Monday, October 9, 2006

WHY LAWYERS SHOULD SURF

Why Lawyers Should Surf (co-authored with Dr Michelle Tempest) is now available on amazon (for £7.99 incl p&p). Extracts from the book can be found below this post. To read reviews of the book, click on the following links or see below.







The Independent, 9/1/08: "makes a strong case for [surfing] being a productive metaphor of our immersion in time and space...give[s] you the mental equivalent of a perfect day at Sunset Beach, Hawaii", Andy Martin, author of Stealing the Wave.

The Times Online, 12/8/08: "a song for the modern age which could well become a cult classic like perhaps Anne Morrow Lindbergh Gift From the Sea", Tom Anderson, author of Riding the Magic Carpet.

The Times Online, 28/3/08: "a passionate call for professionals to de-stress themselves by gliding on a few turquoise walls", Alex Wade, author, Surf Nation.

Irish Independent, 28/8/08: "We drown out our inner voice with noise - from the office, the high street, the internet, TV. Out on the waves there is no noise, just you and the sea." Marie Boran, Marie Boran, Irish Net Visionary Awards Journalist of the Year 2008.

Drift Magazine, issue 5, 2008: "If you want to get excited about life, discover your own power and find peace of mind, then give this a go. Oh, and it's not one of those books about blaming your mother."

Slide Magazine, 2008: "Kevan and Tempest use the metaphor of surfing and the ocean throughout this book to discuss methods in which they can better communicate and improve their lives through employing the glass 'half-full' approach." Alison Aprhys, journalist.

DailyStoke.com, 27/9/08: "I was hooked from the get go...essential reading not simply for lawyers or other professionals but for surfers of every stripe who are seeking to understand how to better live their lives."

Swordplay, 3/8/08: "A motivational and erudite read with plenty of esoteric material on surfing"

NSW Law Society Journal, 8/08: "one does not need to be a surfer, or a lawyer, to appreciate and enjoy the well-written, humorous and enjoyable examples and suggestions the authors make...The book makes you feel like working smarter and going surfing, or whatever activity provides a release for you." Stephen Titus, solicitor.

YouClaim News, 2008: "uplifting, inspirational stuff, and well-informed, too"

ITV Local, 27/8/08: "Everybody wants to live the dream - but very few of us actually achieve it...Not so Tim Kevan, who at...36 retired from his barrister job, moved to North Devon to surf, and got a book deal with Bloomsbury. Nice work! Tim Kevan, we...salute you as Meridian Blog Pillar of the Community!"

Legal Week, 8/1/07: "With its thousands-strong cast of colourful characters, there is no shortage of distinctive voices at the Bar...One of the more unique voices [sic] is that of One Temple Gardens personal injury specialist and chronicler of our times Tim Kevan, prolific author and mastermind behind The Barrister Blog...Kevan's online journal offers an unlikely but strangely captivating blend of legal analysis and quasi-philosophical musings on his other great passion...surfing."


The Independent, 9/1/08
Why Lawyers Should Surf, by Tim Kevan and Michelle Tempest
How riding the waves can be the ultimate stress-buster
Reviewed by Andy Martin

If anyone had asked me before I read this book why lawyers should surf, I would have said that they would feel right at home with the sharks. The more enlightened and benevolent logic of Tim Kevan and Michelle Tempest is that lawyers and other stressed-out souls can get an infusion of wisdom by imitating the spirit of God and "moving upon the face of the waters".

Surfing is so difficult that it's hard to think of anything else while you're doing it. It's virtually impossible to worry about taxes as a monster wave comes hurtling towards you (although the question of death does arise). It concentrates the mind wonderfully. I suspect that there is something in the neurochemistry of surfing that induces a more contemplative, even transcendental, outlook.

Kevan, a London-based barrister, has truly seen the light and gone off to live and surf in Devon. The clever thing about the book he has written with his psychiatrist co-author, Tempest, is that even if it doesn't persuade you, in the middle of winter, to whip off your kit and get wet, it does give you the mental equivalent of a perfect day at Sunset Beach, Hawaii. I am generally averse to motivational books, probably because they reduce me to a sort of Pavlovian dog that can be easily trained. The beauty of this book is that, even as it suggests ways of fixing my "neuro-linguistic programming", it subtly restores a sense of poetry and enables me to "hear the mighty waters rolling evermore". Kevan and Tempest, like Wordsworth, address the soul-surfer in us all.

Jean Baudrillard, philosopher of the media age, assumed that all surfing was virtual – a product of the internet – and anything else just a Hollywood-engineered myth. Why Lawyers Should Surf not only reminds us that surfing is real, and feasible, but makes a strong case for it being a productive metaphor of our immersion in time and space. I don't know if it is going to make me a better surfer (it may be too late), but I am hopeful that I could become a better human being. And if the waters keep on rising, our souls really will have sight of Wordsworth's immortal sea, "though inland far we be", and surfing could turn out to be the key to survival.


The Times Online, 12/8/08
by Alex Wade and Tom Anderson

Meanwhile, why should lawyers surf? Having been one, I'd say that the answer is that if they don't, when they finally return to live once again by the coast they'll be condemned to languish forever in the intermediate zone, sometimes getting it right, sometimes getting it wrong. But Tim Kevan, author of a book cunningly entitled Why Lawyers Should Surf, begs to differ. He's quit briefs in the City for clean lines at Lynemouth, and his book is reviewed below by Tom Anderson, a Welshman who had many scrapes with the lawyers (not least, a night out with me which we somehow both survived) but never became one. Instead he leapt straight to being a writer and surfer, penning the much-acclaimed Riding the Magic Carpet. I'm not jealous, honest, so without further ado, here's Tom review.

From the days of the Hawaiian kings to the present, surfing has always captured people's imagination and managed to take them out of their day to day lives. It is uplifting and spiritual and provides a connection with nature and forces greater than ourselves. So it seems only natural when the authors point to surfing as a way of helping cope with the stresses of modern living and of re-gaining some balance in life.

Why Lawyers Should Surf is written by a former barrister and a psychiatrist. I particularly liked the way they avoided the cheesy, self-satisfied tone that instantly puts me off most motivational books, which too often come across as some sort of instruction booklet for life but which forget the art and lose sight of the soul. This book on the other hand not only provides an extremely clear and accessible introduction to cutting-edge techniques for getting one's mind into shape but it also provides a context. It stresses the need to feed the soul and listen to your own heart just as surfers monitor the movements of the ocean.

The use of the metaphor of surfing works surprisingly well. It not only taps into the inherent power of the sea but also has the benefit of resonating with those who have perhaps previously only ever surfed the internet. What's more, the book subtly introduces the reader to a wide mix of literary, scientific and spiritual sources. As a surfer I particularly liked the enormous range of the quotations and reflections on the meaning of surfing itself and our almost primeval connection with the sea. (In many ways it is a song for the modern age which could well become a cult classic like perhaps Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea.

As for the reference to lawyers, it is clear that they are simply being used as an example of the work-shackled majority who perhaps yearn for something more in their lives. Certainly it applies across the board to anyone looking for inspiration. The tone throughout is authentic and a nice footnote is that since co-writing the book Tim Kevan has indeed walked the talk and given up the trappings of the bar for the surf of North Devon. He is now living in Braunton and writing a novel for Bloomsbury Publishing. That's what I'm talking about!

Spot on for surfers, lawyers and anyone else looking for inspiration.


The Times Online, 28/3/08
by Alex Wade

During my Wrecking Machine phase, I was a lawyer (that's two plugs of your first book. I'll let you off because it's your birthday. Ed.). This was a profession whose intellectual aspects always intrigued me but whose rigmarole wasn't my thing. At all. Today I'm off to interview a lawyer I met in the line-up at Freights yesterday, this for a weekly slot on lawyers with interests outside the law (which today features sometime contributor to this blog and Perranporth surfboat rower Andy Cox). The Bajan lawyer's name is Barry Gale and watching him surf yesterday put me in mind of Tim Kevan's book, 'Why Lawyers Should Surf'. Kevan's book is a passionate call for professionals to destress themselves by gliding on a few turquoise walls. Kevan, with co-author Michelle Tempest, makes more than a few nods to the Romantic notion of the sublime, a trait that he shares with many writers on surfing (though to my knowledge, Kevan is the first writer to co-opt TS Eliot - arch-modernist and poet of despair - in favour of surfing). While avowedly a motivational book Why Lawyers Should Surf contains many fascinating curios on surfing and makes me wonder whether, if I'd been surfing as much as I'd wanted to do during my legal (illegal) days, I might have avoided the Wrecking Machine phase.


