Never, ever take anybody’s advice on anything

I am extremely honoured to talk about Euan Lownie who recently finished his MA in Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh and to share his book. I had the opportunity to ask him some questions and he kindly had shared his answers with me and all of you. This book was the result of a four-year project that started when Euan finished his secondary studies and continued throughout his university years.

While going through their further education students often feel confused, not knowing what to do next and which career to choose or where to go after and sometimes the support that is needed is not easy to find.  Euan felt this way and decided to ask advice from successful Scots including Alan Cumming (Actor), Tom Kitchin (Chef), Nicola Sturgeon (First Minister), Andy Murray (Wimbledon Champion) and other extraordinary people.  He started by sending emails and collecting responses from the people that he had written to and used these to begin his project. 

 The question that Euan asked everyone who he interviewed was the same

‘What advice would you give to someone starting out in your field of work?’

In this book we get advice from various professionals with different backgrounds and careers. Everyone responded in their own individual way about their field of work and their own life experiences. This book will definitely make an impact on anyone who reads it as the advice given applies to many aspects of life.

As a parent the idea for this book resonated as we are always worried whether our children will be able to choose the career that is right for them and that they will love.  We know that they will get confused and doubt themselves but it is our job to guide them and provide them with helpful advice and to always support them in any way we can.

I absolutely love this book, all the advice given motivates you to find a job that you would love and to work hard towards what you want to achieve in life and to never give up. It also contains advice about life in general. I will keep this book for my boys and give it to them when they get a bit older so they can appreciate it.  For now, I am taking on board lots of the ideas myself.  I am also sharing some of the advice with my boys already to motivate them so that they can show off their skills and knowledge at school. 

Blurb

What’s the one piece of advice you wish you had at the start of your career? Euan Lownie asked this question to influencers from across Scottish industries include Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, actor Alan Cumming, forensic anthropologist Dame Sue Black, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and many more.

Euan is an inspiration for coming generations as with just 22 years old he has achieved so much.


Interview

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I come from a small village in Aberdeenshire, have just graduated from The University of Edinburgh and have recently turned 22. I am currently reading ‘All That Remains – A Life in Death’ by Sue Black and ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge.

Why did you want to write this book?

In my final year at secondary school I realised that I would really have to start considering what I wanted to do for a career. I wasn’t completely sure and it seemed that many of my peers were feeling the same. Even those who had ideas in mind weren’t always sure of how to achieve their goals. I thought it would be useful to have a book of career advice from those who had been there and done it to help those in our situation and decided since one didn’t already exist that I would attempt to put it together myself.

 What did you learn while putting this book together?

I learned a lot from the advice that was given to me by the contributors. I regularly look back through the book when I need motivation. Each piece had a unique outlook and something different to offer and consider. In more practical terms I learned much about the process of putting a book together and the publishing world – both of which I had limited knowledge of before.

 What were the most difficult things about writing it?

As this book is an anthology of the advice of others, the most difficult thing was trying to contact some very hard to reach people and convincing them to take part in the project. It took patience and lots of research but eventually I found avenues which allowed me to get in touch with many interesting and successful people who I had only dreamt could be a part of book.

Was it anything that you edited out of this book?

A couple of things but it was mainly just repeated bits of information.

What surprised you the most about all the advice, meetings and chats, etc?

How generous some people were with their time. Everyone featured in the book is extremely successful and busy so for them to take time out to communicate with me and write pieces for the book meant a lot. I was just a student with an idea and for them to take me seriously felt great. Receiving responses never failed to make me really excited.  

Did you ask the same question to your parents if so what was their answer?

I haven’t actually. I have learned so much from them over the years though so maybe I should.

Are you planning on writing more books?

Not at the moment anyway. I have a few other ideas for things at the moment, some of which involve writing, but not currently more books. We’ll have to wait and see.

What advice would you give to someone who wished to write a book?

Be prepared to be patient because it will take a lot of time to put together and find a publisher. Go for it though! If you have an idea you genuinely believe in and are willing to work hard at it, then try to make it a reality. It may not work out but at least you know you have tried and you will have probably learned a lot on the journey. I worked on this project for years and at times thought nothing would come of it but I stuck with it and believed in the idea. I’ve ended up with a book I’m really proud of. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being excited when I see it in shops.


Never, Ever Take Anybody’s Advice on Anything was published by 404 Ink who is a publisher that supports developing writers in their new adventure.  The cover of the book was designed by Kirsty Hunter who gave it a bold appearance and the interior design was created by Laura Jones who made this book very visual and fun. The book is available at their website  (https://www.404ink.com).  Euan is donating some of the proceeds from his book to two charitable organisations.  If you are in Edinburgh you can find this book in The Portobello Bookshop, Golden Hare Bookshop, Paper Tiger, Topping & Company, Waterstones and the Edinburgh Bookshop.

Thank you so much to Eaun for the interview and for putting together a great book. I would recommend it to students who are looking for career advice but also to everyone who is looking for some motivation in life. As a mum I would definitely recommend this book to other parents as it would be a great gift for teenagers and as I mentioned before you can adapt some of the advice for our younger children so they can be the best in everything that they do in school, at afterschool classes and in life in general.

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