals how he designed his own book, Glow in the Dark, as a Trojan Horse for a much deeper message.... 
05/12/2245m 0s

Episode 344 - STOP with Sarah Sparks

'We are designed for acute episodes of stress, but what we're not designed for is chronic episodes of stress. That's stress after stress after stress, and that's what most people are living with, day in day out.' Looking back, Sarah Sparks can see that her body was trying to tell her there was a problem. But she didn't listen: she kept on working crazy hours under immense pressure while trying to be the perfect new wife, and eventually her body stepped in to give her a message she couldn't ignore: she collapsed and was hospitalized with burnout.  Since then she's made it her mission to stop other people getting to that place, with her STOP model for combatting chronic stress. As she developed her model she realised the next logical step was to face her fear of writing: the result was an award-winning book. 
28/11/2234m 8s

Episode 343 - Decoded with Phil Barden

Ever wondered why people don't immediately shout 'Of course!' and shake you warmly by the hand when you share your new idea with them? It's because we find new ideas hard to take on board, especially when they contradict things we've believed up until now. So how as a writer can you help people get past that initial negative reflex and take your ideas on board?  Marketer Phil Barden experienced this for himself, when he discovered that everything he thought he knew about advertising was wrong. In this week's conversation he shares how what he learned about how decision science transformed his own approach to marketing, and also how you as an author can help your readers take your ideas on board more effectively. 
21/11/2236m 13s

Episode 342 - Don't Fix Women with Joy Burnford

'How do I .. move from being a curator to a creator? That was a big shift for me, and I think I got there in the end.' People often talk about the value of the finished book - for the author and for the reader. Less talked-about is the value of the process of writing: the connections you make as you research and discuss the ideas, the deepening of your thinking, the shift that you make as an author from consuming and curating other people's opinions to setting out your own.  Joy Burnford has been a 'curator of confidence' for many years, researching how women in particular build and sustain confidence at work, and developing her own in the process. But she realised that this is only one part of the equation: no matter how confident the woman, if the system at work is stacked against her, she cannot make the contribution of which she is capable. And when that happens, everyone loses out.  A fascinating conversation on gender equality in the workplace, but also on how writing a book doesn't just change those who read it, but its author too. 
14/11/2231m 42s

Episode 341 - Branding with Matt Johnson and Tessa Misiaszek

"Of course we want to predict, what's the world going to be like in 5, 10, 15 years? How can I, as a brand, put myself in an advantageous position to thrive in this hypothetical future? But through taking a human-based approach, we're going to ask a different, and I think complementary question: not what's going to change, but what's going to stay constant. And if humans are your primary customers, the most relevant constants are going to be the constants of human nature." The science of branding is undergoing a revolution as we begin to better understand the neurology of decision-making. Matt Johnson and Tessa Misiaszek interrogate this new world of branding with a ruthless focus on what the implications are for businesses. You might love your brand, but if it doesn't mean anything to your customers, sorry, it's not a brand.  As well as this fascinating insight into the frontiers of marketing, we discuss the creative conflict (and the cocktails) involved in writing a book from two different perspectives, the challenges that presents and the reasons why it's so worthwhile. 
07/11/2236m 23s

Episode 340 - The joy of constraints

We don't live in a perfect world. If you're hoping to write a business book, I bet there's something that's getting in your way. Not enough time, lack of focus, morning sickness, a global pandemic...  We can't get rid of these constraints, but we CAN get smarter about them, and maybe even turn them into superpowers.  Get inspiration from:  Kate Nash on working with rather than against physical disability;  Jenna Tiffany on the impact of the pandemic;  Lucy Cohen on using whatever way of writing works for you;  Jodie Cook on using time constraints for productivity and wellbeing;  Em Stroud on using time constraints for playfulness and creativity;  Bruce Daisley on the magic of TikTok for explaining complex ideas in just a few seconds;  Felicity Dwyer on creating deadlines and accountability to get things done;  Kara Tan Bhala on translating rigour into readability;  Ian MacRae on using the book proposal document to create clarity. 
31/10/2233m 41s

Episode 339 - Positively Purple with Kate Nash OBE

'We are not here to be inspiration. Instead [we] invite back those who feel inspired to think about what they're inspired to do as a consequence.' From the moment her well-intentioned mother spoke wistfully about the possibility of her getting 'a little job' when she was afflicted by chronic rheumatoid arthritis as a teenager, Kate Nash has been challenging the narrative of expectations around disable people in the workplace. She's the founder of professional development hub Purple Space and the inspiration behind the #purplelightup movement that has turned some of the world's most iconic landmarks purple in honour of disability rights.  In this powerful conversation she blends the personal and the political to talk about her own experience, the complexity and diversity of disabled people's lived experience, the commonalities of the barriers they face in the workplace, and what it means to be a good ally for disabled colleagues. She also reveals her approach to writing a book which any writer, disabled or not, can learn a lot from. 
24/10/2235m 31s

Episode 338 - Crafting Connection with Felicity Dwyer

'It's important to think about connecting with ourself first [because] whatever kind of interpersonal communication we are involved with, we are always there.' In her 3D model of communication, Felicity Dwyer starts by inviting us to consider how we communicate with ourselves. It's a profound and often moving process, but if we're going to connect meaningfully with others, it's an essential starting point. In a world that often focuses on superficial tactics to get a message across, this approach invites us to think more deeply, and connect more powerfully.  This connection with self and others also characterised Felicity's approach to writing her book, Crafting Connection, and in this conversation she talks frankly not only about how she developed her own thinking through writing, but also about inviting others into the process, and coping with the gift of feedback... 
17/10/2231m 53s

Episode 337 - Corporate clowning with Em Stroud

'Because we are the truth tellers, we say really what's going on. Because we use humour, we get away with saying stuff that other people can't... The art of clowning about, really paying attention, serves me in every place that I go.' I'm willing to bet you've never met a Corporate Clown Coach before, not unless you've already met Em Stroud. In this fascinating conversation we talk about clowning and its role in work and life, finding fun in writing, and how we rediscover the parts of ourselves that may have been neglected over the years and integrate them into our day-to-day lives for more joy, playfulness and whole-hearted success. 
10/10/2235m 40s

Episode 336 - Ten Year Career with Jodie Cook

What kind of timescale guides your thinking? Do you focus on how great things will be when you make a killing selling your company decades from now, or do you prefer not to think beyond the end of the day? When it comes to business success, choosing your time horizon really matters.  Jodie Cook completed her first start-up/exit cycle in 10 years, and she recommends it as a way of planning your strategy more purposefully: 10 years is 'long enough to think long term... but also short enough to not waste time.' She focuses her time equally purposefully at the daily level too, working in 'blocks' to ensure the work gets done effectively and that she protects time to train and to rest - REALLY rest - in her day. And of course she makes time to write, because that's her way of processing everything.  Make time for this. 
03/10/2240m 47s

Episode 335 - Fortitude with Bruce Daisley

Interested in social media, podcasting, business books and business? It's hard to think of someone who can speak with more authority on all of those than Bruce Daisley, ex-European head of Twitter, host of the No.1 business podcast Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat, author of The Joy of Work and all-round business guru.  So it was a joy to talk to him about all of this, and particularly his new book, Fortitude, and why it's NOT called Resilience. Along the way we take in TikTok, Elon Musk, the tombstone aesthetic, and why the platform you build for your book is at least as important as the book itself.  Listen, and be ready to take notes.   
26/09/2244m 23s

Episode 334 - Marketing Strategy with Jenna Tiffany

'Strategy is effectively the map which takes you to your destination... tactics are the vehicles you're going to use to get there.' Jenna Tiffany has worked with many businesses who mistook tactics for strategy. She decided the best way to help them - and many others - was to write a book. Because books, as her foreword writer Dan Barker points out, 'can literally perform magic', providing all the value of the most expensive course on earth, in a fraction of the time, at a fraction of the cost.  In this fascinating conversation, we discuss not only marketing strategy, but the way in which that strategic approach is so essential for writing a business book. 
20/09/2237m 18s

Episode 333 - Ethics in finance with Dr Kara Tan Bhala

Students of finance don't typically expect to be grappling with theology and philosophy. But over a long career in Wall Street, Dr Kara Tan Bhala has collected many fascinating real-life stories that demonstrate just how central an understanding of ethics is for a career in finance. She's also shown that it's possible to write about complex ideas in a clear and straightforward way, using stories rather than abstract theories. (Parable, as she points out, is simply an ancient name for case study.) A fascinating topic, and an equally fascinating conversation with a groundbreaking woman.   
12/09/2231m 38s

Episode 332 - Dark Social with Ian MacRae

The internet is a funny old place. Most of us can't live (or certainly work) without it, and our online relationships and conversations are just as real and valuable as those we have offline. But we're complex beings with lots going on under the surface, and the internet is no different.  Psychologist Ian MacRae is fascinated by the 'dark' side of online - the 'unconscious of the internet' - and how we can use a more nuanced understanding of that to better inform our online lives.  He also has some wise words on how to go about pulling complex ideas and vast quantities of research into a readable book - even when it means creating a volume of untold stories as a byproduct... 
05/09/2231m 25s

Episode 331 - Forget the First Million with Lucy Cohen

When it comes to writing a business book, are you a planner, or a pantser? If your natural style is more seat-of-the-pants than perfectly planned, you'll love this unapologetic take on writing from Lucy Cohen - lying on a settee, writing from the heart, ideally after a large glass of red wine.  But don't be fooled: there's nothing insubstantial about her take on the realities of entrepreneurship and where you need to focus for long-term success (hint: forget the first million).  A joy of a conversation, taking in business, anxiety, oversharing, and powerlifting. 
29/08/2239m 55s

Episode 330 - Writing energy

How do you generate, manage and sustain the energy that's needed to write a business book? Physically, mentally, socially and even spiritually, there are many aspects to this question.  Luckily there are many great writing and business brains on hand to answer it. Learn from the best:  Simon Alexander Ong on the different types of energy and how they work together to create flow;  Rob Wozny on how the spiritual energy of purpose can power writing;  Sam Dogen on why writing is like exercise, and the interplay of mental and social energy;  Mark Hayes on drawing energy from others and particularly the power of the podcast;  Bernard Marr on the flywheel effect of the conversations you have at work and the conversation you have on the page;  Katy Murray on breaking down big creative projects and generating the 'starting energy' you need to tackle them;  Felicity Cowie on the importance of being fired up, and the need to contain that fire;  Sara Tate on managing the energy-sucking effects on uncertainty and coming out the other side stronger;  Zena Everett on just getting started.  Whether you're energized or exhausted as the holidays draw to a close, I guarantee you'll find something here to light you up. 
22/08/2238m 17s

Episode 329 - Crazy Busy with Zena Everett

'[We're] not actually dropping into the deep flow work and thinking that we have when we write, because that feels wonderful; we're switching all the time from one thing to another.' Are you crazy busy? Of course you are. Me too. Rubbish, isn't it? Stop multitasking (you know it's not working) and take half an hour to listen to Zena Everett, author of The Crazy Busy Cure, and purveyor of sane, practical advice on how to stop wasting time on stuff that doesn't really matter and focus on the stuff that does.  Like writing. 
25/07/2239m 8s

Episode 328 - Buy This, Not That with Sam Dogen

'If you stay consistent, you grow your brand, you grow your message. I think sooner or later, something good will happen and you won't be able to anticipate what it is.' What story about money do you buy into? Sam Dogen, aka The Financial Samurai, wants you to rethink financial freedom, and he's used writing as the way to enable his own extraordinary life-after-work.  Think you're too busy to write? Don't listen to this if you want to be able to keep telling yourself that... 
18/07/2240m 21s

Episode 327 - Rebuilding with Sara Tate

'How often does anyone really start with a blank sheet of paper? Certainly not at my age, you know? You don't, you start from where you are... we want to make the effort to rebuild something that we love and we've invested in, a business or a relationship, whatever it might be. And that is both more complex and more interesting.' Sara Tate and Anna Vogt were fascinated by the idea of failure, or rather, what we do AFTER failure, for both personal and professional reasons. It's a truism to say that we learn from failure: what is REALLY happening in that period of time between failure and success? How do we rebuild - personally and professionally - when we're knee-deep in rubble?  From their own experiences and from those they spoke to in their podcast The Rebuilders they created a book - which in itself was a process of rebuilding for Sara after a lifetime of avoiding writing because of her dyslexia.  A powerful, inspiring and often moving conversation about life, grief, resilience and hiding from our children. 
11/07/2239m 26s

Episode 326 - Tech Trends with Bernard Marr

'It's not very difficult to write a book, but you need to start writing... I put my content on LinkedIn, for example, and this is where you then get feedback and it just gets you into this routine of writing. And you can then very quickly build up a really good volume of content, that you can then turn into books.' Futurologist Bernard Marr created history at the Business Book Awards this year by having two books published in the year, both of which went on to win in category, and one of which - Business Trends in Practice - went on to win the overall Business Book of the Year award. It was, he says, 'slightly embarrassing'.  Discover how he did it in this fascinating conversation - and prepare to have your mind blown along the way as he reveals some of the trends he's been writing about and the impact they are set to have on our businesses and our lives. 
04/07/2238m 18s

Episode 325 - Change Makers with Katy Murray

"How do I discover my change making contribution, and how do I do that in a way so that I don't fry myself in the process?" The balance between stepping up to make an impact in the world and stepping back where necessary to protect our own wellbeing and energy can seem an impossible one to find. And that's why Katy Murray argues that change-making is first of all an inner process: recognising and overcoming the various barriers that hold us back, and identifying the most effective way to use our energy to maximise our impact.  She also shares the process she used to plan and write her book, which involves decorator's paper, getting outside, and listening to wailing women... 
27/06/2230m 49s

Episode 324 - Energize with Simon Alexander Ong

'The process of writing, the process of reflecting on where we are right now and what must happen for us to move forward towards where we want to be, this is a process of living with greater intention.' What's your most precious resource? Time? Money? Or is it, in fact, your energy?  No matter how smart or skilled we are, if our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy is depleted, day after day, we won't be showing up to do our best work. In this conversation, Simon Alexander Ong reveals how we can design our lives to maximize our energy, so that we can maximize our impact. Spoiler alert: writing is one of his secret weapons...
20/06/2234m 43s

Episode 323 - Exposure with Felicity Cowie

Ever wondered how a journalist picks which expert to provide a quote on a story in your industry, or why a national paper runs a story on your competitor and not you?  Media relations might seem like a dark art, but when you understand what journalists are looking for, it's easier to pitch a story that will grab their attention, so that YOUR business can benefit from that powerful exposure.  In this week's conversation, Felicity Cowie talks about life as both a journalist being pitched and a consultant helping businesses pitch effectively, and she shares the two essential questions every journalist asks themselves that decide whether a story will run or not.   
13/06/2240m 47s

Episode 322 - Sales Coaching Essentials with Mark Hayes

'Having a book has really begun to change how I think about my business and my brand... I am truly surprised about the ripple effect it's having.' At the risk of being meta, there's a lot about conversation in this conversation. Conversations between managers and their sales team that empower and enable; conversations that spark ideas and reveal needs; and the conversation that the author has with the reader - on the page, and beyond the page.  Fascinating insights into sales coaching, the writing process and the impact of a book on a business.       
06/06/2236m 23s

Episode 321 - Storytelling for Business with Rob Wozny

Storytelling is one of the most basic human impulses. And in the digital age, it's also one of the most complex and confusing: how do you choose between the multitude of channels and tools to help YOUR story connect with the people who matter the most to your business?  Rob Wozny has been in the storytelling game all his life, as a journalist, content strategist and professional business communicator, and he's put that lifetime of expertise into his new book, Storytelling for Business: The art and science of creating connection in the digital age.  In this conversation we talk about both the art and the science of business storytelling, and also the misery and magic of writing a book about it...
30/05/2233m 3s

Episode 320 - We can do hard things

In 1907, pioneering psychologist William James wrote this: 'The human individual lives usually far within his limits; he possesses powers of various sorts which he habitually fails to use. He energizes below his maximum, and he behaves below his optimum.' That insight reflects the message of my guests on this podcast recently, and inspired the title of this episode: we CAN do hard things. This isn't just about writing a book – although writing a book is a damn hard thing to do – but more generally about the things that simply feel beyond us, too big, too far out of our comfort zone. Prepare to be inspired by insights from: Tim Bradshaw, Richard Rumelt, Corinne Sawers and Eric Lonergan, Graham Eisner, Daniel H. Pink, Catherine Sandland, Louise Third, Brian Moran and Michael Lennington, and Peter Elbow.
23/05/2240m 44s

Episode 319 - TEDx Tips with Catherine Sandland et al

'If you've got something that's important, meaningful to you, that needs to be heard, why not say it on one of the biggest platforms?' Have you thoughts about giving a TEDx talk? If so, you've probably got lots of questions. How do you apply, for a start? How do you put together a TEDx-worthy talk? How on earth are you supposed to do it without an autocue? And perhaps most fundamentally of all, given the huge amount of time and energy involved: why do it in the first place?  In this episode I draw on the wisdom and experience of a wide range of TEDx speakers and particularly Catherine Sandland, the fabulous speaking coach at TEDxNorthwich, to answer all these questions and more.  The red dot is waiting... this is where you begin your journey. 
16/05/2230m 11s

Episode 318 - The Power of Regret with Daniel H. Pink

'Writing is a form of figuring it out. And in fact for me, sometimes it's essential. It's like, what do you think about this? I don't know, I haven't written about it yet.' Dan Pink has written quite a few books, and they've done pretty well. So how does he do it? It's about showing up, he says, especially on the days you don't want to, and it's also about curiosity, hunches, thinking onto paper, and structure. (The structure REALLY matters.) Discover too why regret is such a positive force for good, and why feeling better doing necessarily make us do better.  (But you certainly won't regret the time you spent on this.)
09/05/2242m 8s

Episode 317 - Supercharge Me with Eric Lonergan and Corinne Sawers

'We don't compromise rigour and intellectual honesty, but we try to make it as accessible as possible.' I don't know what you and your life partner achieved in lockdown. Eric Lonergan and Corinne Sawyers wrote a book.  They brought their complementary skillsets - Eric in economics and monetary policy, Corinne in climate and sustainability - and produced Supercharge Me: Net Zero Faster, a call to action for policy makers and individuals alike to embrace the challenge and indeed the opportunities of reimagining our world more sustainably.  They also discovered a way of writing together that preserved those individual perspectives while creating a unified argument. And a lot of it happened over the dinner table... 
02/05/2235m 38s

Episode 316 - The Crux with Richard Rumelt

'The basic failure of strategy work is a failure to define the challenge that you're trying to meet.' Richard Rumelt is one of the world's leading authorities on strategy. He's also a keen rockclimber, and it was climbing that gave him the inspiration for his new book: The Crux.  In this wide-ranging conversation we talk about why strategy is such a controversial concept in business, and also why writing is such an important discipline for business thinkers. 
25/04/2240m 12s

Episode 315 - Because I Can with Tim Bradshaw

Do you make a difference? Or do you make excuses?  Tim Bradshaw has done many remarkable things in his life, from military training to endurance events, and when I spoke to him he had just returned from a relief mission to Ukraine.  He's simply living out his mantra: #BecauseICan. And it turns out that writing a book was the adventure that took him further out of his comfort zone than any that had gone before...  Ready to be challenged? 
18/04/2238m 33s

Episode 314 - Just Ask! with Graham Eisner

"We all want to grow our business. And we often do that by spending quite a lot of money... But the reality is in front of us, we have all the new clients we need." Graham Eisner perfected his technique for asking clients for referrals without embarrassment on either side at Goldman Sachs, and has been teaching business owners how to do it to grow their business ever since. At its heart, his method involves a simple but profound shift in mindset: a belief that people genuinely want to help. It turns out this is an incredibly helpful mindset when it comes to marketing your book, too - and Graham generously shares his pro tips in this energising and practical conversation. 
11/04/2225m 52s

Episode 313 - PR on a Beermat with Louise Third

'You cannot go into PR without building relationships.' Louise Third has embraced this principle in the planning and writing of her book PR on a Beermat, first by partnering with the originators of the beermat idea to develop it for PR, by writing collaboratively with partners, and by involving journalists and other media professionals to share their expertise in her book.  In this fascinating conversation we talk about PR, the role of a book as part of a business's storytelling, visual thinking, self-publishing and more. Energising and inspiring listening. 
04/04/2237m 6s

Episode 312 - Free-writing with Peter Elbow

'I think it's kind of a miracle. How can a human mind... all by itself, come up with an idea it never had before? You know, in a dialogue, I can understand how I can get a new idea from you, but how can I get a new idea from myself? That's amazing.' So much of writing is about trust - trusting yourself, that you will find something worth saying; trusting that the words will come and that others will find something of value. If you can't trust yourself to take that first step, you'll never write anything.  Peter Elbow knows this from experience. Having been shut down by a supercilious tutor at university he ended up dropping out of graduate school, simply unable to write the papers he was required to submit. But what he discovered in the process was to transform his own writing and that of the thousands of people he's taught it to since then - free-writing.  What's more, he discovered that free-writing isn't simply a tool for getting unstuck, it produces writing with more energy and clarity. This episode might just change your life. 
28/03/2241m 12s

Episode 311 - Accountability with Brian Moran and Michael Lennington

'Accountability is... probably the most empowering concept you have to live the life you want to live, when you understand it.' When we speak about accountability in business, very often the context is negative. It's about consequences and blame. But if we see accountability as ownership, it's a radically different, more empowering concept. That's what Brian Moran and Michael Lennington discovered, and they drew on their long-standing accountability to each other as business and writing partners to bring out the full significance of that understanding in their new book.  This week's conversation is not only a fascinating rehabilitation of a tricky term, but also a masterclass in writing collaboration. 
21/03/2233m 3s

Episode 310 - Where do you get your ideas?

