mba douglas board

Meeting Douglas Board, author of MBA

I’d like to welcome Douglas Board to the Thursday Throng. After working as a civil servant and a headhunter, Douglas Board now runs his own career advice business and is a senior visiting fellow at Cass Business School. He has a doctorate in management and chairs the Refugee Council. He is also the author of the author of Choosing Leaders and Choosing to Lead: Science, Politics and Intuition in Executive Selection and (with Robert Warwick) The Social Development of Leadership and Knowledge: A Reflexive Inquiry into Research and Practice.

The Douglas Board Interview

douglas boardWhat is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?

The first writing I got paid to do was when I was about 17, writing maths multiple choice exam questions and submitting them to the Hong Kong schools examination authority … if you wanted to be kind, you could say from an early age I liked creating elegant puzzles!

What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?

A must-read for fans of Franzen’s Freedom or Eggers’ The Circle (the Bookseller).

What did the worst review you ever had say about you and your work?

A friend confessed that she had put off and put off starting to read MBA, resenting it because it was light/comic and there were so many serious things waiting to be read which she didn’t have time for. I was sad both that she found this difficult to say to me, and that she had closed the door to something light/comic also being serious.

How did you choose a title for your book?

During the years of writing, the title changed several times – the first working title was ‘Motivation’, but I wanted to move to short plain words, and for quite a while it was ‘Lead Me’. ‘MBA’ (and the associated question, why is so much of the world managed by arseholes?) came in a flash at the end, and just felt right. Now as I start novel 2, I’ve been doing a lot of ‘base camp’ work on theme, character and interior story, and I notice the working title has just changed in my mind. I’m happy to ride with that and simply take it as a clue, like rings in a tree, that I’m crossing a stage of development. I have to believe in the current title – it has to feel the most succinct and evocative I can do at the point – but I realise now something better and quite other might flash into mind at the end.

Do you think there is any elitism attached to the different genres of books, both in the fiction and non-fiction worlds?

Tons – which means that I find particularly worthwhile books which shatter snobbish limited expectations of what it is possible to do within a genre, or are difficult/meaningless to classify into genres (and yet connect with a large number of people). For example The Time Traveller’s Wife or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I struggle with books where I can’t see the author making a real effort to connect with others/me (of course the effort may be there but in a form I fail to appreciate).

Have you ever written naked?

I think possibly a couple of times on a hot summer’s night in Italy in 2008, during one of the bits when the first version of ‘MBA’ was tumbling out. But I couldn’t swear to it!

What is the book that you wished you had written?

Zen and … (see above).

Do you have any favourite resources you would like to share with our readers?

Definitely, Diana Nyad’s TED talk Never, ever give up. It’s about solo long distance swimming. I hardly every go for athletic inspiration talks, they rarely connect with me, but this one does – solo long distance swimming is not something you should do on your own! Watch it and find out, and see if you think it applies to novel writing.


mbaWHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT douglas and his book?

You can find MBA in Kindle and Paperback format here:

  • Amazon UK – MBA
  • Amazon US – MBA

You can also catch up with Douglas on his website.



These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.

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