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The Lush Library: The Reading List

Find inspiration from fiction and non-fiction books on subjects ranging from business to poetry, amongst other things. One may have been chosen for its influence on the creation of a bath bomb, another for its business advice, and another for its personal inspiration. Make yourself a cup of tea and have a browse.      

The Sound Approach

Since 2000, Mark Constantine, Magnus Robb and Arnoud van den Berg have been building a major new collection of bird sound recordings. Their collection now exceeds 50,000 recordings of more than 1,000 species, with a particular focus on the Western Palaearctic Region, making this one of the largest privately owned archives of bird sound recordings in the world.

Driven by a passion for bird song, Mark Constantine, founder of Lush Cosmetics, formed his own independent publishing company in 2006 committed to his vision of turning bird watchers into bird listeners.
The Sound Approach aim to popularise birdsong and raise standards in the use of sounds in bird identification. Subjects of particular interest include ageing and sexing birds by their sounds, and recognising hidden biodiversity (‘new species’) through bird sounds. Besides those of the three main recordists, The Sound Approach collection has also received major contributions from Dick Forsman and Killian Mullarney.

On The Trail Of Sandalwood Smugglers by Simon Constantine, Agnès Gendry & Plastic Crimewave

Embark on a rip-roaring journey into the shady underworld of sandalwood smuggling with Lush buyers Simon and Agnès. We use sandalwood in a number of products and this book tells a tale of deceit, duplicity and decapitation as the daring duo travel the globe to sniff out its true nature.

Written by Simon and Agnès, with artwork by Chicago-based illustrator Plastic Crimewave, our first ever graphic novel shows the extraordinary lengths the Lush buying team go to in order to source ingredients ethically."
"The Sound Approach to birding by Mark Constantine and The Sound Approach

Learn the facts of bird sound while listening to over 200 beautiful exclusive stereo recordings from all over the world. Combining anecdote, scientific theory and practical field experience, The Sound
Approach to Birding is a step-by-step guide through tone, pitch, rhythm, reading sonograms, acoustics, and using sounds to age and sex birds. It explains how bird sounds are often the first indication of previously unrecognised taxonomic splits, and explains how to identify them. With The Sound Approach, you can maximise the use of sound in enhancing your field skills, and improve your standards of identification, whatever your current level of experience.

Petrels night and day by Magnus Robb & The Sound Approach

The second title in The Sound Approach series continues to set the benchmark for identifying bird sounds (regardless of the reader’s ability and previous experience). You will learn how to identify and separate petrels by ear, supported by clearly annotated sonograms. Over 130 recordings of petrels ‘illustrate’ the text which is also complemented by stunning photographs and illustrations by Killian Mullarney.

You will delve into the author’s tales of making the recordings, learn where to go to experience the birds and read about how the latest research is leading to the recognition of new - European - species, some of which are exceedingly rare.

Birding from the Hip by Anthony McGeehan & The Sound Approach

Birding from the Hip is a collection of forthright, entertaining and gloriously funny stories describing an obsessive Irish birder’s view of life. Anthony McGeehan has been writing tales about birdwatching for more than twenty years and this is his first book.

Vintage articles sit alongside many new pieces, compiled as The Sound Approach travels with Anthony on fresh adventures to record his favourite bird sounds. Rasping Corncrakes reverberating from churchyard walls, Lapwings celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day and a triumphant chorus of thousands of Cranes returning to roost on a starry Spanish night – hear them all and more alongside a selection of stories narrated on two free CDs.

Catching the Bug by Mark Constantine & The Sound Approach

A precis of the concerns, puzzles and conundrums set by the natural world to a group of obsessive birders who have been meeting in a pub in Poole.

Read how tens of thousands of birds secretly migrate through the area, and teach yourself the fascinating range of chirps, cheeps and chacks that can help you discover similar migrant corridors near your home. Learn the flight calls of these migrant songbirds from original stereo recordings, illustrated and explained using annotated sonograms.
Explore the idea of the Dartford Warbler being Britain’s first endemic species, along with the differences between Atlantic and Continental Great Cormorants, and the role sound has in Common Cuckoo conservation. Listen to the sounds of waders as they come and go with the tide while enjoying the author’s stories of bird racing, year listing and being stopped by the police for possession of a super ray gun.

