My Ausie pal Andrew Mowat is on a trip to the UK, to promote his new book The Success Zone and I’m delighted that he’s staying over at my place tonight. At the moment Andrew, global guru in neuro-scientifically informed inspirational leadership is downstairs making his bed. Not with bed linen, which would itself suggest a hospitality lapse on my part. With 23 zillion nuts and bolts and an Ikea manual written in a loose mash-up of Swedish and twaddle. And when I say ‘bed’, when Andrew finishes constructing it, the product will have more in common with a foam jigsaw puzzle than a piece of furniture conducive to rest let alone sleep.


So the least I can do while Andrew creates his bed is to promote his book. Admittedly, it would be easier and certainly more convincing had I read all of it. But I’ve read a few chapters and they’re seriously great. Andrew translates complex and crucial scientific stuff about the brain into accessible information. And it’s actively engaging reading, through the use of stories about real people’s brains in action. Including mine, on page 10.


Arguably this is an account of my brain frozen rather than in action, and Andrew’s description of how my brain goes into the ‘Red Zone’ when I’m stressed out was a complete break-through for me. It gave me a way of understanding, explaining and remembering when in this state what’s going on up top. Precisely because the Red Zone is when my brain is hijacked by its lump of dull, highly limited amygdala, I can only think in the most basic way. What I have to do is calm down enough to be able to revert to my brain’s Blue Zone, broadly the pre-frontal cortex. Not anything Einstein would be proud to own and operate, but certainly more help in problem-solving and recovering my equilibrium than the pre-historic remnant that is the amygdala.


The Success Zone is much more than just a description of the companion zones. It contains a brilliant set of ideas and examples for effective leadership, which Andrew describes as leadership of both ourselves and others. A personal development, leadership, coaching and stress-reduction book all in one.


Buddy has done a grand job in standing guard so that Andrew doesn’t slack, but I should now stop enthusing about his book, and make sure that his practical skills are as good as his professional ones.