Put an author in front of schoolchildren and you can guarantee that before too long, one of them will ask: 'Where do you get your ideas?' It's a good question, and one that's just as important for business book writers. In this week's 'best bits' episode we look back over recent conversations to see, well, where DO authors get their ideas?  (So if someone asks you that question from now on, you can tell them: The Extraordinary Business Book Club podcast.) With insights from: Cathy Rentzenbrink, Robert Kelsey, Jinny Uppal, John Howkins, Christian Busch, David Grayson, Helen Beedham and Catherine Stothart. 
14/03/2231m 25s

Episode 309 - Fearless writing with Robert Kelsey

'[Writing] is a craft. It's no different to knitting or painting by numbers or whatever, you just have to learn the craft. It might take practice and it might take learning a few rules, but, you know, they're not that scary.' For Robert Kelsey, writing is an essential business skill in the knowledge economy. And he won't accept excuses. In this conversation he shares his fear-free approach to effective business communication, and his tips for getting started and keeping going. We also talk about the new landscape of publishing, and the extraordinary resilience of the printed book.  Energising and insightful listening. 
07/03/2236m 43s

Episode 308 - The Future of Time with Helen Beedham

'I delighted in writing it. That doesn't mean I found it easy.' Time management has been seen as an issue for individuals for too long: Helen Beedham argues that the real issue is systemic. The way that organisations manage and value time, she says, is broken. And it's not just a productivity issue, it's hurting our wellbeing and working against inclusion and diversity, too.  Developing that insight into a book was something of a rollercoaster - as her family will attest... 
28/02/2238m 55s

Episode 307 - Invisible Work with John Howkins

'Expressing an idea and getting it out there is a very skilful process... the principle is to get the other people as interested in the idea you are.' Creative work is to a large extent invisible - which makes it tricky for managers to manage. It also means that we're left with the challenge of making our invisible ideas visible if we're going to do anything with them.  In this fascinating conversation I talk to creativity expert John Howkins about that process, the naming, defining and describing of a new idea, together with his best advice for writers (and his confessions about his own writing process...). 
21/02/2240m 46s

Episode 306 - In/Action with Jinny Uppal

In a world that screams 'Just Do It!', inaction has a bad reputation.  But sometimes, strategic inaction is exactly what the situation demands - and much more productive in the long run than the rush to do something, anything. In this week's conversation I talk to Jinny Uppal about how she learned this for herself, and about writing, publishing, crowdfunding and curiosity.  
14/02/2231m 56s

Episode 305 - Things that authors learn (around the campfire)

Anyone can have an idea for a book. Writing, publishing and marketing it? That means becoming an author, and that involves a whole lot of learning.  In this week's podcast I chat around the virtual campfire to seven members of the Extraordinary Business Book Club - some have just begun their first book, others have written several - about what they've learned so far in their journey as authors.  Practical, thought-provoking and often very funny, these dispatches from the front line are essential reading for anyone considering writing a business book. 
07/02/2242m 1s

Episode 304 - Things that editors love

Back in episode 286, I set out a list of things that editors hate and how to avoid them. Apparently that was very helpful, but lots of people have suggested that I needed to do a more positively focused companion episode, so here it is: what makes editors' hearts sing?  These ten tips come partly from my own experience of nearly 30 years as an editor (ahem), but also from the Practical Inspiration Publishing development editors and other editors who responded to my call on social media.  From pitching a great proposal to delivering your manuscript to responding to feedback, here are some practical tips straight from the horse's mouth to help you get the best out of the relationship with your editor, the person who can, if you let them, take your book from good to great. 
31/01/2223m 41s

Episode 303 - Writing a handbook with David Grayson

"We knew that a handbook had to be incredibly practical... we tried to help people to really work through the stages that you need to think about." There could hardly be a more important topic for businesses to engage with today than sustainability, and yet most businesses are still at the very early stages of formulating their sustainability strategy. So when David Grayson, Chris Coulter and Mark Lee were invited to write The Sustainable Business Handbook, they knew it had to be a practical tool that any business leader could use to get their own sustainability initiatives off the ground.  In this conversation we talk about what that meant in practice for structure and style, and how three authors in three different time zones can collaborate without tears... 
24/01/2232m 26s

Episode 302 - Writing it all down with Cathy Rentzenbrink

'It starts off as me working out what I think, and then it becomes something I'm going to share with other people... The point at which I allow myself to start imagining a reader is really important.' Writing isn't just a tool for communication, and your book isn't just a product. In this thoughtful and practical conversation, best-selling author Cathy Rentzenbrink reveals how she approaches both life writing and how-to writing, and charts the looping, iterative progress that allows you to develop your ideas from exploration to exposition. She also shares her own writer's tricks for managing energy and getting unstuck, and explains the importance of avoiding kitchen-sinking... And if you're thinking that you're not a writer, there's good news for you: your business communication skills may be more transferable than you think. 
17/01/2237m 27s

Episode 301 - The serendipity mindset with Dr Christian Busch

They told Christian Busch that it would be 'academic suicide' to do a PhD on the science of luck. But it turns out that luck isn't a random force at all: the results may be unpredictable, but the process of becoming luckier is a simple matter of creating more connections and joining the dots more effectively.  In this conversation, he explains more about how to become luckier by adopting a 'serendipity mindset', and also how you can benefit from 'peak-hour writing' to get your own book written.  This just might be your lucky day... 
10/01/2234m 6s

Episode 300 - The writer's network

A great way to celebrate a new year and a tricentenary episode: a 'best bits' compilation of wisdom from recent guests talking about one of the most important and rewarding aspects of writing a business book.  Whether you need to focus on building your following or your partnerships, or simply be a bit braver at making new connections, there's inspiration and ideas for you here. Hear from: Eloise Cook on why publishers look for a following Sonya Barlow on creating serendipity Michael Buckworth on the value of talking about your idea Dorie Clark on professional communities, aka 'making friends as an adult' Trevor Thrall on collaborating with trust Michael Leckie on reaching out to your heroes Lucy Ryan on finding writing buddies Jo Bottrill on finding the right publishing skills.    
03/01/2233m 52s

Episode 299 - A Twixtmas meditation

'We’re designed as cyclical creatures, from the most basic microcycle of breathing in and out to the annual cycle of the seasons, and if the New Year to come is our time for resolutions and purposeful action, the days before it, these Twixtmas days, are a time for gathering our resources quietly, relaxing and massaging our tightly bunched cognitive muscles so that we’re ready to pick up the weight of the year again next week.' It's too late to wish you happy Christmas, too early for Happy New Year (what day is it, anyway?), so here are some thoughts on making the most of the odd in-between days of Twixtmas - which might mean not doing very much at all.  There's also 10 fabulous 2021 business book recommendations from listeners, for when you're ready to pick up a business book again. (Don't leave it too long.)
27/12/2116m 50s

Episode 298 - The commissioning editor's view with Eloise Cook

What DO commissioning editors look for in business book proposals? Eloise Cook is the publisher responsible for Pearson's business list, and in this conversation she reveals what makes a proposal worth pursuing (and also what makes her quietly file it under B for Bin).  We also talk about the future for business books, and how authors extend their idea beyond the book to maximise engagement.  If you're planning to pitch a business book proposal, this is pure gold. 
20/12/2132m 46s

Episode 297 - The 12-week Year for Writers with Trevor Thrall

'No one wants to be preached at or talked down to, or made to believe it's fancier than it is. This is not rocket science. This is just good, plain common sense. You need a framework. There are lots of them out there. This is the one that works for me. And I think there are some good reasons it will work for you. And I'll just explain that to you.' Discovering the 12-week year approach saved Trevor Thrall's career as an academic, and now he teaches it to other writers. In this conversation he tells me how it transformed his own writing, and how he's built the idea beyond the book into a community.  This system is GENIUS, and might just transform your writing life too... 
13/12/2132m 9s

Episode 296 - Unprepared to Entrepreneur with Sonya Barlow

'What's the worst that can happen?' It might not sound like the most positive of mantras, but that simple question lies behind Sonya Barlow's astonishing success: one of 2020's Most Influential Women in Tech, a top 50 BAME entrepreneur, LinkedIn's Changemaker 2021 for Gender Diversity and Inclusion and Marie Claire's Future Shaper 2020.  Her determination to learn from failure and her remarkable resilience have not only driven her career as an entrepreneur, they're what made writing a book possible for someone who started to shake at the idea of writing 1,000 words.  In this conversation, she talks candidly about what it took to overcome that fear and write a book. Because if you want something badly enough, the worst that can happen is that you don't give it a go. 
06/12/2145m 25s

Episode 295 - Book production secrets with Jo Bottrill

What's the magic by which the Word document you've been working on for so many weeks and months is transformed into a book? Jo Bottrill, head of Newgen UK, is a book production expert who's worked with thousands of authors to perform exactly that magic, and in this conversation he not only demystifies the production process but also explains what you as the author can do to make it as smooth and effective as possible. From copy-editing to repurposing for multiple formats, typesetting to cover design, discover exactly what's involved in transforming a manuscript into a beautiful book you can be proud of.
29/11/2139m 41s

Episode 294 - Built on Rock with Michael Buckworth

"Talk to anybody who will listen about your idea. That's the way that you improve it." Michael Buckworth is an anomaly: a lawyer who's also an entrepreneur. He founded the only UK law firm working exclusively with startups, and he's the author of Built on Rock: The busy entrepreneur’s legal guide to start-up success.  If you're setting up a new business, you're already interested, amiright? But even if you're not, there's a huge amount to learn here about how to develop your intellectual property (hint: don't over-protect it) and how to make complex material accessible and engaging. Plus a helpful new twist on the classic 'the dog ate my homework' trope... 
22/11/2132m 17s

Episode 293 - The Long Game with Dorie Clark

'You have to be good enough and you have to be persistent, [and] if you combine those two things together, then if you keep putting yourself in new situations, eventually there is going to be something that clicks.' Dorie Clark is very clear that creating content - sharing your ideas - is an essential part of building your reputation as an expert. But she's living proof that it doesn't happen overnight - with writing, as with relationships, you have to play the long game.  Now one of the most respected business writers of our day, she's open about the rejections and failures she's experienced all along the way, and right up to the present day. This is a masterclass for anyone engaged in putting their ideas into the world, but it's also a hilarious and candid conversation, in which we find out why she once burst into tears on an Irish road... 
15/11/2136m 15s

Episode 292 - Lunchtime Learning with Lucy Ryan

'I came to writing really late. I was told I couldn't write... I had no first degree. I came to learning at 40 plus with an idea that I couldn't write, but I still loved learning. So it's been a total joy. It's like, wow, you can do that too, you can learn in another way. Writing... gets more and more joyous.' Dr Lucy Ryan started writing Lunchtime Learning for Leaders mid-pandemic, in response to the frantic cries for help from leaders grappling with the huge issues facing them but little time for traditional training. It wasn't intended to be a book, and the way in which she went on to shape those articles into a coherent whole is a masterclass in writing and editing. We talk about imposter syndrome (her gremlin is called Bob, how about yours?), overwhelm, curiosity and writing in service of the reader - and it's a joy from start to finish.
08/11/2130m 50s

Episode 291 - The Art of Questions with Michael Leckie

'It's not that you're wrong. You're just no longer right. And that's a big difference.' Michael Leckie has built his career on asking good questions at the right time, and in his book The Heart of Transformation he talks about 'operationalizing curiosity' as one of the capabilities that drive successful transformation in organizations.  Questions are also core to creating a powerful business book: questions for yourself, and for your reader. In this fascinating conversation we talk about change, curiosity and co-creation at work and on the page. 
01/11/2132m 45s

Episode 290 - The Best Bits: Words have power

"We sometimes forget the value, or the power, or the impact of words because, 'Hey, we're speaking the whole time, or we're writing the whole time... it's only me, how powerful can it be?' So we say things that are the wrong things to say, or we miss our opportunities. If you have an opportunity to get a message across and you just treat it casually or you fluff it or you don't prepare, then that's a shame." This insightful comment from Jeremy Kourdi was the inspiration for this Best Bits episode, in which I look back over the last few conversations in this podcast and pick out the sparkliest moments, stringing them together to create fairy lights for your mind.  You're welcome.  With powerful words from:  Jeremy Kourdi on using your words well  Megan Hayes on what happens beyond the page Azeem Azhar on the words that become your North Star Alice Sheldon on naming what's important Becky Hall on not compromising on the words that matter Jen O'Ryan on the power of sweary words Alison Jones on the words that diminish power, and how to avoid them Bobbie Carlton on how books embody leadership Jodie Rogers on how words hold you accountable for your thinking.  Words matter. Use them, and use them well.  
25/10/2131m 3s

Episode 289 - Medium, message and meaning with Jeremy Kourdi

'Why would you write 28 books? To get good at some of the stuff that you're writing about.' As well as writing those 28 books, Jeremy Kourdi has experience of senior leadership at The Economist, Duke University and the CMI. It's fair to say he has an all-round perspective on the value of content in business thinking, and in this fascinating conversation he reveals his own approach to writing as well as his thoughts on the value of words more generally. As content creators, we have a responsibility to use our platforms well: what does that mean for you?  Using words well is a core business discipline, as fundamental to effective leadership as financial management or strategic direction, and this is a masterclass for any leader wanting to go from good to great. 
18/10/2131m 45s

Episode 288 - Why weren't we taught this at school? with Alice Sheldon

'I would encourage every author to have their own-book-shaped plan and their own-marketing-shape plan that is theirs, because that is what creates the books that really reflect our own message and that are really full of integrity.' If you're tired of formulaic approaches or cynical marketing tactics, this will be a breath of fresh air. Alice Sheldon had a powerful message to share but found the obvious writing route and standard marketing tactics didn't sit well with her. So she created an Alice-shaped way of authoring and promoting her book, a way that drew on her strengths and drew in help and support from a whole team of 'book friends'. In this conversation we talk not only about the transformational Needs Understanding framework, the 'surprisingly simple secret' of the title, but also the way that by understanding your own needs as an author you can create a way of writing and marketing your book that is not only effective but also joyful and authentic. 
11/10/2131m 9s

Episode 287 - Writing and happiness with Megan Hayes

'The individual is a research project, every time we try something new we're being a kind of scientist in our own life.' Megan Hayes studied the links between writing and happiness, and the first thing she discovered is that it's both more powerful and more complex than we think. Yes, 'getting it all down on paper' is a great way to process a difficult experience, but it turns out a writing habit can also help us be more creative, more energised and more effective OFF the page.  We talk about accessing the full range of voices within you - not just the shoutiest - to resource yourself fully, self-efficacy and sense-making, the ghost of the English teacher, the power of NOT being a writer, and so much more.  If you listen to nothing else this week, listen to this. 
04/10/2135m 8s

Episode 286 - Things that editors hate (and how to avoid them)

When you're writing a business book - or indeed any business writing - WHAT you're saying is the most important thing, of course.  But HOW you say it can make all the difference as to how people read it. I asked a group of editors what really pushed their buttons, and compiled this run-down of mistakes to avoid if you want to make a good impression. This is especially important if you're submitting a book proposal, but nailing this stuff will improve your credibility with all sorts of readers.  Spoiler alert: these might not be quite what you expect...   
27/09/2140m 33s

Episode 285 - Inclusive AF with Jen O'Ryan

'They need to be able to 'get' the concepts that I'm trying to convey in whatever space they have available on the top of their phone screen.' Used to writing for an academic audience, Dr Jen O'Ryan quickly realised that she needed take a very different approach for her business book if she wanted it to make a difference. And she really wanted it to make a difference.  In this episode we talk about diversity and inclusion, in the workplace in general but also in publishing, about relearning how to write, about sweariness, and about the fact that you need a really big table to write a book.  Listenable AF. 
20/09/2135m 3s

Episode 284 - The Art of Enough with Becky Hall

'How can we fall back in love with the idea of enough as a way of living, so that we stop striving and start thriving?' The Art of Enough is the challenge of our age, says Becky Hall: as individuals and as a society we're beset on the one hand by scarcity (feeling inadequate, being under-resourced) and on the other by excess (overwhelm, over-consumption). Our personal and business goals are dictated by a relentless growth imperative that neither we nor the planet can sustain. In this powerful conversation, Becky shares how she translated her profound message into a book, and the difficult decisions she faced about keeping its integrity. A treasure of an episode.
13/09/2132m 37s

Episode 283 - Exponential with Azeem Azhar

Humans don't easily 'get' exponential growth - we've evolved in a linear world, and the pace of change we're facing now can leave us wrong-footed and disoriented. But Azeem Azhar argues that we need to get to grips with it, and fast, if we're to thrive in the modern world.  We also talk about synergistification, aligning your content creation and community to build your brand and your business (ok it's not a word, but it should be).  Insightful and intriguing, this is definitely not an episode to miss. 
06/09/2144m 56s

Episode 282 - Author-speakers with Bobbie Carlton

'Author-speakers... are often people who are true thought leaders, on a mission to share their knowledge. And yes, there are people who blog and there are people who post on social media and there are people who do podcasts. But... to really achieve that thought leadership, visionary status, there's got to be a book.' Speaking and writing go together naturally, but how can you make the most of both? Bobbie Carlton has an extraordinary breadth of experience helping writers and speakers - particularly women - be heard. In this conversation she explores the mindset and the tactics that lead to success on stage and on the page, including some genius tips for leveraging your book as a speaker and for promoting it more widely.  Grab a notepad and listen up. 
09/08/2133m 36s

Episode 281 - Mental fitness with Jodie Rogers

'There's something about the writing process, the words on the page, just holding you accountable in some way to your thinking.' Jodie Rogers has identified the real competitive advantage for today's organisations: the mental fitness of the people working there. But as she points out, it takes more than an elearning module on how to take an afternoon walk to unlock the benefits of a workforce that's not just avoiding mental ill health, but positively mentally fit.  She also talks honestly and thoughtfully about her own struggle to write this book - not just overcoming imposter syndrome, but rejecting the early, easy answers she came up with for a deeper, more rigorous self-interrogation. And all this against a backdrop of the pandemic coping with running a business, a family tragedy, and two small children not allowed out of the front door for 45 days during the Spanish lockdown.  Absolutely compelling listening. 
02/08/2135m 50s

Episode 280 - The Best Bits: The joy of business books

We talk a lot on this show about the grind of writing business books, and indeed of business in general, but there's a lot of joy to be found in the process too. This Best Bits episode celebrates all those moments, from the creative peace of the early morning start to the excitement of the book launch. Wherever you're at, there's a bit of raw joy here to inspire you on your journey.  With joyful moments from:  Minter Dial on the bliss of early mornings  Dre Baldwin on the pleasure of getting the stuff in your head out into the world Penny Pullan on finding connection and warmth even when there's noone else in the room Jackie Fast on the joy of unfamiliar conversations with familiar people Leanne Hamley on tapping into the positive power of other people Robert Wigley on rediscovering the joy of reading as part of writing Philip Levinson on the pleasure of being able to thank the people who've helped you write the book at the launch party Mark Choueke on the joy of doing it your way.   Fill your tank and get inspired! 
26/07/2123m 42s

Episode 279 - Wot the Book! with Leanne Hamley

'We wanted to explore how books, which seem to be a real missing link in the corporate world, could be brought in and really used to enhance people's development... If I could step away from everything and invest in myself, what does that look like?' If there's one experience common to pretty much every business sector in every industry over the last 18 months, it's screen fatigue. Which is a challenge for learning and development professionals who also care about wellbeing: sure, people need to learn new ideas and skills, perhaps now more than ever, but are another few hours staring at a screen for a webinar or elearing programme the best way to support that?  Leanne Hamley (and I'm right behind her) thinks that businesses are overlooking one of the most powerful, lightweight development tools of all: the book. Along with Kate Bowers, she has founded Wot the Book!, a subscription service, podcast and community dedicated to bringing brilliant books to businesses. She's also an author herself, and talks frankly about her own experience of writing a business book. 
19/07/2127m 53s

Episode 278 - Boring2Brave with Mark Choueke

'Be a bit braver with what you define to be a business book, you don't need to follow a template.' Why is B2B marketing typically so dull? Whereas consumer marketing is focused on creativity, engagement and originality, B2B marketing all too often consists of a features list. Mark Choueke is here to change all that. His passionate call for bravery in B2B marketing is transforming the industry, and he applied exactly that same thinking to writing his business book too. Forget the templates and formulae, and write the book that only you can write.  Half an hour that will leave you feeling braver and more human, covering as it does marketing, writing, book proposals, Star Wars, grief and a gorilla. 
12/07/2140m 24s

Episode 277 - Making Workshops Work with Penny Pullan

Penny Pullan was talking about virtual leadership and running virtual events long before it was fashionable - now that the rest of the world has caught up, she's leading the way in making virtual and hybrid events (which are surely the future) not just possible, but powerful. Most people at work have sat through interminable Zoom meetings over the last 18 months, few of us have experienced the kind of energy and engagement that Penny can bring. In this conversation she reveals some of the techniques she uses to inject vitality into virtual and also some of the potential pitfalls - it's all too easy to subtly exclude members of remote teams.  She also talks about her own approach to writing - highly visual and voice-based - and explains why her engineering background helps her see things differently in business.  Making Workshops Work was the winner of the very first 10-day Business Book Proposal Challenge, over 5 years ago: it's been a long time coming, but it turns out to be the right book at exactly the right moment. 
05/07/2132m 23s

Episode 276 - The thousand-day lessons

Earlier this year, I passed the 1,000-day mark in my #goldenyear running streak. In this week's episode, I reflect on what I've learned from building that habit, and what it's taught me about writing, resilience and when NOT to wear shorts.  A short episode this week, but I hope you'll enjoy it. 
28/06/2121m 19s

Episode 275 - Born Digital with Robert Wigley

Much handwringing goes on over the impact of technology on young people. Many domestic disputes centre on the amount of screentime that should or shouldn't be allowed. Robert Wigley saw the issue from two perspectives: as a father of adolescent boys, but also as a mentor and investor working with Gen Z entrepreneurs. The results of his research with both are fascinating, and reveal a more nuanced and optimistic story than we usually hear.  As a first-time author, he also discovered much about the process of writing and publishing which will be equally fascinating to other first-time authors! 
21/06/2136m 22s

Episode 274 - Breaking rules with Jackie Fast

'You don't have to have everything figured out when you sit down at your computer.... just start writing.' Jackie Fast sees writing a book just like entrepreneurship - don't let fear stop you, break some rules, figure it out as you go along. And in Rule Breaker: Rebellious leadership for the future of work, she proves that that's the secret of success in the 21st century - the old playbook that so many of us have internalised just doesn't apply any more. This is a fascinating reflection on her own remarkable journey from broke founder to MD of one of the world's most successful sponsorship companies, and how the process of writing a book mirrored that exercise in courage, exploration and action-taking.
14/06/2129m 13s

Episode 273 - Work on your Game with Dre Baldwin

"I don't care how big of a following you have, who your publisher is, what kind of marketing plan you put together, how big of an influencer you are: if you don't sit down and write, then there will be no book." This is the game people, and this is how you do the work. Dre Baldwin didn't find basketball magically effortless, but he turned himself from high-school reserve to pro by doing the work, and now he teaches other people how to bring that pro mindset to the work that matters, whatever it is.  In this conversation we talk about basketball, writing, using the full range of social media channels (well, almost) and how books fit within a content publishing empire.  If you're looking for magic bullets and excuses this is probably not for you. If you want to be inspired and challenged - hit play. 
07/06/2140m 39s

Episode 272 - Three Peaks Leadership with Philip Levinson

'Taking an all-seeing, all-knowing, conquering, dictatorial approach to managing people is going to land you in a world of pain.' Philip Levinson always dreamed of becoming a CEO, and thought he was ready. But when he got there he realised the truth: nothing can prepare you for this.  In Three Peaks Leadership he shares the lessons he learned, including the fact that leading at the highest level means not just surmounting the initial challenge of securing the role (the first peak), but embedding the changes for the long term (the second peak) and charting a course for the future, including your own exit from the role (the third peak).  He's disarmingly honest about the lessons he's learned in humility along the way, both in leadership and in writing this book.... 
31/05/2129m 5s

Episode 271 - You Lead with Minter Dial

'What elements of your imperfection are you going to bring to the table?' That's the powerful question that strategist and storyteller Minter Dial poses about writing, but it could equally well be applied to leadership. Having all the answers is no longer what we need from our leaders: in a disrupted, uncertain world we need leaders who are willing to admit that they don't know everything and to show up as their whole selves.  This is a thoughtful, wide-ranging conversation and it is pure audio gold.
24/05/2137m 45s

Episode 270 - The Best Bits: Writing what you need to learn

It's one of the great paradoxes of business books that they're written by experts, but the process of writing them is itself what builds expertise. In this Best Bits episode nine recent guests reflect on how writing their book changed them - often in unexpected ways.  Judy Piatkus on the impulse behind publishing self-development books Greg McKeown on writing Effortless for himself as much as anyone Grace Marshall on the struggle of writing Struggle John Williams on how work can be play Frederique Murphy on writing in flow Sarah Frier on finding out what you’re trying to say Keel Hunt on asking great questions Diana Marsland and Julie Nerney on learning and pivoting Clive Lewis on writing with passion.
17/05/2131m 34s

Episode 269 - Own Your Day with Diana Marsland and Julie Nerney

'This experience has taught me, like a lot of the work I do in life, that where you start isn't necessarily where you'll end up... the book we've written is much more practical and purposeful for our readers as a result of us really listening to [their feedback] and not being afraid to change our minds.' Diana Marsland and Julie Nerney began their work on Own Your Day just before the pandemic hit, and with a hypothesis that they were pretty confident about. Over the course of the next year, everything changed: their rigorous research disproved their original hypothesis and revealed a different path, and their close collaboration had to shift online as lockdown hit. For some authors that could have been the end, but Diana and Julie found a way of working together that transformed those setbacks into a new creative energy. In this conversation we talk about how management is changing and the issues faced by those with the Herculean task of translating strategy from the top into results on the ground, and also about those processes of research, pivoting and collaboration. The result is a masterclass for anyone wanting to write a book grounded in the real world, and particularly for anyone thinking about writing with a partner. 
10/05/2131m 2s

Episode 268 - Effortless with Greg McKeown

'One of the first principles to make progress in writing is to have the courage to be rubbish because all writing, literally absolutely all of it, starts rubbish.' If his first book, Essentialism, was about prioritization, Greg McKeown's second book, Effortless, is about simplification. And this is no theoretical treatise: the truths behind the book were born out of a deeply traumatic personal experience, and Greg and his family's conscious decision to choose the 'lighter path'. Profound wisdom about life and robust advice for writing that might just change your life (and your business book). 
03/05/2142m 14s

Episode 267 - The Family Business with Keel Hunt

In our fascination with tech start-ups and big corporates, we might be tempted to overlook the family business. Keel Hunt describes Ingram as 'the quiet company' - 50 years young, still family owned, and still quietly partnering with all the other players in the book supply chain to innovate and do business better.  If you love books, chances are you'll have benefited from an Ingram service perhaps without even knowing it. And as books have faced the challenge of the digital revolution, it's perhaps down to Ingram rather than other flashier, more famous companies in the book supply space that the book industry continues to thrive, and in particular to their habit of asking: 'Why are we doing it this way?' Keel Hunt also reveals some hard-won journalistic secrets of interviewing and research, and how you find 'the story that hasn't been written yet'. 
26/04/2134m 31s

Episode 266 - Ahead of her time with Judy Piatkus

'I think we're going to have another watershed moment... there's going to be business pre-pandemic and business post-pandemic. And I wonder how many business books are going to feel out of date.' As a woman founder in publishing, Judy Piatkus is one of my heroes. Working from home long before it was fashionable, navigating caring for a child with special needs alongside the casual sexism of the 1980s, she quietly built up a pioneering company specialising in self-development. And along the way she transformed her own consciousness through the books she brought into the world.  Her story reflects many common themes of entrepreneurship, women at work, the digital revolution and the the power of books and of bringing people together. 
19/04/2138m 0s

Episode 265 - Struggling with Grace Marshall

'Productivity isn't just about efficiency.' As a Productivity Ninja, Grace Marshall was used to helping people who were struggling - with overloaded inboxes, poor time management, any number of everyday productivity pits. But she noticed that in many cases there was a different kind of struggle going on, one that wasn't talked about so much, one that couldn't be solved with a shiny new system, one that could even hide beneath a frenzy of productivity.  Gradually she realised that this kind of struggle isn't a sign that something's getting in the way of the work, it IS the work. And so she started a new conversation about struggle - professionally and personally.  (It was a struggle. Naturally.)
12/04/2133m 23s

Episode 264 - Toxic with Clive Lewis

'The hardest part is getting started, getting that first paragraph on the page. And once I've been able to do that, generally for me, my writing then flows from that.' Clive Lewis has written 17 books, so he's learned a bit about organizing and communicating his ideas. He writes about the things that mean most to him - this time it's the toxicity of the workplace (which is itself of course a microcosm of society) and how to create more positive, healthy environments. [Spoiler alert: it often just comes down to speaking and listening.] In this week's Extraordinary Business Book Club conversation we talk about the 'new normal' and the old issues at work, about empathy, diversity and inclusion, setting goals, getting started (and the difficulty of finishing), and the intoxicating power of words. 
05/04/2133m 23s

Episode 263 - Lead Beyond the Edge with Frederique Murphy

'The reason why I was able to write it in 12 weeks is that I mapped out my entire book, sticky note by sticky note... And then I was relentless. I just went one word per sticky note and built the whole thing.' For someone who comes alive on the stage and accesses their flow speaking in front of an audience, the last year has been tough. But Frederique Murphy discovered that she could re-access that state of flow through writing her book, by delivering it as if to an audience, and the results were astonishing.  Astonishing results are something of a speciality of Frederique's, and in this remarkable episode she shares something of the science behind her approach to helping leaders break free of their limitations and achieve their full potential. (Spoiler alert: this also involves writing...) There's also powerfully honest insights into the process of publishing, and the vulnerability that involves. 
29/03/2133m 12s

Episode 262 - No Filter with Sarah Frier

Instagram has had a massive impacting in shaping our culture over the last decade - it's redefined our measures of success and celebrity. It's easy now to see it as somehow inevitable, but in No Filter, winner of the FT/McKinsey Business Book of the Year 2020, Sarah Frier uncovers the backstory of the app - the philosophy of its founders and the complex relationship with new owner Facebook.  Along the way she also takes us behind the scenes of her own writing practice - the journalistic imperative to find the new angle, the colour-coded index cards, the plot-shaping, the late nights, the long showers, and the rosé. A masterclass in business book writing and a fascinating glimpse into one of the defining forces of our culture. 
22/03/2131m 25s

Episode 261 - Let's Play with John Williams

'Everything is sales... the title should sell people on reading the subtitle, the subtitle should sell people on flipping it over to look at the blurb and the blurb should sell you on opening the book up and flicking through it. And if all those things occur in the right way, then the chances are you'll buy the book.' John Williams is an ideas guy, and he helps other people make their ideas happen too. He's also a very experienced marketer and business book writer, and in this conversation he shares exactly how he knocked out a full first draft of his new book F*ck Work, Let's Play in just nine days...  Packed with practical inspiration for entrepreneurs and writers, this is a fascinating under-the-hood glimpse into the mindset and methods of someone who's succeeded at both.
15/03/2135m 34s

Episode 260 - The Best Bits: Finding courage

Writing a business book is a particularly visible form of leadership - how do you find the courage for that? In this week's look back through my most recent Extraordinary Business Book Club conversations, I uncover the principles, tactics and Jedi mind tricks that enabled these authors to find the courage to make their voices heard.  There'll be something here that you can use too, to make yourself a little bit braver and a little bit more likely to succeed.  Learn from:  Drew Ellis on taking risks in a manageable way Stephen Van Bellegham on sharing your story early Susanne Althoff on confidence for women The $7 Millionaire on sneaking past your inner critic Yetunde Hofmann on love-based research  Rob Kerr on the power of involving other people James Ashton on podcasting as a test bed Sara McCorquodale on not taking rejection personally Kathryn Bishop on focusing on the reader, not yourself. If there's a recipe for courage, this is it. 
08/03/2134m 19s

Episode 259 - Just doing it with Drew Ellis

'If you can just get over the fear of failure and treat failure as a learning process, then... you're going to go on to do some great stuff.' From designing the iconic 'Choose Life' t-shirts of the 1980s to launching one of the first lockdown festivals of 2020, Drew Ellis has been living by this mantra for years now.  One result of his experimentation is Like Minds, a global thought leadership and events company, and in this conversation we explore how it happened, why events and books are such a perfect partnership, and the future of audio and particularly Drew's plans for Clubhouse. And if you're playing small, there's a challenge here for you: be seen. There are so many options that there are no excuses any more.   
01/03/2136m 45s

Episode 258 - Launching While Female with Susanne Althoff

'In a way you have to be really cocky and bold to say I'm going to write a business book and it's going to be worthwhile and lots of people will want to read it. You have to be overflowing with confidence. And I saw in my interviews with women entrepreneurs that confidence is hard to sustain. Not only do women often knock down their own confidence, they have negative self-talk themselves, but in addition to that, they hear messages all around themselves, telling them this is not suitable for you.' Susanne Althoff and I explore the parallels between writing while female and launching while female in this fascinating conversation, and I also learn some journalist's tips for getting started, practical ideas for organising your material, and the useful mind-bending trick of tricking yourself into not thinking you're doing what you're doing... 
22/02/2130m 45s

Episode 257 - Happy Ever After with the $7 Millionaire

For most of the guests on this show, writing a business book is part of building a personal and professional brand. This week I talk to someone who has no interest in having his name on the book he's written: he just wants to get the concept out there.  When his teenage daughter asked him 'Dad, what's the smallest amount of money you would have to put aside each day to become a millionaire?' he sat down and did the maths with her. And then he did it again, and one more time, because he couldn't believe the answer.  Discover how the $7 Millionaire concept has grown from there, the difference it's making to lives, how a talking frog helps overcome people's fear of finance, and how the author tricked his inner critic into allowing him to get the book written.
15/02/2134m 9s

Episode 256 - Make Your Own Map with Kathryn Bishop

'By the way, do you have a strategy for you? Because if you don't, you should.' That throwaway line in a top-level strategic meeting was a game-changer for Kathryn Bishop. As a high-flying professional and academic, she had an astonishing array of strategic models at her disposal for evaluating options and making decisions. Why not draw on those tools when it came to planning her own life?  Navigating shifting and competing priorities is especially difficult for women, so she decided write the book she couldn't find when she needed it herself: a guide to help women apply powerful strategic thinking to make optimum decisions at key transition points in their own lives.  But how do you marry cerebral boardroom models with the emotional realities of life as we live it? As someone who used bullet points in her love letters, Kathryn knew she had some work to do to achieve a conversational tone, and she found a rich and fascinating way to achieve it. 
08/02/2128m 14s

Episode 255 - Experimenting with Steven Van Belleghem

Steven Van Belleghem sees opportunities to experiment everywhere. When he works with brands like Google, Microsoft, and Disney to help them combine technology and behavioural trends to create outstanding customer experience, but also when he writes. He wrote the first business book to include augmented reality, he writes fiction to explore the possibilities of the future, and his latest book features a specially composed soundtrack.  He's also developed a unique approach to structuring and writing his books, which he generously shares in this conversation, and encourages us all to find the courage and curiosity to experiment for ourselves...  
01/02/2139m 13s

Episode 254 - Influence with Sara McCorquodale

No business can ignore social media influencers these days, they're part of the fabric of our lives both personally and professionally. But what are the opportunities and the pitfalls for the influencers themselves and for the brands that work with them? Sara McCorquodale set out to answer that question, and along the way discovered the very human stories behind the public faces. She also discovered that the resilience she'd developed as a journalist stood her in good stead through the research, and shares some tips on how to approach that for first-time writers. Fascinating from both a business and a writing perspective. (How very Extraordinary Business Book Club.)
25/01/2133m 54s

Episode 253 - Nine Types of Leader with James Ashton

Having interviewed hundreds of CEOs as a journalist, James Ashton started to notice some patterns. He got curious. In this fast-changing world, where leadership is more challenging than ever, what kinds of leaders have emerged and how do they respond to those challenges? A fascinating conversation about leadership itself, but also a practical glimpse into how a professional journalist organises and structures ideas to create a powerful book. 
18/01/2134m 8s

Episode 252 - Leadership and love with Yetunde Hofmann

"Organizations, not government... hold the key to change in the world, and therefore when we write, we've got to write with the business, the organizational leader in mind." We talk a lot about engagement, empathy, psychological safety in the workplace. But what we're really talking about, claims Yetunde Hofmann, is love.  Love is a difficult word to use in the context of business. It makes us uncomfortable. But if leaders embrace it as a 'core capability', it has the power to transform our relationships within, between and beyond our organizations.  As well as this profound stuff, we talk about the mechanics of interviewing and the power of leading with questions rather than statements. A powerful, affirming and thoughtful conversation. 
11/01/2135m 36s

Episode 251 - Project Future with Rob Kerr

As a project manager, Rob Kerr was accustomed to evaluating options and allocating scarce resources for maximum impact. The magic happened, however, when he started taking those tools out of the office and applying them to life: 'We were making better decisions as a family. We were being a bit bolder with our choices... I thought, okay, this is working for us.' So Rob brought together his framework for bringing project management into real life and united it with his passion for entrepreneurship to create Project Future, a tool to help would-be entrepreneurs evaluate their options and set up a successful business.  Along the way he learned a huge amount about writing, collaboration, illustration, and overcoming his fear of appearing on video... 
04/01/2135m 51s

Episode 250 - The Best Bits: Questions & answers

We often say that something raises more questions than answers as if that's a bad thing - but perhaps it's a more dangerous state of affairs when we have more answers than questions.  Many of the recent conversations in the Club have focused on the power of writing to identify and explore good questions, and the work that needs to be done to communicate the answers.  Hear from:  Gillie Bolton on the power of reflective practice to allow us to range more freely as we explore; Sarah Rozenthuler on capturing questions in real time; Dave Coplin on the power of open questions to create unexpected connections;  Pippa Malmgren on exploring big questions with other big brains;  Jonas Altman on involving other brains even when they're not in the room;  Alise Cortez on exploring questions with a wide range of others in public; Uri Bram on making the answers to questions as easy as possible for readers to access;  and Jasper Sutcliffe on communicating the value of your answers to readers asking the right questions.   
28/12/2031m 50s

Episode 249 - Powered by Purpose with Sarah Rozenthuler

'The writing process took about four years and the actual material gathering for the book probably took more like 15 years...' Sarah Rozenthuler, psychologist, leadership consultant and pioneer of purpose-led leadership, has been working for many years now with individuals, teams, and organizations. In this week's conversation we discuss how purpose plays out at those three levels, and also how writing Powered by Purpose drew not only on her own experience but involved the input of a team of supporters and challengers. We also discuss how her practice as a reflective practitioner enabled her to capture insights and questions that would otherwise be lost over those years.
21/12/2030m 22s

Episode 248 - Reflective practice with Gillie Bolton

"As writers, what we need to do is find an occasion when that usher is off duty and we can get up there and nip behind the curtain." Gillie Bolton essentially founded the discipline of reflective practice, having discovered for herself that writing allowed her to go behind the curtain that separates so much of our mind's inner workings from the 'stage' that we present to the world.  She tells me more about how her own journey, about why six minutes is the perfect length of time for an initial exploratory writing session, and how her Quaker values infuse her own writing and work.  A joy of a conversation. 
14/12/2035m 37s

Episode 247 - Speaking to the future

‘It is good to speak to the future, the future will listen.’ Those were the words of Ptahhotep, an ancient Egyptian vizier, who lived back in the 25th century BC. He was right - more right than he probably imagined in his wildest dreams: because he wrote those words down (well, OK drew them as hieroglyphs), he is heard so many thousand years later.  But writing as speaking to the future isn't just about writing for posterity. In this episode we explore exploratory writing - the kind of writing you do for future you, rather than a future reader. How can we use writing as a tool and framework to help us think more clearly and more creatively? This kind of writing - where you are your only reader - is your secret weapon in a world where the future is so uncertain and the pace of change so fast. 
07/12/2028m 12s

Episode 246 - Shaping and shifting with Jonas Altman

'I have a lot of enthusiasm. I bring in so many things and often the reader [is] like, where are we going?' Jonas Altman finds writing hard. Which is lucky for us, because he's done the work to discover a way through, and he generously shares it all in this conversation.  From identifying the protagonist to finding flow, from working with an editor to a more fluid approach to footnotes, he sets out his writing journey with soul and humour.  Uplifting listening. 
30/11/2040m 16s

Episode 245 - Sorting the spaghetti with Dave Coplin

"When you're trying to create something, when you're trying to change something, when you're trying to think differently about something, writing for me is the way that you unravel the spaghetti... you end up with some really clear, precise thinking that... moves the thing forward." As Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft (yes, really) and now as a consultant Dave Coplin sees his role is as a 'pragmatic optimist', helping companies reimagine themselves with the help of technology. The Covid pandemic has accelerated this process, and one of its legacies will be a willingness to break from outdated processes and embrace new possibilities.  He's also pragmatic when it comes to writing, recognising that it's a low-tech but incredibly powerful thinking tool in the digital age. And that, as he says, when you put words together in the right way - on the stage or on the page - they make things possible.  Honest, insightful and very, very funny. 
23/11/2034m 24s

Episode 244 - Purpose Ignited with Dr Alise Cortez

So many people [are] skimming the surface of what they can be and do in the world. And I was too. So often in life and at work it can feel as if we're surrounded by people who are disengaged and disconnected, half asleep and half alive. Sometimes, if we're honest, we ARE those people.  Dr Alise Cortez has spent years studying engagement - or the lack of it - and has dedicated herself to helping people realise the brutal truth: this is your one precious life, and it's up to you to make something of it.  In this conversation we talk about why 'passion' and 'purpose' have become such problematic words, the importance of enthusiasm and vulnerability, why talking is such a valuable tool for writing, and why writing is an infallible guide to show you what you don't know.  Wake up and be inspired. 
16/11/2032m 20s

Episode 243 - Bookshop.org with Jasper Sutcliffe

'A town isn't a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it's got a bookstore, it knows it's not foolin' a soul.' - Neil Gaiman, American Gods For most booklovers, bookshops - especially independent bookshops, that care about their books and their readers, stock just what you didn't know you wanted, and provide recommendations for your Next Big Read - are places of pilgrimage. Yet they're under threat like never before, closed in the face of COVID and battling the might of Amazon, with its staggering inventory, low prices and seductively easy ordering. Faced with the bleak vision of the end of bookshops on the high street, publisher Andy Hunter and the American Booksellers Association decided to put up a fight. They created bookshop.org, a B-Corp dedicated to matching Amazon's logistical might but with a key difference: their profits would go not into one man's already over-full pockets but be shared with the wider book ecosystem, and especially independent bookstores. Bookshop.org is now in the UK, and in this conversation I talk to Jasper Sutcliffe (formerly at Foyles) about how it works, why it matters, and how to make the most of it as an author as well as a reader. 
09/11/2035m 28s

Episode 242 - Making the world shut up with Uri Bram

'With a book you're not just paying for the pages you read, you're paying for someone to make the rest of the world shut up for a minute while you can concentrate.' Uri Bram knows a thing or two about the value of content and attention. He curates the internet, after all, as the publisher of The Browser and The Listener ('the absolute dream job'). He's also the author of Thinking Statistically, a self-published surprise bestseller (and noone was more surprised than Uri...) In this conversation we discuss why statistical literacy matters more than ever, why less is more valuable than more, and why books keep us sane in a world of infinite distraction. Shut up, world: I'm reading. 
02/11/2033m 14s

