I've worked for most of my working life in advertising and communications as an account planner - at agencies like St Luke's, BMP and latterly Ogilvy.
I was taught (at home, at school, at uni, at everywhere) to "think it through" i.e. not to accept what I was told but to challenge everything until a more compelling, better-evidenced and more workable descriptions of how things work emerges.
It gets up some people's nose, but that's par for the course. My only intent is to make things better by making our thinking about things better - a lot of the time our thinking is quite lazy. I don't have all the answers - never would pretend to - but by engaging folk in thinking about our assumptions has always helped my thinking (and I hope theirs) be better, clearer and more effective.
It's driven me to the top end of my profession - I've held some of the big jobs in account planning - and my books and articles have been widely read (and often given prizes) and it's got me to conferences in wild and wonderful places (from Argentina to Iceland, Miami to Malmo). And an interesting reputation ("London advertising scene's foremost contrarian", "Account Planning's Christopher Hitchens", "A treasure").
I've now written my third book or second-and-a-half: 1. Welcome to the Creative Age (Wiley's 2002) was all mine 2. Brand New Brand Thinking (Kogan Page 2002) was a collaboration with Merry Baskin. 3. Herd - How to change mass behaviour by harnessing our true nature is the latest (Wiley's Feb 2007).
I'm passionate about many things. And I've given up the day job to make more time for Herd and these other things.