Interviews
June 14, 2019 posted by John Duke

Dr Paul Wood

Dr Paul Wood

Dr Paul Wood shared some of his favourite books and authors with us. Paul’s current reads include Haruki Murakami’s latest, Killing Commendatore and Bret Easton Ellis’ White.

Unity Books Wellington & HarperCollins Publishers warmly invite you to celebrate the launch of How To Escape From Prison: The Remarkable Story of How One Man Defied The Odds by Dr Paul Wood. All welcome, please RSVP to: sandra.noakes@harpercollins.co.nz


ABOUT THE BOOK

At 18, Paul Wood thought he had lost everything. He had committed an act he knew would send him to prison for many years. To a young man like Paul, it might as well have been for the rest of his life.

Plunged into a nightmarish world of extreme violence, solitary confinement, gang allegiances, drugs, vindictive wardens and regular stabbings, Paul spent the next 11 years confined in some of New Zealand’s toughest jails.

Based on an account of his experiences he wrote while still inside, How to Escape from Prison chronicles Paul’s road to redemption and a new life as a doctor of psychology, helping others strive to fulfil their potential and develop the resilience to flourish, even in adversity. This is a gripping read about a man who sank to the depths of despair, before scaling the heights of true freedom.

‘Paul’s transformation is unbelievable. We are sometimes brought up to think a zebra can’t change its stripes. Paul Wood’s story is proof that anyone can change. It gives you great courage that you can do anything.’

– Sir John Kirwan

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Wood is a doctor of psychology, motivational speaker, leadership and development specialist, media personality, husband and father. His area of expertise is in helping people pursue their potential while developing the mental toughness and resilience necessary to flourish through adversity. At 18 Paul was in prison and his life was completely off the rails. Paul uses his journey from delinquent to doctor to illustrate the process of transformational change and how we can strive to be the best version of ourselves possible. Paul is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and other media outlets. How to Escape from Prison is his first book. He lives in Wellington, New Zealand.


WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING AND HOW DID YOU DISCOVER THE BOOK(S)?

Bret Easton Ellis White and Christopher McDougall Natural Born Heroes. Like 90% percent of the books I read, these two were discovered by wandering into Unity Books and seeing what’s new by authors I’ve previously enjoyed and what looks interesting.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WRITERS AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THEM?

Malcolm Gladwell is a favourite due to his ability to effectively and engagingly communicate important social science insights through storytelling. I also love Haruki Murakami for this ability to capture just how interesting even the most “ordinary” person is, the role of courage in outcome, and the untidiness and incompleteness of life and personal narrative. Daniel Dennett for cementing Darwin’s Dangerous Idea as a cornerstone of how I see and understand the world. And as cliched as it feels, I need to list both Shakespeare and Dostoevsky as favourites for their ability to capture the complexity and messiness that lies within the gulf between our aspirational moral character and the sometimes base reality of our behaviour.

WHAT BOOKS ARE ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE?

White – Bret Easton Ellis, Natural Born Heroes – Christopher McDougall, Lost Connections – Johann Hari, The Gift of Fear – Gavin de Becker, The Coddling of the American Mind – Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff, Extreme Ownership – Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, Behave – Robert Sapolsky, Killing Commendatore – Haruki Murakami, and Change Makers – Digby Scott.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK-TO-FILM ADAPTATION? 

Apocalypse Now.

WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU RE-READ THE MOST AND WHY?

Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. I re-read this book a number of times while in prison because the Stoic ideas and philosophy formed a foundation for remaining resilient and becoming empowered within a challenging and restrictive environment.

WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE LITERARY CHARACTER?

Edmond Dantes (The Count of Monte Cristo).

WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN MEANING TO READ BUT STILL HAVEN’T GOTTEN AROUND TO?

Waking Up by Sam Harris. I know I would get a lot of value from this book, but have found it hard to motivate myself to read it as it has felt too much like work when I generally prefer to just read for pleasure and relaxation as part of my downtime.

WHICH THREE WRITERS WOULD YOU HAVE OVER FOR DINNER?

Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Alain de Botton.

WHAT WOULD YOU COOK THEM?

I would have the dinner catered as my normal cooking go-to is BBQ, but I imagine these three would be a nightmarish collection of dietary requirements!

HOW ARE YOUR BOOKS SHELVED AND ORGANISED AT HOME?

We have bookshelves built into different locations in the house that contain collections and then a large book shelf for miscellaneous books in living area.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LITERARY QUOTE?

“Nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2.

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