Ben Keene

Founder of Rebel Book Club

From an island in Fiji, via the beaches of West Africa, to the English West Country, Ben has spent 20 years exploring how to make a positive impact through building startups, communities and adventures.

Ben has helped 1000s of people and organisations do work that matters to them (& the world) – whether that’s through starting an impact business, building an exciting career, or growing a purposeful community.

His current projects in Rebel Book Club (global nonfiction community) + Raaise (funding climate startups).

Where did the idea for Rebel Book Club come from?

It was a bad habit. One tap on amazon and bang there it was on my kindle. I’d fleetingly read a review and, before I’d considered a sensible swipe-by, my curiosities or aspirations had slapped me round the face and it was too late. I’d become a heavy book download user.

We needed to fix our problem of starting but not nonfiction finishing books. Rebel Book Club was about to begin.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

5am mediation. 5:30am run. 6am juice. 6:30am clean inbox. 7am start zooms.

Bollocks to that.

3 kids and a puppy and a few years of productivity experiments mean my mornings are family chaos management followed by strong coffee and an amble to my office (10 meters from the front door). Then I check dashboards, socials, inboxes. Deal with anything urgent. Then crack on with projects in 1-2 hour blocks. Usually a call or two and 3-4 times a month I’m hosting evening events in-person or virtually.

How do you bring ideas to life?

We wanted (and needed) to keep the format super simple. Every month:

1 nonfiction book
1 meetup
1 book inspired drink

Lots of forward-thinking people and conversation.

We charged £15/month for membership. That was May 2015. We’re now on our 81st book.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Startups that exist to solve real social and environmental problems. Purposeful business is finally going mainstream. As someone who has beeb part of social enterprises/impact startups for 20 years, this is a relief and overdue.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?



Before Rebel Book Club started I’d read 4 books a year tops. Now its 40-50. Yes, its partly my job but also I just love it. The diversity of ideas, knowledge and stories continue to challenge and inspire me and connect me to amazing humans.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t listen to your older self.

Sometimes I think we over prescribe life-advice. Best thing to do is go out and live your best version.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Reading the news is good for you.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Deliver the service promised to our customers and members. The basics done well, regularly, are worth so much more than brilliance done occasionally.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Consistency + being genuinely interested in our members, not just for the purpose of revenue.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

This could be a thesis.

Not hiring early enough. Too often I’ve focused on protecting cash flow over spending on talent. Its a fine line, but I’m trying to push it.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Any solution that helps solve the climate and nature crises, well executed will be successful. Pain points are everywhere.

How can you help people and organisations change the way they:

literally, everything.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Zip wire for the kids.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Canva. Unbelievable tool for value.

I use it daily for decks, socials, community comms, branding etc… whole visual toolkit.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?


Here’s a top 5 from 2021:

  • 4000 weeks, time management for mortals
  • This one wild and precious life
  • The good ancestor
  • Consumed
  • The green grocer

What is your favorite quote?

The young will grow…

and on biz:

“Ask your customers how disappointed they’d be if you disappeared. If less than 40% are ‘very disappointed’, then you don’t have product market fit.”

“There’s rarely been a more necessary time for entrepreneurs to fix things.”

Key Learnings:

  • Start early and small
  • Have fun, bring people together
  • Be consistent