Episode 241 - Infinite Leadership with Dr Pippa Malmgren

'If you are in a position of real power and authority, it's the dialogue with yourself that defines your capacity to run an organization.' Dr Pippa Malmgren - economist, entrepreneur, innovator and advisor - returns to the podcast on the publication of The Infinite Leader to talk about how leadership is evolving, and about how her own and her writing partner Chris Lewis's approach to writing has evolved too. This is a masterclass in reader-centred writing, in fusing creative, philosophical thinking with practical application, and in ego-free collaboration. 
26/10/2038m 5s

Episode 240 - The Best Bits: The Writing Lab

In some ways every week on the Extraordinary Business Book Club we're talking about the results of a book-writing experiment - and many books are themselves the results of fascinating experiments in business and life. In this Best Bits episode we don our white coats and safety glasses and head fearlessly into the laboratory to watch the magic happen in the company of some of our most recent researchers...  Anne Janzer on how her marketing career proved the lab in which she refined her writing experiments Zoë Routh on starting early and the endocrinology of writing in flow Rob Hatch on the research findings of a long-term newsletter experiment Elvin Turner on introducing user experience research into writing for explosive results Cath Bishop on narrative fusion - bringing together different strands of experience in the white-hot heat of the writing lab Rita Clifton on distilling ideas, the Wall of Content and the application of the seat of the pants to the chair Gayle Mann on the importance of finding your own best way to conduct your writing experiment Shuhrat Ashurov on the alchemy of stories and a lifetime of experimenting with storytelling.     
19/10/2036m 11s

Episode 239 - The Long Win with Cath Bishop

Cath Bishop has performed at the highest standard in three very different fields: sport, international negotiation, and business coaching. An Olympic medallist and world champion herself, she has seen first hand the intense highs and lows of competition - how it serves us as humans, and how it doesn't.  We are as a culture obsessed with winning. The word has seeped through our language across sport, politics, business, education... we accept without question that to come first, to beat the competition, is the outcome we celebrate. It's not working out too well for us, even for the winners themselves. In The Long Win, Cath explores a different way of looking  at success: how could we reimagine 'winning' to work better for us as people, as a society, and as inhabitants of the planet? Fascinating insights too into the hard work of shaping such a complex, wide-ranging argument, and tips on keeping your focus as you write. 
12/10/2032m 10s

Episode 238 - Attention! with Rob Hatch

"We are bombarded every single day by buzzes and dings and notifications... I wanted to help people find some simple ways to reclaim the power of their decisions instead of reacting all the time, to take a breath or to set up some simple rules and systems that they could use to make better decisions for their life, for their business." Rob Hatch had been training to write a book for nine years without knowing it, as he built up not only a loyal readership for his weekly newsletter (all now poised to buy his book on launch day) but also his own writing practice. In this conversation we talk about making technology work for us rather than against us, finding your people, seeking out critical feedback and some super-practical tips to help you regain control of your most precious resource of all - your attention.
05/10/2035m 50s

Episode 237 - People Stuff with Zoë Routh

"Some days it feels like an emotional connection with the people who need to hear it. And those are good article days... it's a great pleasure when people write back saying, Oh, that just hit the mark for me today. That was exactly what I needed to hear. Did you write it just for me? And I'm like, No, I wrote it for me, but I'm glad it helps you." Zoë Routh has been writing all her life, but she still wrestles with imposter syndrome, titles, and days when it just feels like a chore. Luckily for us, she's learned a lot of really useful stuff about how to deal with all of that, and she shares it generously in this week's conversation, along with some insights on dealing with difficult people and what happens when we get outdoors.
28/09/2038m 43s

Episode 236 - Unpacking stories with Shuhrat Ashurov

The best business books include powerful stories that get across key points in a memorable, engaging way. What if we could make those stories accessible to more people, more easily? That's the vision that prompted Shuhrat Ashurov to create Storypack, a microlearning app that gives people in business access to a library of stories from business books and also encourages them to add their own.  Shuhrat talks about how he personally recognised the power of story-based learning, the difficulty of getting people on board in the early stages, and the way he and the team have worked with authors to extract the various types of stories in their book from the context of the book so that they can stand alone and reach more people, more easily.  Whatever the future for business books, this is surely a part of it. 
21/09/2033m 19s

Episode 235 - Misadventures with Gayle Mann and Lucy-Rose Walker

'Failure can be quite a deceptive word... misadventures feels like a much more forgiving word that allows you to go off and try stuff.' Gayle Mann and Lucy-Rose Walker have supported thousands of entrepreneurs in their work with Entrepreneurial Spark and beyond, and if there's one thing they've learned it's that the reality of being an entrepreneur is very different from the version portrayed on social media.  By encouraging entrepreneurs to share their misadventures and how they coped, they hope to end the conspiracy of silence: you're not alone, and you will get through this.  They also learned a huge amount about writing a book and hosting a podcast along the way, which they share with hilarious frankness here!
14/09/2037m 51s

Episode 234 - Being Less Zombie with Elvin Turner

"Being open to the journey of innovation of your own book is really important..." Someone told Elvin Turner as he prepared to write his first book to expect two things: first, that he would have a ton of new ideas, and second, that as he forced those ideas onto the page, they would simplify, and simplify, and simplify.  Turns out they were right, and Elvin revelled in the 'IP generator' that his book Be Less Zombie turned out to be.  In this fascinating conversation we talk about zombie companies and the importance of embedding innovation, but also about how that process plays out in writing. And we also muse on just how late a manuscript has to be before it's REALLY late...  
07/09/2036m 13s

Episode 233 - Loving your imposter with Rita Clifton

Imposter syndrome gets a bad rap, but it can be rocket fuel, says Rita Clifton. 'It's a drive, you know, go with it and use it.... you worry that you're not going to be good enough, and you stretch yourself. That's when you grow most.' As well as talking about her own extraordinary career, from a working-class family to Cambridge and then on to top roles at Saatchi & Saatchi, Interbrand and more, plus a portfolio of non-executive directorships for businesses and environmental groups, she talks about how writing has become a passion and how she goes about it.  A deeply satisfying conversation, full of inspiration and also practical tips for working and writing better. 
31/08/2041m 34s

Episode 232 - Lessons from the Virtual Writing Retreat

Q: What do you get when you throw together a bunch of people all working on different business writing projects into a 2-week virtual retreat?  A: Lots, it turns out.  If you're listening to this podcast you already know how valuable writing is for your business, but that doesn't mean it's easy. In this special episode, eight participants in the most recent Practical Inspiration Virtual Writing Retreat share what they learned over the two weeks. Discover why writing doesn't always look like writing, simple tools to get you unstuck and clarify your thinking, the power of focus and the pull of distraction, and why precommitment works. 
24/08/2024m 22s

Episode 231 - The Writer's Process with Anne Janzer

'Writing is a way of doing something physically while thinking deeply, it's a container for deep thought in your life. If you think about it that way, it's a really wonderful thing to make time for in your life.' Anne Janzer's mission is to 'help people spread important ideas by writing'. In this conversation we talk about why that matters and what it looks like in practice. What IS the process of writing? Spoiler alert: it starts long before the actual writing. Inspiring, energising and relentlessly practical.
17/08/2034m 39s

Episode 230 - The Best Bits: The Journey of Writing

Yes it's a cliché that writing is a journey, but that's because it's TRUE. In this week's Best Bits episode I look back over the last few conversations in The Extraordinary Business Book Club and highlight the ways in which my guests have been shaped and changed, and moved forwards in their lives, by the experience of writing their books. Do you recognise any of these?  Tom Cheesewright on how working with an editor turned his whole message on its head Rob Law on how an editor spotted the pivotal moment that made sense of his story Katy Granville-Chapman and Emmie Bidston on the importance of psychological safety and the value of supportive criticism Richard Fox on making connections through writing  Gemma Milne on the transcendent joy of research and the dull slog of actual writing Marianne Page on trying out new ways to write and the importance of deadlines Tony Crabbe on what you discover about yourself when you write a book in 16 days Rachel Bridge on what happens when the book spills off the page and into your life Sasha Frieze on the speaking journey - how authors can pitch to event organisers.   
10/08/2037m 17s

Episode 229 - Authors and events with Sasha Frieze

How are events changing in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, and what does that mean for you if you're an author?  Award-winning events producer Sasha Frieze talks about how digital events are evolving, what the hybrid event of the future might look like, and the opportunities and challenges for speakers and authors in this new world.  From how (and when) to pitch for a speaking gig to smart tips for selling your book when you can't sit and sign it at the back of the room, this is every author's survival guide to the new normal of speaking and events. 
03/08/2041m 13s

Episode 228 - Busy@Home with Tony Crabbe

In a pandemic, we discover that we can do things we’d never imaged we could. Companies that have told staff for years that they can’t work at home have discovered that in fact they can, Tony Crabbe discovered that he could write a whole book in 16 days, and Hachette discovered that they could publish a book three weeks after it was delivered. In this week’s conversation Tony reflects on what he (and his family) discovered about working at that intensity, and shares some of the insights from the book about how to live and work more productively and with less stress in these extraordinary times. We also talk about what really restores us, and how we can navigate our way out of crisis and into a new, better normal.
27/07/2042m 37s

Episode 227 - Mission: To Manage with Marianne Page

'Systems transform lives.' After discovering the power of systems and processes in her career with McDonalds, Marianne Page now spends her time teaching small business owners that life-changing systems and processes aren't just for big companies.  We also talk about the joy of management, the power of the deadline, and the smart way to write a book... 
20/07/2038m 48s

Episode 226 - Relationships at work with Richard Fox

'It's part of building a physical legacy. The work that I do now, working with people all the time, you are aware of the changes that people make in their lives, but I've also been rather envious of this friend of mine who's an architect and he was showing the portfolio of all the buildings that he's been designing; you know, to write a book is, is part of a legacy, not only for your children, but for people over the next 10, 15 years. And of course I'll be adding to that legacy with all the stuff that I want to produce in the future.' Richard Fox has been helping people make relationships work at work for many years now, but the process of writing his book revealed new insights and connections (as it always does...) and also became an exercise in collaboration that reflected the very principles he was writing about. A fascinating insight into some of the key issues that underpin our relationships (and therefore our ability to Get Stuff Done) as well as the process of turning deep work done face to face into material for a book.
13/07/2037m 33s

Episode 225 - Leader with Katy Granville-Chapman and Emmie Bidston

"Leaders... really can bring a lot of joy into people's lives. They can uplift them, they can inspire them, they can help them connect to their purpose, they can support them, they can provide them compassion. That’s what we really care about, and the more leaders who choose to do that, because it's got massive performance benefits as well as being intrinsically a wonderful thing, the better." It's no exaggeration to say that leadership is life-changing, either for good or ill. Between them Katy Granville-Chapman and Emmie Bidston have experience of leading and training leaders in pretty much every context - military, sport, business, educational, government and public sector - and they've discovered that in every sphere the principles of successful leadership are surprisingly simple: know, love and inspire your people.  In this conversation we explore how they went about translating those principles into a book and accompanying course, and the benefits of writing with a supportive co-author. 
06/07/2036m 20s

Episode 224 - 65 Roses and a Trunki with Rob Law

"When faced with personal challenges and business challenges, it's going to take a lot of energy to overcome them. So why not use that energy wisely and focus on the things you can influence and forget about the stuff you can't?" Rob Law, aka Trunki Daddy, has faced more personal and business challenges than most. In this conversation he talks about living with cystic fibrosis (or '65 roses', as children often put it), his extraordinary journey as an entrepreneur, and the power of writing as a way of sense-making personally and professionally.  Inspiring, challenging, and, as you'd expect from the Trunki Daddy, huge fun. 
29/06/2032m 50s

Episode 223 - Smoke and Mirrors with Gemma Milne

'Writing the book was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life... There's no quick fix. Everybody finds it hard. What differentiates people who have written books from those that haven't is the ones who wrote the books dealt with the fact that it was really hard.' Gemma Milne has come at hype from all sides in a career spanning advertising, sales, science journalism and investment, so she's well qualified to dissect it and help us understand what's really going on under the attention-grabbing headlines that bombard us every day.  But that doesn't mean it's easy.  In this frank and funny conversation she shares her frustration with the writing process and the revelation, on a flight to Austin, Texas, that transformed everything. 
22/06/2042m 44s

Episode 222 - Future-Proofed with Tom Cheesewright

Tom Cheesewright spends his life gazing into the future to help businesses identify and respond to trends and technology, but his advice for writers is rooted in the here and now. A fascinating conversation taking in principles for business survival in a fast-changing world along with super-practical tips for writing - and editing - effectively.  Plus a great tip for writers that is much more fun than most! 
15/06/2031m 6s

Episode 221 - Writing like a journalist with Rachel Bridge

'Ask yourself continually: is this boring me?... Because if you're bored writing it, there is no chance that anybody is going to want to read it.' Former Enterprise Editor of the Sunday Times, Rachel Bridge cheerfully admits that she has the classic journalistic characteristics: a short attention span and incurable curiosity. Both, it turns out, are useful when it comes to writing readable business books.  Fast, funny and fearless, this is a masterclass in cutting through the 'showy-off wibble' (technical journalistic term) and delivering the goods.   
08/06/2034m 3s

Episode 220 - The Best Bits: Whole Self Writing

One of the great privileges of hosting this podcast is the way that so many extraordinary business book authors are willing to share the vulnerable stuff - especially the fear and uncertainty around writing - with me, I hope you find it helpful too.  In this week's episode, I look back over the last few weeks and draw together examples of authors demonstrating 'whole self' writing: bringing their flaws, anxieties, strengths, superpowers, and unique ways of Getting Stuff Done to the work of writing a book. When you bring your whole self to the job, you write the book that only you can write, and the one that will most profoundly change your life.  In this week's Best Bits episode:  Chris Wilson on transforming the harshest of backgrounds and the bleakest of situations through the power of reading and writing; Bryony Thomas on the unflinching reality of just how hard this writing lark is; Patrick Dunne on turning dyslexia into a non-linear superpower; Elsbeth Johnson on the crisis of confidence for an author without a social media platform;  Julia Hobsbawm on how even professional writers can worry about tackling a book;  Lucinda Carney on the struggle to find your distinctive voice;  Greg Orme on being comfortable with the messiness of writing;  David Mansfield on living by curiosity and collecting stories; Anne Taylor on writing the book you most need yourself.  It's an exploration of the whole journey of writing, from idea through mess and uncertainty into clarity, and it's a whole-self process. 
01/06/2038m 58s

Episode 219 - Jigsaw writing with Patrick Dunne

'I decided not to do research, then write, then polish, but to have a big jigsaw approach, and do each day what I felt like doing. So if I felt like doing a bit of research, I would, if I felt actually I've got some stuff in my mind. I want to get down then I'd write and if I just fancied sort of finishing, polishing, I'd do a bit of that.' Patrick Dunne fell into writing books by accident. The main reason he agreed to write one in the first place back in 1997 was because he knew his Mum would be so proud. Little did he guess just how proud she'd be over 20 years when he won the Business Book Award in HR & Management with his latest book, Boards.  His refreshingly original approach to writing and publishing together with a complete absence of ego make this a real joy of a conversation, full of practical ideas for people who like to do things a little differently.  
25/05/2032m 8s

Episode 218 - Being a Change Superhero with Lucinda Carney

If you're overthinking things and tying yourself in knots, make a cup of tea and have a listen to this. Lucinda Carney is a woman who Gets Stuff Done, and in this conversation she reveals how she does it. It's a great example of how creating content - in this case a book and a podcast - can support whatever business you're in: Lucinda is CEO of a tech company, and both How to be a Change Superhero and the HR Uprising podcast provide the context that helps their customers make the system implementation successful.  A brilliant case study and a shot of pure writing adrenaline, all in one conversation. 
18/05/2032m 35s

Episode 217 - The Master Plan with Chris Wilson

Just occasionally, you have a conversation that rocks you to your core. One of those conversations that shows you how little you really know of life, how blind you are to your own privilege, and how feeble your excuses are. This is one of those conversations.  Chris Wilson was facing life in prison for homicide, with no hope of remission. After an upbringing marked by deprivation, violence, abuse and discrimination, his only resources were strength of character, force of will, and a love of reading.  Fortunately, those were enough.  Chris wrote out a Master Plan - a remarkably ambitious list of achievements he would aim for - and gradually ticked them all off. incredibly, he convinced a judge that he was not only no longer a danger to society, but an asset. And he's gone on to live a remarkably successful life as an artist, businessman and mentor.  This is a conversation I will never forget, and I suspect you won't either. 
11/05/2033m 5s

Episode 216 - Step Up Step Back with Elsbeth Johnson

'In leadership communication, and indeed in the process of writing a business book, the more and better the quality and time spent on the thinking, the less time and the more effective the actual production of the communication or the book.' Dr Elsbeth Johnson certainly put the time into creating her Step Up, Step Back model - the years of academic research and practical testing in organisations meant that she was able to write the book itself in just a few months. (The book proposal, on the other hand....)  In this conversation we discuss the two phases of leading change, the shift from academic writing to writing that works in the workplace, and the tyranny of the platform and why you don't necessarily need one ('other people who were coming out with books... seemed to have about one and a half million followers on Twitter, I've got about three'). 
04/05/2032m 28s

Episode 215 - Soft Skills Hard Results with Anne Taylor

'The more I shared my personal experience... the more vulnerability I showed, the more impact it had when I got feedback from other readers.' It's amazing how often the process of writing a book reflects the principles within it. That was certainly the case for Anne Taylor, who set out to write a book on soft skills for pragmatic, analytical thinkers focusing on practical, analytical tools and discovered that modelling the very soft skills she was writing about - sharing personal stories and focusing on relationships and lived experience - transformed the reader's experience.  She also discovered that although she'd feared asking for favours, when she dared to reach out to invite people to be involved in the book they were not only generous in their support but honoured to be asked - a great lesson for anyone feeling isolated as they write.  A generous and insightful conversation about how we communicate and the impact - personal and professional - of a book. 
27/04/2026m 2s

Episode 214 - The Human Edge with Greg Orme

The opportunities for celebration aren't what they used to be right now ('I treat myself and visit the kitchen every now and then..'), but Greg Orme is still enjoying his 'award-winning author' status after The Human Edge was named Business Book of the Year last month.  In this conversation he shares not only his thoughts on our human edge over AI (with a special shout-out for my personal favourite, curiosity) but also his writing process, which is reassuringly and helpfully messy.  Plus there's a lovely insight into the moment when I announced him as the winner - I only wish we'd had a two-way video feed... 
20/04/2035m 30s

Episode 213 - Watertight Marketing with Bryony Thomas

'Anyone who says writing a book is something you can do in 12 weeks or something is just telling people to write a bad book. ' It took Bryony Thomas four years to write the first edition of Watertight Marketing (although she did also give birth in that time...), but the time and energy she put into nailing the sequencing and expression of her ideas paid off.  Not only was the first edition a massive success, it became the foundation of a much bigger business. In this conversation we discuss the value of intellectual property as an asset, and also how you approach the task of revising such an iconic book. When the second edition was nearly complete, Bryony received a devastating diagnosis of pancreatic cancer: she talks frankly about the impact of that in this powerful, profoundly inspiring conversation. 
13/04/2037m 43s

Episode 212 - The Monday Revolution with David Mansfield

David Mansfield has a library of business books at home. Many of them are very good, many include great concepts and strategies. But he kept finding himself asking: 'How do you apply that to Monday morning?' And so The Monday Revolution was born - a rallying call to rethink your working week and return to 'factory settings'. What really matters? And what's getting in the way of that?  In this week's conversation he shares his writing journey, with great tips particularly on how to turn the stories that present themselves to us every day into material for a book. 
06/04/2038m 50s

Episode 211 - The Simplicity Principle with Julia Hobsbawm

'It was actually like falling in love, if I'm honest.' If you've fallen out of love with writing your book and even with your own ideas, this is just the tonic you need. Julia Hobsbawm lucidly talks through the evolution of The Simplicity Principle, with a behind-the-scenes look at the evolution of the thinking that underpins its six-part structure, and her passion for her topic will reignite your own.   Published in a pandemic that was unimaginable when it was written, this book passes the ultimate test: its principles retain their power and relevance despite the seismic shift that's taken place in the world.  Essential listening. 
30/03/2050m 51s

Episode 210 - The Best Bits: Resilience

A slightly unusual Best Bits episode, which is fitting for these unusual times. In the face of uncertainty and anxiety, we're talking about resilience: what it is, what it looks like in our day-to-day life, and how to build it.  Very grateful to my guests for their courage, honesty and insights:  Jenny Campbell on the dynamic nature of resilience Celia Gaze on bringing herself back from the brink of bankruptcy by sheer creativity  Ash Ali on finding 'unfair advantages' in the most unpromising situations Lucy Werner on finding focus and purpose in the most difficult circumstances Rob Baker on what resilience looks like day to day Hassan Osman on overcoming excuses Safi Bahcall on the best way to deal with failure and frustration Alison Jones (yes, me) on harnessing fear and making it work for you
23/03/2041m 20s

Episode 209 - Resilience and writing with Jenny Campbell

What does it mean to be resilient, and how can we become more resilient more often? That is Jenny Campbell's life work, and her findings at The Research Engine are revelatory. For one thing, your level of resilience isn't a fixed personality trait - it's contextual and dynamic. And in the process of writing her book The Resilience Dynamic, Jenny had to draw on everything she'd learned about resilience and apply it to her own journey, overcoming rejection, discouragement and complexity along the way. She shares her lessons here, in an inspiring and honest assessment of what it takes to write a book, together with the tools she developed to help.
16/03/2031m 4s

