If you read my review of his previous title, 'Sew Your Own', you'll know that I find author and journalist John-Paul Flintoff something of an inspiration. I felt he had lots to bring to our lovely sewing-blogging community through his thought-provoking discussions into the wider motivations and implications behinds the clothes-making activities that we so enjoy. 'Sew Your Own', for me, opened lots of avenues of thought, and raised some questions I was desperate to put to Mr Flintoff, so I was utterly thrilled when he agreed to spend some of his valuable time answering them for a small interview that I posted here. Then a couple of months ago I received an email from him sent to potentially interested parties announcing that his latest book, 'How to Change the World', had been published. I was definitely an interested party.
In the interest of full openness and honesty, I received a copy of this book for free. This is because I was cheeky enough to ask for one, not because he or his publishing company were attempting to solicit favourable reviews. However, a favourable review is what I must give it because that is what it deserves.
The simplest way to describe this publication is as a 21st Century self-help book, but the associations that may conjure do it a disservice. This book lays a path to help anyone with a drive to affect any change beyond their own internal world find their voice and harness their effectiveness to start to do what they feel could or should be done. Unlike a traditional self-help tome, 'How to Change the World' is small, succinct and measured, and this form makes his arguments all the stronger. With a potential mini-epihany on almost every page, he gives the reader the space and respect to apply his points to their own hopes and plans, without lacing each point with lashings of unnecessary or distracting examples or personal tangents. Which is not to say you feel detached from the author: Flintoff's deep desire for the reader to fulfil their own world-changing potential is what keeps this book warm and driven. Oh, and it's a great size book to buy if you're a commuter!
This little book has helped me see that my personal interest in and endeavours towards changing the world are very much valid, and in fact are already more defined and engaged than I had really realised. At times I feel guilty for focussing so much of my efforts on just trying to change my own and other people's habits of consuming clothing rather than spreading my efforts out over a broader range of environmental and social issues. But in fact Flintoff proves we are at our most effective when we fight for the causes that most inspire and impassion us. I'll definitely revisit this book again when my personal interests, views and missions inevitably shift or refocus. After I've lent my copy of this book to everyone I know, of course!