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Zephyr's Extraordinary People

Edited by Ronald Wallace
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Zephyr Books Ltd, Hitchin, United Kingdom
Published: 1st Feb 2002
Dimensions: w 153mm h 240mm
ISBN-10: 0954109805
ISBN-13: 9780954109806
Barcode No: 9780954109806

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Kirkus UK
What do Tasmin Little, Tony Benn and James Dyson have in common? According to Zephyr editor Ron Wallace, they're all extraordinary people who have achieved something of substance in their lives. In this first of an annual series, the book relates the stories of twelve important people, looking at their failures and setbacks as well as their successes and the role played by chance. The intent is inspirational - we all need to discover something that we can do well, then develop our skills using the confidence this brings to overcome obstacles. James Dyson, inventor of the ground-breaking vacuum cleaner, has spent his career struggling against indifference and the machinations of big business, but he now features on the 'most wealthy' lists. Thriller-writer Robert Harris didn't follow a straight and unerring path to success either. Education at Cambridge University and a traineeship with the BBC led to work on Panorama and Newsnight. He became political editor of The Observer, then a columnist for The Sunday Times and only as a secondary occupation began to produce novels such as Fatherland. By contrast, Tasmin Little, Britain's first lady of the violin, knew from a very early age exactly where she was going. She learned to play the violin before she was eight, attended a specialist school and had lessons with Menuhin. But her career began slowly with few engagements. Hours of practice are still needed and Tasmin had to buy her Guadaguini violin in instalments over ten years. If there is a common theme, it's perhaps the importance of one's early experiences. Pat, Wayne and Gary Younge are respectively, Head of Programs and Planning for BBC Sport, a lecturer at City University and a columnist for The Guardian. As the children of Caribbean parents who later split, they lived on the verge of poverty, but had a formidable mother in Reba. She told them, 'You can lose your house, your money and your wife but nobody can take away your education.' Others whose careers are followed include Tony Benn, Bill Alexander, Willard White and Margaret Tyzack. The biographies aren't 'warts and all' but offer readers an interesting exercise in comparing and contrasting a kaleidoscope of circumstances. The message is that there are no certain routes to success even for the most committed and talented. While education and formidable mothers help, perhaps the most useful quality, shared by all, is that of resilience. (Kirkus UK)