The Art of Work

40 Episodes

By: Christina Patterson

How do we find fulfilment as we pay the bills? In this podcast, which grew out of her previous podcast Work Interrupted, Christina Patterson talks to inspirational guests – writers, entrepreneurs, artists, doctors, comedians, scientists – about how they have managed to build a work life that brings some meaning, fun and even joy.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Ken Olisa on the thrill of the entrepreneurial life
Last Friday at 9:30 AM

Sir Ken Olisa is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London. After a career in tech, with IBM and then Wang Labs, Ken is now Founder and Chairman of Restoration Partners, a boutique technology merchant bank. He has chaired and been on many boards, including Thomson Reuters, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and the charities Shaw Trust and Thames Reach. He has been awarded an OBE, a CBE and a Knight Bachelor for services to business and philanthropy. In this podcast, he talks about the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial life and the thrill of helping others.<...

Judge and novelist Nicola Williams on ambition and the joy of justice

Nicola Williams is a judge, ombudsman and novelist. Called to the bar in 1985, she has been a part-time Crown Court Judge since 2009. She has been Commissioner at the Independent Police Complaints Commission, Complaints Commissioner for the Cayman Islands and the first ever Service Complaints Ombudsman for the UK Armed Forces. She has served on many boards, won a Cosmopolitan magazine Woman of Achievement Award and been listed as one of the 100 most influential Black people in the UK. She’s the author of a legal thriller, Without Prejudice, which was reissued in a series curated by Bernardine Evaristo in 2020. Her...

Motivational expert Sharath Jeevan OBE on how to reignite your inner drive

Sharath Jeevan is one of the world’s leading experts on motivation. After starting off in strategy consulting, Sharath started Ebay’s charity arm and then Teaching Leaders, an organisation that helps school leaders raise life chances for the most disadvantaged children. In 2022, he was awarded an OBE for starting and running STIR Education, which has helped hundreds of thousands of teachers fall back in love with teaching. As Executive Chairman of Intrinsic Labs, he now helps leaders build motivating cultures. He’s the author of Intrinsic and is currently writing a book on intrinsic leadership. In this podcast, he tells...

Coach and coach trainer Colin Brett on "useful conversations" and our hunger for meaning

One of Britain’s leading coaches and coach trainers, Colin Brett has been described as a "gentle bulldozer". He has worked as a Transactional Analyst and a counsellor as well as an executive coach, helping individuals, leaders and teams flourish, both at work and in their personal lives. He has four masters’ degrees, including one in Organisational Analysis, one in Coaching Psychology and one in Positive Psychology. He is the founder of a coaching training company, Coaching Development, and has also recently been ordained as an interfaith minister.”. In this podcast, he talks about the life-changing power of a “useful c...

Dance consultant Theresa Beattie OBE on the importance of curiosity, mastery - and cheek

Theresa Beattie started her career at Sadler’s Wells and has worked as a curator at Southbank Centre, Dance Umbrella, and the Royal Opera House. She was Director of Artist Development at The Place for a decade and has done several stints at Arts Council England, including one as Director of Dance. In 2006, she set up a consultancy providing organisational development and recruitment services. Clients have included One Dance UK, Dance City, Dance East and ZfinMalta National Dance Company. She also mentors Artistic Directors, CEOs and Executive Directors, is a Trustee of Hofesh Schechter Company and a Governor of No...

Award-winning poet Joelle Taylor on the life-changing power of words

Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, playwright and author. A former UK slam champion, Joelle founded SLAMbassadors, the UK’s youth slam championships in 2001 and was its Artistic Director and National Coach until 2018. She’s host and and co-curator of Out-Spoken, the UK’s premier poetry and music club, currently resident at the Southbank Centre. Her poetry collections include The Woman Who Was Not There, Songs My Enemy Taught Me and C+nto & Othered Poems, which won the 2021 T S Eliot Prize. In this podcast, she talks about her journey from living in a squat to having her work on the...

Internationally renowned cellist Steven Isserlis on the power of doing what you love

Steven Isserlis is an internationally renowned cellist and music educator. He appears regularly with the world’s leading orchestras, devises chamber music programmes and performs around the world as a soloist. He has won many awards for his work, including a CBE, and is one of only two living cellists featured in Gramophone's Hall of Fame. His Hyperion recording of the Bach Cello Suites met with universal critical acclaim and his book about the Cello Suites was published last year. He has also written two children’s books, Why Beethoven Threw the Stew and Why Handel Waggled His Wig and...