Episode 208 - Writing short books with Hassan Osman

'I'd love to write a book, but I have a full-time job and a family, I just don't have time.'  If that sounds like you, you need to hear this. Hassan Osman has a demanding full-time job at Cisco and a young family, but he's written eight (EIGHT!!) books so far, including four 'short books for busy managers' and, of course, one called Write Your Book on the Side. He also hosts the Writer on the Side podcast, helping others to do the same.  If you have excuses, be prepared to shed them now. And pick up some super-practical tips and hacks from this master of productivity. 
09/03/2030m 40s

Episode 207 - Treating your writing like a business

The dictionary defines ‘business’ as ‘work relating to the production, buying, and selling of goods or services.’ So if you’re writing a book that you’re planning to make available for sale, rather than simply writing a manuscript that’s going to stay in your bottom drawer, you’re in business. And thinking of your writing as a business is a really helpful way of thinking about what you’re doing and how you're doing it, and taking yourself and what you’re doing seriously. Because honestly - if you don’t take yourself seriously, who will? In this week's podcast I share a sneak preview of my upcoming talk at the London Book Fair's Writers' Summit, and I'd welcome your thoughts and ideas on how to develop it! 
02/03/2018m 26s

Episode 206 - Crazy ideas with Celia Gaze

When she decided to quit a good job in the NHS to develop a run-down farm, people thought Celia Gaze was crazy. When business was flagging and her response was to put her father's old bow tie on a llama and share the snap on social media, they knew it.  Now, with a string of awards and a hugely successful business to her name, those crazy decisions don't seem quite so crazy any more.  In this fascinating conversation Celia reveals the highs and lows of her extraordinary journey, and why she wrote her book - Why Put a Bow Tie on a Llama? - to encourage others to find the crazy ideas that might just change their life.  And if you're struggling to get your book written, Celia has some great tips for you! 
24/02/2032m 52s

Episode 205 - Loonshots with Safi Bahcall

What does it take to write the most-recommended business book of the year? Safi Bahcall, author of Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries, talks about learning to write (and rewrite) a business book that matters, and it's pure gold for anyone who has the same ambition.  This is straight talking and ruthlessly practical: people don't care about ideas, and people don't care about you, so how do you find a way of communicating your ideas in ways that DO engage them?  And just as importantly, how can you have fun while you do it?  Brilliant advice from one of the world's most brilliant brains. 
17/02/2041m 3s

Episode 204 - The One About Fear

Writing a book, like doing pretty much anything that matters, involves a quantity of fear. Many people let it stop them, and instead spend their time and attention on the stuff that keeps them feeling safe.  But not you, my friend. In this very personal episode I talk about what I've learned about fear when it comes to writing a book (or indeed, as noted, pretty much anything that matters). I also share some of the insights from others I've found most helpful.  Warning: may cause discomfort, curiosity, and action.   
10/02/2018m 11s

Episode 203 - Personalization with Rob Baker

'If we feel there's some of us, our fingerprints in the work that we do, and we're able to make a difference in the work that we do, and it's aligned to what's important to us, we're more likely to be engaged.' Rob Baker helps companies and individuals with 'job crafting', finding ways of personalizing their work so it 'fits' the individual's strengths and interests more closely. And of course when it came to writing the book about it, he took a route that suited his OWN way of working perfectly: using a Trello board to build a table of contents, share it with others, and gradually refine both his own thinking and the structure of the book as he wrote. He also got clear up front on his 'writing budget' and used his experience as a runner to help manage the days when sitting down and writing was the last thing he wanted to do.  It's a simple but quite brilliant approach, and it might just be one you can personalize for yourself.  (Oh, and how do you feel about that 'z' in 'Personalization'? We talk about that too....)
03/02/2030m 37s

Episode 202 - Unfair Advantages with Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba

'We followed the lean startup principles of creating a product... we actually did an MVP version of our book... we kept testing our material... And we thought, this is going well.' In this week's conversation, entrepreneurs and start-up strategists Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba reveal how they developed their 'unfair advantage' concept into a best-selling book through iterations and stress-testing, engaging an audience and attracting three publishers along the way.  We also talk about 'business smarts' - how street smarts, book smarts and creativity work together, and how reading widely can help you create more 'dots' to join up so that you can be smarter and more creative in your business, and in your writing.  A fascinating and frank conversation with two start-up legends, that will help you find and leverage the pants off your own 'unfair' advantage. 
27/01/2034m 15s

Episode 201 - Hype Yourself with Lucy Werner

If you have excuses, be prepared to shed them now... Lucy Werner's book story is quite simply extraordinary. Having entered the 10-day Business Book Proposal Challenge last January on a whim, she went on to win it. She was pregnant at the time so knew things might be tricky, but she wasn't prepared for the full enormity of what the following year threw at her. Nobody could have been.  Despite having every reason not to finish the book, Lucy hit her deadline. And then of course she had to deliver the PR campaign to support it (because you can't credibly publish a book called Hype Yourself without, well, hyping it yourself). And she did that too, with incredible results. Genius PR tips and an honest, challenging look at what it takes to write and promote a book when the world is conspiring against you. Essential listening.
20/01/2034m 5s

Episode 200 - The Bicentenary Episode

Celebrate with me - The Extraordinary Business Book Club is 200 episodes young! So along with the Best Bits of the last few (absolutely brilliant) conversations, there's some reflection on what that means, and why it matters. The bicentennial best bits are all about curiosity, experimentation, getting feedback, failing and trying again, and feature:  Buster Benson on curiosity as a guide to writing a book; Jono Bacon on the open-source philosophy as a rulebook for writing; Helen Winter with the best feedback/user-testing story EVER;  Richard Hall and Rachel Bell on collaboration as a feedback and accountability tool;  Ginny Carter on the importance of tolerating mess;  Karen Williams on strategic experimentation.  This show is extraordinary because of the hundreds of extraordinary people like these who've talked so openly and thoughtfully about their business and their book over the last three years. I can't wait to start the next chapter...  
13/01/2023m 44s

Episode 199 - New Year Special: Goal Setting

No matter how many you've seen, there's still something a bit special about a new year: however 2019 panned out for you, 2020 is a blank canvas waiting for you to create something that matters. But how do you translate your big goals and aspirations for the year into the day-to-day actions that will turn them into reality?  In this episode I share my personal goal-setting strategy, which I've refined over the last few years and which I use with my clients too to get clarity, balance competing priorities, ensure accountability, and make time for the important tasks amidst the daily clamour of the urgent ones.  Your goals are a reflection of who you are and the dent you want to make in the universe: if you don't put in place a system to make them happen, you're cheating both yourself and the universe. 
06/01/2019m 58s

Episode 198 - The Top Ten Reads of 2019

I set myself a tough challenge for 2019: read 100 business books in the year. It was a close thing, but I hit my target (if we allow manuscripts as well as published books, and I don't see why we shouldn't). In this week's episode I've picked out the 10 titles that that have particularly stood out for me and which I'd recommend to anyone who cares about good business books, in the order in which I read them. 
30/12/1925m 34s

Episode 197 – Audio first with Karen Williams

Audio books are big news. But they're also expensive and complicated to produce - or are they? Determined to find out for herself, Karen Williams published her latest book Becoming An Authority audio first (in fact it doesn't even exist yet as a print or ebook).  She discovered a huge amount about the process along the way, including how to write in a way that makes it easier to read aloud, the importance of movement, and how to get an audiobook out across all the different channels, and she generously shares it all here and in the accompanying resources. 
23/12/1934m 6s

Episode 196 - Finding what works with Helen Winter

Writing a book is hard work. One of the best things about this podcast is that so many guests reveal the brilliant, extraordinary, sometimes hilarious strategies that got them through the hard yards of planning and writing and out the other side.  This is one of those podcasts.  From smart public transport hacks to testing concepts out on her mother, Helen Winter tells us exactly how she turned her idea for The Business Analysis Handbook from a twinkle in her eye to an award short-listed book - and how she came out of the the 10-day Business Book Proposal Challenge with a proposal that had three publishers calling her up within a week! 
16/12/1930m 4s

Episode 195 - Practical Inspiration Author Day takeaways

This week saw the first ever Practical Inspiration author day. More than 40 authors at every stage of the journey - from just signed up to three years post-publication - to share stories and tips and to support each other.  There were workshops on overcoming procrastination and marketing your book, and a wealth of practical (and inspiring, naturally) ideas, from setting up your writing habit to launching successfully and integrating your book with your website.  If you were there, you'll know just how energising and useful this day was. If you weren't, here's a taste of the brilliantly practical learnings we took away with us. And maybe next time, you can be there too. 
09/12/1921m 31s

Episode 194 - Starting Up with Richard Hall and Rachel Bell

There's never been a more entrepreneurial age. The barriers to entry for setting up a business have crumbled over the last decades while our sense of purpose and desire to be in control of our lives have sky-rocketed.  But what does it take to be successful in this new world? Richard Hall and Rachel Bell interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs and discovered that those who succeed aren't afraid to experiment in small ways, learn, adapt, trial and rethink where necessary.  In this conversation they also share how they set the pace for each other as they wrote the book and why their complementary skill-sets helped when it came to marketing. 
02/12/1938m 31s

Episode 193 - People Powered with Jono Bacon

'It's tempting, especially when you're a consultant, to not share anything. Because you're worried that what you do, what you talk to your clients about, is your secret sauce... it took me about a year or so to realise that that's completely untrue.' Jono Bacon has written a few books now, and every time he's learned how to do it better. In this conversation he shares all that learning generously, and reveals how open-source philosophy and the power of people have informed not just his career, but his approach to writing a business book.  Accent-spotters will have particular fun with this... 
25/11/1934m 20s

Episode 192 - Why are we Yelling? with Buster Benson

"Half of the reason I decided to do this book was to learn... what does it take to write a book? Not only the process that you go through but what is the personal journey I am going to have to go through to become the person that can write this book? And it turned out to be as expected very difficult, lots of ups and downs..." Buster Benson is incurably curious, and luckily for the rest of the world, he's also generous and creative in sharing his journey. In this conversation we talk about the power of writing as a daily practice, how he had to learn to draw after deciding he wanted an illustrated book, and of course why learning to disagree well expands and improves your world, the topic of his book Why Are We Yelling? The Art of Productive Disagreement. 
18/11/1932m 40s

Episode 191 - Your Business, Your Book with Ginny Carter

When you write business books for a living, writing your own brings an unexpected problem: 'Sometimes I thought it was quite outrageous, in fact: Hang on a minute, nobody's paying me to do this, how can that be?' But Ginny Carter discovered that she was richly rewarded as she took herself through the process she works through with her clients - articulating the knowledge, expertise and insights that would otherwise remain unexpressed.  In this conversation she lifts the lid on how she went about putting her own book together, and reveals two of her top tips: how to 'seed' your business into your book, and how to use the 'even if' structure to solve the reader's real problem. 
11/11/1931m 54s

Episode 190 - The Best Bits

Writing a business book is a delicate balancing act between being fully yourself and being fully in service of your reader. How do you "do you" to the max, without tipping over into self-indulgence or over-sharing?  In the last few episodes of The Extraordinary Business Book Club we've explored this question from a number of angles. In this Best Bits episode, discover: Karen Skidmore on how writing a book deepens and shifts your own thinking Andrew Hill on curiosity, clarity and curation Nancy Youssef on the vulnerability involved in telling your own story  Chris Hirst on the discipline of what to include and what to leave out   Norm Laviolette on writing in your own way and owning your material Marianne Cantwell on recognising that what worked for you won't work for everyone Kelly Glover on pitching your message to fit the audience. 
04/11/1936m 44s

Episode 189 - Podcast publicity tips with Kelly Glover

Kelly Glover is the queen of podcast promo. She's booked thousands of authors, entrepreneurs and experts as guests on top podcasts and taught them how to make the most of the opportunity, drawing on her own media experience as a radio producer, talent agent and podcast host.  In this episode she reveals the secrets of being a great podcast guest: how to get the gig, how to prepare and perform, and how to squeeze every last bit of value out of the opportunity. And it's not just what she says, it's how she says it: Kelly walks her talk and this is a masterclass in how to be the perfect podcast guest. 
28/10/1933m 59s

Episode 188 - From our Frankfurt correspondent

Another Frankfurt Book Fair, another series of fascinating book-related conversations, but this year I managed to capture just a few of them for the benefit of Extraordinary Business Book Club listeners.  Hear from:  Writer and publishing guru Joanna Penn on the latest developments in audio Literary agent Jaime Marshall on what's hot and what's not Blinkist curator Robyn Kerkoff on what makes a memorable non-fiction book Networking supremo and founder of Byte the Book Justine Solomons on the business of storytelling and the power of connection.  If you couldn't make it in person to the Messe, this is the next best thing. 
21/10/1928m 48s

Episode 187 - 10 top tips for reading business books

At the start of 2019 I set myself the ambitious target of reading 100 business books in the year. Now we are 78% of the way through the year, and I am 60% through my list. So really, who am I to be offering reading tips?  But the fact remains that you don't consume 60 books in less than 10 months without picking up some useful learnings. Here, then, are a few reflections on what I've discovered so far, and some practical thoughts on how to supercharge your own extraordinary business book reading. 
14/10/1923m 47s

Episode 186 - Talking Business Books with Andrew Hill

'It sometimes feels like I get to see every business book published.' As managing editor and business book reviewer for the Financial Times, not to mention the coordinator of the annual FT/McKinsey Business Book of the Year award, Andrew Hill reads probably more business books than anyone else on the planet. It's worth a listen to this just for his personal recommendations.  But he's also a writer, and so his reflections on the value of books in the 21st century are doubly valuable, since he's reflecting on them both professionally and personally, and as both a creator and a consumer.  Fascinating and thoughtful insights into the world of top business books from one of its most influential figures.  
07/10/1940m 20s

Episode 185 - Fear, Money, Purpose with Nancy Youssef

'But that's really vulnerable. I don't really want people to read that.' 'Well, that's your story. And if you really want to give this your best shot, you've got to go deep.' When financier, businesswoman and philanthropist Nancy Youssef decided to entitle the book about the lessons she's learned in her life Fear. Money. Purpose. she didn't realise just how appropriate those words would be for the act of writing the book itself.  In this conversation she reveals how she took up the challenge, invested in the process, and transformed her original play-it-safe manuscript into a powerful personal story that wowed her publisher and transformed her own life. 
30/09/1929m 58s

Episode 184 - True Profit Business with Karen Skidmore

 'We build the road and the road builds us.' Sometimes, writing a business book can be a profound experience of self-discovery. Karen Skidmore describes True Profit Business: How to play your bigger game without burning out, as her 'becoming' book, and what she discovered along the way has transformed her own business.  But how can an author extend that gift of deep engagement and transformation to readers most of whom, let's face it, have a stack of unread business books on their bedside table already? Karen's answer was to create a launch book club, inviting readers to engage with her and with each other over a period of six weeks and holding them accountable for taking action on what they read.  Genius, no? Find out more here. 
23/09/1936m 34s

Episode 183 - Free Range Humans with Marianne Cantwell

Writing a book is rocket-fuel for your profile, of course. But what happens five years later, when your thinking and your business have moved on and your book just won't stop selling? That's where Marianne Cantwell, author of Be A Free Range Human: Escape the 9-5, Create a Life You Love and Still Pay the Bills, found herself. Find out how she came to write a new edition and what she discovered on the way - the authors on this podcast make the mistakes so you don't have to. And along the way enjoy Marianne's thoughts on being free range, finding your own way, working with editors, and the vital importance of the Best Friend Test. Top-quality listening.
16/09/1935m 29s

Episode 182 - Leadership and Language with Chris Hirst

There's a lot of hot air expended on the topic of leadership. It can seem as though 'leadership' is a complex, arcane concept far removed from the reality of most of our lives. Here's the antidote: Chris Hirst's No Bullsh*t Leadership: Why the World Needs More Everyday Leaders and Why That Leader Is You.  In this conversation we talk about the power of language to hide or reveal the truth, the importance of writing generally as a business skill, and writing a book specifically as a thinking tool, and the importance of pushing through.  If you're writing, you're a writer. If you're leading, you're a leader. Here's how to do both a little better.  
09/09/1936m 56s

Episode 181 - Improv and business with Norm Laviolette

If you need some encouragement to write in your own voice, this could be just what you need. Norm Laviolette could have called his book 'Developing a Creative Mindset': instead, he stayed true to his roots and wrote 'The Art of Making Sh!t Up'.  In this conversation we discuss finding your voice, taking control of your life, and seeing what comes up. And also softball coaching, because improv, creativity and business success are all based on noticing unexpected connections and having the courage to act on them. 
02/09/1935m 54s

Episode 180 - The Best Bits

The last few episodes of The Extraordinary Business Book club have included some extraordinary conversations about business and books, and one thing that's become clear is that you need to be fuelled by passion to write a business book that makes a difference. Discover how these award-winning writers tapped into their deepest values and motivations, and how you can too: Chris Duffey on the imperative of providing value Andrea Clarke on how writing can help you tap into your values as well as communicating them  Debbie Wosskow and Anna Jones on the power of introspection for action-takers Harriet Kelsall on bringing your whole self to your business and your book  Charlie Corbett on finding your voice and being yourself Colette Heneghan on humility and writing the book that doesn't yet exist  Tom Cheesewright on shifting your perspective from behind your own eyes Chris Griffiths on turning passion into process Jonathan MacDonald on turning passion into process
26/08/1936m 32s

Episode 179 - Creative Thinking with Chris Griffiths

'Today, if you always do what you've always done, even if you do it faster, you're going to get left way behind... it's not knowledge that's power and it's not even the use of knowledge that's power: it's the creation of new knowledge that actually leads to something different.' As children we are naturally, unselfconsciously creative, but by the time we start work most of us have put ourselves into a box and find it almost impossible to think outside it. Chris Griffiths, founder of OpenGenius, is on a mission to help us rediscover our innovation mojo.  The Creative Thinking Handbook is part of that mission, setting out a process ('innovation isn't an event, it's a process and any process needs structure'). But in this conversation Chris reveals the creative process behind the writing of that book - we discuss the interplay of writing and visualisation, the mechanics of collaboration, and the role of technology, from paper and post-its to mind-mapping software.  A brilliantly practical and thoughtful discussion about thinking, writing and creating something new and worthwhile. 
19/08/1940m 30s

Episode 178 - Believe Build Become with Debbie Wosskow and Anna Jones

'We wanted to create a monster global sisterhood of amazing women who have each other's backs.' Old Boys' Networks have been the invisible scaffolding on which high-flying men have build their careers for centuries. Debbie Wossock and Anna Jones - high-flyers themselves as both executives and entrepreneurs - decided it was time that women had an equivalent space and support network. The result was AllBright, a women's support and success network, and the first women-only private members' club in London.  But to reach as many women as possible with their empowering message they did the only sensible thing: they wrote a book. In this conversation they reveal how their writing collaboration reflected their core values - mutual respect, optimism, humour, and gin. 
12/08/1935m 56s

Episode 177 - Powered by Change with Jonathan MacDonald

Jonathan MacDonald is extraordinary in many ways: a victim of bullying as a child who grew up to practise 'radical forgiveness', the youngest ever Chairman of the British Music Industries Association, the current British heavyweight jiu-jitsu champion.... Oh yes, and an advisor, award-winning, best-selling author and keynote speaker. How? Find out here.  We talk about diversity, change, structuring and writing a book, metaphor and coin-flipping - to name just a few - and he makes an incredibly generous offer to Extraordinary Business Book Club listeners which you'd be a fool to pass up. Get the kettle on and get ready for some top quality brainfood. 
05/08/1936m 14s

Episode 176 - Future Fit with Andrea Clarke

'The discovery process is everything. It's the whole project.' Andrea Clarke describes the three months she spent writing her book as being in 'a pure content vortex... I felt like I was on a natural high.' Discover why, and maybe catch some of her energy and enthusiasm to reignite your own writing mojo, in this fascinating conversation.  As well as talking about the skills that make humans 'future fit' for work, we also touch on the power of audio and the need to 'get over yourself' if you don't like the sound of your voice, the importance of having a 3-dimensional network, and why it's sometimes better NOT to ask for feedback. 
29/07/1933m 3s

Episode 175 - Plain Speaking with Charlie Corbett

'We've got more ways to communicate with one another than in any time in human history, and yet we've completely forgotten how to communicate with one another, or at least how to communicate in a meaningful way.' Charlie Corbett is starting a revolution. He wants to end corporate-speak and the lazy thinking behind it. Instead, he calls us to think hard and speak plainly as communicators, and challenge meaningless jargon and obfuscation as listeners.  The same goes for writing a book, and he has great advice on how to get over yourself and get started. Brilliant, bracing listening. 
22/07/1935m 29s

Episode 174 - Work Fuel with Colette Heneghan

'If you ask people do they have a plan for the week, do they know where they need to be, do they know the clients that they'll be meeting, they've prepared for that... Then you say, "What are you going to have for lunch?" And they go, "What?"' Most of us know exactly what we should be eating, few of us are actually eating it. Too often we fuel our working day with a quick-fix mix of carbs and caffeine, without realising the price we're paying in fatigue, poor decision-making and low productivity.  When Productivity Ninja Graham Allcott starting working with wellbeing expert Colette Heneghan, he was astonished at the impact on his energy and output. Together they're written the book for everyone who wants to give themselves an unfair advantage at work. In this episode we talk about things-on-toast, finding the gap, writing with a co-author, and beating the blank page.  
15/07/1935m 5s

