RBC Impact Rating
|RBC Review||London Meetup Venue||Cocktail (by Mix & Muddle)||Vote Result ( + the other books)|
|April 15||Pilot in Bali||Startups||Zero to One||Peter Theil||8||The Onion Collective, Bali||Mojito + One||Exclusive!|
|May-15||1||Mix||Happiness by Design||Paul Dolan||8||Virgin HQ Roof||Duppy Share||Creativity Inc / Tribes|
|Jun-15||2||Productivity||The One Thing||Gary Keller||6||Underbelly, Southbank||Mojito's||An Optimists Tour of the Future / Reasons to Stay Alive|
|Jul-15||3||Mix||This Changes Everything||Naomi Klein||7||Futerra with Ed Gillespie||Mix & Muddle||Sapiens / Quiet: The Power of Introverts|
|Aug-15||4||Mix||Never Eat Alone||Keith Ferrazi||6||Huckletree Farringdon||Kingbloom||The Omnivore's Dilemma / The Story of the Human Body|
|Sep-15||5||Mix||Doing Good Better||William MacAskill||9||Work Life Camden||The Obstacle is the Way / Peers Inc|
|Oct-15||6||Mix||Wild Courage||Elle Harrison||6||WeWork Devonshire Place||BeerBods|
Reinventing Organizations / The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being
|Nov-15||7||Extraodinary Lives||An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth||Chris Hadfield||9||Bathtub to Boardroom||Guns n Rose||I am Malala / Meditations|
|Dec-15||8||Inside our Minds||The Chimp Paradox||Dr. Steven Peters||7||Popup Shop||Mix & Muddle||Brain Rules / The Talent Code|
|Jan-16||9||Work habits||The Power of Habit||Charles Duhigg||8||Work Life Camden||Thinking Fast & Slow / Remote|
|Feb-16||10||Mix||This is Happening||Rohan Gunatillake||7||WeWork Liverpool St||The Rise of Robots / Life on the Edge|
|Mar-16||11||Hustle||The Art of Asking||Amanda Palmer||8||Airbnb HQ||'The Boston Cooler'||Wild / We Should All be Feminists|
|Apr-16||12||Extraodinary Lives||City of Lies||Ramita Navai||8||Huckletree|
Undercover Jihadi Bride / Nothing is True and Everything is Possible
|23 Things they don't tell you about Capitalism||Ha-Joon Chang||6||Virign Startup - 1st Birthday!||The Flat White Economy / The Undercover Economist|
|Jun-16||14||Food||Gut||Giulia Enders||7||Blacksmith & Toffeemaker||The Omnivore's Dilemma / Eating Animals|
|Jul-16||15||Rethink||Dataclysm||Christian Rydduer||7||Victoria Gardens||Harry Bromptons Picnic||Feral / Cradle to Cradle|
|Aug-16||16||Ego||Ego is the Enemy||Ryan Holiday||8||Escape the City||Exclusive!|
|Sep-16||17||Adventure Classics||A Long Way Home||Saroo Brierly||8||Launch 22, Old Street||Touching the Void / The Lost City of Z|
|Oct-16||18||Risk||Black Box Thinking||Matthew Syed||7||Work Life London Fields||Black Box Bromptons||Born to Run / A Life Without Limits|
|Nov-16||19||Women & Work||Girl Boss||Sophia Amaruso||5|
Qubit w/ Gabi Hershman, Pippa Murray
|Unfinished Business / The Glass Wall|
|Dec-16||20||Future of Education||Creative Schools||Ken Robinson||8||Airbnb HQ||'Sir Ken'||Educating Ruby / The Smartest Kids in the World|
|Jan-17||21||Life Hacking||Tools of Titans||Tim Ferriss||10|
Great way to start the year. His best podcast interviews with some remarkable characters condensed into short chapters covering health, wealth & wisdom (my favourite).
|Work Life London Fields||Your Titan, My Way||Exclusive!|
|Feb-17||22||Young Role Models||In Order to Live||Yeonmi Park||8|
A young North Korean girl escapes. Brave is an understatement. Its hard to imagine that this type of existence is a reality still today.
