Author Topic: Best way to describe the content of a book  (Read 52 times)

Offline Peter Small

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Best way to describe the content of a book
« on: November 09, 2021, 03:47:25 AM »


I Would appreciate some feedback on my attempt to provide a description of my book content.

Content of this book

My wife had made friends with the wife of a local business executive and had mentioned to her that Id once worked in the City of London with an investment company. This had prompted an invitation for my wife and I to attend one of her dinner parties. Im not good at social events and I dont get on very well with business executives, so I wasnt keen on going. My wife was pressuring me to attend, so, I made a case for declining the offer by writing an imaginary scene to describe to her how I thought the dinner party would proceed if they got around to asking me who I was. This is what I wrote: 

The dress code is casual, so I will dress casual. When we arrive, I will find there to be several levels of casualness and everyone else is dressed expensively smart casual. The host will take an instant dislike to me: his manner will border on disdain sufferance. The room will be full of executive types, chatting together in small cliques. I will hover around some of the groups but I wont be encouraged to join in any of them.

We will be placed at the far end of the dining table, furthest from the host. Conversation is likely to be banal. The lady next to me will probably be engaged in a long conversation with the man next to her and her back will be shielding my view from half of the table.

I expect there will be plenty of wine and by the end of the meal everyone is likely to become quite boisterous except for me, I will be sitting quietly hidden behind the back of that lady sitting next to me. Suddenly, the host will stand up and, pointing to me, will say in a loud voice, Peter! We havent heard from you all evening. Tell us about yourself. Everyone will turn expectantly towards me. You know I hate being put under the spotlight, especially after drinking a little too much wine. Still, I would have to try to give a good impression for your sake.

Id start by talking about my scholarship to a public school and explain how Id gone on to study electronic engineering for five years at a college within the grounds of a government research establishment. Ill tell them about how Id worked for an American machine tool company and after five months training in America Id spent four years visiting many of the major manufacturing companies in Europe. This might impress them and Id want to stop there, but the host will probably insist I carry on to tell them more.
Then Id have to tell everybody how Id abandoned the idea of taking up a career in electronic engineering: to become a second-hand car dealer and how Id opened a casino, played professional poker and then opened one of the first discotheques in the country, where famous people like Tom Jones used to visit. Ill tell them about how Id created the first computer dating club in the UK and then became bankrupt. The room will probably fall silent after this; then there will be murmurs of doubt and some of the guests will be exchanging amused glances with each other.

The host, is then likely ask me, probably in a scornful way, what I did after I became bankrupt. I will describe how Id gone on to study marketing and then write a correspondence course on finance and investment. The host will then be giving a few winks to some of his associates, to let them know they were listening to a fantasist.
The people at the table will be grinning at each other, as I go on to talk about my land selling venture in Cornwall that led to me running holiday travel schemes: skiing in Scotland and spending a summer on an island in the Mediterranean. When I describe how I became a hippie, selling old clothes in Kensington Market and then taking a shop in Carnaby Street and creating an indoor market for tourists, some of them will probably start laughing.

I shall tell them about the head shop I opened in Piccadilly Circus and then gave everything up to open a market in Spain. I expect everyone at the dinner party will be roaring with laughter by then. Surely, my wife will be hanging her head in shame by this time, especially when I explain how the economic conditions at that time caused my project to fail.  Ill explain how Id gone on to lose all my money when a large indoor market I set up in Copenhagen was a total failure. Encouraged by the host, everyone will be roaring with gleeful disbelief.

I shall have to tell them how Id come back to London in 1976, with only two pounds in my pocket, and created a craze for wearing badges of pop stars and groups, selling over a million of them all over the country and then making hundreds of thousands of political badges for the President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. I expect the host will be spurring me on to tell more of these stories, while giving knowing glances to his mates.

I shall tell them about the Rock Art Shop I opened in Sohos Old Compton Street. How I went on from there to create a leading London fashion design business Street Theatre in the time of the New Romantics, with a design studio in Carnaby Court and a shop in Newburg Street, next to Carnaby Street. The party will go into hysterics when I tell them that Boy George was my window dresser and had set up Culture Club in the back of my shop and Id arranged their first commercial gig in a Carnaby Street night club.

I will probably become irritated by then and goad the host into making more fun of my life story.  I will them about Top Shop inviting me to take concessions in all of their main street stores and, after acquiring a government-backed loan of seventy-five thousand pounds, Id had to liquidate the company with debts of one-hundred and fifty thousand pounds. The host would then probably be taunting me in a maliciously devilish way: asking how Id recovered from that disaster.

I would tell them how I recovered from this failure to open shops in Oxford Street and then boutiques in the high fashion clothes market in Kensington High Street Hyper-Hyper frequented by Princess Diana. What were you selling? the laughing host will probably ask me, to the amusement of the rest of the table. Evening dresses and costume jewellery, also I had a boutique selling hats that I was getting designed for me, I will explain. The host and the table will then be erupting into hysterics.

Their eyes will be wet with tears of laughter, when I tell them that at the age of fifty Id created the first interactive CD-ROM book and then wrote two technical books on computer programming. When I tell them about the Financial Times publishing division asking me to write three books about the Internet just before the Dot-Com bubble crash, some of the women at the table will start to look worried for me. I will tell them about how, at the age of sixty-eight, Id gone bankrupt again and had to make a living selling junk in car-boot sales and explain how this led to me setting up a highly successful second-hand furniture shop in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire. At this stage the hosts wife will probably be giving the host signals to tone down his bating of me.

I wont mind him egging me on; I would probably have drunk a lot more wine by then. I will talk about the three years I spent learning about virtual worlds. I will tell everyone how this led to me learning about how the brain works and how the Internet appears to be evolving in a similar way. Time to send for the people in the white coats, you will probably hear people whispering.  As a parting shot, I will warn everybody about the economic collapse I am expecting to happen in the near future and tell them I am working on a strategy to survive it. I expect by then the host will be ushering us both to the door.

Do you really want this all this to happen? Please decline the invitation.


After she read it, my wife said to me, We are going and dont you dare talk about your life story. Just tell them you are retired.

But all of that is true, I replied. All those things really happened and I like to talk about them.

Then write a book about it, she suggested, Dont just write about what happened, explain exactly how it has been possible for you to have had such an unbelievable life. Just dont bore everybody at the dinner party with your stories, I dont want everyone giving me pitiful glances.


The draft of the first half of my book can be seen here:
https://www.stigmergicsystems.com/MyBook_Nov8th.pdf
« Last Edit: November 10, 2021, 08:10:10 AM by Peter Small »