Episode 173 - The book of the future with Tom Cheesewright

The young Tom Cheesewright found his purpose in life when his mother bought him a copy of the 1979 Usborne Book of the Future. Now he's an Applied Futurist, focusing not on teleportation or interstellar travel but on identifying what is going to take an organisation out at the knees in five years' time. He discovered that the best way to do that was to create a narrative of the future: 'We've got to be able to tell stories when we're trying to compel change.' (Which is why his book High Frequency Change: Why We Feel Like Change Happens Faster Now and What to Do About It is so readable.)  He also discovered that writing a book isn't like writing a paper, it requires a different approach to structure, and he shares how he overcame that challenge. Pure gold. 
08/07/1932m 4s

Episode 172 - Writing and creativity with Harriet Kelsall

You might not think of yourself as 'a creative', but if you're an entrepreneur or a business book author that's exactly what you are, insists award-winning jeweller Harriet Kelsall: you're creating something that didn't exist before you imagined it. And as she discovered the hard way, that means finding your own way to do what you do:  "What I need to do is what I do, not what everyone else does. That's the thing that's going to work." The need to find your own way becomes even more acute when, like Harriet, you face a challenge like dyslexia. This is a deep dive into practical creativity as brilliant and as packed with gems as Harriet's own bespoke jewellery. 
01/07/1934m 9s

Episode 171 - Writing and AI with Chris Duffey

What if you had some help writing your book: a collaborator to transcribe your ideas, do the grunt work of researching huge amounts of material, bounce ideas off, give editorial feedback and even provide their own contributions in the form of a dialogue? And what if that collaborator was available without pay 24/7, had no ego or hangups, and demanded no intellectual property rights? Sounds too good to be true, right?  Meet Aimé, or to give her her full name, AI + Me. When Chris Duffey decided to write a book on AI, he quickly realised that it made sense to develop an AI co-author to help him write a better book, more quickly.  And that's the premise of Superhuman Innovation: with AI support, humans can be and do so much more. A fascinating conversation about humans, machine, and the nature of writing with one of the world's most prominent creative technologists. 
24/06/1935m 14s

Episode 170 - The Best Bits

A few of the stand-out moments from the last few Extraordinary Business Book Club episodes -  this week we're asking.... why? Why write a book, when it's so damn hard? Here's why. Mark Burns on the stones in the reader's shoe Bec Evans on treating your book as a prototype Fiona Murden on keeping it real in a self-development book David Grayson on building a collaborative vision for a book  Whitney Vosburgh on the big picture and remote collaboration Della Hudson on writing as a thinking tool Neil Mullarkey on using the principles of improv to get started. 
17/06/1931m 58s

Episode 169 - Improv and writing with Neil Mullarkey

'Improv is always, "Let's just start something now. We don't know where it's going to go, but we'll start now. Whatever tools, whatever cast we have." That's what writing should be as well.' Neil Mullarkey, founder of the Comedy Store Players and long-time sketch buddy of Mike Myers, is on a mission to bring the joy, playfulness and co-creativity of improv into organisations around the world.  We talk about his astonishing career, the power of improv in a VUCA world, and how the principles that allow improv performers to create something from nothing apply to facing down the blank page.  Quite simply, this is top-quality listening. 
10/06/1946m 38s

Episode 168 - The Numbers Business with Della Hudson

Think you're in a profession that doesn't lend itself to writing a book? Della Hudson trained as a chemist and is now an accountant, but her book The Numbers Business: How to build a successful cloud accountancy practice was a winner at this year's Business Book Awards. And even she, one of the world's clearest thinkers, recommends writing a book as an exercise in clarity and an investment in your intellectual property assets:  'It's a nice way to structure your thoughts. Just to think clearly because you're structuring them for your readers. But you're also structuring all that information to be used in a number of different ways in future.'
03/06/1925m 25s

Episode 167 - The Learning Imperative with Mark Burns

'Think about your audience. What stones do they have in their shoes? And what possibilities do they dream of?' And with this great advice from his editor ringing in his ears, Mark Burns and his co-writer Andy Griffith planned, wrote, rewrote, tested, revised and edited their way to their final manuscript - and investing in their own personal and professional development in the process.  In a fast-changing world, people and organisations that don't learn well don't perform well. Learning really is an imperative across every sector, but how do you convince employees and managers to accept the levels of trust, vulnerability and struggle that involves? You engage their emotions. 'Metaphor and story are really powerful ways in which people can empathise, connect. And when people say, "That's me. That's just my problem," that then gives them a route. You've sold them the art of the possibility.'
27/05/1934m 22s

Episode 166 - Defining You with Fiona Murden

Self-development books are big business - but is it just navel-gazing on the hand or esoteric theory on the other?  'At the end of the day people want something that's pragmatic, and they can actually do something with.' Fiona Murden has been working with the world's most senior leaders for years: in Defining You she makes the profiling tools and techniques usually reserved for the extremes of society - top leaders and Olympians or criminals - available to anyone who wants to understand themselves better so they can make better decisions.  Along the way we talk about winning awards, writing as a woman, the role of running in writing, and the power of partnerships. Unmissable listening. 
20/05/1934m 58s

Episode 165 - Work the Future Today with Whitney Vosburgh

When we talk about 'the future', we're subconsciously distancing ourselves from some indefinite, hypothetical construct. But in reality, argues Whitney Vosburgh and his co-author Charlie, we are continually co-creating the future in the present, without fully making the connection between the two.  'Instead of being futurists, we need to be now-ists. The future only happens now, and now, and now.'  And that only happens when we build what we know into the way we live, when we go from head, to heart, to hands.  This is also a fascinating insight into how two people can write a book together despite only having met in person twice, and how authors can test the definition of the word 'book' to its limits - from book to mini-book to micro-book... .  
13/05/1931m 46s

Episode 164 - The Reality Check

Something a bit different this week: I buttonholed some of the top voices in the book industry at last week's IPG Spring Conference and asked them: What is it that authors need to know but publishers are too polite to tell them? Their answers might surprise you - and they will definitely help you if you're writing a book, and particularly if you're planning to submit a proposal to a publisher. This is insider stuff you need to know, together with some big truths you need to hear. 
06/05/1924m 6s

Episode 163 - All In with David Grayson

'What is the business case for being unsustainable?' Professor David Grayson has been involved in social enterprise before it was even a thing, and over the last few decades he has acted as the conscience of business on a range of issues from accessibility and diversity to corporate social responsibility and sustainability. In All In, he and his co-authors Chris Coulter and Mark Lee examine the practices of those companies leading the way in sustainability and challenge business leaders in every sector and at every scale to commit themselves to going 'all in' to ensure a long-term future. In this conversation we discuss how three authors in three different time zones can create a shared vision and manage the work of researching and writing such a significant book in what turned out to be a surprisingly short time...
29/04/1934m 0s

Episode 162 - How to Have a Happy Hustle with Bec Evans

'[The principles behind the book were those of] the lean startup: build, measure, learn, which meant running experiments, testing stuff with users and iterating and improving... treating it as a whole series of prototypes.' In writing her first book - How to Have a Happy Hustle - Bec Evans drew on all her knowledge of innovation strategy as well as her expertise in writing productivity. The result is not only a superb book, but a masterclass in smart book development, testing every element from problem-finding to the table of contents to the cover.  In this episode she talks us through the process, and reveals how she overcame those two classic writers' blockers, fear and procrastination, along the way. 
22/04/1931m 38s

Episode 161 - Mindfulness for Leaders with Dr Audrey Tang

‘Mindfulness is… all about recognising where we're coming from, and who we are, and how we like to think, and where we're going with all that information.’ Dr Audrey Tang is in the business of ‘applied mindfulness’ – how can it help us be better leaders, smarter learners, and happier people? In The Leader’s Guide to Mindfulness, she shows how soft skills give hard results in areas such as problem solving and creativity, and also takes us deeper, to emotional resilience, inspiration and growth. This is a masterclass in drawing together practical teaching and spiritual depth, weaving in expertise and experience as diverse as teaching aerobics and designing escape rooms.
15/04/1935m 7s

Episode 160 - The Best Bits

A few of the stand-out moments from the last few Extraordinary Business Book Club episodes - there's a celebratory feel as it marks the fifth birthday of Practical Inspiration, and this week we're focused on finding inspiration in the uncomfortable and owning your ideas. Niki Schafer on submerging yourself in things that inspire you Anjali Ramachandran on seeking out ideas outside your comfort zone  Brendan Barns on owning your story and the importance of humour Kate Minchin on the unexpected usefulness of the zombie apocalpyse approach Niklas Jansen on taking your ideas to new platforms Chris Watson on the value of process and people Miya Knights on collaboration and vulnerability  Mike Sergeant on intimacy, trust and the podcast.
08/04/1930m 27s

Episode 159 - PR for Humans with Mike Sergeant

As a journalist, Mike Sergeant's job was to communicate complex issues clearly and quickly. He had to find within huge geopolitical issues the human stories that listeners could connect with. Today he uses that experience to help business leaders communicate more powerfully.  Mike believes that PR is simply storytelling - human to human. Finding the story and creating the emotional connection, that's what saves us from spin and distrust.  In this conversation we talk about the difference between simplifying your message and clarifying it, the power of the podcast, and those weirdly productive 3am moments.
01/04/1934m 3s

Episode 158 - Always Time for Coffee with Kate Minchin

<!-- wp:paragraph --> Kate Minchin claims her entire career has been built on a mountain of coffee beans. Which sounds a bit precarious, but you get the idea: getting the best out of people is based on getting to know them, and that means getting out of the office and into conversation. <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> While there are stacks of business books written for leaders and entrepreneurs, relatively few are aimed at frontline managers (same goes for training, interestingly), and Kate wanted to right this wrong. The result is Always Time for Coffee: A Down-To-Earth Guide for Frontline Managers, Team Leaders and Supervisors, full of real-life wisdom and tactical, practical tips for happier and more productive teams. <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> She had an interesting personal reason for writing the book too. And I can think I can safely say this is probably the only podcast episode that ever has and ever will include the phrase 'non-zombie-specific stuff'. <!-- /wp:paragraph -->
25/03/1935m 6s

Episode 157 - Reflections on the London Book Fair

Fresh [sic] from the London Book Fair 2019, where Practical Inspiration Publishing was an exhibitor, this week's episode is a reflection on the big themes of the Fair, and the Quantum conference that preceded it (and of which I was a Chair). Listen up for the latest on:  the growth of non-fiction - why we're all trying to make sense of a world gone mad the audio explosion - how audio books, podcasts and voice-first discovery are shaping the new publishing landscape independent publishers - why they're increasingly shaping the agenda bookshops - how they defied expectations to remain relevant in the age of Amazon, and how they're working with publishers like us to bring readers and authors together discoverability - what it is, why it matters, and some great new tools to help books get found  And very, very, VERY little on Brexit. Promise. 
18/03/1920m 40s

Episode 156 - Funny Business with Brendan Barns

'Our events are a bit like a business book; a business book should give you new ideas, cutting edge content, stuff that you haven't thought about before. But great business books can do it in a way that makes learning fun, that is entertaining to read, that also inspires the reader.' London Business Forum do events a bit differently. You don't get Tom Peters in boxing gloves at your run-of-the-mill business presentation. In this episode, LBF founder Brendan Barns talk about what makes a great talk, and why laughter is such a powerful tool for engaging attention and communicating ideas. Spoiler alert: Creating a great talk is not so different to creating a great book.
11/03/1934m 35s

Episode 155 - The Amazon effect with Natalie Berg and Miya Knights

Amazon has revolutionised retail, and it's showing no signs of stopping. To understand the Amazon effect, and consider what might be coming next, we need to analyse it through two lenses - retail strategy and technology. Which is why retail analyst Natalie Berg and technology journalist Miya Knights decided to combine their perspectives and co-author their new book Amazon: How the world's most relentless retailer will continue to revolutionise commerce.  In this conversation we talk about the Amazon effect itself (always fascinating for a publisher!) and the future of retail, but also what it takes to collaborate on a book, the difficulty of writing about a moving target, and how to fit the writing alongside the day job. 
04/03/1938m 11s

Episode 154 - Upskilling with Chris Watson

'Wouldn't it be helpful if somehow you could anticipate the key skills that would be needed in the future to support people's professional growth?' And that was the question that eventually led Chris Watson to write his first book: Upskill: 21 Keys to Professional Growth. In this conversation we explore the steps between: the research behind the book, how Chris pulled it all together and found the right writing style, and the marketing tips he's learned along the way.  Writing a good business book usually starts with asking a good business question: here's the step-by-step guide to everything in between. 
25/02/1927m 20s

Episode 153 - New narratives with Anjali Ramachandran

'Constantly trying to be open to knowing about things that we're not that comfortable with, I think that's important.' Most of us live inside a bubble of our own making: we read and talk about things that we know, we filter our feeds and our network to the voices that are like ours, whose opinions validate our own. That's dangerous, warns innovator Anjali Ramachandran, and it's also poor business. For all sorts of reasons, we need to seek out and share the new narratives that will shape the future of our interconnected world.  But can there be a place for books in this work? It's complicated... 
18/02/1932m 54s

Episode 152 - Blinkist - finding books with Niklas Jansen

'We have trailers and teasers about a movie. So why shouldn't there be a teaser or trailer for a book?' When Niklas Jansen graduated he knew he wanted to start a business, but he didn't know much about running a business. And he also realised that suddenly he didn't have as much time as he'd had as a student for reading. So where better to start than creating a business that involved reading lots of business books and distilling the key ideas?  And so Blinkist was born, 'bringing the ideas from the best nonfiction to some of the busiest people on the planet'.  In this conversation we talk about how reading is changing, why sharing ideas is essential for discoverability, and why your offline strategy matters just as much as your online content. 
11/02/1929m 13s

Episode 151 - Design, creativity and joy with Niki Schafer

Designers look at life differently, and writers can learn a lot from their approach. Niki Schafer's aim as an interior designer is to design happiness into her clients' homes. And while she was writing her book on 'dwellbeing', she discovered how to capture the joyful state of creative flow kinaesthetically, so that she could bypass 'procrastination and head-scratching' and put herself immediately into the writing zone.  A conversation for any writer who needs a dose of practical inspiration and a shot of playfulness to get their happy back. Plus the most beautiful shelfies you've ever seen. 
04/02/1931m 42s

Episode 150 - The Sesquicentennial Best Bits

There aren't many opportunities to slip the word 'sesquicentennial' into conversation, so make the most of this one by recommending it, casual-like, to all your friends. A few of my favourite moments from the last few Extraordinary Business Book Club episodes, with the focus today on serendipity. (There's another great word right there...) James Kelley on pivoting your book idea Alexandra Levit on spotting the opportunities in what's said Christine Armstrong on spotting the opportunities in what's NOT said Whitney Johnson on how opportunities - and books - evolve Graham Allcott on spotting the opportunities to turn a book into a brand Karen Morley on capturing everyday insights Mac Macartney on making your own luck Sean Pillot de Chenecey on knowing when to close the opportunity window and ship.
28/01/1930m 51s

Episode 149 - Building out the brand with Graham Allcott

Graham Allcott is one of the most productive people I know. Which isn't surprising. His book How to be a Productivity Ninja was a huge success when it was first published five years ago, and has become the cornerstone of his business, Think Productive. There's a new edition of that book on the way, but there's also a bigger conversation around the principles within it. 'It's a conversation that happens regularly, where people say, "Hey, this whole kind of way of approaching productivity and this way of approaching managing yourself, how can this apply to nutrition?" "How can this apply to parenting?" "How can this apply to email?" There are so many different facets that you could apply this to. So the idea is to create a series called 'The Productivity Ninja Guide', and they all have their own title, but they all sit under that series.' This is a fascinating case study in business, brand and book working in perfect harmony, and contains some fascinating insights too into creativity and focus, productivity (natch), and collaborating with a co-author. Stop messing about on your phone, adopt the Sri Lanka mindset, and listen up. 
21/01/1931m 21s

Episode 148 - Disrupting Yourself with Whitney Johnson

'We are learning machines. It's the biology of who we are.' We're used to thinking about disruption as a force that shapes industries, products and services. But have you ever thought about disrupting yourself? Whitney Johnson recommends that you jump to a new learning curve every five years or so, and in her new book, Build an A Team, she shows how to help everyone in your organisation get on board with that. We also talk about why NOT thinking of yourself as a writer is such a huge help when you're writing a business book, and why a book is such an integral part of any strong idea: 'When you have to actually write something down... then you know what you think. When you're just talking about it, you don't actually know what you think.' 
14/01/1934m 42s

Episode 147 - The Children's Fire with Mac Macartney

In a world facing unprecedented social and ecological challenges, Mac Macartney has a challenge for businesses: 'There is no organisation in this world better designed, resourced or equipped to create change in the world than businesses. They're designed to make stuff happen... We talk a lot about innovation and creativity. Could we really envisage something startling that would... lead us into a truly exciting and vibrant and flourishing future?' This is the central theme behind The Children's Fire, in which Mac's account of his own extraordinary journey through the heartland of Britain, wild camping without a tent in one of the harshest winters of modern times, is woven into his reflections on leadership, sustainability, and spiritual, social and ecological change.  In this wide-ranging discussion we talk about all these issues, but also more tactical points for business book writers: how to run an extraordinary book launch tour, the secrets of effective public speaking, and how to mine your database to promote your book.  Practical and inspiring, just the way you like it.  
07/01/1937m 41s

Episode 146 - The Reading and Writing Resolutions Special

What one habit will make the biggest difference to you and your business in 2019?  Billionaire Mark Cuban puts his success down to the fact that he spends 3 hours each day reading.  'I read every book and magazine I could. Heck, $3 for a magazine, $20 for a book. One good idea that led to a customer or solution and it paid for itself many times over.' Warren Buffett said the same to a class of students at Columbia University:  'Read 500 pages... every day. That's how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.' If you do nothing more than commit to reading more business books in 2019, you'll make a massive difference to your bottom line. But both Cuban and Buffett went further than this: they both wrote books as well as reading them. And that's where the real magic happens.  If your 2019 resolutions include writing more effectively for your business, this is the episode for you. Seven brilliantly practical tips from Extraordinary Business Book Club guests to help you establish a successful writing habit and get that book out of your head and into the world. I've got a feeling that this is going to be a good year: start here.  
31/12/1826m 2s

Episode 145 - The Mother of All Jobs with Christine Armstrong

If you're a working parent, you won't need telling that this isn't really working. You might not, however, be aware that it's not working for pretty much everybody. In her research for The Mother of All Jobs, Christine Armstrong uncovered a conspiracy of silence that means every working mother feels uniquely incompetent when in fact the system is fundamentally broken. But even if this topic isn't of burning interest to you, Christine's warts-and-all account of how she wrangled her material into book shape and the support systems she created to make the writing possible are invaluable for any writer.   
24/12/1829m 41s

Episode 144 - The Post-Truth Business with Sean Pillot de Chenecey

Oxford University Press identified 'post-truth' as its Word of 2016, in the wake of both Trump and Brexit campaigns, and we've all been quietly adjusting to that new reality in politics ever since. But it's not just a political issue: if, as Sean Pillot de Chenecy contends, 'Consumer trust is the basis of all brand values', what does it mean when companies betray that trust? In a world of more transparency than ever before, how can businesses create and maintain trust? But the problem with writing about such a topical issue is that as soon as you go to press, there's another breaking story just screaming to be included. 'I do remember, literally when it was on the printing press, just begging the printers to allow me to lob in one more quote,' confesses Sean. But the solution isn't to keep holding back. Listen to Sean's superb advice for anyone writing a book dealing with topical issues.
17/12/1835m 46s

Episode 143 - The future of work with Alexandra Levit

The days of getting one degree and working your way up the ranks with one employer are long gone, says Alexandra Levit. In the future of work: 'You have to be comfortable branding yourself, selling yourself, and you have to be comfortable with constant reinvention, and change, because nothing is going to stay the same for very long.' Alexandra has an optimistic vision of the future of work - which is perfect, as this show is powered by optimism - and she shares the key ideas of her latest book Humanity Works in this week's conversation.  She also talks about her approach to writing books, which she sees as 'both an educational mechanism, but also a branding mechanism'. And she shares her tips on breaking down the huge task of writing a book into steps that you can take today. Pure Extraordinary Business Book Club gold. 
10/12/1833m 11s

Episode 142 - The Crucible's Gift with Dr James Kelley

Why does adversity make some leaders and break others? Dr James Kelley stumbled across the answer - he thought he was going to write a book on corporate wellness, but what emerged from his conversations with over 100 CEOs was a pattern of how effective leaders choosing to redefine a critical moment of adversity as the source of growth and strength. James's strength is the spoken, not the written, word, so he developed a brilliant methodology to write a chapter a week using a smart mix of writing and speaking, which he sets out in detail in our conversation.
03/12/1830m 43s

Episode 141 - Lead Like a Coach with Karen Morley

Karen Morley knew there'd be no problem writing about the principles of leading like a coach, and she found it relatively easy to structure her ideas and practice into a methodology. But how to bring that alive for a reader? The answer of course was to use stories, and Karen developed a brilliant system of writing as reflection woven into day-to-day practice that allowed her to find the stories as they happened and transform them into business book gold. Find out how in this fascinating conversation.
26/11/1826m 24s

Episode 140 - The Best Bits

A few of my favourite moments from the last few Extraordinary Business Book Club episodes, and this time we're thinking about grit, which comes through in different ways through all these conversations. Ayse Birsel on optimism and finding the best answers in the worst places Elaine Halligan, whose own life demonstrates the power of grit in turning tough situations around, on getting the support you need Michael Brown on finding purpose in personal tragedy Ben Hunt-Davis on translating the grit required to win Olympic Gold into everyday gold Sam Conniff Allende on not taking no for an answer Pippa Malmgren on the necessity of asking difficult questions Derek Lewis on the repeated application of grit in the pursuit of good writing Michelle Sales on how to mitigate the grit with what you're great at, and Pete Williams on why the discipline of writing brings such great business benefits.    
19/11/1833m 31s