Irish Independent, 28/8/08
Blog Digest
By Marie Boran

Stop. Breathe. Relax. It’s summertime and everywhere I look people are working hard and not stopping to smell the roses (well, come to think of it, the roses are soggy given all the rain we’ve been having). So this week we’re looking at blogs which celebrate slowing down and living in the moment.

The (ex)Barrister Blog
http://timkevan.blogspot.com/
THIS guy was a successful, high-powered barrister for 10 years and then one day simply decided to retire early and spend his days surfing. He even wrote a book about it: Why Lawyers Should Surf.
One thing blogger, Tim Kevan, feels is missing from our modern lives is silence. We drown out our inner voice with noise – from the office, the high street, the internet, TV. Out on the waves there is no noise, just you and the sea.
So, if you’re looking to escape from it all, catch a wave.


Drift Magazine, issue 5, 2008
Why Lawyers Should Surf

Practically written and laid out, this is not a novel but a simple set of rules about how to live your life, using surfing as a metaphor with which to spell out the basics.Whether you live the high life or the slow life, you'll find plenty of information jammed into this comprehensive read. Chicken Soup it isn't; easy to understand guidance in a world of fast-paced technical wizadry it is. Subjects range from how to visualise your goals to tips to building rapport and improving your communcation skills. If you want to get excited about life, discover your own power and find peace of mind, then give this a go. Oh, and it's not one of those books about blaming your mother.


Slide Magazine, 2008
by Alison Aprhys

Written by a barrister and a psychiatrist and with an introduction by a champion boxer, Why Lawyers Should Surf (WLSS) appears to be the love-child of a self-help motivational guide for success in work and life and a marketing exercise to encourage waveriding. Crimewriter P.D.James once said, "Lawyers are intelligent people whose profession is argument", and authors Kevan and Tempest seem to agree. They quote a John Hopkins University study, which found that lawyers in the US suffered four times the average depression rate. deciding that the cynicism that lawyers use so successfully in their professional lives was too often pouring into their private time, causing unnecessary stress, unhappiness and depression, Kevan and Tempest use the metaphor of surfing and the ocean throughout this book to discuss methods in which they can better communicate and improve their lives through employing the glass 'half-full' approach. This is often referred to be surfers as, 'there'll be another wave in a minute mate'. Recently Australian chapters of Surfing Lawyers which bills itself as 'a non-profit organization of attorneys who promote and preserve the lifestyle, causes and concerns of surfers around the world', so there's probably a market in Australia for the book. But if groups like this can change life for the legal profession as we know it, or whether WLSS will cause a flood of solicitors and barrister forgoing golf and buying up longboards is debatable.


DailyStoke.com, 27/9/08
Why Lawyers Should Surf - Book Review
by Mike Arnot

I’ve recently stumbled upon a very interesting and unique book where surfing is a…err…groundswell…throughout. The book, titled Why Lawyers Should Surf is written by Tim Kevan, a British surfer (and lawyer, to boot) and Dr. Michelle Tempest, a British shrink. As the title so clearly and un-lawyer-like suggests, the book is less about surfing and more about life. It is a welcome contribution to bookshelves at your local shop filled with tales of “making the drop at Pipeline in the mid-1980s” etc. (As an aside, I think I did a double take the first time I saw the truly beautiful cover, reading it to be Why Lawyers Shouldn’t Surf. There’s your sequel, Mr. Kevan!)

To give readers some context, the book is divided into parts that delve into psychology. The first is Mind Power - which explores how thoughts and visualization determine how we end up living our lives. The second is Communication - which explores ways for more effective communication in all aspects of life, but particularly for those where effective communication is very important. (Notice I haven’t mentioned aerials just yet.) The third is Taking Action - which, to use a surfing metaphor of my own - is the transition from surfing in theory to getting out and paddling for some waves. The final section is about the Work-life balance (perhaps one of the easiest part for a surfer to contemplate, given that even the surfing-lawyers out there must all be working in order to surf. I won’t comment on that.) The strongest part of the book is the first part about Mind Power. This book will help anyone understand how our thoughts and words control of our day to day lives and our own approach to living. How we live is directly correlated with how we choose to think, speak, and believe. It would be impossible for me to cover the complexities of this book in this review - and it is not light reading. That said, I was hooked from the get go. All of those elements in surfing that surfers might take for granted - such as paddling out or waiting in the lineup for seemingly endless minutes - are good metaphors for the times where we can’t get to the beach and are chained to our desk. The book couples the surfing metaphors with inspirational quotes and stories of surfers and non-surfers alike.

