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WELCOME!

Welcome to my website!

Why does a semi-retired septuagenarian bother to have a website?

As the saying goes, ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time.’ At that time, maybe ten years ago, I was about to retire and had no intention of retiring. If that makes sense. So I thought I need a website. And I still do.

GET MY BOOK ‘BACK TO THE BLACK’ FOR FREE? 

My book ‘Back To The Black … How To Become Debt-free And Stay That Way’ is now available on a ‘Pay What You Want’ basis from my own e-commerce site. And there’s a story behind it.

I recently heard about a book called ‘The Complete Guide to Pay What You Want Pricing … how you can share your work’, by Tom Morkes. The title intrigued me, so I downloaded the book, which was a comprehensive guide with scores of examples.

The idea reminded me of a conversation I’d had a couple of years ago with my good friend Tom Walker. I’d asked his advice about a coaching programme I was planning to launch at the time and we’d got onto the always-thorny question ‘what’s the right price level?’

Tom asked if I’d considered trying ‘Pay What You Want’, as a way of testing the market; and he told me about a restaurant (remember them, back in the pre-Covid times?) here in Bristol, which had experimented with the idea.

The coaching service I was then planning, by the way, was for people who were going to speak at a wedding. (Remember them, too?) So that service is on hold until these Covid times are behind us. But another way of using the ‘PWYW’ concept occurred to me.

Lots of people right now have financial problems. My book on debt management, ‘Back to the Black,’ has been selling on Amazon for five years and has had lots of great reviews. But people who have a debt problem are, very sensibly, reluctant to spend any money they don’t need to. That’s why I’m now offering the e-book as ‘Pay What You Want’, which specifically includes FREE!

To do this I’m trying out an e-commerce site called GumRoad. That’s another experiment. All being well, this link will take you there: https://gum.co/ELYzg 

WEDDINGS BOOK PUBLISHED

Weddings ‘as we know them’ might be on hold for now. But for when they return, my book The Wedding Speech Handbook is available in a variety of ways. One convenient way to get it is from Amazon, in both paperback and Kindle form. There’s a link in the sidebar.

The paperback is also available to order ‘from all good bookshops’,  as they say. That includes Foyles and Waterstones. Its ISBN is 978-1-9993442-0-7. (The edition in their systems is not the Amazon edition, in case the bookshop asks. As you might already know, simply mentioning the word ‘Amazon’ could get you barred from your favourite bookshop. )

The cover design features a cartoon by David Lewis, showing a best man who’s clearly a wannabe standup comedian. It’s a familiar wedding speech pitfall; he’s having fun, oblivious to the horrified reactions of the rest of the top table. I am in awe of the cartoonist’s ability to show all those facial expressions with just a few pen-strokes.

 

GENERAL GUFF ABOUT ME

I’m an oldie who devotes his so-called ‘Third Age’ to a so-called ‘portfolio career’ (acknowledgements to Charles Handy, who coined the term) drawing on personal and professional experience. 

I write nonfiction.  My first book Back to the Black (first edition 2010, second edition 2015) was about a financial crisis I had in the ’90s and what I learned from it.

The Wedding Speech Handbook, published in 2018,  drew on my experience of public speaking, and of training and coaching speakers, over the preceding 40 years; and on the pleasure of giving the Father of the Bride speech at my elder daughter’s wedding in 2017.

I spend some of my time coaching. I particularly like to help people who need to perform ‘on stage’ from time to time, whether that means a theatre stage, a conference platform or, more usually, the top table at a wedding. My coaching is now offered on a ‘Pay What You Choose’ basis: if you want to know how that works, send me a message! I’m more motivated by helping people than making money.

I’m also an occasional speaker, a voice actor who also makes occasional forays on to screen or stage. I’m also radio host on BCfm, Bristol’s excellent community radio station, of which I’m a trustee and board member.

MORE GUFF ABOUT ME

A native of Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, I spent my school days at St George’s College, Weybridge and my university years at Imperial College, London. 

I then had a 25-year career in the chemical industry, eventually ending up as Managing Director of a sales and marketing company in the Swedish-owned Holmen group.

After my employer Holmen LignoTech, the chemicals division, was bought by Borregaard Industries of Norway, I left to set up and run a training consultancy, where I designed and delivered courses for major corporate clients in Norway, also some in Sweden, in business communication skills – e.g. how to deliver impactful presentations or run effective meetings – combined with polishing English-language competence. It was very gratifying that Borregaard, the competitor who’d initiated that change in my life by buying my former employer, trusted me enough to become my first client. They remained so for five years or so and also introduced me to other Norwegian organisations.

I then spent five years working with a major UK health charity; first in community fundraising and then as a media spokesman.

Nowadays I live in the great city of Bristol, in the West of England, avoiding retirement (I prefer the word ‘reinvention’) by working on a variety of projects.