Episode 139 - Being the champion of your book with Pete Williams

Writing a great book is a good start. But it's only a start. After that comes the marketing, which is every bit as important as the writing.  'If you're not going to be the biggest champion for your book, who is?' asks Pete Williams. The author of several best-selling books and head of Preneur Marketing, Pete knows a thing or two about marketing books, and you might be surprised by his advice. He also knows that writing a business book can bring unexpected benefits for the business itself, including setting it up to be able to scale. A fascinating conversation packed with practical inspiration. 
12/11/1837m 31s

Episode 138 - Talking out the book with Elaine Halligan

Elaine Halligan has an extraordinary story. Her journey to becoming one of the world's leading parenting experts began with her own son's difficulties at school and her determination to do whatever it took to allow the amazing potential she saw in him to flourish. But when it came to writing the book so many people had begged her to write, she didn't know where to begin. How do you turn lived experience into a coherent story that will engage and move readers? And how can you make that story meaningful and helpful to them?  My Child Is Different tells how the boy written off by so many schools became the successful, grounded, entrepreneurial young man he is today, and what his parents learned in the process. In this podcast, Elaine explains how she began not by writing, but by talking out the story in partnership with Sam, and how deeply the process affected them both. 
05/11/1836m 18s

Episode 137 - Making the Boat Go Faster with Ben Hunt-Davis

'While we're doing one thing, let's just do it as well as we can and make sure we are spending our time, of which we have so little, let's spend it wisely.' Ben Hunt-Davis knows a bit about focus. As part of the 'Sydney 8', who revolutionised the approach to rowing training and brought home Gold, he learned powerful principles about performance and process that he now brings to the business world in his business - named after his book - Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? In this conversation, he talks about how that single-minded focus translates into the messy real world, and how writing the book (in collaboration with executive coach Harriet Beveridge) clarified and deepened his message and ultimately transformed his business.
29/10/1827m 36s

Episode 136 - The Leadership Lab with Pippa Malmgren

'A 20th-century leader was very analytical, it's all about the drill-down into detail and numbers. But frankly, that did not serve us very well, and that's partly what led to everybody being blindsided by populism. So we say, in the 21st century, you can do analytical, but you have to do parenthetical... you have to be able to not just drill down, but look across. To understand how to connect the dots between silos that were previously independent. To understand, what's the feel. It's not just the math that matters now, it's the mood also.' When they wrote The Leadership Lab, Dr Pippa Malmgren and her co-author Chris Lewis structured their cutting-edge analysis of 21st-century leadership on a device that's more than 2000 years old. She explains why this navigational tool - the Kythera mechanism - is not only an effective way to communicate complex issues more effectively, but a metaphor for understanding that everything we think we know could be entirely wrong.   This is essential listening for anyone in a position of leadership in the 21st century, and anyone who want to write about it. 
22/10/1839m 14s

Episode 135 - Be More Pirate with Sam Conniff Allende

"You've got to ask yourself what is more important. Is it selling books, or starting a movement?" Sam Conniff Allende is in the business of movement-making. A young entrepreneur himself, he’s since inspired a generation of young entrepreneurs and hustlers, and when he decided it was time to write a book he began by writing ‘the worst book on earth’. Luckily it didn’t end there: find out how he found the metaphor that transformed his message from worthy to world-changing, how he learned the secret of translating the energy of the stage to the page, and how he stayed true to his pirate principles in the marketing as well as the writing of the book.
15/10/1837m 59s

Episode 134 - Real Confidence with Michelle Sales

'Now, I look at work and life and what I know in a different way, it's almost like I'm attuned to looking for opportunities to bring my thinking together and get it out there by way of a book.' Michelle Sales never thought of herself as a writer. She didn't even particularly enjoy writing her book, The Power of Real Confidence (though she LOVES having written it). Maybe you recognise how it went: 'How I had thought to structure my writing was to block out my Fridays and I would get to Friday morning, and I would do a 9:00 Pilates class. That would finish at 10:00, and I'd do it with a girlfriend, and we'd say, "Oh, we might as well have a coffee." So we'd hang around and have a coffee and a chat. And inevitably it'd be about midday before I'd get home, and then I'd think, "Oh, I have to start writing now." So I'd open it and close it and open it and close it and think, "I'm not really sure I'm into this chapter." Then at about 2:00, I'd think, "Oh, it's Friday afternoon. I think I'm done."' In this episode she describes how she found a different way to write that worked for her, and also how the process, rather fittingly, challenged and built her own confidence. 
08/10/1831m 6s

Episode 133 - Ghostwriting and Frankendrafts with Derek Lewis

'The first draft of the manuscript is just ugly. There are pieces, and parts, and this part doesn't match that part. It looks like a Frankenstein monster. And that's why I call it Frankendraft. It sets that expectation low, that this will be an ugly, ghoulish creation with parts and pieces stuck and bolted on here. And we cut that part out and put it over here. It's not supposed to be the finished draft. We just have to make it come to life.' The Frankendraft is just one of five stages through which ghostwriter Derek Lewis takes would-be business book authors to get the book in their head out into the world (but it's hands down the stage with the best name). This is a fascinating glimpse into how a professional writer works with a business expert to create a book that is distinctively their own but better than they could have written themselves, and there's lots here that you can put into practice if you're writing your own business book.
01/10/1840m 29s

Episode 132 - Design your life with Ayse Birsel

'When you're being creative, all you're trying to do is see the same things differently, and from that, see if you can drive new ideas, solutions and new value.' Ayse Birsel, multi-award-winning designer, decided to try an experiment. She tried to catch herself being creative and reverse engineer exactly what she was doing, and when she'd identified how this design thinking - Deconstruction:Reconstruction, as she calls it - worked, she tried applying it to the most complex, important project of all: her own life.  In this conversation, we talk about why design thinking is a great model for business book writing, and indeed for life generally, and why 'What if...?' is such a great start for a sentence.  And here's Ayse's business book #shelfie for your inspiration... 
24/09/1838m 27s

Episode 131 - An Unforgettable Launch with Michael Brown

This is a very special episode for lots of reasons. Firstly because it's shorter than usual. Secondly because much of it was recorded live at one of the most memorable book launches I've ever attended. Thirdly because Michael Brown, the author of My Job Isn't Working: 10 proven ways to boost your career mojo is not only a Practical Inspiration author but a graduate of the very first This Book Means Business mentorship programme. And fourthly because something unimaginable happened while the book was in production that changed everything.  Books really do matter, and today's episode is a reminder to keep our attention and focus on what matters and not let our life and our life's work slip by.     
17/09/1820m 20s

Episode 130 - The Best Bits!

A hand-picked selection of treasures from the last few Extraordinary Business Book Club episodes, with the focus on other people - how can they help you write a better book, faster, what impact will your book have on them, and how can you make them care enough to read it in the first place? Molly Beck on reaching out, and why writing a book makes it so much easier  Michelle Carvill on how listening to others' questions can help you find your writing groove Drew Davis on writing a book backwards Hugh Culver on how stories create movies in the mind Tom Schuller on finding other people's stories Jude Jennison on using a podcast for research and network building Elizabeth Dunn on collaborating without tears Sarah Windrum on how her book changed how others saw her Martin Norbury on what happens to your business when people read your book and 'get it'
10/09/1839m 7s

Episode 129 - Happy Money with Elizabeth Dunn

Money can't buy you happiness - unless you're smart about it. Dr Elizabeth Dunn reveals the surprising ways in which money CAN make us happier, and also why it so often fails to do so. Along the way we discuss the importance of getting rid of the long words, even if you're an academic, because:  'If you truly understand a topic, you should be able to explain it in simple language.' Academic research can be an invaluable resource for the business book author, and there's lots of tips here on how to find it and use it without compromising the readability of your book. 
03/09/1828m 47s

Episode 128 - Writing and speaking with Hugh Culver

Hugh Culver has done a lot of stuff in his life - from leading adventure holidays in the Antarctic to giving keynote speeches to companies and conferences all over the world.  For him, writing a book was an opportunity to reenergise and deepen his thinking, to create something distinctive, and it worked. In this week's conversation he reveals how the writing and the speaking work together, the writing mistakes he made first time round, and the speaking mistakes he sees all the time.  If you want your book or your blog to complement your speaking, or vice versa, this is an unmissable episode full of brilliantly practical - and occasionally counter-intuitive - tips from one of the world's top bloggers, speakers and writers.
27/08/1835m 2s

Episode 127 - Leading Through Uncertainty with Jude Jennison

Horses don’t care what your job title is. They’re not impressed by the car you drive. The only way a horse will follow you is if it trusts you. And it will trust you only if you’re leading authentically. Jude Jennison discovered the astonishing power of horses to transform people’s approach to leadership when she faced her own fear of horses – now she has a herd of five, and I met them all at her book launch. But how do you write about something that can only be experienced? And how do you draw out stories of uncertainty and leadership from others? Find out how Jude approached the challenge in this week’s episode, and why her launch was like no other.  
20/08/1836m 30s

Episode 126 - Writing backwards with Andrew Davis

'I've finally decided that I really should be writing books backwards.' Instead of locking himself away in a room to write a book (as he did first time round), or even getting some supporting research in hand beforehand (book 2), top marketer Drew Davis is writing his third book backwards. He's started with a hypothesis and he's testing it out week by week on YouTube, taking on board the feedback, and discovering that the outline for this book looks very different to what he'd originally thought.  This is just one of the brilliantly practical tactics Drew shares with me in this conversation: you can also discover how he overcame imposter syndrome at a stroke, and what he learned from the Muppets. No, really.  
13/08/1832m 20s

Episode 125 - Getting social with Michelle Carvill

For many CEOs, 'doing' social media is terrifying. Much easier to hire a millennial to do it for you. But in a world in which trust in corporates is at an all-time low, Michelle Carvill argues the best way to address that is to 'step outside of the boardroom and start having authentic conversations with your audience', not as a faceless corporation, but as a person. Yes, it's scary. Yes, it's hard to see a direct ROI. But there are also massive potential benefits. This isn't a message only for leaders of multi-nationals, however. It applies just as powerfully to SMEs and even solopreneurs: 'If you are the owner of a business, you are the brand. You are the heart and soul of that business... you're the brand champion. You are the voice of that business and people want to know what you've got to say.' Discover what getting social looks like for leaders, and also why Michelle - ironically - gets very anti-social in the process of writing itself. (And why she's never without a post-it pad.)
06/08/1834m 47s

Episode 124 - Finding your story with Martin Norbury

Most business book authors aren't professional writers. Martin Norbury failed his English O-level twice, but he knew that he had a story to tell that mattered. In this week's conversation he reveals how he went about turning the stuff in his head into a brilliantly readable book - from interviews with clients to interviews with himself to a supersmart process of consciously catching himself 'doing the right stuff' as he works with his clients to scale their businesses.  And you'll never look at Fridays the same way again once you've heard his story. 
30/07/1833m 45s

Episode 123 - Becoming a Superhero with Sarah Windrum

What's your mission statement?  We can get caught up in business - and indeed in business writing - in showcasing ourselves. We airbrush the version of ourselves that we present to others. And in doing so we unwittingly lose the emotional connection, vulnerability and authenticity that actually give us the power to make change that matters. Sarah Windrum is a very successful, high-profile business woman, but her book The Superhero I was Born to Be is a deeply personal account of what she's been through, including her struggles with mental health, and how she developed the resilience and energy that underpin her success.  Here's HER mission statement: 'My mission in life is to touch as many people's lives as positively as I can, and that is what makes me happy. It's what brings me joy.' This is a conversation that will encourage you to reflect on how you portray yourself, and maybe find the courage to connect more honestly.  I also talk about the Extraordinary Business Book Summer Reading List - are you in? 
23/07/1832m 32s

Episode 122 - The Paula Principle with Tom Schuller

In the 1960s, Professor Laurence Peter articulated the famous Peter Principle: that an employee in a hierarchy tends to be promoted to 'his level of incompetence'.  As he looked at the evidence of women outperforming men throughout education and into the workplace, in the face of the ongoing gender pay gap and promotion statistics, Professor Tom Schuller was compelled to formulate a corollary: 'Most women tend to work below the level of their competence.'  The Paula Principle investigates the reasons for this oddly persistent inequality, and puts forward an agenda for change. But is this a book that should have been written by a man? Several publishers thought not. And do books like this make a difference anyway?  Tom Schuller and I discuss education, equality, writing, breaking out of the ghetto and, er, Bridget Jones. 
16/07/1830m 17s

Episode 121 - Reaching Out with Molly Beck

'The more people you know, the more stuff you get done. It's as simple as that.' But reaching out is an art: targeting the right people, approaching them in the right way, getting over yourself in the first place. In Reach Out, Molly Beck shares her simple, brilliant system for creating a network of connections that will turbo-charge your professional growth.  Molly is a master of social media, and reveals how blogging and podcasting enable authors to build the readership for their book long before the book itself is published. She's also helpfully honest about what a slog the writing process can be if, like her, you're 'not a natural writer', and has some great tips for getting through it! If you're thinking of starting a podcast, this will be invaluable: Molly is the founder of Messy.fm, 'the Wordpress of podcasting', and explains why podcasting is so powerful and how to get started.  
09/07/1834m 33s

Episode 120 - The Best Bits!

Highlights from the last few Extraordinary Business Book Club episodes, with a focus on fixing the problem every writer cares about: how to get going and keep going. I guarantee you'll find at least one idea here that will get you unstuck, and one thing to make you go 'ew'.  Denise Duffield-Thomas on not waiting for permission and not being afraid to reuse your best stuff Paul Skinner on the 'symbiotic relationship' between business and book Barbara Gray on embedding writing into your business Campbell Macpherson on the joy of going 'blah' Jonah Sachs on great questions and flow theory David Burkus's end-to-end research and writing system Roger Mavity on weather-dependent writing and perseverance Sarah Kessler on the important of NOT writing Euan Semple on why a book is like a plook, and the power of the timer    
02/07/1841m 10s

Episode 119 - Writing to change the world with Euan Semple

Think that what you say on the internet has no impact? Euan Semple says think again.  'An avalanche only ever happens because the last snowflake falls. If it doesn't, an avalanche doesn't happen. Each of our conversations could be a last snowflake.' Despite the fact that he's been blogging for 16 years and has written several successful books, he still recognises the resistance we all feel: 'this is obvious', 'who am I to write this', 'who's going to read this', 'who cares'... But his answer is simply this: 'Just sit down and write it and let other people work at whether it's worthwhile.' Because not only does the process of writing force you to clarify what you think, putting that writing on the internet turns you from a passive consumer to an active participant in shaping our world. (There's also some incredibly practical tips on structuring your book and muscling through procrastination, and possibly the best tagline for this show EVER if I can just summon up the courage to use it...)
25/06/1830m 57s

Episode 118 - Longitudinal writing with Sarah Kessler

The gig economy - flexible and empowering, or exploitative and uncertain? Sarah Kessler is fascinated by how work is changing, and her book Gigged follows five very different people over three years and tracks their experiences - good, bad and downright terrifying.  In this week's conversation, we discuss the difference in writing an article (Sarah is also a reporter at Quartz, and before that Fast Company and Mashable) and a book, with the sustained timeline that implies, and the opportunity to explore not just the stories, but the context in which they're taking place.  'I wanted to have relationships with people over a long period of time rather than just talking about the hot new thing they were working on for this month.' Sarah also has some great advice for writers which involves NOT writing. This might just be my favourite tip so far. 
18/06/1824m 47s

Episode 117 - Creativity and collaboration with Roger Mavity

Former ad man, CEO of both the Granada and Conran Groups and Chairman of Citigate, Roger Mavity is also a renowned author, artist and photographer.  In this conversation we explore the twin struggles of creativity and specifically of writing: the private struggle to articulate the idea, and the public struggle to broadcast it. And if it's true as Roger argues that 'Virtually everything in the world that happens that's any good happens because there's one really bright person that lights the blue touch paper', how does this Promethean vision of creativity play out in our organisations and collaborations?  A fascinating conversation with one of the world's most colourful and creative business experts.  
11/06/1831m 15s

Episode 116 - Collaborative Advantage with Paul Skinner

We've been stuck on the idea of competitive advantage as the key to strategy for a long time now. Paul Skinner thinks it's had its day.  'Where competitive advantage assumes that the way to succeed is by being better than others, I believe the way to succeed is by supporting others and sharing the value that you can create with them.' Collaborative Advantage is what Paul describes as his 'book-worthy' big idea, and in this conversation he explains how it's unfolded from a principle that he's applied and developed through the various initiatives and enterprises he's worked with over the years into book form.  There's also great advice on creating stories where the customer, not your business, is the hero. Because those are the stories that change lives. 
04/06/1832m 13s

Episode 115 - After the Awards with Campbell Macpherson

Campbell Macpherson hasn't really stopped grinning since March, when I handed him the Business Book of the Year trophy at the Business Book Awards ceremony. In this week's show we talk about the impact of winning such a prestigious award (or even just being shortlisted), and how your book can plug into the heart of your business.  (We also note how good it feels when, on the night, you come back to sit at your table clutching your award to rapturous applause, and the commissioning editor who turned your book down leans over and says: 'I don't always make the right decisions.')  
28/05/1828m 19s

Episode 114 - High-Fidelity Publishing with Barbara Gray

"I don't want people to buy my book." That's a sentence I honestly don't think I've heard an author say before, ever. But Barbara Gray's vision for her second book, Secrets of the Amazon, was very different to that of most authors. It's part of what she calls high fidelity, and she argues it's the only response to today's retail economy. "You can't compete on a functional value basis anymore. You can't compete against Amazon in terms of price, convenience, variety or choice. They will kill you on that. Whether you're retailer or whatever you're doing. So you have to move up one layer; it has to be about creating an emotional attachment with your customers." Barbara was a guest on this show back in September 2016 talking about her first book, Ubernomics. It's fascinating to hear how her writing and self-publishing journey has evolved since then, and how she's walking her talk as a financial analyst through her books.
21/05/1839m 9s

Episode 113 - Friend of a Friend with David Burkus

Networking is (quite literally, it turns out) a 'dirty word', but Dr David Burkus brings together studies and stories that show how we've got it wrong: we don't 'do networking', we ARE a network. This is invaluable for anyone in business, but David also describes in detail how he gets from idea to finished, best-selling book, including the systems and tools he uses, so if you're also writing a business book you can't afford to miss this.
14/05/1832m 18s

Episode 112 - Apology-free writing with Denise Duffield-Thomas

"People feel like, if they haven't been 'chosen', then 'Who am I to write a book?'... I just think: don't wait to be chosen. If this is something you want to do, just do it." Denise Duffield-Thomas, author of Lucky Bitch, helps women overcome their hang-ups about money. In this episode, she helps writers overcome their hang-ups about, well, writing and life in general. It's packed full of practical tips on getting over yourself, connecting to your motivation, finding the title that works for you (even if it's controversial), and organising your life - apology-free - so that you can Get Stuff Done. Including writing the book that will change your business and your life.  Listen up, girlfriend. (And blokes, you need to hear this too.) 
07/05/1830m 46s

Episode 111 - Unsafe Thinking with Jonah Sachs

"There's this comfortable way of thinking that we're programmed by evolution to enjoy, which is thinking in patterns. That makes life so much easier and so much more approachable, when we rely on lessons we've learned in the past, when we observe other people and we do the things that they're doing, when we create predictability. It all just makes life easy to process. It's pretty good when the world stays still. The problem is, what feels safe is actually really dangerous if the world is changing around us." And that's what prompted Jonah Sachs, storyteller, author and entrepreneur, to write Unsafe Thinking: How to be Creative and Bold When You Need It Most. In this episode Jonah reveals how he went about researching the book by interviewing high-profile unsafe thinkers ("I realised if I wanted to get them to talk to me I'd have to say I was writing a book...") and explains how he uses stories to translate facts and findings into a narrative that readers will connect with, and therefore understand and remember more easily. There's some profound wisdom and practical tips for would-be business book writers, and some thoughts on what writing means for a 21st-century business owner. This is pure gold. Put the kettle on and listen up.  
30/04/1833m 26s

Episode 110 - The Best Bits!

