John M. Green, one of Australia’s most prominent thriller writers, drops into the pod to talk about how his career has influenced his novels, the importance of virtue in business, and the joy of a perfect soufflé.
John M. Green, Deputy Chair, QBE Insurance; Councillor, The National Library of Australia; Board Director, Challenger; and one of Australia's most prominent thriller writers, drops into the pod to talk about how his career has influenced his novels, the importance of virtue in business, and the joy of a perfect soufflé.
Green has had multiple careers; spending 17 years as a lawyer before transitioning to investment banking, where he spent 13 years at Macquarie Bank. However, the one constant throughout these changes was his passion for writing. After attending a leadership course that forced him to confront his ambitions, Green took a sabbatical from his role at Macquarie to pursue writing full-time. One sabbatical became three, and soon enough Green decided to dedicate all of his time to writing.
That said, Green hasn’t entirely left the business world behind, and he has worked on the boards of a variety of organisations; from QBE Insurance to Asthma NSW. Green sees the biggest challenge to Australian business leaders as trust; especially in the financial services sector. “It’s been that way for a while, but the intensity of the problem is now as great as I think we’ve ever seen it. We’ve seen over time, crises in the business world that have challenged trust, and we’re seeing that a lot now globally, and in politics.”
Keeping abreast of developments in business is also something that’s helped Green in his writing. In his stint as Chairman of the QBE risk committee, the analysis conducted on emerging global risks triggered his interest in electromagnetic pulse – which directly influenced his fourth novel, The Tao Deception. Green puts his motivation in business and in writing down to his innate curiosity: “It’s asking the ‘what-if?’ questions. If you’re working on a deal, you’re sitting around saying ‘well, what if this goes wrong?’…and it’s through asking those ‘what-if’ questions, that I’ve sometimes got the ideas for my books.”