Undiscovered owls by Magnus Robb & The Sound Approach

Explore the twilight world of owls that you can hear in your garden, the park or woods with this lyrical investigation into their sounds. Listen to previously unpublished digital stereo recordings of the owls of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, illustrated with annotated sonograms. Enjoy paintings and photographs, often of the individuals recorded. Learn how research into evolution, behaviour and sounds has led to the recognition of a dozen new owl species.
Share the thrill of closing in on a huge fish owl found only a handful of times before, the rarest owl in our region. Travel to rugged desert mountains, where the authors chanced upon a previously undiscovered owl: the first new Arabian bird species for nearly 80 years. Learn to listen like an owl and maybe you could find the next one."

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot
When Amy returns to Orkney after more than a decade away, she is drawn back to the Outrun on the sheep farm where she grew up. Approaching the land that was once home, memories of her childhood merge with the recent events that have set her on this journey.

She moved to London and found herself in a hedonistic cycle. Unable to control her drinking, alcohol gradually took over. Now thirty, she finds herself washed up back home on Orkney, trying to come to terms with what happened to her in London.

Spending early mornings swimming in the cold sea, the days tracking Orkney's wildlife – puffins nesting on sea stacks, arctic terns swooping close enough to feel their wings - and nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy slowly makes the journey towards recovery from addiction.

Soil Soul Society by Satish Kumar

Satish Kumar here sets out his vision for the future of our planet and our place in it. An inspiring read from the editor of Resurgence & The Ecologist.”
Matt Shaw"

No Destination by Satish Kumar

A truly brilliant autobiography from Satish Kumar. From his early life as a Jain Monk in India to his peace walk visiting Moscow, Paris, London, and Washington, D.C. on foot to his life in Devon as a writer, founder of Schumacher college, public speaker and editor of Resurgence magazine.

Rudyard Kipling Collected Poems

“It remains the most pertinent tract ever written.”
Mark Constantine

Kipling was a prolific poet, who has been a big influence on Lush. Composing verse in every classical form from the epigram to the ode, his most distinctive gift was for ballads and narrative poems in which he drew vivid characters in universal situations. He also had a deep feeling for the natural world. All of these aspects of Kipling’s poetry are represented in this selection, which ranges from such well-known compositions as “Mandalay” and “If” to the less-familiar, emotionally powerful, and personal epigrams he wrote in response to the war."

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

“Hippy wisdom.”
Mark Constantine

Almustafa has waited for twelve years in Orphalese for his ship to return and transport him back to the isle he was born on. As he readies himself to leave, a seeress asks him to share his truth so that it may be passed on through the generations. The Prophet is that reservoir of wisdom, philosophical, spiritual - and above all - inspirational. Twenty-eight chapters cover topics as sprawling as love, marriage, giving, housing, crime and punishment, eating and drinking, friendship, and death. They have been, and continue to be, hugely influential at Lush."

Perfumes: The A-Z Guide by Luca Turin & Tania Sanchez
Recommended by Simon Constantine

Perfumes: The A-Z  Guide is the culmination of Turin's lifelong obsession and rare scientific flair and Sanchez's stylish and devoted blogging about every scent that she's ever loved and loathed. Together they make a fine and utterly persuasive argument for the unrecognised craft of perfume-making. Perfume writing has certainly never been this honest, compelling or downright entertaining."

Mirage Men by Mark Pilkington
Recommended by Simon Constantine

Following a dawn visit to Stonehenge for Simon Constantine’s (Lush Head Buyer & Perfumer) 30th birthday, he and fellow colleague Matt Shaw decided to explore the ancient sites of Dorset. This would inspire the Set in Stone Gorilla Perfume collection. Following that, they planned one more trip, this time to Avebury, joined by Mirage Men author Mark Pilkington, whose book caught Simon's interest with its subject matter covering government disinformation, fracking and drones.

Mark reveals the long history of UFOria and its parallels in little known tales from the murky worlds of espionage, psychological warfare and advanced military technology. Along the way he discovers that the truth about flying saucers is stranger and more complex than either the ufologists or debunkers would have us believe.