Why Lawyers Should Surf is essential reading not simply for lawyers or other professionals but for surfers of every stripe who are seeking to understand how to better live their liges. ”Don’t fight against the rip” might have more to do with your life than you had ever thought. Read the book and judge for yourselves. For surfing fanatics and those interested in improving themselves, you can pick up the book here.


Swordplay, 3/8/08

Surfing and the law go together about as well as Formula 1 and Chelsea basements. Right? Well, no. According to barrister turned blogger/writer Tim Kevan, today’s stressed out lawyers would do well to immerse themselves in what the Hawaiians call ‘the sport of kings’. For Kevan, surfing has a spiritual essence which is the perfect antidote to the high levels of stress and depression found among lawyers. He should know - Kevan recently quit his life as a London personal injury barrister to live by the sea in North Devon, where he regularly surfs. Not many lawyers will necessarily be able to make quite such a radical move, but they might well find themselves inspired by Kevan’s recently published book, Why Lawyers Should Surf. A motivational and erudite read with plenty of esoteric material on surfing and some well-researched pieces on the reality of life as a lawyer.


NSW Law Society Journal, 8/08
A surfing fan says catch a wave
By Stephen Titus (solicitor)

TIM KEVAN IS AN ENGLISH BARRISTER, writer and surfer, and Dr Michelle Tempest is a psychiatrist with a graduate law degree. Their book, aimed at lawyers, legal students and anyone interested in improving their working life with passion, uses the metaphor of surfing to show how to improve their work and achieve a balance with other interests. it succeeds.
All those who surf know the pleasure, connection with nature and sense of timelessness of surfing: the surfer's routine of waiting for the right weather conditiond, being in the right place at the right time, practising, utilising a rip to get out more easily, considering where the waves are breaking, choosing a wave, committing to it and getting the reward.

The authors apply this to the work environment, comparing surfing with preparation for a court case: the perseverance, patience and timely commitment, knowing the facts and law, being bold and committed where necessary, enjoying the process, the rewards and the exhilaration of a job well done.

The legal linkage works well. But one does not need to be a surfer, or a lawyer, to appreciate and enjoy the well-written, humourous and enjoyable examples and suggestions the authors make.

They provide helpful examples for self-improvement and mind power. They advise setting the right course, covering the groundwork, getting into as good a position as possible and making the right choices. They suggest living life with a passion, and balancing the natural world and work.
There are helpful tips on advocacy techniques, body language and the power of words. They talk about utilising communication skills, visualisation, setting goals and building rapport. They make suggestions on dealing with stress and emotions, time management and business development and maintaining a balance with health and leisure.

There are quotes and vignettes from Lou Reed, Thomas Edison, Rudyard Kipling, Rosa Parks and conservationist Rachel Carson, among others. All are thoughtful, some inspiring. Phil Edwards, iconic surfer, is quoted on not fearing the unknown: "To rise to the challenge and see the benefits of taking some risks. To feel alive. To realise that through acts of courage, facing fear, insight can flourish. There are uncounted millions of people who now go through life without any sort of real, vibrant kick ... the answer is surfing."

And Gregory peck, in the role of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird: "You have to dream, you have to have a vision, then you have to set a goal for yourself that might even scare you a little because sometimes that seems far beyond your reach. Then I think you have to develop a kind of resistance to rejections and to the disappointments that are sure to come your way."

The book makes you feel like working smarter and going surfing, or whatever activity provides a release for you. I have always felt more focused at work after a morning surf. Going surfing gives a clarity to life that other people yearn for.


YouClaim News 2008
Surfing may solve a personal injury lawyer's problems

The life of a personal injury lawyer is a high-pressure one, with the compensation claims under your wing being highly important things in the lives of the claimants who are making them. Perhaps, then, it's no surprise that one highly successful barrister swapped a ten-year career for a surfer's life on the Devon coast.

It's the story of Tim Kevan's book, Why Lawyers Should Surf. Even without knowing his life history, it's easy to guess his opinions on the matter from that title. Then, once you move into the text of the book itself, you get phrases like "The human connection with the ocean is primeval and touches the very depths of our souls", moving into this:
"Surfing is far more than pleasure. It is a connection with nature, the world, with God. Some might say it is love itself. It is a sense of timelessness, of other worldliness yet at the same time as connected to this world as it is possible to be."

