John-Paul Flintoff is a writer, performer, and illustrator, and the author of books like How to Change the World and A Modest Book About How to Make an Adequate Speech. He worked for 15 years as a writer and associate editor on the Financial Times, The Sunday Times, and other papers in magazines, and has been involved with The School of Life in London as a lecturer and writer.


Today, he runs a subscription service called Adequate Projects, which provides moral support and a bit of financial freedom in return for discounts and exclusive access.




In this conversation we talk about:

  • The importance of creativity and how he learned it as a child.
  • His attraction to poetry and why he became a journalist.
  • His book, How to Change the World, and the burden it placed on him later in life.
  • His involvement with The School of Life.
  • What learning improv taught him about creativity and about life.
  • His work on public speaking and his book on the subject.
  • And how tragedy reshaped his life and led him on a search for more resilient happiness.


We spoke in early June 2022, and I was excited to talk to John-Paul because of his involvement with so many things I care about, from The School of Life, to mindful use of technology, to improv and creativity, to the art of writing.


I left this conversation feeling inspired by John-Paul's honesty, his never-ending search for expression, creativity, and happiness, and the wisdom with which he connects with the people around him. I think most of our listeners will feel the same.


This conversation is one of many weekly conversations we already have lined up for you with thinkers, designers, makers, authors, and entrepreneurs who are working to change our world for the better. So follow this podcast on your favorite podcast app, or head over to to subscribe.


And now let's jump right in with John-Paul Flintoff.




[3:44] Life in the Present

[11:04] Childhood Creativity

[16:18] A Journey to Journalism

[19:45] A Memorable Event

[23:39] From Journalist to Author

[28:30] The School of Life

[31:44] Change the World

[35:42] Beauty and Fun

[39:13] Effective Tools for Change

[47:15] The Power of Improv

[49:44] The Rejection Game

[52:36] The Biggest Takeaways

[55:38] A Religious Journey

[1:05:25] A Short Sermon