TV presenter and author of The Man Plan
Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I was born in Sydney in the 80’s to two school teacher parents. I played Violin, Piano and soccer throughout my school years. I left school, completed a Bachelor of Media and Writing at Macquarie University. Then hosted some TV and radio; Nickelodeon’s ‘Sarvo, Channel V’s Cash Cab and various things on Nova and 7, 9 and 10.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
12: an Aeronautical engineer- it was fun to say and I was obsessed with planes.
18: A Lawyer as it sounded impressive.
Thirty: 18 again with what I knew now.
That any big business is bad and profits at the cost of the little people.
4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?
1) My mum and dad separating- realising the importance of communication and focussing on that in my life.
2) My uncle committing suicide: Realising the fragility of even the toughest or most successful men…
3) Reading John Donne’s poems and realising the importance and power of brevity. I won’t say any more here….
5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? aren’t they obsolete?
Writing a book for young Aussie men seems about as practical as opening a bacon shop in Jerusalem. But I wrote the sort of book I needed to read, with the advice me and my friends wanted, in a format that was easily digested and could be picked up and put down as they pleased.
It’s a get your life together guide for Aussie men of all walks of life and ages. I wrote it as I approached thirty noticing certain areas in my life needed attention and many friends had similar imbalances. It’s 180 pages of short cuts, tips and advice from experts on how to man up and get ahead in the ten most common “average areas” for Aussie men.
From the Publisher:
The Man Plan is the anecdotal handbook for “how to do everything better”. For all guys who’ve outgrown their playbook or are looking for more substance than The Game and don’t want to swallow a self-help book… to the frustrated girlfriend, wife or mother… The Man Plan is the contemporary man-ual on centuries-old male wisdom from around the world for guys who really want to know more and step up to be the best man they can be. Think one part husband training booklet, one part Maslow’s hierarchy step ladder and one part man skills that make Bear Grylls look like a nun – with expert engagement and empirical research along the way.
7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?
Depression in Males in Australia and our inability to talk about it. Suicide is the biggest killer of Aussie men under 44. More than homicide and road tolls. All the jokes in the book aside- this is a matter very dear to my heart that I would love to see reduced- by starting conversations about mental health and support networks if nothing more.
8. Whom do you most admire and why?
I really admire my dad Bazza- he is a wildly intelligent man of huge imagination and has handed down to me his traits of humour, resilience and tenacity.
9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
To fly a plane around Australia, catch a marlin with a spear gun, and help as many people as I possible can reach their potential(and push to mine along the way…)
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Take more risks and make more mistakes. Too many people play it safe in their lives, careers and especially their creativity. Many a creative has a drawer full of dusty ideas. Pick one and make it a reality in 2013!
James, thank you for playing.
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection.