My book “Back to the Black: how to become debt-free and stay that way” is based on my own experience of a debt crisis. I faced the very real possibility of bankruptcy but I found another solution.

The latest edition (January 2015) is available from all large online retailers and to order from most bookshops. The digital version is available for kindle, kobo and nook readers.


Praise for Back to the Black


“This book details the author’s personal experience of managing escalating debt. Whilst telling his personal story he has woven a plan of action for those finding themselves in similar situations. A lot of excellent advice to avoid the pitfalls whilst in negotiation with creditors along with reference to self esteem and handling stress. Well worth a read.”

Back to the Black … how to become debt-free and stay that way

The author, of ‘Back to the Black’, Michael MacMahon, writes with compassion and some humour about being in debt. After all, he’s been there, so the experience has given him some authority, as well as an insight into the subsequent problems.

Michael takes the perspective of a coach advocating a rational approach to getting a grip on debt, which means facing the facts, analysing your financial situation, deciding on a personal strategy to make sense of what’s gone wrong, and what might work best for you to put things right.

He  considers why people get into debt; obvious things like a dip in the economy which if you own a business may create problems in investment or the less obvious, like the costs arising out of a divorce And then, of course, there’s ‘discretionary spending’, which is ‘spending ’ to buy things, which you could, in reality, do without.

I found his short case studies really interesting. He showed how some financial event, which in itself was minor, can, if not handled  properly,  snowball into something frighteningly out of control. He proposes three possible strategies, one’s choice depending not only on the factual circumstances but how one views working with each possibility.

The final part suggests strategies to avoid a recurrence. There’s also an extremely helpful list of resources, such as charities, templates for possible letters, and a glossary with explanations of financial terminology.

For those in debt, or fear the recurrence of debt,  ‘Back to Black’ is a straightforward account of what to do and where to go for help. The tone is reassuring, informal, and informed, and reading his book as someone with very little experience of financial matters, I found it interesting and it made sense! It can’t get better than that.

Marguerite Valentine

Nov 2016


“In this day with the economic situation still putting people on edge, this book gives a lot of information. The sections cover causes, approaches, and even how to reduce stress caused by debt. It is not a hopeless situation as you learn to face the facts of current situation and then three plans on how to deal with it. It even has a last section on how to stay out of debt and resources.”

“This book is written using the very useful resource of first hand experience which makes it very poignant and useful. The three approaches to escaping the downward spiral of the effects of debt are practical and easy to follow. It is written with humour and gives the reader the comfort that they are not alone in experiencing the misery that financial problems can bring.”

Written from the author’s own bitter experience, ‘Back to the Black’ has a readability rarely seen in this genre. Although intended for those suffering financial crisis, it is written with a ‘glass half full’ attitude and is jam packed with such useful information and sound advice that I could recommend it to anyone.