Question Time

I thank Jaideep in India for these questions:

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood?

Going for walks with my dad in the English countryside. I’d climb trees, investigate ponds and be amazed by the sight of fish, frogs and toads. I’d be horrified by leeches.

Tell me about your education?

As a teenager, I was equally interested in the stock market and computer programming. That’s why at college I did A level mathematics, physics and economics. I hedged my bets, so that my career could go in either direction. In the end, my interest in the stock market won out. At Liverpool University, I earned a degree in business studies.

What career did you plan during your education days?

Living in a small chemical-manufacturing town, I dreamt of making a fortune in the stock market and living in America, where everything seemed to be so much bigger than what I was used to: the roads, houses, cars…

What languages can you speak and write?

A little Spanish. A tiny amount of Chinese, as I studied Mandarin in prison.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?

On the road of life, I met many great people who have inspired me. They range from my family to certain prisoners, some of whom had committed serious crimes, but who protected me out of the blue when I was in danger. For example, Two Tonys, an Italian Mafia associate serving 112 years for killing rival gangsters. He protected me and also introduced me to his favourite book: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, a novel by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The book taught me to appreciate the small things in life, so that I don’t go looking for excitement in the wrong places, which I detail in this video:

Incarcerated, I read over 1000 books in just under six years, including many original texts in psychology and philosophy. I was inspired by great philosophers such as Plato and Marcus Aurelius. Meditations by Aurelius mentions standing strong even when life is throwing its worst at us, which is particularly inspirational for prisoners.
Marcus Aurelius — 'Be like the cliff against which the waves continually break; but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it.'
I used this quote at the beginning of my book Prison Time.

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Shaun Attwood

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