Author …

Thoughts on Life and Advertising

From stories about the young man who was the most useless human being on the planet, to leadership lessons from the Queen and Richard Branson; from office politics, to sport and music; from marketing to the media, Thoughts on Life and Advertising exposes characteristics of human behaviour that will inspire young people – and students of human behaviour of any age.


I’m not sure how I had never previously come across Hugh Salmon, and I’m so very glad I did as his writing resonates with me on both personal and professional levels. I’ve never highlighted so much from one book on my Kindle! My favourite quote :”Surely it’s not beyond the wit of man to ask: ‘What are we trying to achieve?’ and ‘How are we going to do it?’ And bleeding well think!”

This is a book about – making sense. Sometimes the world is a complicated place and too often we struggle to make the right decisions and navigate ourselves effectively through our lives. In Thoughts on Life and Advertising, Hugh Salmon provides a perspective and a new way of looking at a whole host of everyday issues, and causes us to re-think our prejudices and attitudes. His ideas are always challenging, never dull, often profound, and sometimes wrong. Nevertheless, I think everyone who reads this book will feel better for having read it, and will have enjoyed spending time in the company of a wise and fun companion.

I loved this book by Hugh Salmon who … (had) … a distinguished career in advertising, despite a couple of unplanned interruptions including a 5-year long transatlantic law suit with his then employer, which he eventually won in spectacular fashion. Thereafter, having to cut short his career due to a broken back thought to have been caused at school playing rugby, but not discovered until years later. I found his book thought provoking; highly entertaining and truly inspirational! I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who sees the importance of standing up for what they believe in and in doing the right thing. Hugh Salmon you are one top bloke!

Someone really special (30 April 2012) 

So, in my last post, we were talking about my old teacher’s conviction that everyone is special at something. It brought to mind a story a friend of mine told me about his brother. 

I met Tom Wilson through cricket. He is friendly, sociable and gregarious. Good player too. The story he told me was about his brother, Robert, about whom his family were extremely concerned. 

Robert didn’t like cricket (which is certainly a concern). In fact, he didn’t like any sport at all. He didn’t like reading. He didn’t like music. He didn’t like art. He didn’t like pubs. Robert didn’t like anything. He just sat in his room all day looking at the ceiling. It was a struggle for the family to coax him downstairs to eat or watch TV. 

For his twenty-first birthday, Robert’s godfather gave him a present – an expensive, extensive personality assessment and career guidance course. 

Robert was asked to complete various forms and answer penetrative personal questions. He was interrogated by a psychologist. He was analysed by an analyst. He was invited to practice the art of conversation. He was monitored in social situations. He was even watched secretly through a two-way mirror having a meal with a group of carefully selected friends and family. 

He was taken apart. 

At the end of the week, he was summoned by the head honcho to receive his verdict. 

‘Mr Wilson, we have assessed you and your character from every angle. We have watched you. We have talked to you. Unfortunately, we have not been able to listen to you because, quite frankly, you have nothing to say. You are without doubt the most boring, lifeless, insignificant  person we have ever had on this course.’ 

Tears formed behind Robert’s glasses, trickled down his cheeks and dropped onto his creased, ill-fitting trousers. No one has felt more useless. 

‘You don’t care about other people. You never ask them questions. You show no interest in their lives. You never look them in the eye. You are completely unobtrusive. No one notices you in a room. No one even remembers you have been there. You are a total nobody.’ 

As his shoulders collapsed and his heart bled, Robert’s tears turned to sobs and he drew from his pocket a grotty, grey handkerchief which he wiped across his face and smeared over his misted glasses. 

‘And these are the perfect qualities for a private detective.’ 

Robert looked up. And he smiled. And, now, this is what he does. And he is very successful. 

For Robert is a very special person. 

With a very special talent.

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