The President's Hat by Antoine Laurain
“The best book for describing where an idea comes from in perfumery.”
Mark Constantine

Dining alone in an elegant Parisian brasserie, accountant Daniel Mercier can hardly believe his eyes when President François Mitterrand sits down to eat at the table next to him. After the presidential party has gone, Daniel discovers that Mitterrand's black felt hat has been left behind. After a few moments of soul-searching, Daniel decides to keep the hat as a souvenir of an extraordinary evening. It's a perfect fit, and as he leaves the restaurant Daniel begins to feel somehow… different.

Has Daniel unwittingly discovered the secret of supreme power?
For two years the iconic item of headgear plays with the lives of the men and women who wear it, bringing them success that had previously eluded them. Antoine Laurain's brilliantly orchestrated tour captures entertaining portraits of a rich gallery of characters.

The Fish That Ate the Whale by Richard Cohen

“Describes the origins of the power of big business.”
Mark Constantine

This is the fascinating untold tale of Samuel Zemurray, the self-made banana mogul who went from penniless roadside banana peddler to kingmaker and capitalist revolutionary. Working his way up from a roadside fruit peddler to conquering the United Fruit Company, Zemurray became a symbol of the best and worst of the United States: proof that America is the land of opportunity, but also a classic example of the corporate pirate who treats foreign nations as a backdrop for his adventures.

Zero to One by Peter Thiel

“Peter Thiel’s understanding that originality and innovation outperform the competition every time is really interesting.”
Mark Constantine

The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them. It’s easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. Every new creation goes from 0 to 1. This book is about how to get there.

The Locust and the Bee by Geoff Mulgan

“Clearly defines the sort of capitalism we practice.”
Mark Constantine

The recent economic crisis was a dramatic reminder that capitalism can both produce and destroy. It's a system that encourages predators and creators, locusts and bees. But, as Geoff Mulgan argues in this compelling, imaginative, and important book, the economic crisis also presents a historic opportunity to choose a radically different future for capitalism, one that maximizes its creative power and minimizes its destructive force. This is a book for anyone who wonders where capitalism might be heading next, and who wants to help make sure that its future avoids the mistakes of the past.

Duveen: The Story of the Most Spectacular Art Dealer of All Time by S.N Behrman
Recommended by Mark Constantine.

Joseph Duveen was the world's most famous art dealer. Famous for his charm, shrewd salesmanship, relentless pursuit of the perfect objet d'art, and his ability to command eye-watering prices - Duveen was as unique as one of his priceless Old Masters.  He even laid the foundations for the great American museums of art, including the National Gallery and the Frick Collection, by persuading his clients to bequeath their purchases to the nation.

In this biography, S. N. Behrman tells the story of Duveen's rise to prestige, from delftware peddler to selling the greatest European paintings to the greatest American millionaires. 

Swimming With Sharks by Joris Luyendijk
Recommended by Mark Constantine

Follow investigative journalist Joris Luyendijk as he journeys into the world of finance. He spoke to over 200 people in the City about what they actually do all day, and had a chilling realisation. What if the bankers themselves aren't the real enemy? What if the truth about global finance is more sinister than that?"

Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
Recommended by Jack Constantine

David Ogilvy's 1983 treatise on advertising takes the reader from "How to Produce Advertising that Sells" to "What's Wrong with Advertising?" This is a candid and indispensable primer on all aspects of advertising.

Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday
Recommended by Jack Constantine

Your new business went online yesterday and you've got a marketing budget of zero. How are you supposed to create a movement around your product? How can you get to your first thousand, or million, customers? Enter the growth hacker. Growth hackers thrive on doing what traditional businessmen would consider impossible: creating something from nothing. They 'hack' their company's growth to create a narrative of sensational success, turning excited media, users and social media into a viral marketing force that will help their business grow exponentially.

Featuring insights from leading growth hackers, Growth Hacker Marketing is the essential guide to the revolutionary new approach to growing your business.

Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull
Recommended by Jack Constantine

As a young man, Ed Catmull dreamt of making the world's first computer-animated movie. He nurtured that dream first as a Ph.D. student, and then forged an early partnership with George Lucas that led, indirectly, to his founding of Pixar with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter in 1986. Nine years later and against all odds, Toy Story was released, changing animation forever. In this book, Catmull reveals the ideals and techniques, honed over years, that have made Pixar so widely admired.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
Recommended by Mark Constantine

This book examines the ways in which men and women are judged differently in the workplace and how women's progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled. Sheryl Sandberg draws on her own experience of working in some of the world's most successful businesses and looks at what women can do to help themselves, and what small changes they can make in their lives that can affect change on a universal scale."