Another helping of best bits from recent episode: we're talking about 'fast books' and 'slow books' - which kind is yours? - writing with a co-author, and how doodling can help you come sideways at a book. Tune in, sit back, and listen to insights and inspiration from these superb writers:  Steve Scott on how he's written 70 books in around a decade; Robert Cialdini on why it took him more than 30 years to write a second solo-authored book after Influence; Joe Pulizzi on how books fit into the content marketing mix;  Jurgen Appelo on the agile approach to writing;  Daniel Coyle on writing as a building process; Elaine Gould on the sheer relief of finishing a 'slow book';  Morra Aarons-Mele on the different tempos of social media, blogging, content marketing and books;  Lyn Bromley & Donna Whitbrook on how to write together without falling out;  Edgar Papke & Thomas Lockwood on why co-authorship is more than the sum of the parts;  Kate Raworth on how an idle doodle evolved into the award-winning book Doughnut Economics. 
23/04/1830m 35s

Episode 109 - Books and business models with Steve Scott

Steve Scott started writing and publishing to build his business, but pretty soon his business became writing and publishing books: he now has more than 60 to his name, all focused on helping internet entrepreneurs succeed. In this week's podcast this multi-bestselling author reflects on what he's learned about the process and where he goes from here, and generously shares his best tips for producing and promoting books. I learned a huge amount from our conversation - I know you will too.
16/04/1834m 0s

Episode 108 - The story behind This Book Means Business with Alison Jones

Something a bit different this week: I interview myself to pull out some of the learnings from the process of writing This Book Means Business, a book about writing a book to build your business written to build my business. Meta, huh?  Discover how and why this podcast began and some thoughts on how podcasting might work for you, what happened when I faced the fear and took the advice of my guests, and what's next now the book is out.  You can also listen in to the short talk given at the launch itself on 26 March at the Free Word Centre in London, and join in the toast to us - may we be the authors our readers need. 
09/04/1824m 59s

Episode 107 - Playful publishing with Jurgen Appelo

Leadership expert Jurgen Appelo's advice to first-time authors is simple: 'Iterate.' He goes on to explain: 'You need a feedback cycle. You need to know as soon as possible whether it is making sense, what you're writing. People have to read it.' Jurgen walks the talk, building his community as he wrote #Workout and selling 5,000 highly illustrated books immediately to his own fan base, before it was picked up by a traditional publisher. This interplay between traditional and self-publishing is one fascinating aspect of this interview, as is the importance of building a platform and community as you write, but there are many other gems such as Jurgen's approach to illustrating his own book and his up-front permissions policy.
02/04/1833m 2s

Episode 106 - The Business Book Awards with Lucy McCarraher

On 16 March 2018, the inaugural Business Book Awards ceremony took place in London. It was an extraordinary occasion, bringing together the top names in books and business in the UK and beyond, and with shortlists including books from the biggest traditional publishers to the smallest independent presses and even self-published authors.  This was the culmination of founder Lucy McCarraher's vision, and as Head Judge I was closely involved in the journey. In this week's episode I talk to Lucy about how she turned the idea into reality in partnership with ThinkFest, the details of the judging process, how it all turned out alright on the night, and the lessons we learned along the way.  The 2019 awards will be even bigger and glitzier, so if you're planning to publish your business book in 2018, find out more and maybe next time we'll be talking about you... 
26/03/1831m 57s

Episode 105 - Report from the frontline of independent publishing

Something a little different this week: a report from the bleeding edge of the publishing industry, also known as the IPG Spring Conference. This is one of the most exciting and diverse events of the publishing calendar, bringing together publishers from all genres of publishing and from all sizes of houses, from one-person microbusinesses to key players such as Bloomsbury and Kogan Page, and with an outstanding reputation for big name keynote speakers with big ideas. It's a packed programme over three days, and this was the first year I've managed to attend from start to finish. Here are the key messages I came away with - essential listening for anyone interested in publishing, but with many interesting insights for entrepreneurs in any discipline: DISRUPTION - what's happening out there, and what might it mean for publishers? DIVERSITY - how can we better reflect the full range of expertise and experience in the world? DIGITAL - what's next in the transformation of our businesses? DATA - why does it matter, how do you get it and what the heck do you do with it? DEDICATION - the secret weapon of independent publishing: passion, creativity and entrepreneurial flair wrapped up in steely determination DISTRIBUTION - how can we get books to the readers who need them?
19/03/1817m 46s

Episode 104 - Collaboration & design with Edgar Papke & Thomas Lockwood

Have you ever thought of business as art? Edgar Papke and Thomas Lockwood, experts in organizational culture and design respectively, wanted to encourage leaders to design their businesses consciously for innovation and collaboration. And what better way than to write collaboratively? This is a masterclass in writing with a partner, which when done right can create a whole that is so much more than the sum of the parts. Discover whether you need a 'writing partner prenuptial', and why post-its and coffee are central to the collaborative process.
12/03/1831m 57s

Episode 103 - Writing down the music with Elaine Gould

Music notation may seem a world away from business books, but the parallels are striking: when music editor Elaine Gould wrote what was to become the classic reference work Behind Bars: The Definitive Guide to Music Notation, her focus was relentlessly on the musicians who had to use those marks on the staves in performance. Good notation allows the composer's vision and the performer's skill to be translated without interference into the music the audience experiences.  'My greatest joy is going along to a concert, and the composer dashing up to me from the other end of the room and saying, "Thank you!"' When you're translating your expertise into a book, that focus on how the reader is going to experience and use your message is equally important. Her rigorous attention to detail is inspiring, and her reaction to seeing the finished book heart-warmingly honest - I for one can empathise with this:  'When [they] handed me the first copy off the press, I was just so overwhelmed. It was wonderful. I hugged that book all the way back on the train to London, and I think I slept with it beside my bed. And in the morning, I looked up to see, was it really there? After all these years, was it there? And then it was there, and I thought you know what? For the rest of my life, I haven't got to write that book again.'
05/03/1838m 35s

Episode 102 - Pre-suasion with Robert Cialdini

We like to think of ourselves as rational beings. But over the last 30 years or so behavioural science and psychological research has conclusively proved otherwise: the bit of our brain that makes decisions does so mostly on the basis of stimuli and associations, and pretty much all the meaningful action takes place below the level of our consciousness. One of the pioneers of this research, and perhaps the first to bring it into the mainstream and particularly into business thinking, was Robert Cialdini, whose classic book Influence: The psychology of persuasion was published in 1984. I wrote an essay on Cialdini's theories for my MBA: it felt surreal to be interviewing him on my podcast about what's happened since Influence was published. How have the principles he articulated more than 30 years ago held up in a world that is almost unrecognisable? (Spoiler: surprisingly well.) And why did it take him 30 years after the publication of Influence to write his second solo-authored book, Pre-Suasion? The answer turns out to be a radical statement of integrity in a world that demands more new stuff from us at every turn.
26/02/1835m 3s

Episode 101 - Hiding in the bathroom with Morra Aarons-Mele

'I always wanted to write a book... but it was never my time. My husband wrote a book, my father passed away, I have three little kids, I mean, I have a business, you know, life gets in the way... And then finally, one day... I thought: I want to grow my business this year but I don't want to fly anymore.' And almost by accident, internet marketer Morra Aarons-Mele discovered a new way of working that suited her as a 'hermit entrepreneur': instead of getting on a plane to meet potential clients and drum up business, she set up a podcast and wrote a book. 'Hiding in the Bathroom' has become a rallying call for anyone who's ever felt overwhelmed by the non-stop, always-on, fast-paced world of business and wants to do things differently. And Morra discovered (as I have) that 'the coolest thing about having a podcast, or writing a book, or having a blog is that you can really contact interesting people and say, will you talk to me?' In today's episode we talk about how podcasting and books allow entrepreneurs to develop their business and their network on their own terms. But - spoiler alert - we conclude that no matter how wonderful it is that you can do this stuff in your yoga pants, writing a book also means getting out of the bathroom and hitting the streets to tell people about it.  
19/02/1835m 38s

Episode 100 - The Centenary Celebrations!

Join me to celebrate 100 episodes of The Extraordinary Business Book Club! I puzzled over how to mark this milestone for a while, but in the end I decided to keep it real: three business people just like you, carving out the time to write from the demands of the day job, none of them professional writers, all working out how to do this one step at a time.  Julie Dennis is a menopause coach - her book The Hot Flush Freedom Challenge was published by Practical Inspiration Publishing in January 2017 Michael Brown is a trainer and consultant, who's just about to deliver to me the manuscript for My Job Isn't Working: 10 proven ways to boost your career mojo for publication in July 2018 Elaine Halligan is a Director of The Parent Practice, whose book My Child is Different, the story of her son Sam - who'd been excluded from three schools by the age of seven, but who went on to become Head Boy at senior school and is today a thriving young entrepreneur - is being published by Crown House in July 2018 Each of them shares what they've discovered on the journey, and their incredibly practical advice for anyone in the same situation. Each one of them inspires me with their passion for their message, and how they can make the world a little better, one reader at a time.  I can't think of a better way to celebrate 100 episodes of celebrating extraordinary business books.
12/02/1826m 12s

Episode 99 - The Culture Code with Daniel Coyle

'We're all continually learning. Learning is a kind of scaffolding. To me, that's the most beautiful metaphor for writing a book and for learning in life, that you're continually building scaffolding. That scaffolding is expanding your capacity.' Daniel Coyle is a New York Times bestselling author, and in this interview he reveals not only what he discovered about leadership in his latest book The Culture Code (and what happened when he put it into practice in the school writing squad he was coaching at the time), but also HOW he writes, the starting point and the tools and systems that take him from initial idea to finished book.  There's also some exciting news about my own book, and I announce the winner of the 10-day Business Book Proposal Challenge. Make a cup of tea and settle down to the last ever two-digit Extraordinary Business Book Club episode! 
05/02/1829m 34s

Episode 98 - Doughnut Economics with Kate Raworth

'If five years ago somebody had said to me, "So you know, Kate, are you ever going to write a book?" I would have said, "No, no, no, no, no. I don't write books. I draw pictures."' But when Kate Raworth doodled a doughnut shape to capture her vision of how economics is bounded by human and ecological constraints, she unwittingly started a revolution in macroeconomic thinking.  In this conversation we explore the extraordinary power of drawing for opening up thinking. And as Kate points out: 'You don't have to be Picasso to create something that has massive impact.' We also touch on video, animation, the 60-second summary and the one-page overview - high-impact ways of getting your message across quickly and memorably - and the importance of bringing your own humanness to your book.  Shortlisted for the FT/McKinsey Business Book of the Year in 2017, Doughnut Economics is an extraordinary book. And here's how it happened. 
26/01/1839m 16s

Episode 97: Publishing from all sides with David Roche

David Roche has seen publishing from pretty much every angle: publisher, bookseller, author, reader, mentor, consultant and industry maven. He's been on the boards of HarperCollins, Waterstones and HMV, was CEO of Borders and Books Etc, he's the chair of New Writing North, non-exec chair of the London Book Fair, and executive chair of the publishing industry's online magazine, BookBrunch. And he's just published a crowdfunded book of poems. So today's conversation is a look at where the industry's going from someone with unrivalled insights, plus a very personal - and very funny - view of what happens when the gamekeeper turns poacher.  Audio, crowdfunding, subscription models, marketing, book events: bring yourself up to speed with what's happening in the industry in the company of publishing's most entertaining expert. 
22/01/1838m 20s

Episode 96 - Turning talks into books with Miranda West

How do you turn a great talk into a great book? It's not as easy as you might think.  Miranda West is the founder of Do Books, which originated with the Do Lectures in Wales, focused on smart working and slow living. But as she explains, taking a message from stage to page involves more than mere transcription.  This is also an inspiring story about what can happen when you have a crazy idea and go ahead and send the email... 
15/01/1836m 17s

Episode 95 - Content marketing & books with Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is 'the godfather of content marketing'. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute and author of five books (one every two years), he has a clear vision of how books fit into a content strategy.  It all starts, he says, with the platform, and his sane advice will be music to the ears of any entrepreneur struggling with the overwhelm of multiple channels and messages.  'We've been built our advertising around our products and services when we should really build around: "Who's our audience? How do we love them? How do we know better than anyone else?" Deliver value to those audiences, great experiences to those audiences on a daily basis, and if you do that you will be rewarded in multiple ways outside of what you can even fathom today. That's the potential and that's why it's the best time to be in marketing that's ever been right now.' On a personal note, this episode is dedicated to the memory of Lorraine Keelan, a great friend and former publishing colleague lost way too soon.  
08/01/1839m 34s

Episode 94 - New Year, New Writing Habits

Welcome to 2018 - what are you planning to do with it? If the answer - in part at least - is 'some worthwhile writing', this episode is for you. I've pulled together some of the best thinking and most practical advice from past podcast guests, and sprinkled in more tips from members of the Extraordinary Business Book Club.  Let's make 2018 the year you stop with the procrastination and overwhelm and false starts. Let's make it the year you put in place your new writing habit, the year of making a difference. Grace Marshall, author of How to be Really Productive, on overcoming procrastination and shifting into 'deep dive' mode Tony Crabbe, author of Busy, on overcoming fear and finding your garden shed Bec Evans of Prolifiko on overcoming inertia and putting in place the right rewards for you Plus SO many more practical and inspiring tips from members of The Extraordinary Business Book Club.  Let's make 2018 count.
01/01/1825m 43s

Episode 93 - Christmas Special 2017

Pour a glass of sherry, munch on a mince pie, and put your feet up with a few of my absolute favourite moments EVER from the Extraordinary Business Book Club.  On happiness - Andy Cope's epiphany in the queue in Tesco's on Christmas Eve. On messiness - Tim Harford explains why we're at our most creative, potentially at least, when things go wrong. On deadlines and procrastination - when you hear what Natalie Reynolds did three weeks before her deadline, I guarantee you'll feel better wherever you are with your manuscript. On metaphors and why it's ok that we can never really nail it - listening to Michael Neill is like drinking melted chocolate. The fact that this is so useful and inspiring is almost incidental.  I hope you enjoy this (not-very) seasonal selection box as much as I did. And whatever you're doing and whoever you're doing it with, have a very happy Christmas Day. 
25/12/1723m 20s

Episode 92 - Trusted with Lyn Bromley & Donna Whitbrook

The launch of Trusted was a very special occasion. When one of my authors has a book launch it's ALWAYS a special occasion, of course, but this one was exceptional for a number of reasons: It was two authors, not one, both of whom had written every word of the book over six months of online and offline collaboration without a single cross word. The launch was hosted and catered by University College, Birmingham, with the students taking responsibility for planning, setting up, welcoming, serving, and catering the evening as part of an assessed module. It was their way of repaying the authors for months of support with employability skills, and they produced the best spread of food I have ever seen at a book launch. And I've been to a lot of book launches. It's the only launch I've ever been to with its own cocktail, the T-spot. It tasted even better than it looks. It was the first live recording of The Extraordinary Business Book Club podcast interview. Sadly, the thing that can happen with live things happened, and the audio file was lost. So today's episode is a rerun of that interview. In it Lyn and Donna talk about the inspiration for Trusted, how they wrote together so effectively, and how their book is working for their business. And as promised, here are some pictures from the launch, beginning (and indeed ending) with that fabulous T-spot cocktail:  
18/12/1738m 59s

Episode 91 - The business book in the arena with Raj Nair

Raj Nair hasn't written a business book (yet). As Executive Vice President and President, North America of the Ford Motor Company, leading one of the world's leading company's in one of the world's most disrupted, fast-moving and complex industries, it's hard to find the time. But he DOES make time to read them.  Why?  Because good business books make him think: 'There's another way to look at that.' No matter how senior or experienced an executive you may be, when a book brings a new perspective or insight it can transform the way you see your business.  This is a report from within the arena on how business books are used by leaders, and what they're looking for when they make the decision to invest their most valuable resource - their attention - to read one.
11/12/1736m 13s

Episode 90 - The Best Bits

Another satisfying helping of the choicest morsels of practical inspiration served up by recent guests. Listen to:  Dr Lynda Shaw (business neuroscientist) on what stories do to our brains and why that's good for business Matt Locke (Storythings and The Story conference) on the craft of storytelling Nigel Wilcockson (Random House Business Books) on what makes a business book great Donya Dickerson (McGraw Hill) on what publishers are looking for in business book proposals David Newman (Do It! Marketing) with a Jedi mind trick for getting your own way with your publisher Dorie Clark (Entrepreneurial You) on making money because of your book rather than from it  Carole Wyer (blogger and author) on the importance of trying new stuff Dan Underwood (Art of Enterprise) on taking risks Rebecca Jones (Enterprise Within) on Just Getting On With It. Warning: this show is unsuitable for anyone wishing to remain within their zone of comfort. 
04/12/1734m 6s

Episode 89 - The science of stories with Dr Lynda Shaw

'Neuroscience is the future of business,' claims Dr Lynda Shaw, and once you've listen to her talk about how emotion drives our decisions and how being generous helps us be more effective, it's hard to argue. She also reveals how when we tell stories, we create neurochemical connections between ourselves and our listeners, which build trust and connection. But how can you use that powerful effect when your listener isn't in the room with you, when you're writing a business book, for example?  In the best traditions of The Extraordinary Business Book Club, this is a fascinating mix of rich information together with tips and ideas for making it work for you in practice and with a dash of the unexpected - this is the first mention of Coronation Street as a model for writing on this podcast or indeed any other, as far as I'm aware... 
27/11/1730m 45s

Episode 88 - The art of the business book with Nigel Wilcockson

Matt Watkinson described Nigel Wilcockson, publishing director at Random House Business Books and his own editor, as the brains behind many of the best business books he'd ever read. Nigel is more modest about his role: 'a good editor is more like a mentor... there in the background to offer advice'. But that advice can make all the difference. Business book authors are busy people, and while they may be used to writing blog posts or sales copy, a full-length book is a very different animal. Nigel helps his authors tackle issues such as structure and what he describes as 'short-breathedness', getting all your ideas across as quickly as possible.  This is a fascinating insight into the hard work that goes into making the world's best business books so deceptively easy to read. There are also invaluable tips for anyone thinking about pitching themselves and their book to the top business book publishers.  
20/11/1731m 50s

Episode 87 - Humour and connection with Carol Wyer

Something a bit different on this week's show. Meet Carol Wyer, blogger, author, and stand-up comedian. 'She know her audience so well,' Ben Cameron told me. 'She really taps into who her audience is and she has this ability to go out and do whatever it takes to promote her books.' I trust Ben, so despite the fact I wasn't sure how useful this would be to my business-book-writing listeners, I interviewed Carol. And it turns out Ben was right: there is SO much good stuff here for Extraordinary Business Book Club listeners - on using humour effectively, on connecting with your readers, and on why it's ok if you hate your book right now. 
13/11/1735m 3s

Episode 86 - Storytelling and Attention with Matt Locke

Matt Locke tells a good story. He does, after all, run The Story conference, and his content studio Storythings helps businesses including Google and the BBC tell better stories. Right now he's fascinated by attention: how we measure it, and how it's changing.  In this episode we bring all that together. We discuss why stories are so important, how they work and how not to mess them up, and we talk about how attention is changing in the digital age and what that means for anyone creating content, particularly authors of books.  Intelligent listening, with a side order of practical inspiration.  
06/11/1733m 7s

Episode 85 - The Publisher's View with Donya Dickerson

Donya Dickerson is Editorial Director with responsibility for business books for McGraw Hill in New York. So what does she look for when a proposal crosses her desk? And what kind of authors is she keen to get onto the list?  A fascinating insight into the publisher's perspective of the partnership that is publishing a business book, and how you can position yourself for the best chance of success when you pitch. 
30/10/1727m 31s

Episode 84 - Do It! Marketing with David Newman

David Newman describes the process of writing a book as capturing ‘lightning in a bottle’. In today’s episode he describes how Do It! Marketing has transformed his business, and reveals the brilliant book bonus tactics he used to make it a success (plus, refreshingly, some of the stuff that didn’t go so well). There’s also a Jedi mind trick for getting your own way with your publisher if you go down the traditional route. This is The Extraordinary Business Book Club at its best – inspiring, thoughtful, practical, hilarious.
23/10/1734m 50s

Episode 83 - Enterprise Within with Rebecca Jones

Rebecca Jones was told at school that she’d better hope she made ‘pretty babies’, because she’d never amount to anything. She left aged 16 with a handful of non-academic O-levels to her name. By her mid-twenties she was running her second company, and now she’s a world-famous expert in training and business growth. She believes the dyslexia that had her labelled ‘hopeless’ at school has been the driver behind her entrepreneurial success, but when it came to writing a book, it meant a whole new set of challenges. In this week’s conversation Rebecca tells me how she overcame those challenges, why red shoes matter, how she fixes businesses, and how her new book, Enterprise Within, could make possible a whole new phase for her own business.
16/10/1730m 33s

Episode 82 - Book as Toolkit with Dan Underwood

Dan Underwood is part of the ArtOf team, whose mission is to use diagrams and drawings to help people and organisations see their challenges and opportunities in a fresh and powerful way. He talked to me about how the ArtOf team have used the process of developing a book to explore and extend their own thinking and to engage with their clients - it's a great example of how books can be used playfully and dynamically in a business, as a live project rather than a static output.
09/10/1734m 18s

Episode 81 - Entrepreneurial You with Dorie Clark

'You have to open yourself up... away from making money from something and understand that nowadays you make money because of something, and that's a very different phenomenon.' As a journalist, Dorie Clark used to make her living by writing content. But now she writes for free, and makes a much better living off the back of it. In this interview we explore the opportunities out there for anyone entrepreneurial enough to seize them, and the central role that writing and books play in this new world of attention and engagement. I'm utterly in awe of this woman.
02/10/1733m 6s

Episode 80 - The Best Bits

My personal favourite moments from the last 9 episodes of The Extraordinary Business Book Club. It's an incredible selection: Daniel Priestley (Key Person of Influence) on making the book work with the business Warren Knight (Think #Digital First) on what it means to be in control of publishing your book Orna Ross (Head of ALLi, the Alliance of Independent Authors) on making the most of your publishing options Sara Kelly (journalist and academic) on why we're all entrepreneurs now Antony Mayfield (Brilliant Noise) on why small is beautiful when it comes to marketing Bridget Shine (CEO of the Independent Publishers Group) on what it means to publish with a small independent press Matt Watkinson (The Grid) on the big press experience and why it's OK if you're finding it hard to write your book Pam Didner (Global Content Marketing) on why writing is her extreme sport of choice Amanda Setili (Fearless Growth) on how not taking yourself too seriously can seriously improve your writing. Make a cup of tea and settle down. Heck, grab a biscuit too.  
25/09/1733m 4s

Episode 79 - Brilliant Noise with Antony Mayfield

Antony Mayfield runs marketing and communications agency Brilliant Noise, helping some of the biggest brands in the world transform their approach to getting their message out. He's got some fascinating stuff to say about how advertising and marketing are changing, and what it means to be digitally literate, with tips that work for microbusinesses as well as multinationals (in fact he says the reason he works with the big companies is that they need more help getting this right!).  But he also talks about Brilliant Noise's own approach to marketing, and particularly the way they create and use books within the company.  'Those books are like little avatars, little bits of you that you sent out into the world and they've got a life of their own and they're going round telling people what you think.' A fascinating, inspiring conversation with one of the world's leading thinkers in digital marketing. 
18/09/1737m 44s

Episode 78 - Fearless Growth with Amanda Setili

'I'm actually shocked at what writing now means to me relative to what it would have meant before I wrote two books. I used to dread writing... now it's a way to structure my learning, it's a place to put my creativity. It's a place to create a sense of intellectual