A book that can make you younger, or at least think younger, made a compelling proposition.
Combined with the authors' sense of fun and ability to make the complex straightforward, the impact of ageing on our brains and the affect this has on us all and a companys decision-making process and culture, made for a hugely insightful presentation and I would defy anyone taking the age of your brain test not to recognise the signs in themselves and commit to making some changes in their thinking.
The good news is the Six Wisdoms of Youth help us recognise how our thinking process changes as we age but (unlike our bodies) it can be reversed and we all have the opportunity to take a brain MOT and remember that business is not about endless meetings but taking decisions, making a difference and staying positive.
Ian Cameron - European Outdoor Director, Hi-Tec Sports.
"This, I believe, is a ground-breaking book..... It has an intelligent approach to self-development
.The good news is that it is also an entertaining book. It goes to prove that learning can be fun."
Michael Johnson, CEO BPIF, The Print Business
from Tim Drake
The idea for the book was born in a pub. I was having a quiet pint with Chris and discussing something quite different when he asked me what I was up to on the writing front.
I told him I was mulling over a book for retirees. The subject interested me because I was in my early sixties, and some of my friends were retiring. The two challenges that seemed to be crystallising for them were loss of energy, and loss of income. Skinny pensions seemed to exacerbate a lowering of energy levels that appeared to follow having no consistent paid employment.
I'd been a unintentional trailblazer for some of these issues. About fifteen years earlier I'd gone through a traumatic period when I'd lost the company I had co-founded and built up over fifteen years, and had had to start again. Some of the lessons I had learned I documented in Wearing the Coat of Change but what had emerged since that book was that I was enjoying life more and more as it went on, and had not the least desire to retire in any conventional sense of the word.
Part of my enthusiasm for life came from a rediscovery of what I enjoyed doing in my youth. I had worked for several years in advertising, before co-founding a retail business from scratch, and building it shop by shop. What gave me a buzz was new ideas and building things. But as we got to 40 shops, although I still enjoyed it, the work was more to do with processes and systems than creation. It was about stopping things going wrong than with inventing things that went right.
Talking to Chris, it emerged that he was thinking in a similar area, and that he had some research which pointed not just to the need to improve energy levels, and work satisfaction - with and without a good income - but to a wider span of life skills. And when we looked at the research, it showed that this applied not only to people approaching retirement, but that it started for some people in their twenties.
As a next step, we agreed that we would map the skill and attitude sets needed to keep living a young and fulfilling life. I would do it from the point of view of intuition, insight and life experience, and he would look at what the research indicated. The two turned out to be a perfect fit, the Six Wisdoms of Youth were born - and much else besides.
Chris lives in Paris, I live in London and we have had work sessions together, and corresponded constantly online. It has been a hugely enjoyable and rewarding experience and has resulted in a genuinely 50/50 genesis of the book. We have sparked each other off, created and evolved ideas, and haven't had a cross word in the two years the whole thing was in gestation.
We've learnt a lot, and we hope you will too. The key point about the book is that it is about the benefits of having a Young Brain, and it gives down to earth advice about how to get it back, by lowering your Brain Age. As we age, we tend to get more grumpy, more anxious, more convinced we are right (so everyone else is wrong), and less willing to engage in changing and improving the world. If you have a Young Brain, on the other hand, you are more open, flexible, energetic, courageous, flexible, creative, enthusiastic, optimistic and have a whole lot more fun.
Choosing between a Young Brain and an Old Brain seems to us to be a no brainer.
From Chris Middleton
Writing is, I suppose, an act of supreme arrogance. As an author you are boasting that you have something unique to say and that this will add greatly to the lives of others. Imagine, then, how hard it might be, to write a book with another person! All those unique ideas and egotistical passions pressing up against an equal - and potentially opposing - arrogance. I guess this explains why so few books are co-authored!
So how have Tim and I managed to do just that - to co-write a book? And, most importantly, how have we come through the experience not only still talking but with our friendship strengthened? There are, perhaps, several reasons but the most important of all has been that our theme - rejuvenation - is so fundamental to the human condition that we shared a fundamental empathy that nothing could shake.
When I was much younger (I'm now 46), the idea of staying young was slightly ridiculous. All those false hope face creams and fashionable clothes "with a more generous cut"! But things began to happen when I passed the 30 mark which were disturbing, to say the least. "Is that a wrinkle? A grey hair?" "Funny, those trousers don't fit any more!" "Now, why did I come in this room?" "I was just talking about the early '90s recession and getting a blank look. Then I realised that the young lady in question was only 8 at the time". "Did I really just say that to my kids? That's what my dad always said to me". These coincidences and quirks started to build up until the weight of evidence became too heavy to ignore. I was getting old!
Not only that, but so were most people I knew. My parents suddenly looked like grandparents. Almost overnight my brothers and sisters began to look like uncles and aunts. And that friend who I hadn't seen for some time. Do I really have friends who are that age?
As if this were not enough, my observations of my own ageing and maturing social environment were magnified by my insights as a professional social anthropologist. You see, my life's work has been studying people and how they are adapting to the contemporary world. So inevitably, I turned my instruments around and studied myself, and how I was adapting - or not. Painful and informative are the two words that spring to mind from this self appraisal.
So what to do? Faced with the eternal dilemma of ageing and confronted by death's destiny what were my options? Suduko to keep my brain sharp? Moisturisers to keep my face supple? A work out machine to keep my body in shape? A healthy diet and a nod to youth fashions? Yes to all these things but a strong doubt that they were enough!
At the same time, there was something going on inside my head which was ill-formulated by definitely present. A sense that my whole approach to life was a very important consideration in I wanted to stay youthful. And what that came down to, I realised, was how I thought about life. Then it hit me. If I could think young, then I would be young. Here was something more fundamental. Something that accorded with what I knew about the teachings of psychology. And that made sense in terms of sociology. Increasingly, how we think and act defines who we are and where we are in society's structure - class and age are no longer destiny.
As Tim and I came together, it became obvious that we shared similar problems of ageing and independently had come to the same conclusions about the solutions. It's about mindsets - you truly are as young as you think.
This set us off on a two year journey of exploration and analysis. Were there ways to think younger? And sharper? How to uncover and decode these? Do we all have youthful mindsets early on in life and what happens to these over time? Can we measure how 'old' our thoughts are? What are the ways to recover youthful thinking? By wide research and analysis of robust social science data we came to a series of important discoveries about staying young. It's these fresh insights that we reveal in our book "You Can Be As Young As You Think".
You'll learn how to measure your Brain Age. You'll find out why being an "Old Brain" is the quickest road to a sad, solitary, detached existence. And you'll discover how to regain or retain a "Young Brain". It all comes down to the way you think about life. It's about applying the six Wisdoms of Youth.
Our book is unlike any self-help book you may have read. The theme is fresh and the insights are original and inspiring. Our aim is to help the reader help themselves to greater happiness, fulfilment and security than they thought possible. By rejuvenating, you win life back - for yourself and for those around you. You owe it to yourself to fight the forces of ageing. Tim and I are embarked on this journey. Will you join us?