Sporty Business Women: A Winning Combination?


A recent article from the BBC Do sporty women make better entrepreneurs? caught our eye here at Portfolio Penguin.

Sport has been credited for the skills and personality traits it creates within people from confidence to resilience, to a healthy competitive nature and the ability to aim for goals. (Pun intended)

So not exclusively for our female audience here are 3 top books Portfolio Penguin recommends for going that extra mile to achieve success and ambitions.

Firstly, if you are intrigued by this article then perhaps you are now motivated to start playing a new sport to see if you too can become a more confident and ambitious business person or maybe just try something new to meet people. The time and effort though may be a daunting thought though, but here at Portfolio Penguin we have the perfect book for you:

The First 20 Hours: How to learn anything FAST…, Josh Kaufmann
Josh Kaufman’s The First 20 Hours is a systematic approach for acquiring new skills quickly with a small amount of practice each day. Kaufman outlines a practical process to deconstruct complex skills, maximize productive practice, and remove common learning barriers, creating a realistic and achievable approach. No longer do you have to devote 10,000 hours to master a skill that Malcolm Gladwell claims you need. If you aren’t looking to be a professional sports person but just try something new, this book is the perfect guide to achieving this concisely and efficiently.

Kaufman invites the reader to join him as he field tests his approach in his own personal ventures. Check out his chapters on learning yoga and wind surfing to see how you too can pick up a new sport.

Read more at,,9780670921911,00.html#HoXVKdPUSToMgXxW.99

…But alas as nice as this all sounds perhaps you just aren’t a massive sports fan or perhaps you really do have too hectic of a life to fit more in your day. Well never fear, we still have a literary guide that can teach you to be a more confident and out going person:

The Charisma Myth, Olivia Fox Cabane 
Charisma Myth

In her new book, The Charisma Myth, Olivia Fox Cabane dispels the myth that charisma is inherent and provides you with practical skills to master the hitherto elusive trait. Charisma CAN be taught, and this book is your guide.

Charisma can be a huge asset if you’re applying for a job, improving your relationships, or leading other people. The Charisma Myth shows you how to become more influential, more persuasive, and more inspiring. Soon you’ll be able to move through a room and have people say: ‘Wow, who’s that?’

Olivia Fox Cabane helps some of the world’s best-known people become more charismatic. Here she breaks charisma down into its fundamental components, revealing the secrets to how it works. Improving your charisma doesn’t mean transforming your personality: it’s about adopting a series of practices that suit you. So what are you waiting for?

Find out more:,,9780670922871,00.html

…AND last but not least, this one is more for the female reader (though still contains some useful life skills and tips for ALL) looking to advance her career in general:

Mrs Moneypenny’s Career Advice for Ambitious Women, Mrs Moneypenny

In this incisive, hilariously frank book, Mrs Moneypenny tells you everything you need to know, from nurturing your network to the art of outsourcing. Whether you’re just starting out or a rung from the top, let Mrs Moneypenny be your ultimate mentor.

‘Ambitious or not this book will amuse you, provoke you, challenge you, help you and cheer you up’ Jeanette Winterson’ The Times

‘A masterclass in how to succeed and stay sane… incisive, self-deprecating and hilarious’ Management Today

‘This wisdom-filled guide obliterates the myth that women can “have it all”… and redefines success and happiness for everyone’ Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in- Chief of The Huffington Post

Find out more at,,9780670920846,00.html#i1DcOZLOo0gA8Guy.99


Recipe for Success: The Stories Behind the Best in Business


It was Aldous Huxley who said:

“Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.” 

Huxley seems right on the ball with this piece of wisdom. Sometimes the best experience a person can get is from experiencing it firsthand and whether it is a success or failure there is always a lesson to be learnt. This is no less true for the rise of Google, Amazon, Apple and other business giants who have had their own colorful journeys to business glory.

So whether you are a budding entrepreneur or just looking for some inspiration, Portfolio Penguin bring you the captivating stories of some of business’ best. Read about their experiences, successes and failures, which drove them to be business leaders.

The Google Boys, Richard L. Brandt
The Google Guys skips past the general Google story and focuses on what really drives the company’s founders. Richard L.

Brandt shows the company as the brainchild of two brilliant individuals and looks at Google’s business decisions in light of its founders’ ambition and beliefs. Larry is the main strategist, with business acumen and practical drive, while Sergey is the primary technologist and idealist, with brilliant ideas and strong moral positions. But they work closely together, almost like complementary halves of a single brain.

Through interviews with current and former employees, competitors, partners, and senior Google management, plus conversations with the founders themselves, Brandt demystifies the company while clarifying a number of misconceptions.

