The All Things Risk Podcast

The All Things Risk podcast explores the themes of risk, uncertainty and resilience as applied to sports, the arts, current affairs and just about any other domain. We feature long-form conversations with interesting guests who have loads of fascinating stories, tips and tools.
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Now displaying: 2017
Dec 26, 2017

Today, we look back at “big picture” events of 2017 and forward to risks that may not be on people’s radar for 2018 with 4-time guest of the podcast Daniel Wagner. Those of you who have caught my previous episodes with Daniel know that he is a geo-political risk expert, CEO of Country Risk Solutions, regular media commentator, and author of many articles and books – most recently “Virtual Terror”.

Daniel’s views are often contrarian and always insightful. We talk US politics, climate change, the Middle East, North Korea, China, the global economy and lots more! 

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Dec 17, 2017

What can we learn about ocean animals that can tell us about the environment? What happens to birds when they take their physiologies to their limits? How close are we to seeing a sub-two hour marathon?

This is a somewhat different episode of the podcast in which I talk to three speakers from this year’s Humanature conference. The conference brings together experts from a number of fields to explore the links between extreme life and human performance and health.

I was fortunate enough to have three short conversations with:

Dr. Andreas Fahlman about the physiology of marine animals and what that means for the health of our environment;



Dr. Carl Soulsbury about birds “exercising” to their limits and beyond;


Dr. Andrew Jones about his work on Nike’s bold recent effort to crack the sub-two hour marathon.


These were all short conversations that took place in London’s Natural History Museum.

Show Notes:

Humanature Symposium

Society for Experimental Biology

Natural History Museum

Dr. Andreas Fahlman

Dr. Carl Soulsbury

Dr. Andrew Jones


Nike’s “Breaking2” initiative including this National Geographic documentary

Eliud Kipchoge


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Dec 3, 2017


How does Israel’s approach to public security differ from that of the USA and Western Europe? What can we learn? Today, we explore public security, terrorism, body language, mindset and more.

My guest is Eldor Arbel. Eldor is the CEO of Arbel Consulting and Training. He brings a unique perspective to security – “security from the inside out”. This isn’t surprising considering Eldor is an Israeli national living in London, spend four years in the Israeli Defence Forces and has worked for many years in the private security industry in the country. Israel of course, has had to deal with terrorism for decades.

I was interested in Eldor’s take on how countries like the UK and USA deal with terrorism and security. We get into this (and if you follow the podcast you know I thinke that we overestimate the chances of a terror attack). However, this is a conversation about much more than this we get into:

  • Eldor’s time in the Israeli Defence Forces;
  • The private security sector in Israel;
  • Terrorism and other types of security threats;
  • Eldor’s security philosophy, including:
    • Mindset;
    • Normalcy bias;
    • Behaviour detection;
    • Body language;
  • Security versus freedom;
  • The training AC&T offers, including the very interesting “Confined Spaces Training”
  • Loads more!

Show notes:

Eldor on LinkedIn

Arbel Consulting and Training (AC&T)

AC&T on Facebook

Normalcy bias

Israel Defence Forces

Krav Maga

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu 

2006 Israel-Lebanon War


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Nov 26, 2017


Today, we talk cycling, making decisions and taking risks with Monika Sattler.   Monika is an adventure cyclist, writer and vlogger. Monika competed in this year’s Haute Route Alps. In fact, she actually completed the Haute Route Triple Crown – completing 21 days across the Alps, Pyrenees and Dolomites!

Monika is currently based in Griona, Spain – one of the world’s best cycling destinations. Girona is perfect for what Monika does – adventure cycling and inspiring others, especially women, to live their passions. Monika has completed numerous epic cycling challenges like the Haute Route, the Tour du Mont Blanc, and others.

 We talk about all of that but there is much more to Monika than life on two wheels and this is a conversation that is much broader than cycling. It is about pursuing your passion, making decisions, mind set, taking risks, and loads more. Think about it, how do you make a living doing something like what Monika does? As you’ll hear, it is a non-linear path with lots of starts and stops along the way.