Winner of the Global Teacher Prize Andria Zafirakou on the transformative power of art

Andria Zafirakou is an art and textiles teacher and member of the leadership team at Alperton Community School in Brent. In 2018 she was awarded the Global Teacher Prize, out of more than 37,000 entries. She used the million-dollar prize money to start a charity called Artists in Residence, which aims to improve arts education in schools. She’s a Culture Leader for the World Economic Forum and a member of their Global Future Leaders’ Council, has been named in the Evening Standard’s 1000 Londoners List and was awarded an MBE in 2019 for her outstanding contribution to education. She’s also a consul...

Social entrepreneur and local councillor Josh Babarinde on how to make change happen

Josh Babarinde is an award-winning social entrepreneur, Liberal Democrat councillor and parliamentary candidate for Eastbourne. A former youth justice worker, Josh founded Cracked It, a smartphone repair service staffed by young ex-offenders which has won multiple awards. At 26, he was awarded an OBE for services to criminal justice, social enterprise and the economy. He’s the first ever councillor of Black heritage in Eastbourne and is also currently Head of Entrepreneurship Delivery at the School for Social Entrepreneurs. In this podcast, he talks about why he still believes in politics and how to make change happen.

Palliative care consultant and bestselling writer Kathryn Mannix on the power of listening

Kathryn Mannix started her medical career in cancer care before working as a palliative care consultant in hospices, hospitals and patients’ homes. She started the UK’s first CBT clinic for palliative care patients and now teaches communication skills to healthcare professionals. She’s the bestselling author of With the End in Mind and Listen: How to Find the Words for Tender Conversations. In this podcast, she talks about the life-changing power of listening, going viral, and why good conversation is like dance.

Writer and former Twitter VP Bruce Daisley on fortitude, laughter - and crisps

Bruce Daisley is a writer, consultant, expert in workplace culture and host of the chart-topping podcast Eat Sleep Work Repeat. A former European Vice-President for Twitter, he’s the bestselling author of The Joy of Work and, now, of Fortitude: Unlocking the Secrets of Inner Strength. In this podcast, he talks about toxic myths about resilience, the importance of laughter and why he had to leave Twitter.

Consultant and author Gabriella Braun on uncovering the hidden truths at work

Gabriella Braun is the Director of Working Well, a specialist consultancy firm that uses psychoanalytic and systemic thinking to help leaders and teams understand the hidden truths of their behaviour at work. She has worked with organisations ranging from the British Library and Cambridge University to NHS trusts and the Tate. She has just published her first book, All That We Are: uncovering the hidden truths behind our behaviour at work. In this podcast, she talks about the joys and perils of dealing with the unconscious, dysfunctionality at Downing Street and what holds us back.

Bestselling writer Daniel Pink on the infinite 'to do' list and the power of regret

Daniel Pink is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Drive, To Sell is Human and When. His books have sold millions of copies, have been translated into 42 languages and won multiple awards. His new book, The Power of Regret, draws on research in psychology, neuroscience, economics and biology to explode many of the myths about regret. In this podcast, he talks about how to do your best work, how to manage the infinite 'to do' list - and how to turn regret into a force for good.

Gaverne Bennett, teacher, social worker and timeline creator on curiosity and confidence

Gaverne Bennett is a teacher, social worker and creator of timelines. Born and brought up in the East End of London, he has taught at a number of local schools and has worked with students with special educational needs and to help children in pupil referral units get back into mainstream education. He has created award-winning timelines for The Guardian, the Institute of Technology and Engineering and the British Library, on subjects ranging from Black literature to Black history and Black scientists. He has recently completed an MSc in Social Work, with distinction and now combines social work with...

Julie Bindel, journalist, author and 'rock star' of feminism on the joy of campaigning

Julie Bindel is a journalist, broadcaster, campaigner and, according to The Times, rock star of feminism. For 40 years, she has campaigned to end violence towards women and children. She is co-founder of Justice for Women and her books include Straight Expectations, The Pimping of Prostitution and, most recently, Feminism for Women. In this podcast, she talks about the challenges and joys of campaigning and what keeps her in the fight.

