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Cover of Joined Up Thinking

The hidden connections behind fascinating facts.

What is the link between the Sex Pistols and crude oil; between Isaac Newton, Pink Floyd and a suicidal dwarf on the set of The Wizard of Oz?

What have Douglas Adams, Schrödinger’s Cat and The Vicar of Dibley got in common?

Discover why giant sloths, Christopher Columbus and avocados are mysteriously linked; and why you might think twice the next time you’re offered a dip of guacamole.

Ever had the sneaking suspicion that everything in the world is connected in some small, secret way?

Joined-Up Thinking takes the British love of trivia to a whole new level, brilliantly linking obscure but fascinating facts in a dizzying game of ‘six degrees of separation’. Each chapter begins with a bizarre fact, spins off on a weird and wonderful journey of hidden connections and, with a final flourish that gives you a shiver, brings the loop full circle...

Along the way you’ll discover Scooby Doo’s real name, be shocked by the ultimate weight-loss diet of the 1920s, and find out how to hypnotise a chicken (or indeed how to give one a heart massage, depending on your mood). At once funny, wonderfully entertaining and genuinely surprising, Joined-Up Thinking is proof, if proof were needed, that there really is no such thing as a coincidence.

Spotting connections is in my DNA. For thirty years I was PC Colgan of the Metropolitan Police. I worked in criminal intelligence. I researched and analysed crimes and community problems and helped design solutions that were more permanent and sustainable than the usual short-term enforcement-based tactics.

Now I’m an artist, author, songwriter and speaker currently living in Buckinghamshire. Among other things, I’ve been a potato picker, a chef, a police officer and a lecturer. I’ve written briefing notes for Prime Ministers and scripts for TV series. I’ve helped build dinosaur skeletons for the Natural History Museum and movie monsters for Bruce Willis to shoot at. I was the official artist for the 2006 National Children’s Book Fair and am an exhibitor at the annual Royal College of Art Secret Auction. I regularly contribute to the QI Annuals and my artwork has been seen on the BBC TV series. I have spoken at events in the UK and USA for audiences as wide ranging as police chiefs, doctors, magicians, entrepreneurs, comedians, politicians and prostitutes.

I have two books currently in print: Joined-Up Thinking (Pan Macmillan 2008) and Henhwedhlow (Kowethas 2010). The latter (translated by Tony Hak) is a re-telling of eight classic Cornish folk tales in both English and Cornish languages and is the largest collection of original Cornish prose currently in existence.

I fully intend to return to the Westcountry (I’m originally from Cornwall) some day to become the grumpy old sod at the end of the road who won’t give local kids their ball back.

How do you connect Pink Floyd to Alchemy and a suicidal Dwarf?

The Dark Side of the Rainbow

Seven is a number steeped in lore and superstition and has special significance in almost every form of religion or faith. In Hinduism there are seven Chakras called Muladhara, Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddha, Ajna and Sahasrara. There are seven Sacraments in Catholicism: Baptism, Penance, Marriage, Communion, Confirmation, Holy Orders and Last Rites.  The Bible tells us that it took God seven days to create the universe, and there are hundreds of other references to the number seven in the ‘good book’; a staggering 55 in the book of Revelations alone.

So it’s no surprise that, back in the days when science, faith and mysticism were still intertwined, the so-called ‘Law of Sevens’ -  the idea that the natural laws of the universe obey a simple mystical numerical rule – was very popular. Certainly, Sir Isaac Newton, who spent as much time studying alchemy as he did true science, believed in the idea that seven was, in some way, special.

Read more...

The Return of Joined-Up Thinking

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

'So what's this?' I hear you cry. 'Another book??'

Well yes. And no.

This is an exclusive expanded edition of my first book, Joined-Up Thinking, that you can now download as an e-book here at Unbound.

Let me explain how this came about ...

In 2008, the book was published with Pan Macmillan. And it did okay. But not great. The problem was that despite rave reviews like these ...

‘I found…

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