|WeWork Devonshire Place||'Bravery'||The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind / I am Malala|
|Mar-17||23||Reinvention||Reinvent Yourself||James Altucher||5|
So much wit and wisdom but pretty hard to follow as its literally a stream of consciousness. James was great in our skype chat.
|Apr-17||24||Modern Crime||The Dark Net||Jamie Bartlett||8|
A surprisingly engaging journey into the people who live in the online world of crime, porn, and destructive chat-rooms. The chapters on teenage suicide and anorexia were frightening. Jamie is a brilliant guide and journalist.
|Launch 22, Old Street||The Dark Roots||Narconomics / The Snowden Files|
|May-17||25||Childs Eye View||Little Wins||Paul Lindley||7|
A mission driven entrepreneur who harnessed his toddler’s frank feedback — ‘The Red One’ to build the very successful Ella’s Kitchen. Paul is a great advocate of purposeful business and playfulness.
|Virgin Startup - 2nd Birthday!||Orange Squash||Exclusive!|
Alternative Political Futures
|Utopia for Realists||Rutger Bregman||9|
The most positive political book I’ve read in a while. Bregman makes the seemingly radical ideas of Universal Basic Income, a 15 hour work week and mass open borders, seriously compelling.
|Work Life Clerkenwell||'Utopian'||Hope in the Dark / Moranifesto|
|Jul-17||27||Live Forever||Homo Deus||Yuval Noah Harari||9|
Sapiens was my book of the year for 2016, and Homo Deus — a short history of the future — is a brilliant attempt to match it. Harari is a masterful synthisiser and his glimpses into where we might be going are as exciting as they are frightening.
|WeWork Paddington Deck||Cold, Calculated||100 Year Life / Superintelligence|
Amy’s straight talking and painfully honest tales of her travels in South America were really entertaining, as was her Q&A session with the book club in the park.
|Green Park||Amy's Pisco Party||Pants of Perspective / RTW Taxi|
|Sep-17||29||History||The Silk Roads||Peter Frankopan||8|
Probably the most ambitious book we’ve taken on at RBC and the only one this year I didn’t quite finish. Silk Roads re-tells history as if the Middle East, and not Europe, is the centre of the world. Peter kindly spoke to us about how and why he wrote it which made it even more impactful.
|Huckletree West||'The Silk Road'||SPQR: An Ancient History of Rome / Worth Dying For|
|Oct 17||30||Gender||How Not To Be a Boy||Robert Webb||9|
The most surprising book of the year for me, both in terms of how entertaining I found Robert’s awkward tales of growing up not wanting to the be ‘the boy’ his family and society expected him to be and, also how impactful a discussion it created about masculinity.
|Work Life Clerkenwell||'My Man'||Girls Will Be Girls / Trans Like Me|
|Nov 17||31||Sleep||Sleep Smarter||Shawn Stevenson||6|
Like all good life hacks, sleep is a big one. This popular book shows you how to master sleep. Maybe not the ideal read for a Dad of 3 kids under 3!
|The Library||The Sleep Revolution / Sleep|
|Dec 17||32||Random||100 Year Life||Linda Gratton||9|
The one book I read this year that takes a big subject — increased life expectancy- and made it relevant and realistic to my current life and work. Compelling, useful and a little bit scary.
|LeWagon||100 Year Medicine||Women & Power / Choose Life|
|Jan 18||33||Brene Brown Theme!||Braving the Wilderness||Brene Brown||5|
Brene’s writing is often mentioned at RBC. This book on ‘belonging’ had some great nuggets without ever getting into full flow, unlike the conversation it ignited at our meetup.
|Huckletree Liverpool St||Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Gingerbread||Daring Greatly / Rising Strong|
|Feb 18||34||Race & Immigration|
Why I'm no longer talking to white people about race
A challenging blog post that has become a book phenomenon. Reni’s articulate reflection on white privilege cut through many assumptions and generated the best conversation I’ve heard at RBC.
