Thursday, August 28, 2008

NSW Law Soc review of 'Why Lawyers Should Surf'

Review of 'Why Lawyers Should Surf' in the New South Wales Law Society Journal (August 2008) by Stephen Titus (solicitor). To read, click on the image on the left or here or see below.

A surfing fan says catch a wave

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.

No comments: