147 episodes

Most people don’t have time to read the books they want to. Each week join Steph (@stephsbizbookshelf), a life-long bookworm, as she brings you the lessons from the best non-fiction books she’s read. Steph will share the ‘three big things’ the books taught her, favourite quotes and actions she’s implemented since reading the book. If you have an ever-growing pile of half-read books on your bedside table, this podcast is for you. Steph's Business Bookshelf; doing the reading so you don't have to.

Steph's Business Bookshelf Podcast Steph's Business Bookshelf

    • Management
    • 4.9 • 15 Ratings

Most people don’t have time to read the books they want to. Each week join Steph (@stephsbizbookshelf), a life-long bookworm, as she brings you the lessons from the best non-fiction books she’s read. Steph will share the ‘three big things’ the books taught her, favourite quotes and actions she’s implemented since reading the book. If you have an ever-growing pile of half-read books on your bedside table, this podcast is for you. Steph's Business Bookshelf; doing the reading so you don't have to.

    Special Episode: Talking books with Steph Clarke and Kelly Irving

    Special Episode: Talking books with Steph Clarke and Kelly Irving

    Sign up to the bookmark newsletter:

    https://mailchi.mp/1119b1358a84/thebookmark

     

    Time for something a little different.

    This week, to celebrate the 100th episode of Steph’s Business Bookshelf (yes, you read this right, there was an episode zero, so episode 99 is the 100th episode) AND my birthday, I’ve invited a guest host onto the podcast… introducing, Kelly Irving.

    Kelly is an author coach who helps you unlock what’s inside your head, so you plan, write and publish your best book as fast, fun and pain-free as possible. She is obsessed with helping experts, CEOs and thought leaders, author work that matters and makes an impact. As a bestselling-book coach, editor, and creator of The Expert Author Academy, Kelly nurtures authors from idea to implementation. Her unique Write Book method, results in book awards and major publisher deals (she has never had a book rejected), and transforms businesses from 6 to 7-figure turnovers.

    Find out more about Kelly’s work here: https://www.kellyirving.com/

    Join Kelly and I talking books, and tackle some of these questions:
    What books did you read as a child that gave you a feeling of belonging?
    How did you develop your reading habit?
    How do you find so much time for reading?
    How many books have you read since episode zero?
    How do you not get bored of reading?
    How important do you think ‘story’ is to non-fiction books?
    Do you think there’s a place for both professional writers and aspiring authors?
    What makes a book unfinishable?
    How quickly do you judge a book?
    You’re in a bookstore, and you’ve got five minutes to find a book, how would you do that? What would you look for?
    How do you make notes?
    What’s your system for revisiting your book notes?
    If you were a book cover, what would you look like?

    Would you like to take better notes from the books you read?  Get your copy of Archley's beautiful book journal, the Book of Books here: https://www.archleys.com/?ref=JamVyS-U4mVR

     

    Let’s Connect

    LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/steph-clarke

    Instagram: @stephsbizbookshelf

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    • 33 min
    Think Like a Freak by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner: Why morals can get in the way of the right answer

    Think Like a Freak by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner: Why morals can get in the way of the right answer

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    About the Book 

    With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner take us inside their thought process and teach us all how to think a bit more productively, more creatively, more rationally.

    In Think Like A Freak, they offer a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems, whether your interest lies in minor lifehacks or major global reforms. The topics range from business to philanthropy to sports to politics, all with the goal of retraining your brain. Along the way, you’ll learn the secrets of a Japanese hot-dog-eating champion, the reason an Australian doctor swallowed a batch of dangerous bacteria, and why Nigerian e-mail scammers make a point of saying they’re from Nigeria.

    Levitt and Dubner plainly see the world like no one else. Now you can too. Never before have such iconoclastic thinkers been so revealing—and so much fun to read.’