Monika is amazing and has a lot of great stuff to share. We cover:

  • Monika’s background, including moving from her native Germany to the USA to pursue a volleyball scholarship;
  • Getting into cycling and adventure racing, including a cool story;
  • Competing in her first pro race and in the women’s pro circuit in Europe;
  • Giving a prestigious career to pursue her passion – twice – first while she was working at the World Bank and second when she worked in management consulting;
  • The awesome adventure she has planned for next year.
  • Loads more!

Show notes:

Monica’s Website

Monica on:





Check out and support Monika as she will ride the full 3,330km course of next year’s Vuelta a España –

The Philadelphia International Cycling Classic

Trans Iowa Cycling Race

The Transcontinental Race

The Indian Pacific Wheel Race

Race Across America

The World Bank

IBM Consulting


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Nov 13, 2017

Our latest episode is about the beauty and value of extremes. Extremes are fascinating. We face uncertainty at extremes, and we learn and discover at extremes. My guest today is all about that. Mark Hannaford is an entrepreneur, adventurer, and a veteran of many expeditions. He is the founder of World Extreme Medicine and Across the Divide. He is also the co-founder of the World Extreme Medicine Conference, taking place in a few weeks in Scotland.

Mark has been involved with numerous adventures and expeditions all over the world covering deserts, jungles, mountains and just about any other type of terrain. His company Across the Divide supports expeditions for a variety of organisations including the popular television show Survivor.

Along the way, Mark identified an acute need – how to provide medical support in these types of environments so that they can be successful. This led to his founding of World Extreme Medicine and we get into all of that.

However, this is a conversation about more than this. It is human nature to explore and learn at the edges of what is possible. Much of Marks’s work has involved bringing together scientists and practitioners to share insights and practices. We get into all of this and more in a conversation that covers:

  • Medical support in extreme environments;
  • Motivations of people who risk their lives to help others in these circumstances;
  • Decision-making and mental strength in extreme conditions;
  • The importance of caring for others;
  • The medical profession;
  • Different types of extreme environments including outer space;
  • Loads more!

Show notes:

World Extreme Medicine

            On Twitter

On Facebook  

On YouTube

The World Extreme Medicine Conference

Across the Divide

Michael Barratt

Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards


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Find the latest episode here!

Oct 31, 2017

Sometimes, when I have conversations with people about some of the amazing things my guests have done, I hear a common refrain. In fact, I sometimes think the same things – they are inspiring and instructive stories, but they do things that I cannot quite do because they “don’t have [insert obstacle, constraint, complication]”. One of the things mentioned is a family – or more specifically, the responsibilities and constraints that having a family entails.

Meet Caspar Craven. Caspar is an entrepreneur and an adventurer. He challenges conventional thinking. He has run and sold companies, competed in round-the-world yacht races and (here’s the family point), he sailed around the world for two years with his wife and three children – aged 9,7 and 2 at the time.

This all started with a realisation that he wasn’t spending enough time with his family as he pursued the demanding career of an investment banker. What started as an idea borne out of a conversation eventually became reality.  Caspar joins me to talk all about it.

In this episode, we explore:

  • Caspar’s background;
  • Life at the extremes;
  • Practicalities of sailing around the world:
    • Financial;
    • Family commitments – e.g. his kids’ schooling;
    • Logisitics;
  • The risks associated with this endeavour and how Caspar and his family managed them (e.g. storms, medical emergencies, piracy);
  • Difficult moments / when things go wrong;
  • The importance of values and purpose;
  • Much more!

Show notes:

Caspar’s website

Caspar on:




Pre-order Caspar’s book Where the Magic Happens on Amazon

The Science of Luck by Bong Chandra


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Find the latest episode here!

Oct 17, 2017

Among the things we like to do here, is speak to people who look at phenomena from slightly different lenses. Today, that phenomenon is evolution and my guest is Perry Marshall. Perry is an entrepreneur, an engineer, an expert on online market, and someone who has very thoroughly looked at the science of evolution. He has written a book entitled Evolution 2.0 - Breaking the Deadlock Between Darwin and Design.

Evolution 2.0 aims to look at evolution in a way that is different to what advocates of Intelligent Design and Neo-Darwinism believe. Perry's insights are fascinating and thought provoking. Regardless of whether you are and Atheist-Agnostic like me, a hardcore Atheist, religious, or simply spiritual, I think you will find the discussion extremely interesting.

Perry and I cover:

  • His background and how he got into studying evolution in the first place (Perry is the son of a pastor and grew up as a devout Christian);
  • How he got himself "unstuck" in his research (and the links between evolution and internet algorithms);
  • Randomness and gene adaptation;
  • Intelligent design versus neo-Darwinism;
  • Symbiotic life;
  • Bacteria;
  • CRISPR and gene editing;
  • Loads more!

Show notes:

Perry's site Cosmic Fingerprints;

Evolution 2.0;;

The microbiome;

Ted Talk - "How Bacteria Talk";


Barbara McClintock's "Jumping Gene";

Radiolab "From Tree to Shining Tree" 


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Find the latest episode here!



Oct 9, 2017

This is an episode about play, fear, power, and in fact “super powers”. My guest is Tonya Recla. Tonya is a former US counter-intelligence agent. She and her husband own a company that specialises in online reputation and risk management. She is also the Executive Director of something called “Super Power Experts” which helps people achieve enlightened self-actualisation. This involves helping people develop things that one might as “intuitive abilities.”

I have to admit, I have some cognitive dissonance around some of these concepts, as you’ll hear. One the one hand, I strongly believe in being open to possibilities and embracing uncertainty while on the other, being wary of things not backed by science. One thing is clear however, and that is that Tonya has a great way of helping people become more open to possibilities they did not know existed, and making them aware of power they did not know they had. She’s also very engaging and was a pleasure to have her on as a guest of the show.

We had a great conversation covering:

  • Tonya’s background and becoming a counter-intelligence agent;
  • The concept of “super powers” and why Tonya believes anyone can develop them;
  • The limitations of a Newtonian world;
  • Managing risk and uncertainty;
  • Power and recovering from sexual assault;
  • Play and possibilities;
  • Loads more!

Show notes:

Super Power Experts

Tonya’s Power Up Podcast

Tonya on Twitter

The Men Who Stare at Goats


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Sep 25, 2017

We have had many conversations here about successful risk-taking and effective decision-making. Now imagine having to make tough decisions within split seconds, when not only are the highest stakes possible on the line, but you are affected by the immense G forces that come with flying combat aircraft. What is involved in all that and what lessons can this provide to other areas?

Meet Tim Davies, my guest in episode 61. Tim is a fighter pilot, squadron leader for the Royal Air Force (RAF) here in the UK and a flying instructor.  He is also a coach and runs a site called Tim brings a very interesting perspective and this is a conversation about loads more than flying airplanes. It’s actually quite wide-ranging. Nonetheless, Tim’s fascinating perspectives have been moulded in the moments of truth that only preparing for and flying combat aircraft can provide. That he applies these lenses to phenomena outside the cockpit makes him a very engaging guest for the All Things Risk podcast.

Tim and I discuss:

  • His background and how he got into flying aircraft;
  • Risk-taking and fighter pilots;
  • A typical day in a fighter pilot’s job;
  • Willpower and associative conditioning;
  • Decision-making, including making snap decisions;
  • Making mistakes, honesty and having an open culture in an organisation;
  • Mental and emotional states when flying aircraft;
  • Resilience;
  • Loads more!

Show notes:

Tim’s site –

Tim on Twitter -

On Facebook -

On YouTube -

Chris Hadfield

Malcolm Gladwell on Cockpit Culture and Safety

Solving difficult problems with the “Inversion Technique”

Headspace App

The All Things Risk Podcast Ep. 53 with Alex Sidorenko

Tim Ferriss

James Clear

Books discussed:

The Obstacle is the Way  by Ryan Holiday

The Hour Between Dog and Wolf by John Coates

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed

Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal


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Sep 10, 2017

Stepping outside one’s comfort zone is a critical element of effective risk-taking. This is true for many pursuits, from physical challenges, career decisions through to personal relationships. It is also a crucial component in negotiation.

