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Kate Sidley on what new book lists tell you about the world

Published in the Sunday Times

Every month, publishers send out This Month’s Highlights e-mails to reviewers like me. The point of the mail is for us to select books to review, but I use it as a handy snapshot of the state of the world. It’s almost as effective as reading the newspaper, and a lot quicker. From recent months’ offerings, I have developed the following worldview:

We wuz robbed

Books about the pillage of the public purse are a thriving industry in SA. There’s at least one new one a month – Licence to Loot; How To Steal a City; Shadow State; Other titles with the words ‘plunder’ and ‘capture’ – and they barely even overlap, so rich is the seam to be mined. There’s enough meat for sequels – I imagine Licence to Loot More, How To Steal Another City and Even Shadowier State.

Veg is the new Banting

The lists are littered with vegetarian and vegan recipe books like The Plant-Based Cookbook and Vegan Christmas. OK, so the titles lack the finger-licking allure of How To Be A Domestic Goddess, which made the full-creamy Nigella Lawson a welcome presence in our kitchens, but no animals were harmed in their making. South African restaurants still relying on pasta arrabiata and the “vegetarian platter” (aka, a plate of fried brown things) as their extensive vegetarian menu, could learn a thing or two.

#MenAreTrash

The number of stories about spousal abuse and gender-based violence is simply appalling. Famous names like Tracy Going (Brutal Legacy) and Vanessa Govender (Beaten But Not Broken) – and lesser-known but equally brave survivors – are telling their stories.

But people are pretty awesome

There they are, overcoming cancer, fighting apartheid (100 Mandela Moments), swimming long distances in very cold water, challenging injustice, pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and climbing mountains on their one remaining leg – not at the same time, just to be clear. And we get to read about it. It’s properly inspiring.

Except for the ones that are psychos

There they are, murdering, abusing children, running apartheid death squads, mucking up the country (The Lost Boys of Bird Island being a case in point). And we get to read about it. It’s properly depressing.

We drink too much

The Craft Beer Dictionary, The Bourbon Bible, The Vodka Lover’s Guide to Cirrhosis, and wine, wine, wine. The world is all boozed up, and increasingly adventurously so – no longer does one simply add some T to one’s G – you toss in lavender and star anise and burnt orange peel.

We need help!

People, we are struggling! And there are books to help. From colour therapy to feng shui, to spiritual guidance, to diet secrets, to career advice, they make big promises – like Mr Bitcoin: How I Became a Bitcoin Millionaire at 21. I can’t vouch for the success of the methods, but the category is booming.

We need escape

Leave the predictable daily grind for the mystery of novels where people who are thought dead turn out not to be, or whether the assumed killer is but a red herring. Be transported to Tuscany, into the chiselled arms of a handsome stranger. Or to a Chicago speakeasy. Or to suburban London. Any place, really. Any place but where you are.

Book details
Licence to Loot
Licence to Loot by Stephan Hofstatter
EAN: 9781776093120
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How To Steal A City

How To Steal A City: The Battle For Nelson Mandela Bay by Crispian Oliver
EAN: 9781868428205
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Shadow State

Shadow State: The Politics of State Capture by Ivor Chipkin, Mark Swilling
EAN: 9781776142125
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The Plant-Based Cookbook

The Plant-Based Cookbook by Ella Mills
EAN: 9781473639218
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Vegan Christmas

Vegan Christmas by Gaz Oakley
EAN: 9781787132672
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Brutal Legacy

Brutal Legacy: A Memoir by Tracy Going
EAN: 9781928420125
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Beaten but not Broken

Beaten but not Broken by Vanessa Govender
EAN: 9781431426799
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100 Mandela Moments

100 Mandela Moments by Kate Sidley
EAN: 9781868429028
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The Lost Boys of Bird Island

The Lost Boys of Bird Island: A shocking exposé from within the heart of the NP government by Mark Minnie, Chris Steyn
EAN: 9780624081432
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The Craft Beer Dictionary

The Craft Beer Dictionary by Richard Croasdale
EAN: 9781784723880
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The Bourbon Bible

The Bourbon Bible by Eric Zandona
EAN: 9781784724573
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Mr Bitcoin

Mr Bitcoin: How I became a millionaire at 21 by Mpho Dagada
EAN: 9781431426720
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Sefika Awards & Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice Award winners announced!

