Friday, August 10, 2012

Nigel Marsh chooses A Fortunate Life

Writer, public speaker and former global CEO Nigel Marsh discovers - and loves - 
A.B. Facey’s classic, A Fortunate Life.

The last title my local book club chose was the Australian classic A Fortunate Life by A. B. Facey. 
I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that as a Pom I’d never heard of it before. Having devoured it in two sittings I am now recommending it to anyone who will listen. I found it rewarding on so many different levels beyond simply being a cracking good yarn.
My first reaction was a slightly conflicting one as it made me feel like an over-privileged worthless whining earthworm. I am currently in the process of publishing my third memoir [Fit, Fifty and Fired Up] and my concerns seem so trivial compared to the challenges Facey had to deal with.
Secondly, I loved how it gave an insight into the birth of this great nation. Having only been here for ten years, I lack a natural historical connection to the early days. Facey’s story has given me a powerful emotional feeling for the foundations of the society we now all enjoy.
Thirdly, the description of the enormous effort and time involved at the turn of the century in traveling even the shortest of distances was a wonderful reminder of how different our grandparents geographical possibilities were to ours today. My grandfather left the county he was born in (Devon) only once in his entire life, yet my own children have already been around the world a number of times.
Fourthly, I was fascinated by the often devastating role alcohol played in the lives of people Facey met. If he himself hadn’t been a lifelong abstainer I fear his story would have been predictably and tragically different.
My fifth reaction surprised me as I have read a lot about the First World War and I thought I’d hardened myself to the tales of the unspeakable horrors that occurred. Apparently not, as I wept anew as Facey told his personal version.
But my sixth and lasting reaction is just how damn inspiring the book is.
A line from the afterword captures the essence of the man well: “His guiding star became hope. There was always tomorrow and the promise of a fresh start. His hope came from facing and surmounting adversity and became a practical belief in the wholeness of most men despite the evil encountered in some.”
Words to live by.
I only wish I’d come across the book earlier.

You can read Nigel's own new book, Fit, Fifty and Fired Up
You can enjoy Nigel Marsh in one of the most-watched "TED" talks

You can buy these or any books from our affiliate booksellers. Check top right.

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