This is uplifting, inspirational stuff, and well-informed, too; he brings in Goethe, Eliot and Captain Cook to support his argument, as well as psychology - the last, perhaps, as the book is co-written with an aptly named doctor of psychology for watersports, Dr Michelle Tempest.

Surfing isn't always taken as the simple activity, but as a metaphor for motivation itself for all personal injury lawyers - the sense of self-motivation that is central to any profession is powerfully supported here, and that means it's probably transferable to jobs beyond the law.

There's material on communication skills, goal setting, work-life balance and how to change your life. Not everyone need change their life so profoundly as Kevan, but thinking about how your life could change for the better can often be a good thing.

Andy Martin's review in the Independent begins with a joke - "If anyone had asked me before I read this book why lawyers should surf, I would have said that they would feel right at home with the sharks." But he, too, comes round to the book's persuasive message.

But there's more to the choice of lawyers being the ones that need to surf than it having been one author's profession; the other author argues from her psychological perspective that the personality traits of a successful personal injury lawyer can, in fact, be harmful in life outside the world of compensation claims.

These include a tendency to pessimism, which can help perceive the weak points that opposing lawyers may attack in, say, a work accident claim, but may not go down so well in the pub after work. Similarly, their 'high-dominance' characteristics are very useful in the verbal battle of a claim, but less so in the friendlier world outside. However, it's true that characteristics like these can be found outside the profession.

If you're interested in reading more about the book, there are excerpts on Kevan's blog, where the book is also available for purchase. Or you could simply skip that part and go surfing.


ITV Local, 27/8/08
Pillar of the Community – Tim Kevan
Written by Jack

Everybody wants to live the dream – but very few of us actually achieve it, and so often spend weeks/months/years grumbling about how things should change – without actually doing anything about it. Not so Tim Kevan, who at the relatively tender age of 36 retired from his barrister job, moved to North Devon to surf, and got a book deal with Bloomsbury.

Nice work!

His first literary outing, ‘Why Lawyer’s should Surf: Inspiration for Lawyers at work’, is a collection of inspirational writings that examine a variety of areas of the mind and body.

Receiving a number of positive reviews from the press, you can read a whole heap of extracts from the book over on Tim’s blog. Of which the snippet below is one of my favourites.

“Billy Hamilton, one of the great surfers of the 1960s and step-father of big wave surfer Laird Hamilton said, “To become the energy of the waves, that’s the main idea. You take when the water gives, and you give when the water takes.”

Now he is working on his second book, a novel, and despite much probing from our good selves, he has convinced us that Bloomsbury are keeping everything under wraps, and can’t send even a snippet - even though it’s now in the final stages of tidying up. A shame indeed, but fear not literary fans, as we shall certainly keep you up to date with Tim’s progress.

Meanwhile – he’ll be spending his days at the beach, riding the waves and generally having a great time… Sickening isn’t it!

Tim Kevan, we nevertheless salute you as Meridian Blog’s Pillar of the Community!

Legal Week, 8/1/07
Daily DiaryYour one-stop gossip shop
Surfin' DLA at the great barrister reef

Posted by legalweekblogs.com SU

With its thousands-strong cast of colourful characters, there is no shortage of distinctive voices at the Bar - albeit most of them sharing the same Harrovian elocution and more than a hint of the Home Counties.

One of the more unique voices is that of One Temple Gardens personal injury specialist and chronicler of our times Tim Kevan, prolific author and mastermind behind The Barrister Blog, which you can find here.

Kevan's online journal offers an unlikely but strangely captivating blend of legal analysis and quasi-philosophical musings on his other great passion (along with getting crocked sportsmen a contribution to their Tubigrip) - surfing.

Certainly there are few other places where an in-depth discussion of class in the Bar's esoteric clerking system appears side by side with deeply personal jottings on the "timelessness" and "otherworldliness" of the wave-chasing existence.

In a post co-authored by his magnificently-named fiancé, Dr Michelle Tempest (who The Diary had previously thought was the love-interest in a Bond movie), Kevan outlines how surfing can broaden the mind and, by extension, improve advocacy. The essay will appear as part of the duo's forthcoming opus, 'Why Lawyers Should Surf'.

Noble stuff indeed, although the title does rather call to mind the old joke that begins 'What do you call 4,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?'.

No comments: