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'.
'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 And I wonder how many business books are going to feel out of date.'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.
'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.)
'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.