Publishing a book in a year, Teaching Stories

Publishing a book in a year: May

If April was about not giving up, May is about throwing in the towel. I’m done. Now let’s be clear, I’m not done with writing a book in a year, oh no no, I’m done with regenerative design.

You see I have decided that what the world really needs is a book about riding a bike. What is riding a bike? How do you ride a bike? Different ways to ride a bike, you know, stuff that is bike-related. And what better person to write this book than me. After all I am unable to ride a bike. You read that right[1]. I am a 44-year-old man who is unable to ride a bike. Can I sit on a bike and balance? Yes. Can I pedal? Yes. Can I steer? A little. But when a pedestrian, or other cyclist, or worst of all a motor vehicle approaches I lose my cool, panic and promptly fall off.

So, this book will be my adventure into riding a bike, I’ll explain what I’ve tried and how I failed. I’ll dream of what it would feel like to ride a bike and share my ambition. I might even come up with a masterplan – like ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats. I will imagine what it would be like to fulfil this wonderful achievement and write about it in future tense. It will be incredibly instructional to anyone looking to learn to ride a bike and won’t be humiliating in any way at all.

Of course, no one will want to read my book, because by the age that most people can read, they can also ride a bike. And if they really want advice surely they’d read a book by a pro rider.

So maybe, on reflection, I won’t write a book on riding a bike after all (sorry if that comes as something of a disappointment).

Here is the thing. Being a regenerative structural engineer is a bit like my bike analogy, except no one really knows what it looks like, not just me. So, this book, which really will be on regenerative design, will be a lot more like sharing our (mine and Oli’s[2]) attempts to ride. And we can describe some of the parts. And some of the expected ways it will work. Some techniques. We can point to past engineers who we believe have used some of these techniques without necessarily labelling them as regenerative. And we can paint a “what if” picture of what regenerative design might look like[3] in 2050, which may or may not end up being accurate.

Of course, it would be much better if we could write the book once this was all resolved, and we were regularly cycling across countries, but unlike riding a bike, where I am not sure if anyone really cares but me, with regenerative design a huge amount is at stake.

However, if other people were to share their stories too, what went well, where there’s room for improvement, then we could all learn at a faster pace. We hope that far from being the last word on the subject, as we’ve said before we really hope this book creates a conversation, asks some useful questions and you never know, maybe some of our ideas will be really helpful in enabling other people to take the regenerative process forward.

[1] and whilst much of this opening section is fictional, this is true.

[2] and just for the record not only can Oli ride a bike, it is his main mode of transport

[3] This is how Rob Hopkins book “From What Is to What If” starts and I highly recommend it, although actually I should say that I’ve just dropped a spoiler so retrospectively “spoiler alert”.

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