• Astley Media

Six recommended reads (or listens) while we’re locked down

Updated: Apr 3

If you have a little more time on your hands due to the Coronavirus outbreak (I realise some people are busier than ever) here are six books I’d recommend.


Contagious by Jonah Berger 8/10


I found the concepts in this book very well explained and easily transferable into day-to-day business.


If you are already a marketeer, some of the techniques will be familiar but Berger goes into the science behind why some products and ideas are talked about more than most and why some campaigns go viral when others flop.


Despite being written seven years ago it stands the test of time and is free on Kindle if you are an Amazon Prime member.




The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary by Catherine Gray 8/10


If there was a time to read/listen to this book, it’s now.


It is a rallying call to focus on what we have, rather than what we don’t.


Catherine Gray knits together illuminating science, hilarious storytelling, and captivating research to persuade us that an ordinary life should be celebrated.


At a time when even simple pleasures are in short supply, it’s a sobering, and inspirational, read.




Tim Cook by The genius who took Apple to the next level - Leander Kahney 7/10


If you are an Apple fan you will be familiar with the Steve Jobs story, but how much do you know about the man who succeeded him?


It turns out he is the pole opposite to his successor… generous, quietly spoken and the first chief executive of a Fortune 500 company to publicly come out as gay.


From his humble beginnings in Alabama, in the Deep South of America, he rose through the ranks to become the boss of the most valuable company in the world.


Although the author is a bit too sycophantic at times, it is still an illuminating celebration of Cook’s achievements.




Insanely Simple by Ken Segall 9/10


This is another book about Apple but focuses more on Jobs’ return to the company after being ousted by the board and the (very quick) steps he took to rescue the firm - it was estimated to be 90 days from going bust.


Segall, who worked for an external marketing company employed by Jobs, celebrates the founder’s ability to make the complicated simple.


There are also some fascinating anecdotes. 


On one occasion when engineers working on the very first iPod completed the first (and only) prototype, they presented their work to Jobs who immediately rejected it, saying it was too big.


The engineers explained that they had to reinvent inventing to create the iPod, and that it was simply impossible to make it any smaller. Jobs dropped the iPod into a water tank and when bubbles floated to the top snapped: “That means there’s space in there. Make it smaller.” 




Airhead - Emily Maitlis 8/10


Already a celebrated interviewer, Maitlis achieved even greater plaudits after this book was published for her interview with Prince Andrew about his involvement with Jeffrey Epstein.


Each chapter of this book covers a key moment in her career such as reporting on the Grenfell disaster to the Paris terror attacks and interviews with celebrities.


She doesn’t take herself too seriously but lifts the lid on the reality of being the host of a serious, flagship BBC news programme.




Take One Tin by Lola Milne 7/10


With food in limited supply, and, if like most people, you’ve got tins that haven’t been used for months, gathering dust at the back of the pantry, this is both timely and useful.


It features 80 delicious recipes such as Crab Fried Rice, Green Lentil Fritters and Kick-Ass Anchovy Dressing.


Some of the recipes call for fresh produce but you may never look at those boring old tins in the same way again.


The only thing I found odd was that, despite being called Take One Tin, several recipes call for two! 



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