Joe Hildebrand, a Managing Director at Accenture on culture change and joy

Joe Hildebrand is Managing Director, European Leadership & Culture Lead at Accenture. He has held senior leadership positions at BT, has been a management consultant at Accenture and Deloitte and was a Managing Director at ?WhatIf! Innovation before taking on his current role. He has helped to develop leadership and culture in companies across different sectors, from drinks to computer games to pharmaceuticals. In this podcast, he talks about changes in corporate culture, finding joy at work and what to do if you hate your job.

Bestselling writer Johann Hari on finding flow and how to get your focus back

Johann Hari is the internationally bestselling author of Chasing the Scream and Lost Connections. His books have appeared in 38 languages and his TED talks on addiction and depression have been viewed more than 80 million times. Chasing the Scream was made into an Academy-Award nominated film and an eight-part TV series presented by Samuel L Jackson and Johann was executive producer of both. He has written for the New York Times, Le Monde and The Guardian. In this podcast, he talks about his new book, Stolen Focus: why we can’t pay attention and tells us how we can get it back.


Boardroom superstar Margaret Casely-Hayford on good governance and getting things done

Margaret Casely-Hayford is a lawyer, businesswoman and boardroom superstar. Margaret was the first Black female partner of a City law firm and then Company Secretary of John Lewis before taking on a portfolio of boardroom roles. She’s currently Chair of Shakespeare’s Globe, a member of the board of the Co-op Group, Chair of the advisory board of Ultra Education and Chancellor of Coventry University. She has been in the Black powerlist for the past two years running and was awarded a CBE in 2018. In this podcast, she talks about good governance, the power of diversity and how to g...

Anne Alexander, senior political producer of Good Morning Britain, on resilience, curiosity and parties

Anne Alexander is senior political producer for ITV’s flagship programme, Good Morning Britain. Anne has been a political reporter for the BBC’s Daily Politics and political editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post. She’s one of the most highly respected political journalists in Westminster, but as a small child lived in just one room, in West Bromwich, with her sister and her parents. They were the only Black family in the street. In this podcast, she talks about curiosity, the power of being nice – and the importance of parties.

Social historian Jan Lucassen on the history of vocation and our need for recognition

Jan Lucassen is one of the world’s top experts on the history of work. His recent book The Story of Work is the first truly global history of work, from the age of the hunter-gatherer to the present day. Jan Lucassen is Emeritus Professor at the free University of Amsterdam and an honorary fellow at the International Institute of Social History. In this podcast, he talks about the history of vocation, the need for recognition and the myths we are sold about entrepreneurs.

Theatre critic and author Arifa Akbar on the power of instinct and deadlines

Arifa Akbar is chief theatre critic of The Guardian and author of Consumed, which has just been shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award. Arifa has been arts correspondent and literary editor of The Independent. She has written for newspapers and magazines ranging from The Observer to the FT and is a trustee of the Orwell Foundation and English PEN. In this podcast, she talks about the role of instinct in our careers, the power of the deadline and her journey from childhood poverty to one of the most powerful roles in arts journalism.

Mathematician Christina Pagel on juggling jobs and the challenge of clear communication in a pandemic

Christina Pagel is a mathematician and Professor of Operational Research at University College, London. The first female director of the Clinical Operational Research Unit at UCL and an honorary researcher at Great Ormond Street Hospital, she has been one of the most prominent scientists in the media during the pandemic. At the start of the pandemic, she had 1500 Twitter followers. She now has nearly 150,000. In this podcast, she talks about what it’s like to be catapulted into the media, the joys and perils of being a boss and why she can’t stop doing degrees.

Entrepreneur Chris Barez-Brown on having fun at work - and what to do if you hate it

Chris Barez-Brown is an entrepreneur, author and founder of Upping Your Elvis, a business that aims to help people find more energy and fun at work. He has worked with companies ranging from Coca-Cola to Citibank and Nike. His books include How to Have Kick-Ass Ideas, Shine: How to Survive and Thrive at Work, and Free! Love Your Work, Love Your Life. In this podcast, he shares some of the tips in his new book Upping Your Elvis, explains how we can all get more pleasure out of our work - and gives advice on what to do if...

FT editor-at-large Gillian Tett on "anthro vision", money and power

Gillian Tett is a bestselling writer, journalist and chairman of the US editorial board at the Financial Times. She has a PhD in social anthropology and it’s this anthropological perspective that has played such a key part in her award-winning journalism and inspired her brilliant new book, Anthro Vision. She's best known for predicting the 2007 – 2008 financial crisis and wrote about this in her international bestseller, Fool’s Gold. In this podcast, she talks about the importance of learning the language of money and power and what New York has taught her about reinvention.

