Book review: Taking Back Control by John McKinstry, ISBN: 978-0993431234, Out now to buy.

Taking Back Control

I am really picky about self-help books, finding some of them a bit too fluffy and airy for my liking, so when I do choose to read one I need it to apply to my personal circumstances in order to hold my attention. John McKinstry’s Taking Back Control could almost have been written for me. Seven years ago, I made my own life changing decision to give up a long career in accountancy and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I had found myself becoming everything that the character of Annie in this book had become, but more so, I was an absolutely horrible person to live with and in all honesty had made myself a doormat.

I had some severe flashbacks to my own experience in some parts of this guide as Annie, the slightly fictionalised character of the book but based on personal knowledge, described her normal work routine and how that normality resulted in ludicrous working overtime hours during the week and at weekends whilst regularly logging on at home onto the works ‘generously’ supplied laptops, very late into the evenings. Taking Back Control isn’t preachy and it doesn’t pretend to have a quick fix solution. What it does have though is common sense suggestions and practical tips on stepping back just for a few seconds and re-evaluating your work time and your personal time.

If you have taken the decision to read this book with its aptly named title, then chances are that you recognise things aren’t as good as they should be for you in the workplace, and this is just one of the first hurdles to overcome in admitting that you would like to make changes. McKinstry’s book merely expands on this choice and offers some practical but highly achievable methods of working towards making that change real for as he quite rightly reminds us;

‘We are going to die–that’s a fact.

It’s unavoidable. What we have to realise is that, until that day comes, we have a choice about how we spend our time…’

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it a pleasure to read and I believe there is a lesson or two to be learnt from it for all of us.



I received this book for review from the lovely people at


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