John-Paul Flintoff




A change has come over me

[ …continued ]


Fast-forward a decade. I’m still living in the same house. Still incredibly blessed to have my lovely wife and (now much bigger) daughter. I’ve still got a few hand tools, and I still use them occasionally. But the panic has gone. And a change has come over me. I’ve become some kind of expert on How To Change The World.

All those things I struggled with, in that mission I mentioned, have proved to be invaluable. Given me insights into how all change takes place – which is why I haven’t been too explicit about exactly what my mission was. My experiences taught me (the hard way) to recognise defeatism whenever I see it, or experience it. How to focus, not on the vast circle of things that might worry me, but the smaller circle of things I can do something about. And to have a great time doing it.

I’ve taken everything I learned, and written it in a book called (you guessed it):


How To Change The World


A word about the title. It’s a big claim. If it helps you to make sense of it, think of it as How To Change Your World. If you do a decent job of it, perhaps the news will spread – you’ll end up changing the rest of the world, too.

People seem to find the book helpful. Like this chap, from the US:


“Flintoff is a master at turning your smallness into something giant and the world’s enormity into Lego blocks… This changing the world stuff can feel awfully fluffy, but Flintoff, perhaps more than anyone else out there, brings it down to earth” – Cameron Conaway, The Good Men Project


And this woman, an author, based in Australia:


“I don’t know how he managed to avoid the usual cliches”
- Rachel Botsman, author of What’s Mine Is Yours




I’m really chuffed. (That’s UK English. It means, I’m pleased.) Fairly soon, people started inviting me to talk about changing the world. I’ve delivered this material in person to groups as large as 5,000, on four continents. And it seems to go down quite well:


“JP communicates in an honest, funny, always empowering and never boring or worthy way. His passion for learning, testing stuff out and thinking outside of the box makes it a pleasure to be in the same room as him, never mind work with him. I highly recommend you go to his talks and workshops, and find any excuses to work with him in any way you can – I do!”
- Sarah Corbett, founding director of the Craftivist Collective


More usuallly, I deliver it in places where groups of 25, 30, maybe even 50 people can be gathered together to think through their own mission. Get really clear on what the problem is, then how to solve it. One place I’ve delivered this again and again is The School of Life, in London. Here’s a short video I recorded, in the kitchen at The School of Life, before my very last class there. Less than half a minute long.



Afterwards, when I told people behind that door that it was my last class, ever, a few literally howled, which was enormously gratifying. One even promised to make an official objection, which made me laugh.

On the next page you can watch me describe the essentials of How To Change The World, at a strategic level. But before you step through, you might want to fetch a pen and paper.

Ready…?

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John-Paul Flintoff headshot, with Yours Truly written across it John-Paul Flintoff is author of six books, in 16 languages, including How To Change The World and A Modest Book About How To Make An Adequate Speech. He worked for 15 years as writer and associate editor on the Financial Times, the Sunday Times and other papers and magazines.


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