‘A book that changed my life...!

Stonehaven and District Probus Club members, in the absence of a scheduled speaker, experimented with a ‘novel’ format.

For their proceedings last month, three brave volunteers offered to talk for 10 minutes each on the topic ‘A book that changed my life’, followed by a question and answer session.

First on his feet was Derek Pollock whose book, ‘The Magic Number,’ set out the Christian and ethical principles by which Henry H. Heinz, founder of the famous food giant, intended his company to be run. He read that when Henry’s first fledgling company went bankrupt in 1875 he started another company and, with a list of creditors sitting beside his Bible, ensured that no profit was taken by his new company until each one had been paid off - with interest. It took 15 years.

Next came John Benton whose chosen book, ‘The Naked Ape’ by zoologist Desmond Morris, was published nearly half a century ago and was hugely controversial at the time.

Morris used the techniques he had learned as a zoologist to study our own branch of the animal kingdom - mankind. John briefly described one chapter which points out the similarity between Man who, once his basic needs for food, shelter etc are satisfied, seeks ways to find the stimulation his nature craves and the way animals in a similar situation (a zoo) behave.

Finally Dave MacDonald told of his inspirational book. ‘Highland River’ by Neil M Gunn tells a tale of one man’s life but the part that delighted Dave was the description of the hero’s idyllic boyhood in the Highlands. Essentially the book tells the story of a boy growing to manhood in the natural world with complete freedom to roam. It is probably hardly coincidental that Dave himself has written much on Nature, rivers, and of course, fishing. Alan Petty proposed thanks.