Ep 09 – Leanne Shelton: 5 memorable autobiographies

Mar 8, 2020

As a writer, I’ve always loved reading. Well, I assume the two always go hand in hand – but I could be wrong!

I enjoy the escapism.
I enjoy the entertainment.
And I enjoy the education.

I hope you enjoyed Episode 8 where I spoke about ‘5 books that changed my mindset.’ And if you haven’t listened to it yet, I recommend going back and listening to it after this episode.

As a follow up – today, I wanted to share ‘5 memorable autobiographies’ that I’ve read over the past 12 months. I love reading about inspiring journeys and learnings experienced by people I admire or consider to be successful.

Autobiographies highlight the authenticity and vulnerability of the author. And I love getting that insight into their world and thoughts.

Every book has made an impact on me in some shape or form – and I look forward to sharing some highlights with you in this episode.

Please note, I’m not receiving any payment from endorsing these publications – although I do admit to knowing a couple of the author’s personally.

You may choose to add these books to your reading list, or just carry on with your day with some new concepts to think about.

So get your Kindles and Audio book accounts ready – let’s start today’s chapter of Marketing & Me!


I’d like to kick off with the book ‘Unmasked’ by Turia Pitt.

In case you’re unfamiliar with her story, in 2011, at the age of 24, Turia’s life was turned upside down.

While competing in a 100km ultra marathon in the Australian outback, she encountered an out-of-control grass fire. Trapped by the blaze, she suffered full thickness burns to 65% of her body.I remember hearing about Turia in the news back then, but I had NO IDEA how it would have felt and what the recovery would be like.I stumbled across the autobiography while browsing through a book shop. Her scarred face and body proudly and unapologetically embraced the book’s cover.

Loving the confidence in that image alone, I had to buy it.

I loved that Turia gave an honest recount of her feedback. She admitted she wasn’t always the best patient. She whinged and cried just as much as any of us would.Yet, she’s a hero in my eyes because – before long – she was competing again. Yes, despite her extensive injuries.In 2016, she achieved a goal she’d been working towards since the early days of her recovery – and competed in her first Ironman competition in May, followed by the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.When the doctors told her she couldn’t do something, or would never do something again, she was determined to prove them wrong!And I love that.I love reading about resilience and determination and that’s exactly what Turia’s story is all about.She’s also had amazing support from her husband who’s known her since before the fire – and continues to love her whole-heartedly.More recently, Turia’s given birth to her second son. And I bet that’s surprised a lot of doctors as well!

The next book on my list is Waratah by Ha-Le Thai.

This is another example of an amazing and inspiring woman who has defeated the odds!

I met Ha-Le through The Speakers Institute a couple of years ago. When you first meet her, you see a gorgeous, calmly spoken Vietnamese woman.What you don’t see is all the turmoil she’s experienced throughout her life. From experiencing a troubled childhood, to escaping Vietnam for freedom in a cramped leaking boat – while pregnant I might add, to experiencing struggles with her family, to battling cancer – multiple times – Ha-Le is a true fighter.And she’s come out of it all still smiling with a positive attitude and zest for life.The title ‘Waratah’ refers to an Australian flower which represents strength and courage. Two attributes that suit Ha-Le perfectly.I was honoured to be one of the first people to read the book and provide feedback – and you’ll actually see my name on the acknowledgements page.

Highly recommended!

Next on the list is ‘Bounce Forward’ by Sam Cawthorn. It’s a great segue from Ha-Le’s book – as it’s thanks to Sam that the two of us met.

Sam is the co-founder of The Speakers Institute and he’s another inspirational individual who’s overcome massive trauma to reach success.I met him at a free one day event about professional speaking and I loved his energy – and still do!Bounce Forward is an inspiring business book that shows leaders and business people how to turn adversity into innovation, productivity, and profitability.So it’s one of those autobiographical self-help books – where he shares his journey and learnings. Similar to Turia, Sam’s life changed when he was in his early 20s – following a terrible car accident. The accident cost him his left arm and put him in a coma.

And he was told he’s never walk again.

Well, he proved them wrong – didn’t he?

Fast forward to today, and Sam’s one of the most successful motivational and inspirational speakers around, addressing some 100,000 people around the world each year from some of the world’s biggest companies.

His book talks about bouncing forward – not bouncing back – as who wants to return to the situation that led to the crisis? In his case, it was working long hours and falling asleep at the wheel.Bounce Forward features many great tools, strategies, and psychology aimed at anyone aiming to overcome any obstacle.Sam has agreed to be on the podcast later in the year. So watch this space!

‘That will never work’ by Marc Randolph is the next book I wanted to talk about. The full title is ‘That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea’ – and it grabbed my attention while searching for a book gift in Target.I don’t know about you, but I’m a Netflix lover, and I figured the behind-the-scenes journey would be interesting.

And I was right!

The business has been around for many years – since about 1997 in fact. Back when video stores were king.Marc came up with an idea of posting on-demand DVDs – back when DVDs were entering the market.Since then, they went through many ups and downs and tried various things to see which formula worked best with the public.And, well, the rest is history.I loved the honesty of this book and determination for Netflix to succeed, even though it didn’t look possible at various stages.

Really enjoyed it!

Finally, I wanted to talk about ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama.
I’d heard amazing things about this book and I wasn’t disappointed.Being an Aussie and not across American politics, I admit I didn’t know much about Michelle Obama and her background.So I enjoyed reading about her youth, education, and how she met Barrack.She wasn’t just the First Lady of the United States of America – and the first African American to serve in that role.She also helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history while establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the United States and around the world.I loved the honesty and humour throughout the pages – as she describes how her family’s life was turned upside down one day when they moved into the White House – compared to their modest living arrangements beforehand.Michelle has a wonderful way of storytelling and I’m sure I’ll go back and re-read the book again sometime!

That’s the end of today’s recommendations.

To go through those titles again, they are:

Unmasked – Turia Pitt

Waratah – Ha-Le Thai

Bounce Forward – Sam Cawthorn

That will never work – Marc Randolph

Becoming – Michelle Obama

I hope you love reading the books as much as I did!


Throughout her career, Leanne Shelton has gained vast experience in journalism, marketing, communications, events, and B2B sales. She has worked in both corporate and not-for-profit roles, but since starting Write Time Marketing in 2014, Leanne has found her true calling.

A self-proclaimed English nerd at heart, Leanne is extremely passionate about the written word and loves working with Health & Wellness business owners to prepare effective content marketing strategies to best suit their target audiences. Even though she has dabbled in all forms of copywriting, Leanne specialises in business blogging as she loves the capacity to form ongoing relationships with her clients.

While some business owners choose to outsource their blogs to Leanne to write, others prefer to take the DIY approach and learn about the art via training opportunities online, face-to-face, and her podcast ‘Marketing & Me’.

Outside the office, Leanne enjoys dancing, reading, listening to inspiring podcasts, and spending quality time with her husband, Justin, and two young daughters.

To find out more about Write Time Marketing, visit www.writetimemarketing.com.au


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