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Journal Library

Book Review, February 2019

Published January 2019 by Bluebird, London (176 pages)

ISBN-10: 1509850880  ISBN-13: 978-1509850884

Reviewed by Professor David Clutterbuck

I bought this book out of curiosity, with little expectation of finding anything of great interest. To my surprise, it proved to be a remarkably insightful, well-written personalised account of serial mentoring. Brand is a controversial character, to say the least, with a life story of wild extremes, including addiction to drugs. What makes this book interesting is the quality of his reflections on the mentoring he has received, helping him bring his life back on track; and on the mentoring he now gives in return, to other troubled younger men.

Among the quotable quotes I have extracted are the following:

  • Asking someone to mentor you… is a simultaneous acknowledgement of vulnerability and admiration
  • I am not trying to become my mentors. I’m using them as a focal point to help me summon and nurture latent qualities which, without stewardship, I may not be able to realise.
  • There is nothing negative about being a mentor. Even the fact that it requires me to give my time to others is hugely positive for a person like me whose tendency unguided can be towards the selfish and self-obsessed.
  • Mentorship has been most successful in my life when I was simultaneously awakened to my need to change, willing to learn and there was an explicit and consensual method to pursue.

The narrative Brand presents is one of mentoring in the raw – informal, ad hoc, intense, and uniformly generous. This book may never make it onto the required reading of formal mentor training, but it provides an intriguing insight into multiple mentoring from the mentee’s perspective.

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