My guest in this episode is Linda Swindling. Linda is a negotiation expert, speaker, author and self-professed “recovering attorney”. Her latest book is entitled Ask Outrageously – The Secret to Getting What You Really Want.  Among the things we discuss is the importance of making your true interests bold and clear when getting involved with negotiations of all kinds. This is a conversation that is not only engaging but is filled with practical tips and advice. In it, we cover:

  • Linda’s background, which includes some important career advice;
  • Working with so-called “high performers” – CEOs and the like;
  • How to deal with complainers;
  • How to approach difficult conversations;
  • How to approach negotiations;
  • The principles behind “asking outrageously” which includes Linda’s own story involving popular America comedian Jay Leno;
  • Lots more

I am sure you will find this extremely useful. Get asking!

Show notes: 

Linda on:





Linda's book Ask Outrageously 


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Sep 3, 2017

This week, we talk mountains. My guest is Cathy O’Dowd. Cathy is an adventurer, speaker and author. She was the first woman to have summited Mount Everest from both the North and South sides. In addition to the Himalayas, Cathy has climbed mountains in Central and Southern Africa, the Alps, and South America. She also completed a dog sled expedition across the Norwegian Arctic.

Cathy speaks and consults to businesses and other organisations. As soon as you start to listen to this episode, you will soon find out why. Cathy’s experiences in mountaineering and adventures provide a number of incredible insights applicable to many other aspects of life.

As soon as I finished speaking with Cathy a few weeks ago, I could not wait to bring this conversation to you! We get into a variety of things, including: 

  • Cathy’s background growing up in South Africa;
  • Her first expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro;
  • Her first Everest expeditions;
  • Teamwork;
  • Decision-making and risk-taking under conditions of acute ambiguity – and in which getting it wrong can mean paying the ultimate price;
  • Achievement and performance;
  • Failure;
  • Leadership;
  • Tackling the unknown
  • Much more!

I loved every minute of this and hope you do as well. 

Show notes:

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Aug 17, 2017

Around here, we like to take risk and push ourselves. There is a high (pun intended) chance that you will be listening to this episode while I am cycling through the Alps. I will be taking on an event called the Haute Route. "Haute route" literally means "high road" in French and Haute Route cycling events are at the very top end of amateur cycling "sportives" both in terms of difficulty and professional organisation.

The 7-day Alps event takes on the most famous and difficult Alpine climbs like the Alpe d"Huez, the Col d'Izoard, the Col du Glandon, the Col de la Madeleine, and others. It involves cycling 900km and climbing 20,000+ metres. Haute Route also runs other events in the Pyrenees, Dolomites, Rockies as well as a number of smaller events.

I am about to find out what it takes to complete one of these things. But, what does it take to organise one and where did the idea first come about? Benjamin Chandelier, Event Director and co-founder of OC Sport (the organisation that owns and runs the Haute Route) joins me in a special edition of the podcast.  

We discuss:

  • The origins and vision of the Haute Route;
  • The logistics involved in organising it;
  • The beauty and popularity of cycling;
  • What it takes to complete the Haute Route;
  • Risks associated with organising the event and the steps Benjamin and his team take to manage them;
  • Race strategies for all levels;
  • Much more!

Show notes:


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Aug 13, 2017

It may sound trite, but when The Economist this week talked about the end of the internal combustion engine this week, and we hear stories about ransomware, the hacking of Game of Thrones, or cyberwarfare, we truly are experiencing the dawn of a new age. That new age is driven by the virtual world and it involves hackers, bots, cyber warriors and cyber terrorists – and it may evolve into something even more dystopian.

This is a difficult age to understand and there are few materials around to help us do that. This is where Daniel Wagner’s new book Virtual Terror comes in. It is a comprehensive but digestible volume on cyber warfare in all its forms. Daniel, who joined me for Episodes 10 and 17, comes back on the show to tell us about “virtual terror”.