|Zinc HQ||Rose Tinted Glasses||The Good Immigrant / Black & British|
|Mar 18||35||Cryptocurrency||Blockchain Revolution||Don Tapscott||4|
For one of the most exciting ideas to emerge into the world today, the book didn’t quite match the hype. But it did serve as a useful introduction to this disruptive technology and our meetup revealed that there were plenty of crypto investors and players in our club.
|Rise London||Decentralized||Digital Gold / Cryptocurrency|
|April 18||36||Future of Food||Eating Animals||Jonathan Safran Foer||9|
Food. Always a good topic and although this book is a few years old, it seems more prescient than ever. Safran Foer’s detailed tour through the meat and dairy industry is enough to challenge any open-minded carnivore without being earnest. The kind of book you want to give to people.
|Work Life Clerkenwell||'The Rose Mary'||Dead Zone / Farmageddon|
|May 18||37||Career Hacking||Designing Your Life||Bill Burnett & Dave Evans||7|
Nice framing on how to think about work and career like a designer and useful tools and guidance to make it happen. You’ll likely need more than this book to turn it into a reality. I’d recommend the Escape School or Nomad MBA.
|Huckletree||'Prototype'||Pivot / So Good They Can't Ignore You|
|June 18||38||Undercover Jobs||The Secret Barrister||The Secret Barrister||8|
The theme of ‘undercover jobs’ was won by this brilliant and disturbing insiders view of the criminal justice system. All is not what it seems. Our mock trial at the RBC meetup proved the point of the book.
|Virgin Startup||'The Mistaken Icon'||Hired / This is Going to Hurt|
|July 18||39||Pirates!||Be More Pirate||Sam Conniff Allende||8|
Sam makes the case that the Golden Age Pirates have had their story mis-told. They are in fact, the role models we’ve been looking for: fighting for justice, equality, and freedom! Fun, outlandish and a fresh take on how, inspired by pirates, we might work and live in stormy times.
|Ticketmaster Den||'If in doubt...RUM'||Exclusive!|
|August 18||40||Travel Classics||Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance||Robert Prisig||7|
On the theme of travel, we read ‘Zen’ at RBC and despite the dense prose, I was engaged by the intricate metaphor of maintaining the machine and the author’s shaky mental health.
|Boutique Workplace Co||The Value of Greece||As I walked out one midsummer morning / Our of Africa|
|Sept 18||41||Simplicity||Wabi Sabi||Beth Kempton||8|
We’d heard of Tsundoku (the growing pile of unread books on your bedside table), and often discussed Ikagi (finding the sweet spot — purpose — in our work). Beth serenely introduces another Japanese philosophy-in-a-phrase, Wabi Sabi, how to find beauty in imperfection.
|Boutique Workplace Co||'This'||Exclusive!|
|Oct 18||42||Transgender Journeys||The Gender Games||Juno Dawson||9|
A popular theme at RBC, Juno proved to be an excellent and entertaining guide into the wild world of gender transition and cleverly helps the reader realise how big a role ‘gender’ plays throughout our lives, whoever we are.
|Huckletree Shoreditch||'The Blend'||Believe Me / Trans Like Me|
|Nov 18||43||Plastic||Turning the Tide on Plastic||Lucy Siegle||8|
Lucy has been fighting the environmental cause on the BBC and beyond for a long-time. But her time has come with the swell in interest in fighting plastic and her book captures the scale of the problem and how we can tackle it whoever we are
|Work Life Clerkenwell||'Shrapnel on the Surf'||How to Give Up Plastic / Zero Waste Home|
|Dec 18||44||Seth||This Is Marketing||Seth Godin||9|
Seth joined us via skype for our final RBC of 2018, brilliantly articulating the importance of focusing on your ‘smallest viable audience’ and making something specifically for them. Its common business sense of course, but not something that we put into practise as much as we could. An easy, story-driven and insight-laden read.