Find out more at,,9781591844129,00.html#KhJxxJ1YHRrJJjW7

One Click, Richard L. Brandt
Buy now with one-click. Amazon’s business model is deceptively simple: make online shopping so easy and convenient that customers won’t think twice. Yet Amazon’s success is largely down to CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, a man described as both a ‘happy-go-lucky mogul’ and a ‘notorious micromanager’. His high energy, passionate approach to retailing has driven Amazon to the top.

Jeff Bezos is smart. Originally a computer geek, he had the vision to capitalise on the untapped online market for books. He’s also a calculating machine who creates ‘deal-flow’ charts for every major decision, from what business to create to how to chose a spouse. One Click explores what makes Bezos Bezos. Through detailed research and interviews with Amazon employees, competitors and observers, Richard Brandt has deciphered how Bezos thinks, what drives his actions and how he makes his business decisions. was waiting to be discovered. It took Bezos’s unqiue character and strategy to make it happen. Anyone in the business world can learn from his reinvention of the retail landscape.

“Richard Brandt compellingly profiles one of the greatest Internet executives of the era.”
Stephen Leeb, author of The Oil Factor and Red Alert

“Brandt is an award-winning magazine writer and he has the classic U.S. journalist’s approach—meticulously researched and with breathless, pithy commentary . . . a good story well told. If you want to understand the Bezos phenomenon, this is an easy and efficient way to do it—just like shopping on Amazon.”
Management Today

Find out more at,,9780670920662,00.html#UcRzQIqxtMtOyy0u.99

Insanely Simple, Ken Segall
Apple’s love of simplicity enables it to revolutionize-and, more importantly, to revolutionize repeatedly. It starts in Steve Jobs’ head and cascades throughout the entire global organization. It can be seen in the way that Apple is structured, the way it innovates and the way it speaks to its customers. Simplicity serves as a guideline, a work style, a goal and a measuring stick.

Ken Segall played a key role in Apple’s resurrection, and now he breaks simplicity down to its core elements. He brings the principles of simplicity to life in context of milestone moments in Apple history., exploring how Apple’s core obsession allows them to create products that people fall in love with and then communicate and market them with spectacular success.

Insanely Simple explains how the religion of simplicity led Apple to enter new markets and humble competitors many times its size. And it provides principles that readers can use in their own careers and organizations. They will understand how the power of simplicity can help anyone can stand out in a complicated world.

“A blueprint for running a company the Steve Jobs way . . . should be required reading for anyone interested in management and marketing.” The Times (London)

“Gets inside Apple’s branding and marketing to explain its directness and power.” Financial Times

Find out more at,,9780670921188,00.html?strSrchSql=insanely+simple%2A/Insanely_Simple_Ken_Segall 

Tap Dancing to Work, Carol Loomis
Warren Buffett, the world’s greatest investor, has long had a unique relationship with Fortune magazine, thanks to his deep personal friendship with the acclaimed writer Carol Loomis. She first mentioned Buffett in print in 1966. By the mid 1970s he trusted Loomis enough that he asked her to edit his famous annual letter to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. She has been filling that role ever since, without spilling his secrets in Fortune or anywhere else.

Tapdancing to Work is the definitive history of Buffett’s business and investing career. It collects and updates the best articles Fortune has ever published about Buffett, based on extensive interviews with him from the 1960s through the 2010s. Loomis adds fresh commentary and insights that will help Buffett’s fans see his triumphs (and occasional missteps) in a new light.

On a crowded shelf of books about Buffett, this one offers unprecedented access, unique information, and deep understanding.

Find out more at,,9780670922369,00.html#f7qEiwwYc1XJHMCP.99

Nicholas Lovell, author of the The Curve discusses ‘How do you make money when everything is going free?’

Nicholas’ latest post on The Bookseller Blog is a must read for all those interested in the future of business:

Stop worrying about the price of books, or music, or art, going to zero. It’s happening. It’s happened. There is no going back.

So now that we’ve accepted that, how do we answer the really interesting question of the twenty-first century: how do we take advantage of the unique, amazing features of a connected society to finance the profitable creation of art and culture?

To discover what Nicholas’ solution is read the full article here:

Portfolio Penguin is really excited about the release of The Curve book in October. To learn more about the ideas behind The Curve head over to Nicholas’ site: the video link on his page is definitely worth 15 minutes of your time!!!


To get your hands on a copy of The Curve, watch this space for details of how to pre-order!

‘Global economics at a glance’ – what you need to read to navigate a post-Financial Crisis and why there may be a vacancy for World Leader…

Global economics is a hot topic in the media at the moment: the UK economy is showing positive signs of recovery, while a slowdown in China is causing a widespread ripple of concern. This economic powerhouse has arguably been one of the key drivers in global economic growth, so in its absence, who can step up to the mark?