We discuss:

  • Virtual terrorism and how it differs from conventional terrorism;
  • The landscape and players;
  • The internet of things (IoT), smart items and vulnerabilities these can create;
  • The “Dark Web”;
  • The private sector, government and other responses;
  • Social media;
  • Strategies to manage these uncertainties;
  • Artificial Intelligence and the future
  • Much more

Show notes:

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Aug 7, 2017

Every great conversation, particularly when listening as a podcast episode, is like a work of art. While we are all listening to the same thing, each individual listener will pick up on slightly different things or points. Every great conversation is also an experiment in uncertainty because we don’t know exactly where it will go. Today’s episode is a great conversation.

Laura Dal Farra makes her return to the show. Laura was my guest on episode 3. She is a writer, entrepreneur and martial artist. If you haven’t yet done so, you can listen to her journey spending three and a half years learning Muay Thai in Thailand in that episode. This is Round 2 of that discussion and we cover:

  • Culture – we pick up on this theme and discuss re-entry shock and what living in another culture can give you;
  • Martial arts – how to find a martial art that suits you, and what to look out for;
  • Entrepreneurship and marketing in the digital age;
  • Authenticity – this is a theme that runs through this episode as well as my previous conversation with Laura
  • Loads more!

Show notes:

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Jul 16, 2017

This is a discussion that encompasses technology, health, innovation, the future, and of course risk and uncertainty. It raises a number of fascinating and challenging questions around personal freedom and public protection. Today, we’re talking transhumanism.

My guest is Michele Battle-Fisher. Michele was my guest on episode 20. She is a respected systems theorist, bioethicist and futurist. Michele is an adjunct professor at Wright State University in Ohio, USA.  She is also a co-producer of an upcoming documentary called “Transhuman”. If that rings a bell, it might be because I had Ford Fisher, the documentary’s other co-producer on episode 36 of All Things Risk.

If you listened to that episode, you know that transhumanism is the belief or theory that through technology, we can evolve beyond our mental and physical limitations. It includes things like biohacking, genetic engineering and life extension. It is exciting, but also raises a number of questions and uncertainties.

We explore these in this episode. For instance, if someone wants to hack their body, why should anyone interfere? As you’ll hear, it can get complicated. Michele and I discuss:

  • Transhumanism and personal freedoms;
  • Whether or not these technologies should be regulated, and the constraints that might create for innovation;
  • Unexpected consequences, risks and uncertainties associated with transhumanism;
    • For instance what happens if the body rejects some of the changes to which it may be subjected?;
  • Transhumanism and inequality;
  • "Dark networks" and black market transhumanism;
  • Loads more!

Show notes:

Michele’s webpage:
She has a page dedicated to both the documentary as well as to her book Application of Systems Thinking to Health Policy and Public Health Ethics which is a 2016 Doody’s core title, selected as “essential” to medical knowledge.

Michele on Twitter:

Michele on Linkedin:

Amazon author page:

Transhuman (working Title) webpage: Http://

Transhuman Facebook page -

Commentaries on transhumanism written by Michele:

Episode 20 with Michele

Episode 36 with Ford Fisher


My July 24 evening talk

My July 28 breakfast talk

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Jul 9, 2017

When I started the All Things Risk podcast, I very deliberately stayed away from discussing the risk management profession (which is also my day-to-day profession). This is because I wanted the show to make risk and uncertainty concepts available to everyone. I didn’t want to make a podcast by risk professionals, for risk professionals. Risk isn’t something to be the sole domain of a small group of people with their own jargon and technical language. Risk is all around each and every one of us. As my signature sign-off goes, “risk is life”.

Having said that, there is huge value in discussing the professional practice of risk management – both in terms of understanding some of the ways in which risk people think, as well as observing some of the pitfalls of the profession. This is a discussion that has relevance in our lives and our societies. However, it requires the right risk professional to have it.

This is why my guest on this episode is Alex Sidorenko. Alex is the founder and CEO of The Risk Academy. He is a Russian-born Australian who currently lives in Spain. Alex is an extraordinary guy who, as any excellent risk professional does, thinks and acts counter-intuitively. His insights on how to think about risk and where the risk profession needs to go are profound and have parallels in many other domains.

Our conversation is wide-ranging and I am sure you will enjoy it. We cover:

  • Alex’s background, including moving back to Russia from Australia and applying risk management within the Russian context (and getting some great feedback);
  • Decision-making in large and small organisations;
  • Cognitive biases and how to overcome them;
  • Where the risk profession needs to go – and parallels with other fields;
  • Managing risk in our personal lives


Show notes:

The Risk Academy:

Alex on Twitter

Alex on Linkedin

On YouTube

Article: “Why are People So Afraid of Sharks?”

Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow 


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Jul 4, 2017

In this short inbetweenisode, I discuss how to use the power of “maybe” to set meaningful objectives, and then what how to approach risks to those objectives. I bring a powerful analogy from the world of cycling into the mix.

Show notes:

Chris Boardman:

Chris Boardman 1994 Tour de France Prologue Time Trial:

Haute Route: 

PEST / PESTLE analysis:

When do we have risk?


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Jun 25, 2017


Did you know that in the 18th, 19th and early 20th Centuries there were some extraordinary women explorers? You might be forgiven for not knowing this. However is out to change all of that. Meet Jacki Hill-Murphy.

Jacki is an explorer, teacher, film-maker and author. Jacki has recreated and written about the journeys of early female explorers like:

  • Isabel Godin, the first known woman to travel the length of the Amazon;
  • Mary Kingsley, who climbed Mount Cameroon in 1885;
  • Isabella Bird who journeyed over the Digar Pass in 1890;
  • Kate Marsden, the extraordinary adventuress who travelled by horse and sledge across Siberia (and also the subject of Jacki’s forthcoming book The Extraordinary Tale of Kate Marsden)

There is loads of interesting stuff to these women – from their motivations for their journeys, the role they had in their societies, to the contributions they made. Jacki is the perfect person to tell their tales.

In this wonderful conversation we cover:

  • Jacki’s background, including her love of travel and an amazing year-long pan-African trip she took in 1988;
  • The inspiration to recreate the journeys of these Adventuresses;
  • Stories from Jacki’s travels to the Amazon, Siberia, the Himalayas, and more;
  • The historical context within which these women carried out their journeys;
  • The fascinating Kate Marsden who is the subject of Jacki’s forthcoming book;
  • Travel and the unknown
  • Loads more!

Show notes:

Jacki’s website

Jacki on Twitter:

Jacki’s book Adventuresses: Rediscovering Daring Voyages Into the Unknown

Isabel Godin

Mary Kingsley

Isabella Bird

Kate Marsden

Feature on Jacki in The Daily Telegraph:

Launch event for Jacki’s new book: The Extraordinary Tale of Kate Marsden

Colonel John Blashford Snell

Gerald Durrell

Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft


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Jun 18, 2017

How do we move from a “death economy”, characterised by short-termism and environmental degradation, to a “life economy”? We tackle this question on this week’s episode, and after listening to it, you will understand how it fits into the arc of my guest. That arc goes from being in the Peach Corps, to becoming an “Economic Hit Man”, through to expertise in shamanism and indigenous wisdom.  

I am delighted to bring a wonderful conversation with New York Times best-selling author, former economist and “economic hit man” John Perkins. John's 2004 book Confessions of An Economic Hit Man spent 73 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list (it has recently been updated to create New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man).

The term “economic hit man” is what John uses to describe his work in the 1970s and early 1980s with developing countries. It’s a system based on creating indebtedness and dependency (and as you will hear, with potentially devastating consequences with those who don’t participate). It is firmly rooted in the “death economy” and as you will also hear, it is still prominent today, only in different forms.

As you will also hear, John is out to change things. We have a fascinating conversation that covers:

  • John’s time in the Peace Corps and how that shaped his world view;
  • Being an economic hit man, including working with two former clients and friends who refused this “assistance” on offer;
  • Big business and international development;
  • The death economy and the life economy;
  • Sustainability;
  • Indigenous wisdom and shamanism;
  • How love and compassion is the future of business – and how we can help make that happen
  • Loads more!

Show Notes:  

John’s website:

John on Facebook:

John on Twitter:

John on Linkedin:


The Love Summit:

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man:

New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man:

All of John’s books:

Omar Torrijos:

Jaime Roldós Aguilera:


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May 29, 2017

What are the odds that a skinny teenager from Latvia goes on to become a world-class fitness model? What are the odds that that same kid goes on to develop his own fitness methodology and to help others achieve and exceed their health and fitness objectives?

Meet Ru Wikmann. Ru is a London-based fitness expert, personal trainer, WBFF pro fitness model, and body transformation coach. As you will hear, Ru adds philosophy and mindfulness to his approach to fitness. He is also lots of fun and we get into a wide range of topics in this episode including:

  • Growing up in Latvia and moving to the UK;
  • Transforming from a skinny kid to a pro fitness model;
  • His philosophies on fitness and health, and making changes that will stick;
  • Taking risk and risk-taking;
  • Knowing your purpose;
  • Ru’s fitness app Fitswap;
  • Meditation and mindfulness;
  • Language and culture;
  • Lots more!

Show notes:

Ru’s website

Ru on:







The Shredded Brainiac podcast

Binaural beats

Binaural Beats apps

“What are the functions of various brain waves” in Scientific American


In London on June 13? Come and hear my LDN Talks @ Night organised by Funzing!

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May 21, 2017

Somewhat coincidentally with this week’s episode, I came across this article written by the late Alex Tizon, a Pullitzer prize winning journalist entitled “My Family’s Slave”. In it, Tizon describes how his parents effectively kept a woman against her will to cook, clean and take care of his family. This falls squarely under the modern definition of slavery.

This week, we delve into the topic of human trafficking and modern slavery. It is a topic that is sobering but important. It also mind-boggling to learn that that are some 25-30 million slaves currently in the world.

My guest is Nancy Hartwell. Nancy is an American author, translator and playwright. She has written three books on human trafficking. Nancy first became fascinated and horrified with this topic several years ago whilst she was living in Cameroon (Nancy lived there for fourteen years and has worked and travelled extensively across the globe). This was prompted when an acquaintance of hers, a German woman in her early twenties, mysteriously disappeared. It was later revealed that she was sold into the sex trade in the Persian Gulf.

Since then, Nancy has been collecting stories on human trafficking which she eventually turned into three books – two fiction and one non-fiction. She has also examined the various aspects of human trafficking in the modern world. In this conversation, we discuss:

  • What human trafficking is;
  • The scale and scope of the problem;
  • The different forms of human trafficking and modern slavery;
  • Why governments are not doing enough;
  • Ways in which we can help combat the problem;
  • How to protect our children and loved ones from human trafficking

Show notes:

Nancy's website: 

Nancy's ecourse on human trafficking: 

Nancy on Facebook: 

Nancy on Linkedin: 

Nancy's books on Amazon: 

The Madeleine McCann case: 

US State Dept. Report on Trafficking in Persons 2016 - 

"15 Ways You Can Fight Human Trafficking" on the US State Dept website - 

"My Family's Slave" by Alex Tizon - 

The CNN Freedom Project Report on Mauritania: 


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May 15, 2017

Building personal resilience involves taking care of both body and mind. To help do this, many people are increasingly turning to “alternative medicine” as Western medicine seems inadequately equipped to deal with disease prevention and optimal performance. At the same time, the world of alternative therapies is fraught with confusing information and dishonest practitioners.

This is why Dr. Kathy Gruver’s work is so valuable. Kathy is my guest in this week’s episode. She is someone who can bridge the gap between Western medicine and alternative therapies. Kath is a health expert, author, television host and speaker. Kathy has for many years focused on the mind-body connection and alternative medicine. 

Kathy is the author of a book called The Alternative Medicine Cabinet and is the host of a television show of the same name. Kathy is also an expert on stress management. While this is a bit of a shorter episode because Kathy had a limited time window, we still covered loads of great stuff including:

  • Health and the core components of health;
  • Alternative medicine and how it can be viewed as a complement to Western medicine;
  • Stress how to manage it;
  • How to make changes that stick;
  • How to spot potentially bogus alternative therapies;
  • Nutrition;
  • Risk-taking

Show Notes:

Kathy’s website -

Kathy on Twitter -

Kathy on Facebook -

Kathy on Linkedin -

Kathy’s author page on Amazon

Kathy on Wikipedia -


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Apr 26, 2017

From the Stoics to Shakespeare, from Gandhi to Nelson Mandela - wisdom is something that seems to transcend societies and cultures. We might hear that a certain person is “wise” or even “wise beyond their years”. What exactly does this mean? Can we zero in on the essence of wisdom and learn to become wiser?  Can doing so help us manage life’s uncertainties? Can it make us happier?

Meet Charles Cassidy. Charles researches and promotes “evidence-based wisdom”. As Charles puts it, “psychologists are finding that societies do share an agreed understanding and conception of wisdom”. Through his site (, Charles takes the emerging research in this fascinating field, and “translates” it so that we can use it.

Based in London, Charles joined me on the All Things Risk podcast for a wonderful conversation that covered:

  • What wisdom is;
  • Wisdom and decision-making;
  • Wisdom and “convincing” others who many disagree with us;
  • Compassion and being generous;
  • What the key components of wisdom are;
  • Wisdom and uncertainty management;
  • Does more experience equate to more wisdom?;
  • Can wisdom be measured?;
  • Wisdom, meditation and mindfulness;
  • Short-term practices that can make us wiser “in the moment”;
  • Is wisdom a state or a trait?;
  • We have Artificial Intelligence (AI), can we have Artificial Wisdom (AW)?;
  • Can becoming wiser make us happier?
  • And more

Show notes:

 Evidence-based wisdom:


            On Twitter

            On Facebook

            On YouTube

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – The Destroyer of Worlds

The Wisdom Scorecard – Test your wisdom level

How to have better political arguments – TED talk by Robert Willer

Negotiating the Impossible by Deepak Malhotra

Moral Tribes by Joshua Greene

Influence by Robert Cialdini

Give and Take by Robert Grant

Future Babble by Dan Gardner

The Hedonic Treadmill

The Serenity Prayer

The Stag Hunt and Nash Equilibrium

The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

Igor Grossmann

Deep Mind Technologies


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Apr 17, 2017

My guest on this week’s episode doesn’t get awestruck very easily. Neville Johnson is a Hollywood lawyer in California, USA. He has represented a number of celebrities, artists, actors, and writers, particularly against the bullying tactics of large companies over royalties. His clients have included the Beatles, amongst other.

However, there is one individual with whom Neville has worked that left a huge impression on him. That person is the late and legendary UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) basketball coach John Wooden. Neville wrote two books about Coach Wooden and spent a considerable amount of time with him, former players, family members and colleagues. Neville’s first book is an authorised biography of John Wooden while the second is a book of some of Wooden’s most profound sayings.

John Wooden was one of the most successful coaches in the history of any sport. His teams won 10 national championships in the span of 12 years, included seven in a raw. At one point, his teams did not lose a game in three years. Wooden’s former players include Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton.

Counterintuitively, Wooden never talked about winning. To Wooden, winning was the by-product of the process of hard work and diligent practice he instilled in his teams. In fact, he was more than a basketball coach.  John Wooden was a teacher, psychologist, philosopher, poet and purveyor of timeless wisdom.

Neville and I discuss some of that wisdom on this fabulous episode. We cover: 

  • What is was like working with John on the two books;
  • Wooden’s famous Pyramid of Success;
  • How Wooden had an influence on Neville’s own work as a lawyer;
  • Success versus winning;
  • Some of Neville’s areas of legal expertise, particularly privacy law;
  • Neville’s other books;
  • Neville’s music
  • Much more!

Show notes: 

Neville’s authorised biography of John Wooden The John Wooden Pyramid of Success: The Ultimate Guide to Life, Leadership, Friendship and Love

Neville’s book Woodenisms: The Wisdom and Sayings of Coach John Wooden

John Wooden’s great Ted Talk The Difference Between Winning and Succeeding

Neville’s poetry book What Took You So Long


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