What is humanity’s greatest achievement?
It’s a question I sometimes ask when I’m teaching, to test thinking skills, historical awareness, and ability to argue a point.
I've heard quite a range of answers, but this week, working in Oxford, came one of the finest and most creative I’ve ever known.
This was the beautiful base for the week of the summer school, Saint Edmund Hall, one of the University's colleges.
I took sessions in teambuilding, public speaking and debating, and where better for that than the... Read more
You can be paid for your work, and you can be really paid for your work.
What's he talking about now? you're probably asking, yet again.
I've just returned from the Swanwick Writers' Summer School, with a heart full of memories, thoughts and smiles.
I was teaching photography for writers this year, and also teaching about teaching.
That was a particularly important course for me, because I dedicated it to the two teachers who, many years ago, helped the young Hall away from a life spent languishing in the badlands, and instead towards... Read more
Everything comes to he who waits goes the old saying.
To which my reply usually is - yes, including death.
You got it. I'm not great with being patient. But patience does have its place.
Like sightseeing in Cambridge. It's best done slowly, so you can properly take in the 800 years of history.
(Ok, that was a bit cheesy in terms of getting a pretty picture in, but you know me and my love of photography by now.)
Anyway, business, and getting on in life, don't always make easy alliances with patience.... Read more
As a writer, when you tell people what you do, you quickly get used to a familiar reaction -
I've always wanted to write a book.
In which case, great. Go for it. Writing a book is a wonderful challenge, with so much to offer.
But! One thing to bear in mind (and excuse the pun here) -
Write for the right reasons.
The business of writing is not as glamorous and lucrative as many seem to think. Nothing like it.
This is a youthful me, from seven years ago, doing my best... Read more
Of all the great trades of life, writers are perhaps renowned for having the most vivid imaginations.
They're certainly a vital part of the writing life, and as for me, I find stories everywhere.
Just this week for example, with a simple sight, sitting on a bench after some very welcome rain...
Who else sees hearts and tears in the petals and raindrops? Or is it just me?!
But imagination is far from the exclusive preserve of writers, no matter how much we might flaunt and fight for it.
As I often say... Read more
That must be the strangest title I've ever come up with for a blog - but it has a serious point.
We can sometimes be too modest when selling ourselves, particularly at important moments.
Let me introduce Jeremy Sosabowski, co founder of financial tech firm AlgoDynamix.
I declare an interest here, because Jeremy is a friend, and an all round top chap.
But he's also a very good case study for the tricky clash between modesty and credibility.
Part of the reason I like him is his modesty. Even by Cambridge standards, Jeremy... Read more
Turning around a failing organisation is a huge challenge, but when it works the results can be breathtaking.
Think Manchester City, from a club that never did much to serial champions, with great flair and style.
I was lucky enough to experience my own version of an inspirational turnaround this week.
Not on the showbiz scale of premier league football, but perhaps more impressive, and certainly, in my view, more important.
I was invited to speak, and present the prizes, at an Awards Evening at Newmarket Academy, near Cambridge.
It's a school which... Read more
I was sitting by the River Cam this week, enjoying a wonderful sunshine summer's day, but feeling both happy and sad about it.
Happy because the view, the feeling, the thinking were all smiles -
Sad because about half the people who passed by were missing the splendours.
Why? And I bet you'll guess the reason in a second...
It was because they had their faces down in their phones.
I wrote a Tweet about it (when I got home - before the accusations of hypocrisy start flying!) and it got quite a... Read more
We hear a lot in modern life about division. But this is a story about harmony.
I reached a big moment this week. The end of my first year at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School.
I looked back on when I joined, and thought... the excitement and nerves were hard to hide.
And no wonder. Our old foe, The Impostor Syndrome, was in full flow.
I'll be surrounded by some of the most brilliant people on the planet... who am I to be part of this... what can I hope to... Read more
If every moment in life is precious, some are more precious than others. Before you start giving me that smile, thinking He does have a heart after all... I'm talking practicalities. Not the birth of your first child, or getting your dream job, or buying your first house. (Although yes, of course, I do think they're hugely precious.) This week, I was privileged to be part of the team who welcomed the Malaysian Minister for Entrepreneurship to Cambridge Judge Business School. I'm pleased to say Mohd Redzuan Yusof enjoyed his visit so much,... Read more
If every moment in life is precious, some are more precious than others.
Before you start giving me that smile, thinking He does have a heart after all...
I'm talking practicalities. Not the birth of your first child, or getting your dream job, or buying your first house.
(Although yes, of course, I do think they're hugely precious.)
This week, I was privileged to be part of the team who welcomed the Malaysian Minister for Entrepreneurship to Cambridge Judge Business School.
I'm pleased to say Mohd Redzuan Yusof enjoyed his visit so much,... Read more