Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ascending the Spiral with Bob

I wanted to interview Bob Rich about his new book, Ascending Spiral, but since we've known one another a long time, I decided on a new approach. Here is what I asked him, and what he replied!

My Question:

I can interview you? Excellent. I could ask you questions, in the ordinary interview style, but I think I'll just go for one big question and it's THE big question. Your new book is called Ascending Spiral. Please suppose, for a moment, that it is an international best seller, fuelled by viral word-of-mouth marketing. What's the buzz? What do your readers take away from this book that prompts them to recommend it to others?

Bob's Response:

Thank you for the question, Sally... I think. I am not very good at blowing my own trumpet.

OK, first because it is entertaining. It’s a good read, and people have told me that once they start, they don’t want to put it down. It currently has 25 reviews, 17 of them 5 star, the rest 4 star. One reader posted a very critical review, but even he gave it 4 stars.
My publisher nominated “Ascending Spiral” for the Pushcart Prize because... well, because he enjoyed reading it.
Recently, a reader interviewed me (unusual, I know), and I posted the results at my brand new blog She told me she’d read it three times! No, not the interview, the book.

Second, because it is designed to change the world. I am a professional grandfather, and I love children. What kind of a future are they growing into? Let’s not worry about climate change for the moment, but there are many other things I don’t like.
We are in the middle of the sixth great extinction event of Earth’s history. Some of it is due to ocean acidification, but most is habitat destruction. Nearly half of over 7 billion people live in cities. Human structures now cover a significant area of what was once farmland, and before that part of nature. Add to this damage from mining, replacing rainforest with oil palms, land covered by transport infrastructure, and you can see that we are killing the natural world. And we are not apart from nature, but a part of it, and the beauty and diversity of life is a source of joy and wonder, as well as what keeps us alive.
A great advance of the 20th century over the 19th was the reduction of disparity between rich and poor. In most parts of the world, almost everyone could have a reasonably decent life. This is no longer the case. With the population explosion, there is less for everyone. And with a culture of greed, more and more ends up the exclusive property of fewer and fewer people.
Then there is pollution. We are poisoning ourselves, and every other living being. Combine this with all the radiation we have unleashed, and a chronically stressful lifestyle, and you have the epidemic of cancer that is rarely acknowledged, but is growing all the same. When I was young, cancer was an old person’s disease. Not any more. This is why one of my books is on cancer.

OK, enough gloom. The point is, I want to do something about it, and all my 15 books are tools for improving the world.
I could have written a nonfiction book advancing my philosophy -- but that would have only been read by people who already agree with me. Fiction is more effective at reaching people who are open to a change of viewpoint, but haven’t thought about the issues that have concerned me for over 40 years. So, by entertaining, I am recruiting: join my team!
I have diagnosed the problem: it is a culture of conflict and greed. The path to survival, to a decent, humane, equitable life for all of us, is culture change, to one of compassion and cooperation. This is what Ascending Spiral is about, and this is why I want it read by millions.

So, that's what Bob has to say when I corner him with an outrageous (for a modest man) suggestion. I found it fascinating and thought-provoking. Who wouldn't want his or her book to improve the world?
Below is a picture of Bob in one of his favourite roles, and below again, his bio.

Bob's Bio

Dr Bob Rich   is the author of 15 books, 4 of them award winners. He and his wife chose to live below the official Australian poverty level, and raised 3 wonderful children while doing so. This was not on welfare benefits, but by working part time, and replacing paid work with directly providing for their own needs. A byproduct was an interesting, meaningful, stimulating, contented life. You can read about the reason for this crazy behaviour in Bob’s essay ;. His motto for today’s world is, “Live simply so you may simply live.”

Okay, so that's Bob Rich and this is his new book. Thanks to everyone who visits Spinning Pearls. Please leave a comment. If you have any questions for Bob, I'm sure he'll answer them.


Dr Bob Rich said...

Sally, thank you for hosting me. I am happy to have a chat with any of your visitors.

Teena said...

Sally, what pearler of a question. Bob, your response was comprehensive and thought provoking. I hope you go some way to changing the world through your writing. Your motto to 'live simply so you may simply live' is one we would all do well to follow. Ascending the Spiral is now on my To Read list.

Dale said...

Great interview question and answer. I love that idea of fiction changing the world where non fiction won't get read and have the same impact. All the best with your book Bob. Lovely to hear about someone who puts others needs above self. Sadly, it's a rarity in today's world.

Dr Bob Rich said...

Teena and Dale, thank you. By the way, anyone who buys a copy of any of my books in any format has earned a second book in electronic format, free. Also, for people in Australia, I can send an autographed paper copy.

Dale, compassion, decency, cooperation, selflessness are not that rare. You can see it everywhere.

People are both selfish and generous. But, as you point out, our culture encourages and rewards childish behaviour. We "merely" need to change culture that rewards decency, and that part of human nature will shine through.


franb said...

A good interview, Sally. One with a difference.
Bob, you may recall that I reviewed your book earlier on, and I'd like to mention to prospective readers that it has a strong spiritual (not religious)element that will connect with many people. Your book is thought-provoking in the best way.

Dr Bob Rich said...

Thank you Fran for calling by. Not only is your review public; it is actually included within the book as the first item in "What the reviewers said."

Jay Hudson said...

Love the interview ,Bob!
I agree completely with your thoughts on these issues.


Unknown said...

Sounds like a fascinating read, Dr. Bob, and not one I would think of for you. I think of you as a very serious person, yet it sounds like you had a bit of fun with this one.
It is so true that many (if not most) of us have our priorities upsdie down. I hope you can straighten some of us out with your books.
Jane Elaine Smith, author
(24 books in multiple genres)

Dr Bob Rich said...

Jay, thank you for visiting. Your approval means a lot to me.

Dr Bob Rich said...

Hi Janet. I am glad you are back on deck after your heath problem.
Me, serious? That's a serious accusation.
I am never serious, it's just that I don't have a sense of humour.
I hope you'll have a chance to write many more books yet.

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Sally,
Thank you for interviewing Dr. Bob Rich on your blog. He is a great writer. He loves the world and sets his goals to do great things for us.

Thank you, Dr. Bob, for being a good influence in our world.

Good luck with all of your books.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

The Belle in Blue said...

Your response to the question is a great example of why the book is worth reading and recommending. Fun and thought provoking!

~Joyce Scarbrough

Dr Bob Rich said...

Thank you for visiting, Joan. I am in awe of the way you have built up the following for your blog, and your generosity in sharing your expertise in several fields.

Dr Bob Rich said...

Thank you Joyce. I hope your writing is going well too.

Michael said...

In a fluid writing style that will captivate readers from the first page to the last, Rich brings us a novel that is thought provoking as well as humbling. He brilliantly unfolds a story that entertains as well as educates as Pip develops wisdom and empathy. Ascending Spiral is a novel based on an ancient philosophy, but perfect for our times.

If you haven't read it, you should.

Dr Bob Rich said...

Michael, THANK YOU.

I am trying to guess your identity. You wouldn't have anything to do with Goodbye Tchaikovsky by any chance?

Sally_Odgers said...

Wow, this one is lively! Thanks for calling by, everyone.