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Best new books (aka when the going gets tough, the tough get reading)

I’ve just started to apply the ”when the going gets tough” approach when life seems overwhelmingly busy.

For example;

When the going gets tough, the tough…

- Hit the park for a run (instead of hitting a client)

- Get off the text, email, Facebook and Twitter and onto the phone (quick solutions via talking is becoming too underrated, agree?)

- Become an <insert Name of Irrational Person here> Whisperer (i.e a Small Child Whisperer, a Crazy Colleague Whisperer, an Artist’s Manager Whisperer)

And as I gaze blearily at myself in the bathroom mirror after four hours sleep, wondering how I can make myself look respectable enough to go to work.

And as the breakfast radio jocks are just beginning their day.

And when it’s even too early for those annoying warm-weather birds to have started their “Kaw-kaw-ing”, I’ve recently been known to monotone ”the tough use concealer. The tough NEED concealer“, over and over again.


While, very often, the tough certainly need to get going, sometimes the tough just need to pause for a moment, have a good hard think about what’s important and, well…

Slow the $%@* down!

For me, that means slotting in some down-time activities that make me feel good about myself and, rather than flake out on the couch and stare mindlessly at crap on the TV or give myself even more of a headache staring at a computer screen while I google “health retreats”, I go and lay on my bed with a cup of camomile (or wine, let’s be real here) and read a book.

Here’s three that have recently taken my fancy that you may enjoy too.

Broadcast Wars – Michael Bodey

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little obsessed with the behind-the-scenes of media land – it’s why I got into public relations. But the politics, bluff and bravado and the ever-changing hierarchy in Australian television is one of my all-time favourite topics.

I devoured Gerald Stone’s 2000 book Compulsive Viewing and then his follow up Who Killed Channel 9? in 2007 was a very interesting read. But it’s media, film and showbiz newspaper writer Michael Bodey who has the next installment to bring everyone up to speed on what’s been going on recently.

Broadcast Wars covers the rather tumultuous period of 2003 up until today and, rather than focusing chiefly on Channel 9, he delves into the shows (hits and flops), time lines, business, egos and stars across both free to air and pay TV in Australia.

There’s plenty of research on ratings and programming trends and what they probably have to say about the society we live in today.

And there’s also plenty of juicy insights into the major media events that have happened over the last few years. Add to this all of the new technologies emerging while old personalities and management attempt to catch up and you’re in for some fascinating times.

I don’t think that anyone would be foolish enough to think that TV-land today is any less competitive or ruthless than last century so this book has some griping (and horrible) stories. And even without the excessive hedonism of previous times, there are still plenty of tales that will make you raise an eyebrow next time you turn on the box.

Read this to find out what has really been happening behind your silver screen.

A Profound Mind – Cultivating Wisdom in Everyday Life – His Holiness The Dalai Lama

I was given this book as a gift and the back cover kind of sucked me in with the leading paragraph A Profound Mind shows us how to transform difficult situations into opportunities for spiritual growth”.

If your eyes, like mine, sometimes glaze over at the word “spiritual”, consider these words instead;

Love, compassion, charity, honesty, kindness, generosity, joy and forgiveness.

As Richard Gere says in the afterword in this book, most people – if not all – recognise and admire these traits and Buddhism puts great emphasis on developing these wonderful qualities to their fullest.

The other aspect that interests me is the taming or training of your mind. The experience that you can have living a life once you’ve slowed the constant chatter, thoughts and emotions that run riot through your head can feel like a huge, liberating relief.

I started meditating earlier this year and it’s been an ongoing practice – sometimes daily, sometimes weekly – depending on what’s going on. And while it’s often difficult, even frustrating, it’s become rewarding. This book won’t teach you how to meditate but it’ll put forward some compelling reasons on why you may want to consider it. 

It can be a bit of a tough read. It’s also not a practical book, that is, it doesn’t necessarily give you advice on how you may want to consider adapting Buddhist principals to your 21st Century life, but it does explain the fundamentals of what this gentle religion is all about.  The Dalai Lama even says that he doesn’t claim to have great mastery of all things Buddhist but even a mediocre understanding is much better than none at all. That certainly makes me feel better!

If you’re a busy working professional and would like to know how to combine being a good person AND work in a highly competitive, frenetic industry, I highly recommend tracking down a copy of Work as a Spiritual Practice by Lewis Richmond

 Black Ties, Red Carpets, Green Rooms – Richard Wilkins

I had the pleasure of attending Richard’s Sydney book launch. It was a raucous affair with plenty of wine, chatter, laughs, ribald jokes and a live performance by Vanessa Amorosi.

I took my book home (after making him sign it, bless him) and easily read through a few chapters before I went to sleep that night.

It’s just a damn entertaining, fun read.

While it’s essentially an autobiography, it’s also a collection of short stories about some of the biggest stars in the business.

Russell Crowe, Michael Hutchence, Prince, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Pink, Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Andre Rieu and countless others.

Then there’s all the goss from the Oscars, the ARIAs and Logies plus (once again showing how much I love knowing what’s going on behind-the-scenes in media world) tales of all the grunt and grit from the journalists, producers and publicists that create the glamour you see on stage and on the TV (made even more fun as I know so many of them). 

And these stories – some funny, others heartwarming and plenty scandalous – are all Richard’s first hand accounts so his personal memoirs are weaved throughout.

Writer Carrie Hutchinson helped Richard pen this book and she’s done a fantastic job. I know Richard pretty well and as the sentences leap from the page, it’s just like having a real life conversation with him.

Richard is a seriously hard worker – he’s up at insane o’clock each morning to work on 9′s TODAY then his days are often spent rushing around from interview to interview. He somehow manages to fit in time with family (he has five kids and an extremely lovely fiance called Rebecca) and then will work into the evening, either attending and covering a gig or emceeing an event himself. He often makes me feel sleep deprived just thinking about the schedule that he’s kept up (for many years now! Sorry Richard…)

You’ll also get to see some great photos from over the years and you’ll especially love his 80′s promo pics with band ‘Wilde + Reckless’. The hair is outstanding.

Get this book to get the goss and be amused, cheered and charmed.

If only he had a story about Billy Ocean so that the title of this article could have been even more relevant. Man, the 80′s were fun.

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