Issued on behalf of the SA Booksellers Association and Publishers Association of South Africa by Native Worx PR & Communications

29 August 2018

Last night the much-anticipated Grammy’s of the book industry were announced at a packed ceremony held at the Wanderers Club in Illovo, Johannesburg. The annual event forms part of the booksellers and publishers of South Africa co-joined Annual General Meetings (AGM) where topical issues in various sectors of the book industry are discussed. The Awards acknowledge and celebrate booksellers and the role they play in promoting literacy and a culture of reading.

The winners are:

• Academic bookseller of the year – Protea Books
• Education bookseller of the year – Books 24/7
• Library supplier of the year – Hargraves Library Services
• Trade bookseller of the year (chain stores) – Bargain Books
• Trade bookseller of the year (independent) – The Book Lounge
• Academic publisher of the year – Juta Books
• Education publisher of the year (large) – Best Education
• Education publisher of the year (small) – Berlut Book
• Trade publisher of the year – Jonathan Ball Publishers

Winners are selected through a voting process which enables publishers to select the best among booksellers and in turn booksellers choose the winners among publishers.

The evening culminated with the most coveted accolade, the Nielsen Booksellers Choice Award. The award is bestowed upon a local author for a South African published book that booksellers most enjoyed selling or that sold so well that it made a difference to the bottom line of booksellers across the country.

The award went to The President’s Keepers by investigative journalist Jacques Pauw. Published by Tafelberg Publishers, the book exposes a secret at the heart of Jacob Zuma’s compromised government. To date the book has sold over 200 000 copies worldwide.

Mr. Pauw gave a riveting speech by sharing the journey of the book from the moment it hit shelves across South Africa.

“When criminal charges were instituted against me in an effort to ban the book, everyone went out and bought a copy of it and it sold out. In the midst of all the publicity it also become an international best seller on eBooks,” commented Pauw.

The short-listed books for Nielsen Booksellers Choice Award 2018 were:

90 Rules For Entrepreneurs by Marnus Broodryk, published by Tracey McDonald Publishers.
Khwezi by Redi Tlhabi, published by Jonathan Ball.
No Longer Whispering To Power by Thandeka Gqubule, published by Jonathan Ball.
I Write What I Like by Steve Biko, published by Pan Macmillan

The President's Keepers

Book details
The President’s Keepers: Those Keeping Zuma in Power and out of Prison by Jacques Pauw
EAN: 9780624083030
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90 Rules for Entrepreneurs

90 Rules for Entrepreneurs by Marnus Broodryk
EAN: 9780620758352
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Khwezi

Khwezi: The Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo by Redi Tlhabi
EAN: 9781868427260
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No Longer Whispering to Power

No Longer Whispering to Power: The Story of Thuli Madonsela by Thandeka Gqubule
EAN: 9781868427314
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I Write What I Like

I Write What I Like: 40th Anniversary Edition by Steve Biko
EAN: 9781770105102
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Launch: Vusi - Business & Life Lessons From a Black Dragon by Vusi Thembekwayo (22 August)

Maverick. Leadership genius. Self-made millionaire. Dragon. The rock star of public speaking. Vusi Thembekwayo has been called many things.

Join him in his inspiring journey from the township to the top echelons of South African business, to becoming one of the youngest directors of a listed company and CEO of a boutique investment firm. As a Dragons’ Den judge and a sought- after public speaker across the globe, Vusi doesn’t just talk business – he lives it.

Now you can learn the secret of his success and how to shape your own destiny.

Event Details

"I was surprised by how emotionally exhilarating looking at the past can be," writes Vusi Thembekwayo of his biography-cum-business manual

Published in the Sunday Times

Vusi Thembekwayo, author of Vusi – Business & Life Lessons From a Black Dragon.
Pic: supplied.

 
There are few endeavours as daunting as writing a book; the idea that you are penning your thoughts, experiences and views for the world to critique and consume.

When the publisher first approached me to do a book on “the life and lessons of Vusi” project, I resisted the idea.

In fact, I rejected it outright, partly because of the idea that my life is just my collective set of experiences but also because I look at my life as a story in the making.

It is “being” every day. Writing about “the life of” seemed very final. But I love the idea that I get to share thoughts that stretch my perspective to colour the lenses of others.

I was inspired by the opportunity to inspire others. There can be no greater gift than the opportunity to inspire others into seeing themselves differently.