Lean Out by Dawn Foster

“Often using wit and sarcasm, Foster offers an alternative to corporate, individualistic conceptions of feminism. She sees feminism as part of a broader picture of representation for minorities, and as including families and civil life. Refreshing.

Heart of Change by John Kotter
Recommended by Mo Constantine

Why is change so hard? Because in order to make any transformation successful, you must change more than just the structure and operations of an organization; you need to change people's behavior. And that is never easy. The Heart of Change is your guide to helping people think and feel differently in order to meet your shared goals. 

Shine: How to Survive and Thrive at Work by Chris Barez Brown

The uber mix-tape of business literature. Lifting every golden nugget from every business book you’ve never bothered reading, Brown practically splatters his pages with short, punchy dogma, introducing valuable ideas and simple tools into the mix. It’s inspired stuff, made original by populating the text with hip pop cultural references.

The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin

This is a medical handbook, with a difference. Whether you have a stubbed toe or a severe case of the blues, within these pages you'll find a cure in the form of a novel to help ease your pain. You'll also find advice on how to tackle common reading ailments, such as what to do when you feel overwhelmed by the number of books in the world, or you have a tendency to give up halfway through. When read at the right moment, a novel can change your life, and The Novel Cure is an enchanting reminder of that power.

Who Really Feeds The World? by Vandana Shiva

The world's food supply is in the grip of a profound crisis. Humanity's ability to feed itself is threatened by a wasteful, globalised agricultural industry, whose relentless pursuit of profit is stretching our planet's ecosystems to breaking point. In Who Really Feeds the World? Vandana Shiva advocates a radical rethink of our relationship with food and with the environment.

Farmageddon by Phil Lymbery
“We need to understand how food gets to our plate and how far we are willing to go to sustain our increasingly meat heavy diet.  Farmageddon looks at meat production from all its angles - and the view is not pretty!”

Cookin' up a Storm by Laura Dakin
“Blocking the whale killers is hard, keeping well fed during the chaos is harder. If the Sea Shepherd volunteer crew can cook tasty vegan food on the ocean, then it will be breeze to follow these recipes in our quiet home kitchens!”

Injustice by Clive Stafford Smith
“This book will make you question whether you trust the legal systems of even our most 'advanced' nations.  If we had trustworthy systems we wouldn't need heroes like Clive Stafford Smith, who pick up the pieces.”

In 1986, Kris Maharaj, a British businessman living in Miami, was arrested for the brutal murder of two ex-business associates and was found guilty and sentenced to death in the electric chair.
Clive Stafford Smith took on his case, and strong evidence began to emerge that the state of Florida had got the wrong man on Death Row. Step by step, Stafford Smith untangles the Maharaj case and the system that makes disasters like this inevitable. "

Undercover by Paul Lewis
“Prepared to be astonished by this account by two Guardian journalists of the human rights violations by UK undercover police, infiltrating political movements over decades. Written with the cooperation of many of the victims and a police whistleblower, it gives a unique insight.”
Becca Lush

They steal identities. They break the law. They sleep with the enemy. They are the undercover police. This is the breathtaking story of forty years of state espionage revealed by award-winning journalists Rob Evans and Paul Lewis.

Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham
Chris Packham has become a great friend and ally to Lush in recent years, working closely with us on several campaigns, including the hugely successful Skydancer campaign for Hen Harrier conservation. In this memoir, he brings to life his childhood in the 70s with his story of the search for freedom, meaning and acceptance in a world that doesn't understand him.

Inglorious by Mark Avery
Inglorious is about the illegal persecution of birds of prey, a topic Lush has campaigned hard for over the last three years with Mark Avery and Chris Packham. Mark highlights the truth as to why our Hen Harriers are on the brink of extinction and explains why Driven Grouse Shooting should become the next victim.

What Did We Do to Deserve This? by Mark Howell
Recommended by Mark Constantine

Photographs and interviews reveal the realities of daily life for Palestinians in the West Bank in the twenty-first century. What Did We Do to Deserve This? looks at all many aspects, ranging from restrictions on movement and imprisonment, to the effects of the occupation on business, the practising of religion and the development of democracy.

Cut through the smokescreens that pervade coverage of the issue to gain a comprehensive understanding of how Israel’s policies in the West Bank affect the lives of many Palestinian people.

