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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: 2020
Feb 24, 2020

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! 

Feb 17, 2020

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. 

Feb 10, 2020

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. 

 

Feb 3, 2020

'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....)

Jan 27, 2020

'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. 

Jan 20, 2020

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.

Jan 13, 2020

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...

 

Jan 6, 2020

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. 

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