Comedian Robin Ince on the power of curiosity, wonder and doubt

Robin Ince is a comedian, author, broadcaster and, in his words, “professional idiot”. He’s the co-creator and presenter of the BBC Radio 4 show The Infinite Monkey Cage, which has won multiple awards and the author of I’m a Joke and So Are You. He won Celebrity Mastermind, is in the Guinness Book Records for his world tour with Brian Cox, hosts a number of podcasts and is the author of a wonderful new book: The Importance of Being Interested: Adventures in Scientific Curiosity. In this podcast, he talks about the horrors of self-promotion, the joy of wonder and the...

The Art of Work preview (and highlights from Work Interrupted)

How do we find fulfilment as we pay the bills? In her podcast Work Interrupted, Christina Patterson talked to people from a range of working backgrounds - business, journalism, the arts, healthcare, music, books, broadcasting, academia - to find out how their work was changing in the light of the pandemic. As we start to come out of it, she will focus on how we can all build a work life that brings some meaning, fun and even joy. In this preview of The Art of Work, she offers highlights from the two seasons of Work Interrupted. Tech entrepreneur...

Rachel Clarke, doctor, campaigner and bestselling writer on truth, beauty and humour

Rachel Clarke is a doctor, campaigner and bestselling writer. She started off as a TV journalist, making documentaries about subjects ranging from the Monica Lewinsky scandal to the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She retrained as a doctor in her late twenties and is now a palliative care doctor and a passionate campaigner for the NHS. She has written three bestselling books: Your Life in My Hands, Dear Life and Breathtaking, an account of working at the Covid frontline. In this podcast, she talks about truth, beauty and humour - yes, even in a pandemic

Julia Hobsbawm, entrepreneur and writer on connection, generosity and motivation

Julia Hobsbawm is an entrepreneur, writer and expert on connectedness in the machine age. She founded the network and media business Editorial Intelligence and the Social Capital Network for BAME professionals and was awarded an OBE for services to business in 2015. Her books include Fully Connected and The Simplicity Principle, which won two awards and is also a podcast and self-help brand. Julia is Chair of the Demos Workshift Commsission, a speaker on social health and a regular guest on Sky News. She talks about connection, the importance of generosity and what she learnt from her Grandma Lily’s sa...

Douglas Board, leadership and career coach on how to rise to the top without losing your soul

Douglas Board is a leadership and career coach and a senior research fellow at the former Cass Business School. He was a senior civil servant and a headhunter before embarking on a portfolio career as a writer, coach and board member. He has been Chair of the Refugee Council, treasurer of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and is currently on the Queen’s Counsel selection panel. He has written two research books on leadership and two satirical novels, MBA and Time of Lies. His new book, Elites asks: can you rise to the top without losing your so...

Guvna B, multi-award-winning rapper, broadcaster and author on toxic masculinity and success

Guvna B is a multi-award-winning rapper, author and broadcaster. He has released 10 albums, including Secret World, Hands are Made for Working and Everywhere + Nowhere. He has won two MOBO Awards, three Urban Music Awards and presented documentaries on radio and TV. He has also published two books: Unpopular Culture and Unspoken. Guvna B, whose real name is Isaac Borquaye, talks about toxic masculinity, dealing with rejection and what he has learnt about success.

Sarah Churchwell, Chair in Public Understanding of the Humanities on the return of the expert

Sarah Churchwell is Chair in Public Understanding of the Humanities at the University of London. She's an expert in 20th-century American literature, culture and history and has written four highly acclaimed books: The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, What Americans Like, Careless People and Behold America. She writes for newspapers and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic, is a regular guest on TV and radio and has judged the Booker Prize, the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the David Cohen Prize for Literature. She talks about the return of the expert, the power of scholarship and how to...

Harriet Minter, writer, broadcaster and coach on how to build a career you love as you WFH

Harriet Minter is a journalist, speaker, broadcaster and coach. The founder of the Guardian’s Women in Leadership initiative, she has written about leadership, diversity and the future of work for publications ranging from The Times to Marie Claire and Psychologies. She presents Badasswomen’s Hour for Talk Radio, has given two Ted X talks and currently has two new books out, Great Ted Talks Leadership: An Unofficial Guide to Words of Wisdom from 100 TED Speakers and WFH: How to Build a Career You Love When You’re Not in the Office. She talks about how to work out what y...