    Source: https://www.amazon.com/ 

    Buy the book from The Book Depository - https://www.bookdepository.com/Think-Like-Freak-Steven-D-Levitt/9780062295927/?a_aid=stephsbookshelf

     

    About the Authors

    Steven and Stephen are co-authors of the “Freakonomics” book series, which have sold millions of copies in 40 languages, and host of Freakonomics Radio, which gets 15 million global monthly downloads and is heard by millions more on NPR and other radio outlets.

    Steven D. Levitt is the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, where he directs the Becker Center on Chicago Price Theory. In 2006, he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 People Who Shape Our World. In addition to his academic and Freakonomics pursuits, he is a founding partner of TGG Group consulting firm. He lives in Chicago with his wife Jeannette and their four children.

    Stephen J. Dubner is an award-winning author, journalist, and TV and radio personality. Dubner’s journalism has also been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time and elsewhere. He has taught English at Columbia University, played in a rock band and, as a writer, was first published at the age of 11. He lives in New York with his wife, the docu mentary photographer Ellen Binder, and their children.

    Source: https://freakonomics.com/about/ 

    Would you like to take better notes from the books you read?  Get your copy of Archley's beautiful book journal, the Book of Books here: https://www.archleys.com/?ref=JamVyS-U4mVR

    LINKS

    Freakonomics podcast

    No stupid questions podcast
    Dubner and Levitt revisit the abortion research and its challenges: https://freakonomics.com/podcast/abortion/

    BIG IDEA 1 (5:27) – Correlation is not oranges.

    There are many examples in the book around correlation not equaling causation. A lot of things require second order thinking, the question of ‘what else’. One example in the book is the famous connection between falling crime rates and the legalisation of abortion, 18-20 years earlier. This shows that answers might be uncomfortable but it doesn’t mean they should be ignored or unexplored. 

    By digging in a little bit deeper, we make better choices and decisions by using the right information. The authors say that we sometimes need to put away our moral compass when trying to find out what’s really happening. Because we might miss things that we don’t like, but it doesn’t mean they are not true.

    BIG IDEA 2 (7:46) – Ask the right questions.

    The right questions might include – what will happen next? There are some examples in the books around unintended consequences as a result of (what seemed like genius) problem solving. We need to ask what else could be causing this, or what else is contributing to this situation. 

    There was an example in the book about child

    • 13 min
    Dream Teams by Shane Snow: How to fight your way to working better together

    Dream Teams by Shane Snow: How to fight your way to working better together

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    About the Book

    A journey through science and history to understand incredible teams and what makes them tick.

    In Dream Teams, award-winning journalist Shane Snow takes us on an adventure through psychology, neuroscience, business and more, revealing what separates groups that simply get by together from teams that get better together. You’ll meet rap groups, pirate gangs, buddy cops, pioneering women in journalism and the FBI, soviet hockey teams, outrageous artists and city planners, and the people behind social movements that changed the world. And much more!

    Source: https://www.shanesnow.com/dreamteams

    About the Author

    Shane Snow is an award-winning entrepreneur, explorer, and journalist who has helped expose gun traffickers and government corruption, explored abandoned buildings and sewers around the world, eaten only ice cream for weeks in the name of science, and taught hundreds of thousands of people to work better through his books, including the #1 business bestseller Dream Teams.

    Snow speaks globally about innovation and human behavior, has performed comedy on Broadway, and has been in the running for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism.

    His writing has appeared in GQ, Fast Company, Wired, The New Yorker, and more. He is currently a board member of the media technology company Contently, and the investigative journalism nonprofit The Hatch Institute.

    Source: https://www.shanesnow.com/about 

    Buy the book from The Book Depository - https://www.bookdepository.com/Dream-Teams-Shane-Snow/9780349420967/?a_aid=stephsbookshelf

    Would you like to take better notes from the books you read?  Get your copy of Archley's beautiful book journal, the Book of Books here: https://www.archleys.com/?ref=JamVyS-U4mVR

    BIG IDEA 1 (4:05) – Re-look at problem mountain

    Heuristics are the mental models or ways of thinking that we evolved to have in our minds. They impact how we perceive problems, people and our range of potential solutions. Our different experiences growing up, who we grew up with, where we grew up, languages we speak, gender or disability inform just some of the mental heuristics that influence our decision, behaviour and problem solving approach.