|Airbnb HQ||Love Excellence, as a Local||Exclusive!|
|Jan 2019||45||Work Smart||Atomic Habits||James Clear||10|
The best balanced (psychology + practical action) on habits forming and breaking that I've read. The kind of book that pushes you to start changing things straight away. Have recommended it a lot already.
|Boutique Workplace Co||Stack & Automate||Stealing Fire / Hyperfocus|
|Feb 2019||46||Body Positivity||Just Eat It||Laura Thomas||7|
Fun and passionate challenge to diet culture. Insights:
- Accepting that babies/kids regulate their feeding but adults don' > society undermined trust in our own bodies (minds)
- Language (especially with children) needs to be managed carefully...pudding incentives etc..
- Gherline is the hunger hormone...'gherlin makes your tummy grumble' (spot the diff between physical & emotional hunger')
- Emotional eating is a prob when its the ONLY way of coping
- Diet culture is everywhere, a bit like 'gym culture' and most of the time it really isn't helpful
- Laura would be fun to have dinner with!
Most interesting Chapters: HUNGER, FEELING YOUR FULNESS, GENTLE NUTRITION,
- Be more aware of food language around my children (and in general)
- Understand that for many people, relationship with food is more complex that you might assume
- Eat More Plants!
Q for Laura: It seems we live in a time where knowing so much more about what we eat is empowering but also brings the burden of the perceived good/bad it can do to ourselves/society/the environment. Do you agree?
|Perseverance Works||Comfortably Numb||Am I Ugly / Body Positive Power|
|Mar 2019||47||Artificial Intelligence||Life 3.0||Max Tegmark||8|
A solid overview over the wild future of AI with a brilliant fable at the start of the book about a company that produces the world's first AI that can re-make itself and what might happens next. Frightening, engrossing and a vital book.
|Habito HQ||Prometheus||Surviving AI / The Rise of Robots|
|April 2019||48||Human Economics||Doughnut Economics||Kate Raworth||9|
Economics is broken, can the ‘doughnut’ save us? This is the economics book (and theory) I wish I’d been taught at school. Compelling, clear and passionate. Kate was equally convincing and energising at our London meet, one of my most recommended books in recent years. Send to all world leaders now!
|Zopa HQ||When are you Satisfied?||Exclusive!|
|May 2019||49||Bad Business||Bad Blood||John Carreyrou||8|
In 2014, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionise the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. How did the investors not do their due-diligence at such scale? A wild, frightening ride into a broken Silicon Valley culture and psychology of a sociopath. A brave piece of investigative journalism too. Reads like a thriller.
|Underpinned||Clouded in Determination||American Kingpin / Dark Edge|
|June 2019||50||Modern Mortality||All the Ghosts in the Machine||Elaine Kasket||8|
A glimpse into the future of digital life after real death. Painful, remarkable and one of the most thought-provoking reads in a while. It’s complicated!
|Knowtel||Proseco + Tony's||With the End in Mind / When Breath Becomes Air|
|July 2019||51||Altered (mental) States||How to Change Your Mind||Michael Pollen||9|
Take a 60 something who has never tried psychadelics and follow the journey. Wonderful mix of history, science and experiment.
|Entrepreneur First||Mindjuice||Walking with Einstein / The Awakened Ape|
|August 2019||52||Personal Finance||Money: A User's Guide||Laura Whateley||7|
Cuts through the panic of personal finances and reminds you of what the basics (tax, pensions, mortgages, simple investments) you should have learnt a long time ago. Laura is a great guide to sensibly managing money and gave our members — and me — lots of great tips.
|Zopa HQ||A User's Guide to Mixers||Exclusive!|
|September 2019||53||Planetary Emergency||There is No Planet B||Mike Berners-Lee||8|
A surprisingly clear and useful guide to how to tackle the climate crisis. We turned our meet into a ‘pub quiz’ to help cement the books key data which is both shocking and galvanising.