An article from the BBC asked just this: ‘who can drive the recovery?’ which has been impatiently anticipated since the Financial Crisis (2008).

With these questions and anxieties becoming a growing topic of discussion, here at Portfolio Penguin we want to recommend our top 2 reads for understanding this hot topic.

The Growth Map, Jim O’Neill

Growth Map

Jim O’Neill, former Chairman of Goldman Sach’s Asset Manaement has been called a ‘rock star’ of the business world for his work behind the well-known acronym of developing economies, the BRICS. Ten years ago, he predicted that globalization would help Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRICs) – busy, ambitious countries full of raw materials – overtake the largest Western economies. With all four BRIC nations set to do just that, no other idea has proved as significant for the new century. But these changes have provoked business and political uncertainty and in The Growth Map O’Neill examines what is coming next. Can the BRICs sustain their exceptional growth? Which nations will come next? And what, for all of us, does the future hold?

‘One of the most sought-after economic commentators on the planet’
The Daily Telegraph

Read more at,,9780241958070,00.html#E95LbqPTfbgjSWiq.99

Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in the G-zero World, Ian Bremmer

Every Nation paper

What happens when nobody’s running the world?

The United States is interested in its own recovery from the Financial Crisis and can’t hold onto the reins of the G-20.
China has no interest in international leadership.
Europe is trying to save the euro.
Emerging powers like Brazil and India are focused on domestic development.

No government has the time, resources or political capital needed to take an international lead.
The world power structure is about to have a vacancy…at the top.

Welcome to the G-Zero world, in which no single country has the power to shape a truly global agenda. That means we are about to see 20 years of conflict over economics, finance and climate change. Bestselling author and strategist Ian Bremmer reveals how world powers are rapidly turning into gated communities, locked in competition. Who will prevail?

‘Smart and snappy … provides the most cogent prediction of how the politics of a post-America world will play out’ New Statesman

Read more at,,9780670921058,00.html#3xUmzSHSIjudCzc3.99

Portfolio Penguin Competition – Your chance to win a bundle of our business and self-development books


From budding entrepreneurs to people curious to read more about the world of business and self-development, we have an exciting competition that is not to be missed.

Portfolio Penguin are giving one lucky winner the chance to get their hands on a fantastic bundle of 30+ books from our current and past catalogue of Penguin Portfolio Books, including Josh Kaufman’s The Personal MBA, James Caan’s Start Your Business in 7 Days, Michael Woodford’s Exposure and MANY more. All you have to do is click on the link below and complete the short survey (it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes) to be in with a chance of winning.

Terms and Conditions apply.


FEATURE: ‘DECENT EXPOSURE’ –The Law Society Gazette


Check out Michael Cross’ article Decent Exposure from The Law Society Gazette, which features the events surrounding Michael Woodford’s Exposure.

The article resonates with recent insights into the reputation of corporate culture and responsibility and implores the business world to take a leaf out of Michael Woodford’s book to do the right thing in such cases of lawlessness. Not to shy away from the slightly negative coverage of the legal figures involved within these events, the article ultimately highlights though what is really to blame in all this:

‘a deferential corporate culture in which it was not done to ask difficult questions’

And what was Michael Cross’ verdict on Exposure? 

‘It is raw and sometimes toe-curlingly personal instant history. And well worth reading for anyone who wonders how they might deal with revelations of misconduct at their own workplace.’

Michael’s words strike home how we all have something to learn from reading Exposure whether it is for the gripping story or the moral revalation that we can take from Michael Woodford’s dramatic account.

See the article here: 

To get your hands on the paperback of Exposure, head over to the Penguin page:,,9780241963616,00.html?strSrchSql=exposure/Exposure_Michael_Woodford 

Rinn Reads’ Promo for Exposure by Michael Woodford


Head over to Rinn Read’s to see her latest feature for Exposure, the tale of Michael Woodford and the Olympus scandal. This is the dramatic story of how Michael Woodford rose to the top Olympus only to discover its hidden fraudulent secrets. The book unravels how he fought back against the company after losing his job and fleeing Japan for his life.


About Rinn Read’s : it is a well established blog and literary haven written by a true enthusiast for books. Rinn is passionate about sci-fi and fantasy books, but also covers a range of other books that capture her interest. Check out her latest feature on Homer’s Iliad and five reasons why you should read this classic.

To find out more about the book head over to the Penguin page,,9780241963616,00.html?strSrchSql=exposure/Exposure_Michael_Woodford