Born in Rochdale, Lancashire, England; married; children: two (twins). Education: Graduated from Cambridge University; Lancaster University, M.A. Hobbies and other interests: Tudor and Elizabethan church music.
Home—Wiltshire, England. Office—c/o Author Mail, Carroll & Graf Publishers, 245 West Seventeenth St., Eleventh Floor, New York, NY 10011.
Author and creative consultant. British Airways, computer hardware and software developer; Creativity Unleashed, founder and consultant, 1994—.
The Chameleon Manager, Butterworth-Heinemann (Oxford, England), 1998.
(With Paul Birch) DisOrganization: The Handbook of Creative Organizational Change, Financial Times/Pitman Publishing (London, England), 1998.
Instant Teamwork: Motivate and Energize Your Team Now!, Kogan Page (London, England), 1998.
Creativity and Innovation for Managers, Butterworth-Heinemann (Oxford, England), 1999.
Mining the Internet: Information Gathering and Research on the Net, Kogan Page (London, England), 1999.
Capturing Customers' Hearts: Leave the Competition to Chase Their Pockets, Financial Times/Prentice Hall (London, England), 2000.
Training Plus: Revitalizing Your Training, Kogan Page (London, England), 2000.
The Professional's Guide to Mining the Internet: Information Gathering and Research on the Net, Kogan Page (London, England), 2001.
Crash Course in Creativity, Kogan Page (London, England), 2002.
Light Years and Time Travel: An Exploration of Mankind's Enduring Fascination with Light, J. Wiley (New York, NY), 2001, also published as Light Years: An Exploration of Mankind's Enduring Fascination with Light, Piatkus (London, England), 2001.
The First Scientist: A Life of Roger Bacon, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2003.
Infinity: The Quest to Think the Unthinkable, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to numerous magazines, including PC Week, Computer Weekly, Personal Computer World, BBC History, Good Housekeeping, and House Beautiful. Clegg's works have been translated into German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Turkish, Norwegian, Thai, and Indonesian.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
A book on Eadweard Muybridge.
Brian Clegg is the author of several popular nonfiction books about business management and scientific phenomena, respectively. Clegg's science books probe the mysteries of natural phenomena—from the characteristics of light to the concept of infinity—and the intellectual struggles of those who have advanced their understanding. Though Clegg began writing fiction and worked on an aborted novel as an adolescent, he ultimately chose an educational path in the sciences, earning a degree in experimental physics from Cambridge University and a master's degree in operational research from Lancaster University. In an interview posted at his Web site, Clegg noted, "I do regret that the school system, certainly when I was in my teens, forced a decision between sciences and the arts."
Clegg began his career with British Airways, where he managed the company's computer technology and later managed a team that researched new technologies, including fingerprint recognition and electronic payment systems. Clegg's interest in technological and business innovation led him to form his own consulting firm, Creativity Unleashed, in 1994. As a creative consultant, Clegg has hosted courses on the development of business ideas and solutions with blue-chip clients ranging from the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) to pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.
In Light Years and Time Travel: An Exploration of Mankind's Enduring Fascination with Light, Clegg presents a lively historical account of how scientists have come to understand and speculate about the strange physical properties of light. Presented chronologically, the work begins with the ancient Greek philosophers and continues through to the twentieth century, illustrating the process of scientific investigation and discovery through biographical sketches of key figures such as Galileo, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein. The book was praised by Bernice Sweeney, a reviewer for Science Teacher, as an "excellent" introduction to the subject for high school students, citing in particular Clegg's "compelling" historical vignettes. According to Guardian reviewer Steven Poole, Light Years and Time Travel is an "immensely likeable" book, though it suffered somewhat from its "great men" approach to the history of science and an occasionally melodramatic narrative.
In The First Scientist: A Life of Roger Bacon, Clegg offers a biographical study of the enigmatic thirteenth-century Franciscan friar whose diverse scientific investigations spanned zoology, medicine, optics, cartography, and cosmology and included a recipe for gunpowder as well as speculative plans for a horseless carriage and flying machine. Clegg argues that Bacon disdained medieval magic and pioneered the experimental method, the application of mathematics in science, and the principle of objective neutrality, all of which make Bacon the first truly modern scientist. Booklist reviewer Ray Olson praised Clegg's book as an "enthralling" effort to revive a figure lost to obscurity. According to a Kirkus Reviews critic, however, Clegg offers "tantalizing glimpses" of Bacon's mysterious life but fails to provide a convincing argument for his primacy as a scientist. Benjamin Woolley, writing in the Guardian, commended Clegg for dispelling many myths surrounding Bacon's life and recognizing him "as the great intellectual [that] he was."
In Infinity: The Quest to Think the Unthinkable, Clegg offers a layman's guide to the paradoxical concept that has confounded—and, on more than one occasion, maddened—philosophers and mathematicians for hundreds of years. As in his earlier work on light, Clegg proceeds chronologically, focusing on luminaries—in this case, Newton, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, and Georg Cantor—and pausing often to enliven his discussion with biographic sketches and anecdotal asides. According to the Guardian critic Frank Kermode, Clegg's gossipy digressions serve as a refreshing "time-out from the business of numbers." Comparing Clegg's Infinity to David Wallace Foster's book on the subject, Everything and More, Kermode wrote, "I'd take Clegg, who is easier to read."
In addition to his popular science books, Clegg has published a number of titles related to his consultancy work, providing instruction for successful business management, employee training, and Internet research techniques. Creativity and Innovation for Managers, for example, contains practical guidelines for developing and implementing new business ideas and solutions. Training Plus: Revitalizing Your Training, another work, offers business leaders a program for enhancing their training skills. Janice Love, a critic for Training, commented that Training Plus is notable for its "breadth" of information. In Capturing Customers' Hearts: Leave the Competition to Chase Their Pockets, Clegg presents a twelve-step program for improving upon and revitalizing customer relationship management (CRM). As a reviewer for Financial Services Marketing observed, "Clegg believes that the talk about CRM remains mechanical and unproductive." While acknowledging that Clegg's book would seem redundant to some managers, for others, the critic added, it will be "a godsend."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2003, Ray Olson, review of The First Scientist: A Life of Roger Bacon, p. 1024.
Contemporary Review, June, 2003, review of The First Scientist, p. 381.
Financial Services Marketing, May-June, 2003, review of Capturing Customers' Hearts: Leave the Competition to Chase Their Pockets, p. 6.
Futurist, January-February, 2000, review of Creativity and Innovation for Managers, p. 59.
Guardian (Manchester, England), July 14, 2001, Steven Poole, review of Light Years: An Exploration of Mankind's Enduring Fascination with Light, p. 8; May 17, 2003, Benjamin Woolley, review of The First Scientist, p. 15; October 18, 2003, Frank Kermode, review of Infinity: The Quest to Think the Unthinkable, p. 14.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2003, review of The First Scientist, p. 34.
Science Teacher, May, 2002, Bernice Sweeney, review of Light Years, pp. 72, 74.
Training, July, 2001, Janice Love, review of Training Plus: Revitalizing Your Training, p. 62.
Brian Clegg Home Page,http://www.brianclegg.net (July 9, 2004).*