Independently minded publishing

– Lisa O’Kelly, The Observer

‘When Jim Parton was selling equities in for American investment bank Merrill Lynch, he would get into work at 7 am to catch the Tokyo market and stay until well into the evening. ‘I got home knackered. My son was already asleep and I was monosyllabic to my wife. I went to bed at 10.30 – that was if I had not already dropped off over my supper.’ He has since ‘got a life’, as he puts it, by foresaking stocks and shares to spend his days writing at home in Camberwell. His engaging first book, The Bucks Stop Here, narrates the premature end of his City career – and of his marriage – in vivid, gossipy detail and has become a bestseller in most Square Mile bookshops.
One reason that it has struck a chord is that it illustrates a phenomenon which has only recently attracted the wider attention it deserves: chronic overwork. Sitting in the Observer’s newsroom writing this at 10 pm, it seems clear to me that, despite compelling evidence, most of us are so far paying only lip service to the pressing need to work less hard. There is a long way to go before we genuinely realise that we have got trapped in a topsy-turvy culture where too many people have no job and too many others do enough work for two�’