My books… and what I love about writing
In this week’s blog, I want to tell you a bit more about some of the books I’ve written over the years. You might have noticed there is a books section on my site, but perhaps you’ve not explored it yet. Hopefully after reading this blog you will be inspired to do just that!
I live in a mansion block in London, which is known as “Writers Block” on account of the fact that Somerset Maugham, Ian Fleming, and half a dozen well-known writers lived there for a time. So it’s not surprising I put pen to paper myself. I’ve written ten books – and I’m certainly not ‘finished’. Why? Because I love the process: I get to live in a world of my creation. And I love the research stage too because it’s like going into the unknown: often you discover new things that invariably take your breath away.
The process of writing is always exciting especially when you’re in the flow of it… and I find you can’t have writer’s block If you love what you’re writing about! If you don’t love what you write about, I promise you will flounder. It’s the love of your subject that gets you through it like a piping hot knife through frozen butter.
The editing stage is hard for most people and even for those who like the process. It’s not easy work grafting through 50,000 or 100,000 words. My approach to editing was to put myself in a state of make-believe.
I would pretend that I was a warrior monk in a scriptorium (this was before Game of Thrones) and I would spend a week at a monastery in Berkshire (connected to my old school) and work long hours, but at the pace of the monks. In other words, up at 6am for morning prayer, then working all the way through to evening prayer until sleep took me off at 11pm.
Of my ten books, my favourite is my most recent: Spirit of Gratitude: Crises are Opportunities (2018). For the first time I invested my own stories to advance my mission, which is to help people change their lives by changing their mindsets.
My most successful book in terms of sales has to be The Truth Will Set Us Free: Armenians and Turks Reconciled (2003) which sold about 1000 copies. That said, with the current war in the Caucuses between Armenia on one side and Azerbaijan and Turkey on the other, my proposition looks lost in translation… but perhaps it’s darkest just before the light.
If, as a retiring baby boomer, you feel your purpose is writing, then follow your intuition. Remember though, if you are determined to write a book you must make a commitment to yourself.
I am not joking when I say it’s like having a baby! You will be pregnant for up to nine months. You will feel nauseous. You will dream about the issues you face. You will wake up in the middle of the night with ideas you need to put down in writing. I say this not to frighten you but to make you realise that you need to commit to this baby. It needs love and attention.
Here are my ten ‘babies’: find out more about them here on the books page of this site.
Spirit of Gratitude: Crises are Opportunities (2018)
My life journey, told to help readers identify their crises as opportunities, and to be grateful for them – because the spirit of gratitude acts like a magnetic force drawing in joyous people and events.
Daylight After A Century (2015)
The story of the journey of 100 glass plates, photographs taken by my grandfather in the early 1900s, their travels, and then being exposed to daylight after a century of darkness, before arriving at the Armenian Genocide Museum, in Yerevan.
Arabkir: Homage to an Armenian Community (2014)
The story of the Armenians of Arabkir (modern Turkey) spans three millennia and this book is a translation and abridged version of a book written in Armenian in 1969 in New York by 50 contributing editors.
Seeking God: A Pilgrimage in the Holy Land (2013)
This is a journal of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, tracing the highlights and historical perspective of Jesus Christ from his birth in Bethlehem, his ministry in Galilee, and through to his death and resurrection in Jerusalem.
Sarkis Izmirlian: A Biography (2008)
This was a private family commission from a Bahamas-based billionaire, who wished to memorialise the life, the achievements, and the adventures of his grandfather, starting in the former Ottoman Empire to Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. This book is not available for sale
The Truth Will Set us Free (2003)
This is a powerful combination of a touching family story, a compelling legal argument and a visionary olive branch solution to one of history’s most intractable dilemmas – The Armenian Genocide.
Xerox Firestorm (2002)
Xerox Europe commissioned me to write a book outlining its transformation from a “copier” company to a “document” company that serves the world electronically. This book is not available for sale.
Ecosystem: Living the 12 Principles of Networked Business (2001)
This was a pioneering book in 2001, commissioned by FT Pearson Education, culled from over 60 interviews with major industry players, and it reveals how organisations can grow their business exponentially by developing networked ecosystems.
Battle of the Portals (1999)
A book published 20 years ago, which prophesied correctly not only a revolution in the world of commerce, and how electronic portals, such as Amazon and eBay, were set to become global supermarkets, but also the idea of personalisation of information, or ‘pocket portals.’
Seven Ages: Personal Financial Planning (1997)
In this book I wove Shakespeare’s ‘Seven Ages’ with Personal Financial Planning, so for example, life insurance is appropriately dovetailed with ‘the infant,’ mortgages with ‘the lover,’ and inheritance tax and estate planning with ‘second childishness.’