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Biography: Laurie Taylor - Read interview

Laurie Taylor


Others say

"Laurie hit the right note in terms of content, 'level' and entertainment factor. He provided an excellent finale to our conference."
Association of Heads of University Administration (AHUA)

"You don't need me to tell you that the reception to your presentation was first class and you struck exactly the right note to launch the Conference. The whole day has been very well received and a great deal of the credit for that must go to the stimulating tone you set"
Prime Focus Housing Association

"Laurie was very professional in his approach and went down fantastically well with both audiences. He is a great character and deserves a medal for talking for 55 minutes with nothing to drink and limited time for breath!!!"
Bradford and District TEC

"Congratulations on a tremendously entertaining finale to the BOSS conference. You were terrific and simply brought the house down. We were all exhausted and our sides were aching from laughter. You were brilliant. Thanks once again."
BOSS Federation

Laurie Taylor is an academic, broadcaster, writer and brilliant speechmaker, who has addressed well over five hundred major national and international companies with keynote and after dinner speeches.  He is a charismatic, funny speaker, who is able to touch the hearts and minds of every memer of the audience with his huge intellect and incredible wit.

Laurie is visiting professor in the department of politics and sociology at Birkbeck College, University of London. He was recently made a Fellow of Birkbeck College and also holds visiting professorships at the London Institute and Westminster University. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by the Universities of Leicester, Nottingham and Central England. His contributions to social science were recognised in 2003 by his election to the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences. His contribution to business development was recognised last year by his appointment as an ambassador for Investors in People.

Before entering academic life, he had eight years industrial and sales experience, worked as a librarian in Liverpool, taught in a London comprehensive school, and was a professional actor with Joan Littlewood's famous Theatre Workshop Company at Stratford East.

"Laurie Taylor was extremely personable, gracious, interested and friendly before and after his after-diner talk. Overseas guests were entralled at this lasting English tradition and rthe crowd were in fits of laughter throughout. I couldn't recommend him more highly. Thank you Prof Taylor!"
Joint Information Systems Committee

He is the author of fourteen books on motivation, change, communication, and personal identity, and is a regular contributor to the New Statesman, The Independent, and The Times. His weekly satirical column on university life has been appearing in the Times Higher Education Supplement for the last twenty years. His most recent book (written with his son, Matthew) was called What Are Children For?

For the past twenty-five years Laurie has been heard on BBC Radio 4 in such programmes as Stop the Week, The Radio Programme, News Quiz, Speaking as an Expert, Afternoon Shift, and Room for Improvement. He can currently be heard every Wednesday afternoon on R4 presenting Thinking Allowed, a programme devoted to society and social change.

Laurie's C4 documentary on the meaning of celebrity was highly acclaimed, as was his one-hour documentary on death and dying (On Pain of Death) broadcast in July 2005. His Channel 5 film ‘A Very British Apocalypse,’ is a study of apocalyptic ideas in religion and science.

In his highly praised Sky Arts television series In Confidence, he conducted extended interviews with Richard Dawkins, Jonathan Miller, Kathy Burke, Will Self, Lily Allan, Anne Widdecombe, Damien Hirst, Tom Baker, Martin Rowson and David Starkey.In the last twenty years he has addressed over five hundred major national and international companies on such topics as change, motivation, teamwork, new technology, risk, and communication.

Speaking Topics

  • Coping with Change
  • Building Employee Motivaton
  • Leadership & Teamwork
  • Future Trends in Business & Leisure
  • Improving Communication
  • Selling & eCommerce
  • Communication
  • New Technology at Work & Home
  • Understand Customers
  • Risk taking  

For further information or to book Laurie Taylor, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email info@speakerscorner.co.uk

Interview with Laurie Taylor


From all people you interviewed in your "In Confidence" series, who was most different to your perception of them?


John Lydon, Johnny Rotten. After some initial bluster which he seemed to feel was expected of him, he showed great intelligence and insight into his own career and the nature of ambition. I was also surprised to find how much Andre Previn made me laugh, and how much in love I was with Sheila Hancock.


Why do you enjoy being a speaker?


My greatest pleasure is to evoke intelligent laughter. I love to use humour as a way of getting across difficult and even profound truths about life and work and the paths to happiness.


Who are your role models -- in business and in life?


I hugely admire Jonathan Miller's capacity to combine humour, intelligence and artistic sensitivity. But I also revere Philip Roth, Johnny Rotten, and Lady Gaga. Can I also have Charlie Parker and Billie Holliday?


You have had such a varied career, which element has been the most fun?


I was a lousy professional actor, too pleased with myself to ever lose myself in another character. I wasn't that good an academic, too ready to abandon intellectual conversation for a few pints and an argument about football, so I'd have to say radio. After all, as some critic once observed, I have an excellent face for radio


What have you found to be the main differences between working in academia and in industry?


In academia you can generally excuse yourself from other pieces of work by saying that you need some thinking time. In industry, asking for thinking time, is tantamount to a request for early retirement.

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