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The Extraordinary Business Book Club

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.
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Now displaying: January, 2019
Jan 28, 2019

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.
Jan 21, 2019

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. 

Jan 14, 2019
'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.' 

Jan 7, 2019

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.  

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