|Huckletree, White City||The Stats Don't Lie||This is Not a Drill / Human Planet|
|October 2019||54||Losing Our Minds||Lost Connections||Johann Hari||10|
The book that led to our largest ever turnout at an RBC meet-up (270 in Soho) and a topic that clearly resonates with many. Johann’s skill is to tell his painful personal journey exploring recovery from depression without traditional drugs, whilst questioning the industry behind them. A lot of his ‘connections’ seemed blindingly obvious, but maybe that’s the point.
|Huckletree, Soho||This is Not Your Sage||Reasons to Stay Alive / Mad Girl|
|November 2019||55||Fake News||You Are What You Read||Jodie Jackson||7|
Bad news sells but good news is needed more. Jodie was an excellent guide as we shared and explored our media diets. My biggest insight: Read the news less regularly (not a few times a day), but when you do read the news, read more diversely and in more depth (beyond the headlines).
|Storey Club, Paddington||The Influence||Factfulness / Breaking News|
|December 2019||56||On the Front Line|
In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin
I didn’t know the story of Marie Colvin until I opened this book, but My God, what a life! Colvin saw more war than most veteran soldiers and it’s not surprising perhaps that her personal life was chaotic and her own health poor. But, incredible bravery and a constant mission to share human stories of suffering to try and bring change. Impossible not to be moved or inspired.
|Samsara, Aldgate||Flee The Chaos, Join the Choas||Emergency Sex / Undercover Jihadi Bride|
|January 2020||57||Dream Big, Start Small||The Doorstep Mile||Al Humphreys||6|
A 'marmite' book for our members. It was either: "wow, that just what I needed, I'm off to do make things happen and this book has inspired and kicked me into action..." or "That didn't work for me / nothing new / felt like a collection of blog posts..." In person at our meet-ups, Al Humphreys, took on the challenging questions humbly and helpfully. My personal reflection is that although I know a lot of the lessons its always good to be reminded and putting them into action is worth re-reading a book like The Doorstep Mile when the time is right.
|Underpinned + Huckletree West||Start Small||Exclusive!|
|February 2020||58||Fast Fashion||Fashionopolis||Dana Thomas||8|
An intense, first-hand tour of the horror of the real world of fashion followed by a much more hopeful journey meeting the innovative and passionate leaders of the future of the industry. Really engaged our members and galvanised lots of action. Dana was wonderful on our first podcast episode too.
|Underpinned + Huckletree West||Binary Intentions||To Die For / How to Break Up with Fast Fashion|
|March 2020||59||Power Shifts||New Power|
Henry Trimms & Jeremy Heimans
|7||Hopin with Jeremy Heiman||Who Can You Trust? / Winners Take All|
|April 2020||60||Stories of Resilience||Midnight in Chernobyl||Adam Higginbotham||9|
This book reminded me of the importance of learning from history to help navigate an uncertain future. It helped me understand some of the history of Soviet Russia & nuclear power. But above all, it is a giant case study in poor leadership (mainly due to the culture of the political system) leading to disaster and the heroic response of people to save lives on an unimaginable scale. A lot of conversation at the moment is, understandably, about looking forward. But this book (and brilliant TV series) might be one of the more powerful lessons in how - and how not - to prevent, prepare and respond to a crisis.
|Hopin with Dame Sue||Vegan White Russian||Vote Result|
|May 2020||61||Paradise||The Awakened Ape||Jevan Pradas||3|
"The happiest people in the world don't wear underwear." A great opening line for any book. Although there was plenty of interest in the book's spiritual themes and practical well-being applications (squatty potty's and no shampoo living), the majority of our members found the book contentious in its language used to describe interactions with women, problematic undertones of ableism and shortsighted conclusions about the ‘ideal body shape’. Whilst we did our upmost to give Jevan the chance to respond to our concerns (he kindly responded to our questions and calls), we didn’t feel he was able to grasp or acknowledge the complexity and magnitude of the themes we had picked up on. Jevan's response was essentially that 'they were jokes' about the men, not the women. Clearly, we didn't get it but hope that our feedback (several hundred of us started the book) will be taken on for future edits/books by the author.
|Hopin: 5th Birthday||Religion for Athiests / Eat Pray Love|
|June 2020||62||Gender Bias||Invisible Women||Caroline Criado Perez||9|
Hopin with 4 x Gender Gap Specialists
|Unbiased||The Guilty Feminist / The Gendered Brain|
|July 2020||63||Icons||Rise Up||Stormzy||7|
Rise Up gives you the inside scoop of Stormzy’s journey to stardom from the streets of Croydon to headlining Glastonbury. It showed me the level of dedication and raw emotion that goes into passion projects like an album and how to build a movement around a disruptor brand like #Merky.
