Daniel’s Critical Coaching Novels – ‘Nest of Rakes’ and ‘Rakes Resurgent.’

you may be aware that over the past year or more I have been busy writing a novel set in the world of executive coaching, and all that comes with that.  When I say one novel, then the original novel, ‘Nest of Rakes,’ somehow gave birth to a sequel, ‘Rakes Resurgent,’ both of which i have self-published, and are now available on Amazon.  
The original inspiration for this novel came from my publishing what was effectively a short story in the volume  Louis, D and Fatien Diochon, P “Complex Situations in Coaching. A Critical Case-Based Approach.” This narrative received a warm reception not only from academic audiences, but also more widely from a readership including practicing coaches and their clients, as well as others who identify with the theme of a latter day ‘Rake’s Progress.’ 
It would delight me if you were to show interest sufficient enough to read this work. I would be interested in particular in your view of its usefulness for the purposes of academic study in the fields of coaching and consulting, but would also welcome your more general comments.  Should you read all or part of this, then any short review you may have would be much appreciated, either posted up on Amazon on the above url or sent directly to me. As I have self published, then one route to traditional publication is to amass sales, reviews and citations sufficient enough to attract the attention of more traditional publishing pathways. Should you be unable to purchase directly via Amazon, then I can forward copies to you directly, but Amazon sales records would be preferred, as they authenticate reviews.  I append for your interest recent reviews, and attach a sample chapter. 
Thanks for your interest, and I really look forward to your responses and comments.

Reviewers have commented thus: R

Dr Christine Eastman, Middlesex University, ‘ ‘There are excellent reflections on life choices and on how the inevitable reductionism of corporate control starves creativity of oxygen. This novel is achingly funny and all of it is spot on accurate, especially the menacing corporate politics that pervade many scenes.  The dialogue is sparking – it is a strength. The scenes come thick and fast, some of it reminding me of Kingsley Amis and some of The Circle.   general academic interest lies in the contradictions and emergent nature of professionalism enacted in diverse settings;

Greg Stone (
https://www.gregstone.com/about/) Biting SatireDaniel Doherty applies his trenchant wit and inventive mind to the executive coaching industry and the result is a clever novel that pulls you into its vortex. The dialogue is sharp and the plot compelling. A very good read.’

Jen Gash, author of “Coaching Creativity.”As a coach, this book gives you the feeling that the author has reached inside your head somehow and seen the doubts, quirks, struggles and hopes you navigate each day. This book does exactly that and should be considered a “must read” for all coaches. I feel I am the female equivalent of Justine Drake…

Chris Mabey, Professor of Leadership. 
Cracking humour, the dialogues work a treat. I can see it as a semi-satirical TV series.The overall tone is knowledgeable without being didactic, humorous without dodging real darkness, multi-vocal in an authentic way, clever without being self-indulgent, finding originality in the ordinary.

my original paper that inspired the novel

Doherty D (2019) Commentary on the case “7.2 Better Late than Never” in Louis, D and Fatien Diochon, P “Complex Situations in Coaching. A Critical Case-Based Approach”, Oxon and New-York: Routledge, pp. 151-156.

Bob Garvey Review of Nest of Rakes

This is probably the first novel on the subject of coaching. In that sense it is ground-breaking and represents a step in the development of our understanding of the coaching profession and its social context. The idea of a novel, a story, is a good one! As coaches, we listen and work with the narratives we hear from our clients.  This is a narrative about the coaching domain. Broadly based on Hogarth’s ‘A Rakes Progress’, which incidentally has, over the years attracted much artistic attention from the likes of W.H. Auden, Ninette du Valois, David Hockney and Stravinsky, Doherty explores the trials an tribulations of the coach, Justin Drake, as he negotiates his way through the dark nooks and crannies of the coaching world. This style of novel is in good company and it resonates with films such as  ‘I Daniel Blake’ or more recently ‘Sorry We Missed you’. 

As can be expected from the founder of the Bristol-based Critical Coaching Research Group (CCRG), the main stream discourses found in coaching today are critically developed in a well-constructed and, at times, humorous narrative. It is by no accident that it is set in Bristol.  Not only is this the home of the CCRG but it is also the home of historical slavery and the story is clear about making links to the concept of modern slavery found in today’s economic model.  

Justin is caught up in an ethical dilemma of either being complicit with the unethical behaviour of his sources of income or risks losing his livelihood and his strong sense that coaching, perhaps rather idealistically, offers an alternative to modern slavery.  Coaching is, potentially at least, liberating. But, liberty has multiple meanings. 

Doherty takes the opportunity to explore the neofeudalistic trends in modern life, where power is taken by the few over the many and where compliance to the will of the neofeudalistic Barons is a given. In the meantime, the powerful exploit their power for their own gain at the expense of others – sound familiar? They may talk the talk of liberty but it is a liberty where they are in control of others’ liberty.  The plethora of so-called professional coaching associations are not immune from this and Doherty cleverly and wittily weaves these issues within the narrative. Supervisors beware or you’ll end up like well-meaning Brenda!

The book has some convincing conversational exchanges and the narrative is sustain throughout out – I found it difficult to put down once I’d started reading it! Where the dialogue is less convincing is around the conversations Justin has with his children. Setting that aside, it is certainly worth a read and it will provoke critical thought and, it is my hope that, we as coaches may start to ask ‘what are we actually doing?’ I understand that there is a sequel ‘Rakes Resurgent’ which I look forward to reading. 

Bob Garvey

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