“I thought Jim and Shirley were lovely and inspiring people and I know everybody felt the same. I found what he had to say really interesting.”
L.H. – South Nutfield
Are you looking for a speaker to address your company or group? Perhaps I can help you. There are two fields in which I have some expertise. The first is the experience, the business and the technical side of writing for a living. The second is a range of subjects stemming from my researches into the history and psychology of charlatans about which I have written a book.
“An engaging and entertaining speaker who is popular with his audience and enjoys interacting with them. Well informed and is able to combine factual information with anecdotes, making his presentations authentic and fun.”
Energy Industries Council
The following are topics on which I can speak authoritatively and entertainingly with the aid of a Powerpoint presentation.
- CHARLATANS, FRAUDS & FOOLS – or How Intelligent People Will Believe Stupid Things
Based on the speaker’s researches for his study of charlatans, this lecture explains the two basic rules for being a charlatan: namely that no idea is so stupid that no one will believe it; and that nobody is immune to the wiles of charlatans and frauds. The lessons are illustrated with a humorous account of the modern belief in the Flat Earth, and how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was convinced of the existence of fairies. Powerpoint.
- LOST LANDS : LOST DREAMS – Troy & Atlantis : myth or reality?
This lecture explores the human desire to believe in the existence of mythical lands. It explains how a German businessman pursued his dream and uncovered the remains of ancient Troy, and how a Greek philosopher and a Minnesota politician have convinced many people that Atlantis exists. Powerpoint.
- GREAT IMPOSTERS
People are often reluctant to believe that famous or important people have really died – think of Elvis for example. This lecture gives an account of the careers of a number of great imposters. It includes the false claimants to the English throne after the Wars of the Roses, the enigmatic German boy, Kaspar Hauser, and how a fat butcher from Wapping convinced many people that he was an English aristocrat and heir to a great fortune. Powerpoint.
- THE FIRST GREAT CREDIT CRUNCH – or: How bankers and politicians took the public for a ride in the year 1720
In 1720 Europe was swept by wave of speculation that ended in a disastrous credit crunch. This lecture explains how the scheme was deliberately contrived by a group of financial speculators and corrupt politicians. Despite being 300 years old, it is a surprisingly modern and entertaining story about human nature. Powerpoint.
- THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CASANOVA
Giacomo Casanova is the great lover and adventurer, whose wit, intelligence and daring made him famous in 18th century Europe. This lecture follows his extraordinary career and describes the world in which he lived. It is populated by outrageous characters including a lecherous cardinal, a cross-dressing French diplomat, and the remarkable Count of St. Germain who was believed to be immortal and to have the power of making diamonds. Powerpoint.
- GREAT FORGERS
The boundary between a forgery and an homage or honest copy is not always obvious, and some of the great artists have turned their hands to forgery in order to pay the bills. This lecture focuses on great 20th century forgeries, including the man who sold a fake Vermeer to Hermann Goering and the forging of the autobiography of Howard Hughes. The centrepiece is an explanation of the Speaker’s personal role in the great Hitler Diaries forgery. Powerpoint.
- HOW TO SELL THE EIFFEL TOWER
This lecture is a light hearted history of some of the classic frauds, including the sale of various national monuments, the Big Store fraud made famous in The Sting, the Spanish Prisoner scam, and the Living Brazilian Invisible Fish. Powerpoint
- THE ENGLISH LADY MURDERERS’ SOCIETY
This is a mini master class touching on some of the key aspects of writing novels. In a mixture of explanation and readings, the Speaker tells of his career as a professional novelist and answers the question that is invariably posed to authors: Where do writers get their ideas from? The lecture also traces how an author may use a motif – in this instance that of “dance” – to achieve different effects within the same book and explains the meaning of the maxim that authors should write about what they know. The readings are from The English Lady Murderers’ Society, a comic novel about a group of middle-aged women living the ex-pat life in a southern French village. This lecture is speech only and especially suited to a small group.
- A MESSAGE TO THE CHILDREN
Have you investigated your family history only to wish that your ancestors had left a memoir? Have you tried to write your own autobiography but been overwhelmed by the task? The Speaker has developed an easy method for writing autobiography that has inspired and helped ordinary people to set down the story of their lives. In this lecture he explains his method and illustrates it with readings that are both funny and, occasionally, touching. This lecture is speech only.