Robert Poynton
A cartoony hand-drawn portrait of Robert Poynton


Why I write

I write to synthesise what I have learned. The books also operate as search algorithms, bringing me into contact with interesting people from all over the world. Since most of my work is intangible, it’s also nice to have made something solid. I love the fact that once a book is finished, it stays written. I also love the idea of books as something to use, not just something to read, which is why I feel lucky to have been published by Do Books.

As well as the books I occasionally write newsletters or think pieces.

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Do Conversation

There’s no such thing as small talk

The idea for this book came out of a conversation with photographer Jim Marsden, who took the pictures for it too. It seemed to both of us that conversation is about as important as food and rather than just a medium of communication can be one of life’s great joys. Researching it allowed me to spend time having delightful conversations about conversation itself with all kinds of wonderful people. As a result I came to think of it as an ‘everyday miracle’…

Do Pause

You are not a To Do list

Do – Pause’, my second Do Book, came out on March 13th 2019. It turned out to be the best selling Do book of that year. It has also been translated into Spanish (not by me, thank goodness) and is widely available in Latin America.

When, in 2020, we entered what was called by some ‘The Great Pause’ it took on new significance and I was asked by the Do Lectures to do the first ‘Do Lecture Live’.

The book is about using pauses, short or long, to actively change the rhythms of your life and work rather than feeling subject to the clock. I argue that this is far more fruitful than trying to create ‘work-life balance’.

You can read an excerpt from it on the Do Book Co page on Medium and my article in The Observer here. You can find the book here. There is an audio version too which you can get on Audible (you get it for free if you buy a paper copy from the Do Book Co).

Do Improvise

Less Push, More Pause, Better Results, a New Approach to Work (And Life)

Do – Improvise” was my second book. It first came out in 2013 and yet, thanks to Miranda West and all at Do Books, and designer James Victore’s lovely cover, it keeps on selling. Come the pandemic it seemed more relevant than ever and a second edition came out in 2022. You can find it here or, much to my delight, in the National Theatre Bookshop or the Tate Modern in London – amongst other places.

Everything’s an Offer

“Everything’s an Offer” was my first book. It was described by one agent as ‘long winded and talky’ – though people who know me often say it is their favourite. It is no longer available, though if you want one, you will be able to find a second hand one (cheaply!) on eBay.