    Shane says that different people’s mental models or heuristics affect their perspective of a problem. And therefore we need to ‘cast the right crew’ to solve different problems. Our differences may be more or less relevant in different situations or types of problems. 

    So it’s not about casting the same crew for every problem, but what is important is knowing what type of problem you are solving first, and then picking the best mix of people to solve it.

    BIG IDEA 2 (8:20) – The conflict paradox

    Conflict can be a predictor of progress in a relationship. A lack of conflict can indicate organisational silence, which can end up as inertia, inaction and halt progress. But what we need to know is what it is we’re actually fighting for, how to harness that and what we are trying to get to as a result of conflict, otherwise it becomes toxic and unhealthy. 

    An example in the book is the Wright brothers who are known for their loud arguments as they were trying to solve their flying machine problems. They would switch sides regularly and argue really well which lead to them finding the right answer and solving the complex problems.

    Make sure that conflict is done in a healthy way, not personal attacks but a focus on getting to the right outcome and answer.

    BIG IDEA 3 (11:45) – Play for belonging

    Play creates points of connection, similarity and an opportunity for trust.  

    In Argentina, the immigration of Jewish people and Europeans created significant tensions. However, it was a shared love of football that ended up bridging some of the cul

    • 16 min
    Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon: How to unlock your creativity and make better work

    Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon: How to unlock your creativity and make better work

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    https://mailchi.mp/1119b1358a84/thebookmark

     

    About the Book

    An inspiring guide to creativity in the digital age, Steal Like an Artist presents ten transformative principles that will help readers discover their artistic side and build a more creative life.

    Nothing is original, so embrace influence, school yourself through the work of others, remix and reimagine to discover your own path. Follow interests wherever they take you—what feels like a hobby may turn into you life’s work. Forget the old cliché about writing what you know: Instead, write the book you want to read, make the movie you want to watch.

    And finally, stay Smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring in the everyday world so that you have the space to be wild and daring in your imagination and your work.

    Source: https://www.amazon.com/

     

    About the Author

    Austin Kleon is the New York Times bestselling author of a trilogy of illustrated books about creativity in the digital age: Steal Like An Artist, Show Your Work!, and Keep Going. He’s also the author of Newspaper Blackout, a collection of poems made by redacting the newspaper with a permanent marker. His books have been translated into dozens of languages and have sold over a million copies worldwide. 

    He’s been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, PBS Newshour, and in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. New York Magazine called his work “brilliant,” The Atlantic called him “positively one of the most interesting people on the Internet,” and The New Yorker said his poems “resurrect the newspaper when everybody else is declaring it dead.” 

    He speaks for organizations such as Pixar, Google, SXSW, TEDx, and The Economist. In previous lives, he worked as a librarian, a web designer, and an advertising copywriter. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and sons. 

    Source: https://austinkleon.com/about/

    Buy the book from The Book Depository - https://www.bookdepository.com/Steal-Like-an-Artist/9780761169253/?a_aid=stephsbookshelf

    Would you like to take better notes from the books you read?  Get your copy of Archley's beautiful book journal, the Book of Books here: https://www.archleys.com/?ref=JamVyS-U4mVR

     

    BIG IDEA 1 (5:33) – Nothing is original

    It is a fact that all new things are combinations or revisits of old ideas. And constantly wanting to do something original will stop you from doing anything, because you’ll be paralysed by the idea of needing to make something different, and likely end up doing nothing. 

    So stop trying to create from nothing. And a little bit of intentional copying can be good, especially during the learning process. But start thinking about and analysing the thinking behind an idea, not just the final output or a piece of work (which will just be plagiarism). 

    Nothing is original. You will undo yourself trying to create something new, which will be unhelpful and stop us from creating anything, never mind anything good.

