Published by Eye Books on 1 June 2017
The life of a global adventurer
Michael Dobbs-Higginson has lived the life that Walter Mitty dreamed of having.
Raised in a house with no electricity in colonial Rhodesia, he turned his back on Africa as a teenager to roam the world, studying at a variety of universities and institutions and moving on when he had satisfied his curiosity. He paid his way by working variously as a docker, a logger and an encyclopedia salesman, staying in accommodation as varied as a sumptuous English stately home and the floor of a Canadian public lavatory.
Urged by his quasi-mystic mother to explore the great religions of the world, his ultimate destination was a Buddhist monastery on a frozen Japanese mountaintop, where he conquered gruelling mental and physical hardship to discover untapped reserves of resilience within himself that would set him up for life.
He builds a business career in Japan only to be chased out of that country, in fear of his life, by ruthless CIA operatives. Retraining as an investment banker by starting on the bottom rung, he rose to become an eccentric, kimono-wearing chairman of Merrill Lynch Asia Pacific, and then made and lost several fortunes in a string of business start-ups.
Now facing terminal illness with extraordinary calm, he tells his tales of drug-smuggling, bed-hopping and buccaneering business deals with a raconteur’s panache, while expounding a religious philosophy honed over thousands of years in the East that prioritises balance over winning and losing.
“I have spent my life since my monastic sojourn attempting to be a raindrop in the ocean. I have had a lot of enjoyment along the way, and the process has never been less than fascinating. Having learned to be fully engaged by life, I have not been bored for a very long time.”
“Michael Dobbs-Higginson is a Rhodesian farmer's son – and a Buddhist monk, who became an international financier and independent entrepreneur, traversing the globe from fast-developing Asia Pacific to the capitalist West and back. He is all paradox, which worries him not at all – powered by curiosity while dogged by ill-health, a devoted family man who was rarely at home, a self-reflective soul and an adventurer and risk-taker, who has enjoyed plunder and survived shipwrecks like his pirate ancestor. 'A full life' is an understatement."