Extreme Rambling by Mark Thomas
“Ever feel so concerned about something that you just need to go there and experience it first hand? Fair dos to Mark, he got his hiking boots and took his middle aged aches and pains to Palestine to walk a day in their shoes…”

The Israeli separation barrier is probably the most iconic divider of land since the Berlin Wall. It has been declared illegal under international law and its impact on life in the West Bank has been enormous. Mark Thomas decided the only way to really get to grips with this huge divide was to use the barrier as a route map, to 'walk the wall', covering the entire distance with little more in his armoury than Kendal Mint Cake and a box of blister plasters.

100 Acts of Minor Dissent by Mark Thomas
“Campaigning tirelessly for fairness, justice and Rights – here Mark Thomas sets himself a year long challenge to go after the bad guys, whilst seemingly never forgetting that protest can be done with humour, irreverence and a certain panache.”

Mark has been performing comedy for 30 years. He decided to challenge himself to perform 100 acts of dissent within a year, or donate £1000 to political party UKIP if he failed to do so. The targets were multiple; from corporate greed and public service inanities to infringements of rights. This is his account of the adventure and is sure to inspire.

The People’s Manifesto by Mark Thomas
Recommended by Hilary

As a comedian, Mark would often get his audiences to come up with policies aimed at sorting out the UK’s political chaos and taking back the power for the people.  These suggested policies involved – all politicians being forced to wear the names and logos of the companies sponsoring them or with whom they have financial links; anyone who supports ID cards to be banned from having curtains; anyone found guilty of homophobic hate crime has to serve their sentence in drag; and, CEOs convicted of fraud will be made to dress as pirates in whatever job they get in the future.
This book outlines 50 policies of the manifesto.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Recommended by Mo Constantine
Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall, named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to Victoria Forester and for the coveted prize of her hand, Tristran vows to retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends him over the ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining... This is the book that inspired the much-loved bath bomb.

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

“This book has a delicious vision and is full of out of the box descriptions and thoughts. I love how it takes your mind out of the ordinary.”
Rowena Bird

In the underground city of Caverna the world's most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare – wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer. The people of Caverna are more ordinary, but for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to show (or fake) joy, despair or fear - at a price. Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a little girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times...

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

“Lush could have inspired this book, it is full of wonder and magic with love running through the core. This is writing ' outside of the box' I just wanted to hug this book, I don't think I have read anything quite so special ever.”
Rowena Bird

Rowena was reading this just before Lushfest 2012, and she realised that if Lushfest were to be written into a story, it would be very similar to The Night Circus.

"The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads: Opens at Nightfall, Closes at Dawn. As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, the circus opens. Now you may enter."

Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings by Shel Silverstein
Recommended by Helen Ambrosen

Where the sidewalk ends, Shel Silverstein’s world begins. You’ll meet a boy who turns into a TV set, and a girl who eats a whale. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there, and so does Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who will not take the garbage out. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist. Shel Silverstein’s masterful collection of poems and drawings is at once outrageously funny and profound.

Will There Be Donuts? by David Pearl

"David Pearl shows us why we need to change the way we meet and how we can do so in a more profound, positive and playful way.”
Andrew Paine
Learning & Development

The Directory of Essential Oils by Wanda Sellar

“When we were first trying to find information on essential oils, we found all sorts of claims made about them, but Wanda’s were the best. They were sensible and believable and from our use of the oils we agreed with many of her observations.”
Helen Ambrosen

Whole Foods Companion by Dianne Onstad

“This book gives me sensible advice about fruits, vegetables and other lovely ingredients. It was a magical moment finding it in my favourite book shop in Wimborne. I find it a great inspiration, especially its interesting, wonderful stories. I trust the accurate nutritional information and use it to guide my formulation of products.”
Helen Ambrosen

Open Borders by Teresa Hayter

Teresa Hayter assesses the impact of the increasing severity of border controls since they were first introduced and makes the case for their abolition. She examines the recent history of European coordination of border controls and argues that the existence of controls leads to great suffering and abuse of human rights, and that immigration controls are racist and help legitimate racism.  

In May 2011 this book was stocked in all of our UK stops as part of our No Borders campaign. Alongside activist group No One Is Illegal, Lush campaigned for open borders, and for people to be free to live and work wherever they wish. 


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