     

    BIG IDEA 2 (6:42) – 10 rules to unlock creativity

    The book is split into ten sections, or the ten underlying rules that Austin believes are at the heart of creativity and important to bear in mind.
    Steal like an artist
    Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started
    Write the book you want to read
    Use your hands
    Side projects and hobbies are important
    Do good work and share it
    Geography is no longer our master
    Be nice
    Be boring
    Creativity is subtraction

     

    BIG IDEA 3 (8:09) – Don’t throw any of yourself away

    During your life you have likely given a part of you away, to do your job or live the way you do. It might have been stopping a hobby or something you loved doing as a child. You may or may not notice how missing they are from your life until you start doing it again.

    It’s important to have hobbies to keep yourself san

    • 12 min
    Marketing Made Simple by Donald Miller: How to use enlightenment to create commitment

    Marketing Made Simple by Donald Miller: How to use enlightenment to create commitment

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    https://mailchi.mp/1119b1358a84/thebookmark

     

    About the Book 

    An essential part of any marketing professional’s tool kit – this strategic and actionable guide shows you how to apply the renowned StoryBrand framework to your brand.

    Every day, brands lose millions of dollars simply because they do not have a clear message that tells consumers who they are and what value they will add to their customers’ lives. To solve this dilemma, Donald Miller wrote Building a StoryBrand, which has become the quintessential guide for anyone looking to craft or strengthen their brand’s message.

    Now, Don is taking it a step further with this five-part checklist that helps marketing professionals and business owners apply the StoryBrand messaging framework across key customer touchpoints to effectively develop, strengthen, and communicate their brand’s story to the marketplace.

    Source: https://www.amazon.com/

    About the Author

    Donald Miller is the CEO of StoryBrand and every year helps more than 3,000 business leaders clarify their brand message. Combined, Don’s books have spent more than a year on the New York Times Bestsellers list. His books include: Blue Like Jazz, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and Scary Close.

    Don is widely considered one of the most entertaining and informative speakers in the world. His audiences are challenged to lean into their own story, creatively develop and execute the story of their team, and understand the story of their customers so they can serve them with passion. Don’s thoughts on story have deeply influenced leaders and teams for Pantene, Chick-fil-A, Steelcase, Intel, Prime Lending, Zaxby’s, and thousands more.

    Don lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Betsy, and their chocolate lab, Lucy.

    Source: https://www.amazon.com/

    LINKS

    STORY BRAND PODCAST

    Buy the book from The Book Depository - https://www.bookdepository.com/Marketing-Made-Simple-Donald-Miller/9781400203796/?a_aid=stephsbookshelf

    Would you like to take better notes from the books you read?  Get your copy of Archley's beautiful book journal, the Book of Books here: https://www.archleys.com/?ref=JamVyS-U4mVR

     

    BIG IDEA 1 (4:06) – Have a marketing plan

    There are five steps to Don’s recommended marketing plan:

    1. Brand script

    2. One liner

    3. Landing page

    4. Lead generation PDF

    5. Email list

    Don said that the more of these you put into place the better. The whole concept is helping your audience understand you. Don rebuilt his name, audience and influence by developing and putting this plan into place after losing everything he’d made from selling his first successful book.

    BIG IDEA 2 (5:48)  – Three stages of relationship

    The three stages of relationship are curiosity, enlightenment and commitment. Curiosity is when people wonder who you are and how you can help them. They are curious about ‘what’s in it for me?’

    Curiosity leads to enlightenment on how the product helps them. This stage is about educating your potential customers to reduce confusion. Because confused people are not going to buy your product or service. Enlightening / educating also helps build trust and influence. 

    The lead generation PDF stage of the marketing plan is generally when you start the enlightenment phase of relationships, which is education.

    The final part is when the person is ready to make a decision and ready to commit. This could be providing their email address to join a mailing list or buying your product to solve their problem.

    Many businesses are still starting with the ‘why’ while this marketing model starts with the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. It is how you pique someone’s curiosity by talking about the difference you want to make to them and their business.