Ayesha Hazarika, broadcaster, journalist, comedian and MBE on politics and joy at work

Ayesha Hazarika is a broadcaster, journalist, political commentator and award-winning stand up comedian. She was a Labour Party special adviser to Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband from 2007 to 2015. She now presents her own show on Times Radio, is a columnist for the Evening Standard, the Scotsman and the i paper and a regular guest on TV and radio shows ranging from The Andrew Marr Show to Have I Got News for You. Her first book, Punch and Judy Politics was one of the top ten bestselling political books of 2018. Ayesha was awarded an MBE in 2016. She talks...

Daisy Buchanan, award-winning journalist, author and podcaster on money, sex and ambition

Daisy Buchanan is an award-winning journalist, author and host of the chart-topping podcast, You’re Booked. She has written two highly acclaimed works of non-fiction, How To Be A Grown Up and The Sisterhood, has written for almost every national newspaper and magazine and has been an agony aunt for Grazia and a columnist for The Pool. Her first novel, Insatiable, is a sizzling, funny, tender portrayal of lust and the search for love. She talks about millennials and money, desire in a time of "Me Too", mental health in a pandemic and owning ambition.

David Bodanis, bestselling author and futurist on how good guys (and girls) can win

David Bodanis is a bestselling author, speaker, futurist and polymath. His books include E = mc2, which was translated into 24 languages and made into a ballet, Electric Universe, Passionate Minds and The Art of Fairness. He has been a popular speaker at Davos and big corporates and for many years taught the “Intellectual toolkit” course at Oxford. He talks about how to write a bestseller - and how nice guys (and girls) can win.

Viv Groskop, writer and stand-up comedian on money, power and finding fun at work

Viv Groskop is a writer, stand-up comedian, TV and radio presenter, executive coach and one-woman powerhouse. She's the host of the chart-topping podcast, How to Own the Room, which is also a bestselling book and has published two literary self-help books, The Anna Karenina Fix: Life Lessons from Russian Literature and Au Revoir Tristesse: Lessons in Happiness from French Literature. Her new book, Lift As You Climb explores the challenges and joys of combining generosity with ambition. She talks about money, power and finding fun at work - yes, even now.

Dame Sarah Connolly, mezzo-soprano on music, cancer and "balls of steel"

Dame Sarah Connolly is one of the world’s leading mezzo-sopranos. She is well known for roles ranging from Caesar in Handel’s Giulio Cesare to Sesto in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito and Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. She has sung in many of the world’s great opera houses, won masses of awards for her work, and was awarded a DBE in 2017. She talks about the “balls of steel” she developed in her childhood, what she has learnt from playing men and what it’s like when a pandemic collides with cancer. 

Guy Spier, investor and bestselling author on money, markets and shame

Guy Spier is a Zurich-based investor whose Aquamarine Fund has achieved market-beating returns. He studied at Oxford with David Cameron and then at Harvard Business School and started his fund after a disastrous stint at a company that wrecked his reputation and made him unemployable. He's the author of a bestselling book, The Education of a Value Investor and a regular commentator in the media. He talks about greed, shame - and what really matters.

Phil Jones, editor of The Jeremy Vine Show on broadcasting in the age of Covid

Phil Jones worked on a children's play bus, at a refuge for teenage runaways and as a gardener before training as a journalist. He has worked on The Jeremy Vine Show (and its predecessor The Jimmy Young Show) for 30 years. He thought Covid was just like flu, but when he woke up with it, on the first day of lockdown, he found out it wasn't. In this podcast, he talks about his brush with mortality, how public broadcasting can help the culture wars and why he's changed his mind about Brexit.

11. Adam Hamdy, screenwriter and author of bestselling thrillers on adapting to strange times

Adam Hamdy planned to become a lawyer. Instead, he worked as a strategy consultant and as a tech entrepreneur before breaking into Hollywood as a screenwriter and becoming a bestselling author of thrillers. But he knows about struggle. The son of an Egyptian father who worked as a waiter in the UK, he was once so hard up that he had to burn his own furniture. In this podcast, he talks about an accidental career, dramatic changes in direction and his attempts to help us find a vaccine.