Hopin with Professor of Grime & co
|Fresh Icons Needed||Bowie A Life / Clothes Music Boys|
|August 2020||64||Harari||21 Lessons||Noah Yuval Harari||8|
Humans were always far better at inventing tools than using them wisely.
|Hopin with Community||Sapiens / Homo Deus|
|September 2020||65||Club Sober||In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts||Gabor Mate||9|
“Each carries within him/herself the ALL.” Joseph Campbell. ...coming to the end of this remarkable book I can summarise in three parts: Part 1: Painful. Part 2: Compassionate. Part 3: Awakening
|Broadcast meet at Huckletree||Everlease of Life||The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober / The Naked Mind|
|October 2020||66||Borderless||The Ungrateful Refugee||Dina Nayeri||9|
Behind news front pages lies real stories, real suffering that we can’t just brush away and move on to the next topic. This book Very eloquently adresses people’s complex identity and search of safety.
Hopin with Dina Nayeri, Second Tree & Echo Library
|Home||The Girl Who Smiled Beads / Infidel|
|November 2020||67||Whistleblowers||Mindf*ck||Christopher Wylie||9|
Perfect title. This book reads like an uncomfortable but engrossing thriller that’s too close to reality 🤯
Hopin with producer of The Great Hack
|Headfuck||Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy / Permanent Record|
|December 2020||68||Wild||Tough Women||Jenny Tough||8|
Tough be name, tough by nature. I loved this diverse range of remarkable human stories of adventure, endurance and risk-taking. Perfect end of year read and escapism. "Don't quit whilst crying."
|Mulling over the Year||Braiding Sweetgrass / Underland|
|January 2021||69||Makers||The Art of Gathering||Priya Parker||7|
“A great book written with brilliant examples from an amazing lady who has lived through them all. I have used many of her rules in both a personal and business gathering space and it made my life so easy.” RBC Member
|The Art of Mixing||The Artists Way / How I Built This|
|February 2021||70||Magic Numbers||The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers||Bobby Seagull||6|
"Made me look at maths in a more positive way, I had always been disdainful of it in the past but this book has helped me see it in a different light. Enjoyed reading it!" Phil
|Mind Electrics||Humble Pie / Hidden Figures|
|March 2021||71||Unplugged||Rest||Alex Soojung-Kim Pang||8|
"This was the book I needed for this point in time. I appreciate and agree with some of the points others have made about the number of anecdotes and the heavy focus on creatives, but as someone who has to drastically up my creative output at the moment due to a looming book deadline, Rest resonated deeply and gave me the push to do what I already know works. I’ve always known I’m much more productive early in the morning, but I wasn’t holding myself to account, wasn’t applying the self-knowledge I have. So I’m turning in at 9 pm these days for a more comfortable 5:30 a.m. start, and although with the pandemic I’m not always sure what to do with the time I’ve created for myself later on, I’m no longer spending it feeling guilty and panicked about not having written that day. Before Rest gave me a kick up the arse, I was waiting for inspiration to strike, hoping to eventually be in the mood to write. I’m not waiting anymore." Elaine
|Digital Minimalism / How to Break Up With Your Phone|
|April 2021||72||Future of Food||The Fate of Food||Amanda Little||9|
The Fate of Food is one of those books that hurls you back and forth between wonder and shock. From the scale of food waste (a third of all we produce) to the brilliance of vertical farming. From the horror of droughts to the controversial brilliance of GMO. From the disgust of industrial agriculture to the genius of lab-grown meat. Whenever you reach the depths of 'how are we ever going to get out of this?' a new, or very old, story of food is shared through an individual human journey and then at scale, that gives you genuine hope and, in the case of 3D printed foods, wide-eyed amazement. Amanda was an effervescent and generous guest author at our April meetup. Spilling a 1000-words-per-minute (like BPM but author talk) on us, sharing the breadth and depth of her curiosity and experience. I left the conversation hungry; for more ideas about how to fix our broken food systems, for more things I can do in my weekly shop, for more ways to encourage others to explore one of the most important topics of our time. "A human being is primarily a bag for putting food into. A man dies and is buried, and all his words and actions are forgotten, but the food he has eaten lives after him in the sound or rotten bones of his children. I think it could be argued that changes of diet are more important than changes of dynasty or even religion...yet it is curious how seldom the all-importance of food is recognised." George Orwell, Road to Wigan Pier (p.260 Fate of Food)
|Hungry for Disruption / Billion Dollar Burger|
Book cover blind vote 50% of members.