    BIG IDEA 3 (9:22)  – Execute the plan

    More execution equals more results. The

    • 13 min
    Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: Why you need to start being more weird

    Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: Why you need to start being more weird

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    About the Book

    For a quarter century, more than a million readers—scribes and scribblers of all ages and abilities—have been inspired by Anne Lamott’s hilarious, big-hearted, homespun advice. Advice that begins with the simple words of wisdom passed down from Anne’s father—also a writer—in the iconic passage that gives the book its title.

    An essential volume for generations of writers young and old, Bird by Bird is a modern classic.

    Source: amazon.com

     

    About the Author

    Anne Lamott is the New York Times bestselling author of Help, Thanks, Wow; Small Victories; Stitches; Some Assembly Required; Grace (Eventually); Plan B; Traveling Mercies; Bird by Bird; Operating Instructions, and the forthcoming Hallelujah Anyway. She is also the author of several novels, including Imperfect Birds and Rosie. A past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an inductee to the California Hall of Fame, she lives in Northern California.

    Source: amazon.com

    Buy the book from The Book Depository - https://www.bookdepository.com/Bird-By-Bird/9780385480017/?a_aid=stephsbookshelf

    Would you like to take better notes from the books you read?  Get your copy of Archley's beautiful book journal, the Book of Books here: https://www.archleys.com/?ref=JamVyS-U4mVR

     

    BIG IDEA 1 (3:46) – Bird by bird, buddy

    This book was inspired by Anne’s father who helped her brother who had months to do an essay project at school about birds but inevitably left it to the last minute. Overwhelmed by the size of the task and the short amount of time left, her dad told her brother “Just take it bird by bird buddy, bird by bird”.

    However big the challenge is you just have to break it down, take it bird by bird and just get through. She said that in the context of writing, no writer she knows sits down feeling enthusiastic and confident but they do it – word by word, page by page. 

    Anne said there’s treasure in the piles of chaos and mess, and we need to make that mess to find out who we are. She also said that nobody is reading your first draft or nobody needs to read it. So if you’re putting pressure on yourself to show your first draft (on social media / to friends or family), you’ll find it too overwhelming – keep it for yourself.

    On the topic of writer’s block she argues that you actually are not blocked but empty. So you need to fill yourself back up. It’s all about the process. Sit down at your desk and tackle your book, essay or anything, bird by bird.

    BIG IDEAS 2 (7:19) – Write to tell the truth

    Anne always encourages her students in writing classes to start with their childhood and write anything and everything they remember. The Christmas celebration where your Uncle got drunk, the dress that your Grandma used to wear, the smell of cooking coming through the door, everything you remember. Write it down.

    Anne says that you need to write as people talk. And to do this well, you need to go out and listen to people really talking. In your mind, think how you would write that conversation as narrative so it sounds like people really talking. By helping your characters create their own narrative, you find things out about your characters as you go along. 

    The point of good writing is to create real characters with hopes and dreams. As a writer, you need to think as a writer and constantly observe and listen – you need to write the true representation of people. Observing and listening and capturing can be anything – from a snippet of a one-sided conversation when someone walks past you whilst on the phone, or the colour of someone’s hat at the supermarket.

    BIG IDEA 3 (10:11) – Be weird

    This book is full of irreverence, neurosis, quirks, hypochondria and general human weirdness. Anne gives voice to the weird things that w

    • 13 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

S P Yeo ,

Subscribe for short bursts of learning and inspiration

One of my goals this year was to read more books. At first, I found it quite challenging as I was flooded with recommendations however, I was unsure where to start. Recently, when I went travelling, I downloaded a variety of Steph's Business Bookshelf episodes and have since been very inspired to make time for reading.

I thoroughly enjoy how the format is concise, full of insights and inspiration. I'm looking forward to learning more and reading more from the next episodes!

Lea Hughes ,

Time-saver

Thanks for bringing the world this podcast, Steph! I frequently complain about not having the time to read books, and it’s good to know you have me covered by providing great summaries every week.

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