I was surprised by how emotionally exhilarating looking at the past can be. Remembering who you once were, parts of yourself that you’d forgotten, lost or minimised in the quest to grow into the person you are today.

As a group, entrepreneurs are notoriously bad at writing long books. We live in a world of instant action, ideation, collaboration and creation. Sprints, not long-winded marathons.

Every day we test, try, fail, and learn only to do it all over again, just a little smarter. Sitting down for an extended period to write or think through your thoughts is not only daunting, it is frankly foreign to our natural disposition.

Conquering this was a test of fortitude and discipline.

The book took two years and almost 100 three-hour sessions with my co-conspirator, Gus Silber, to complete. Every session we had the same set of emotions; deep introspection and reflection, anger at the state of affairs, and sometimes (admittedly seldom) an excited burst of excitement when I came upon a realisation.

I keep several pitbulls and leaving Gus on my outside patio unattended to refill our juice glasses was amusing. He would sit perfectly poised and still until I came back.

Eventually we decided that meeting at my clubhouse was a better bet. Indeed it was. From there we could enjoy the sights of the mountains pointed at Rustenburg. A wondrous and relaxing sight. Perfectly inspiring.

Book details

In his business autobiography Nic Haralambous discusses the truth about the last 15 years of his entrepreneurial journey

Anyone can start something. Your chance of failure is almost guaranteed. Most people won’t learn. Almost no one does it again.

Are you bored and baffled by spin doctors telling you how to succeed, how to make $1 000 000 or how to build the best business in just 30 days? Everyone claims to have the next best short cut or hack to help you along the path of entrepreneurship.

It’s all bullshit.

In his business autobiography Nic Haralambous discusses the truth about the last 15 years of his entrepreneurial journey. Nic openly discusses his failures and sacrifices over the past decade and a half spent building businesses.

There is advice all over the place about the rules to follow if you want to succeed, the do’s and don’ts of running a company, the how-to of how-to do this, that or the next thing.

There are also many personalities out there telling young entrepreneurs to hustle non-stop, risk everything and never sleep if they want success. No one talks about how hard it is, how lonely it is and how difficult it is to build a business.

No one is willing to forgo their ego and be honest. If nothing else, Nic Haralambous is honest about his journey.

Nic has lived the hustle; he has pushed through physical pain, mental suffering, business failures, personal torment and relationship strife all in the name of building businesses. Nic decided to write a big book of his failures so that entrepreneurs around the world can begin to understand that it is not always glamorous, easy or fun to build a business. If entrepreneurship is calling you then you absolutely cannot miss out on the truth, behind the business, written by Nic Haralambous.

Nic Haralambous built his first website when he was 12 years old. His first real business was a band that didn’t go very far. He was 16 when he first tried and failed to sell product for money. He has spent over 15 years building businesses, failing and learning hard lessons through intense times. His crowning accomplishment is how many failures he has learned from in his career as an entrepreneur. He started out in the world of journalism, moved into technology and then onto building a global retail business online.

Book details

Launch - Steinhoff: Inside SA's Biggest Corporate Crash by James-Brent Styan (31 July)

On 5 December 2017 the Steinhoff group was still worth R199 billion. 24 hours later more than R160 billion rand of this fortune was wiped out. The Steinhoff Empire, that took 20 years to build into an international business giant, had crumbled overnight.

Markus Jooste, Steinhoff’s flashy CEO, resigned via SMS and has since been fleeing an avalanche of scandals and accusations: luxury homes for a blonde mistress, allegations of fraud, racing horses and unparalleled extravagance, a lavish, black Jaguar for an old university residence…

What exactly happened here? Who knew what? What is Steinhoff, who is Markus Jooste and what does it all have to do with the so called Stellenbosch mafia? Where does business tycoon Christo Wiese, Shoprite and Pepkor fit in and where is the pensioners’ money?

Well-known financial writer James-Brent Styan unpacks these and other questions in this astounding tale of power and greed, of secrets and deceit, and ultimately the biggest financial breakdown in the history of South Africa.

Through interviews with trustworthy sources, revelations from confidential documents and in-depth research about Steinhoff’s history, Styan uncovers what the group doesn’t want you to know.

Steinhoff: Inside SA’s Biggest Corporate Crash is a gripping financial thriller that will be told as cautionary tale or salacious scandal in both boardrooms and living rooms for decades to come.
 
Event Details