|May 2021||73||Activism||The 5 Rules of Rebellion||Sophie Walker||8|
A philisophical toolkit for a more activist life. Sophie is an honest role model and inspiration for all of us.
|Breaking Out /|
Book cover blind vote 50% of members.
|June 2021||74||Hope||Humankind||Rutger Bregman||9|
There is a persistent myth that by their very nature humans are selfish, aggressive and quick to panic. It's what is known as veneer theory: the notion that civilisation is nothing more than a thin veneer that will crack the perest provocation. In actuality, the opposite is true. It's when crisis hits - when the bombs fall or the floodwaters rise- that we humans become our best selves.' Bregman then spends the next 400 pages making compelling cases against some of the most well known 'humans are bad' stories and psychological experiments over the last 100 years. From the British & German responses to the bombing blitzes of WW2 to the fate of the Easter Islander's and the Stanford Prison Experiment, we are taken on an investigative adventure to prove that in each of these cases, the results are either unjustified or mistaken. Humankind is a rollercoaster ride of hope, surprise and further questioning of human nature. It is not bulletproof and picking intellectual holes in Bregman's tapestry of 'new realism' is tempting but when you zoom out it is hard not to feel more confident that your own sense of 'the kindness of strangers' is part of a much bigger cultural and historical pattern. Ultimately I suspect that Humankind is particularly compelling for those with a relatively pain-free lived experience. For those who have suffered at the hands of others, the idea that we are programmed for good might be a lot harder to accept.
Where do you start with this sweeping history, personal journey and pop-culture exploration and dissection of race and class? Akala is such a compelling writer, storyteller and activist. Reading Natives I was simultaneously entertained, shocked, uncomfortable, educated and galvanised. Impressive melting point of a non-fiction classic.
|August 2021||76||Truth||Catch & Kill||Ronan Farrow||9|
Like previous RBC reads, Bad Blood & Mindf*ck, Catch & Kill rolls like a thriller, except its real. Depressing on the state of institutional corruption, misogyny, sexual violence & litigation within US culture. Amazing reporting and remarkable bravery of women who were abused. Hopefully this work and book, have played a part in changing the story.
|September 2021||77||Negotiation||Never Split the Difference||Chris Voss||8|
Former FBI negotiator Chris Voss tells a good story. From persuading hostage takers to bank robbers to stand down is an art and, it turns out, a method we can all learn too. Show tactical empathy by mirroring our opposition, use leading questions, let the silence hang, reassure, create an illusion of control and have a lot of patience. These are the tools that win negotiations. We had a brilliant night at our London meetup playing 'negotiation games' and discovered quite a few strong performers and persuaders amongst us. Chris kindly joined us for a Q&A from NYC which demonstrated his famous late night DJ voice and why he believes we can all learn to become negotiators in our work and lives, and, crucially, never split the difference!
|October 2021||78||Love||Attached||Amir Levine & Rachel Heller||7|
Are you anxious, avoidant or secure? It seems to easy to divide humans into 3 types of attachment but Levine & Heller do a good job in making it feel like we really do live up to one of these roles in relationships. We heard from quite a few members who found the book a real game-changer in their lives as well plenty who were skeptical about its simplicity and lack of awareness of a diversity of relationship types and sexual orientations. It led to some excellent, bigger discussions on effective communication and at our meetups we heard from experts who use attachment theory as a big component of their work. We even played Blind Date, attachment style!
|Huckletree Shoreditch||Tails of the Unexpected|
|November 2021||79||Cash||The Deficit Myth||Stephanie Kelton||7|
Great intro to Modern Monetary Theory. Top insight: The state (one that has monetary sovereignty) will never run out of money; there will never be a day where our government cannot afford to pay for healthcare or pensions.
|December 2021||80||Magic||Sleights of Mind|
Stepehn Macknick & Susana Martinez-Conde
What can we learn from magicians? Magicians know that multitasking is a myth & so they use 'divide and conquer' approach with attention. Magicians make mistakes all the time, but they move on quickly so the audience never notices. Magicians use empathy and humor to lower your guard.
|Punchy / Dash|
|January 2022||81||Greatest of All Time||Black Spartacus||Sudhir Hazareesingh||6|
More real-life Black Panther than Black Spartacus. A challenging read because of its dense historical style but a remarkable story, one that feelslike it should be on the big screen next to other greats. RBC member Florence: "That we need to look at history in a different way and challenge ourselves with narratives like this one , and also that Toussaint Louverture was a multifaceted historical figure with many identities coalescing into one, I was very glad to learn about him."
|Big Drop / Dash|
|February 2022||82||Happy||Solve for Happy||Mo Gawdat||9|
Exploring happiness with a good author is never time wasted. Mo's personal journey from losing his son to finding peace in a busy, ambitious, tech-driven world is full of raw honesty, fascinating psychological insight and helpful ideas that are easy to explore. We loved hosting Mo at our meetup!
|Moth / Dash|
|March 2022||83||Narcos||Zero Zero Zero||Roberto Saviano||8|
So much violence. The first half of this deep dive into the world of narcos is brutal - detailed story after story of murder and horror. But there is a reason Saviano is such a global star...he knows this territory so well and is a master storyteller and educator on the hugely influential world of drug cartels, buyers and dealers. The biggest insight for me is the fact that pure cocaine sells for about 1000x its original value. Any product that does that without regulation immediately corrupts everyone involved - and leaves a trail of mayhem. Great discussions at RBC. Focus on demand/changing culture of middle class users who fuel this crisis.
|The Uncommon / Dash|
|April 2022||84||Influenced||Get Rich or Lie Trying||Symeon Brown||8|
We are all influencers now.' A brilliant story-driven dive into the merky world of the influencer economy and how it preys on the vulnerable, particularly scam 'get rich' business models. Symeon was an engaging guest at RBC and a reminder of how we must tread carefully as we engage and amplify influencer culture.
|May 2022||85||Friendship||The Lonely Century||Noreena Hertz||8|
From renting a friend to Tokyo pensioners choosing to shop-lift to find friendship in prison, Noreena is an expert guide on her round-the-world journey to understand why we’re living in the loneliest century of humanity’s existence. Thankfully she shows us how we can rebuild human connection. A timely book. Great to chat to Noreena with RBC members and host over 100 for the 'reconnection + play' event at Tocas Social.
|June 2022||86||LGBTQ+||The Transgender Issue||Shon Faye||8|
|July 2022||87||Scandal||Empire of Pain||Patrick Radden Keefe||9|
|August 2022||88||Senses||Super Senses||Emma Young||7|
|September 2022||89||Earth Heroes||All We Can Save|
Dr.Ayana Johnson & Katherine K. Wilkinson
|October 2022||90||Wise||Breath||James Nestor|
|November 2022||91||Space||The Future of Humanity||Michio|
|December 2022||92||Rebel Libraries||The Book Collectors of Daraya||Delphine Minoui|