Serendipity Soup


Zaid Ansari

Season 1, Ep. 15

Welcome to Serendipity Soup! The antidote to celebrity success podcasts.

Is it too risky to be playful at work? This month I’m talking to Zaid Ansari. I had the pleasure of interviewing Zaid face to face at my house and early on in the recording he says that he’s at the point in his career where he only wants to do stuff that’s fun. But actually that sense of fun and playfulness feels built in to his life so far.


Zaid started off his career as an accountant at an advertising agency in London in the 1990s where he worked hard and played harder. So, a bit of a change of pace then to leave that and work for Crufts, the world-famous dog show.  Zaid then left to work in Pakistan as a go-between for the Asian Development Bank and the Pakistani government before returning to the UK and taking on numerous other roles, including starting his own construction company before winding up in his current position as a lecturer in subjects as varied as accounting, employability skills and becoming a nutritional professional.

So, the usual mix of apparently unrelated eclectic career choices for a Serendipity Soup guest, but as always there’s a golden thread. In Zaid’s case I would suggest it’s his playfulness and his love of interacting with people. When Zaid left after our recording, I watched him walk down the street and felt like my life was much fuller, richer and more joyful for having met him. And that wasn’t just because he’d brought a bottle of wine for me and my wife and some chocolates for our kids. I hope you’ll feel the same way once you’ve heard him tell his story.

Only a couple of links for this episode. Here they are:

More Episodes


Andrew Finlay

Season 1, Ep. 18
Welcome to Serendipity Soup! The antidote to celebrity success podcasts.This month's guest is Andrew Finlay, the owner of Wildview Retreat (, an amazing wellness centre set in the middle of the hills of southern Portugal. He’s a nutritional therapist and has, at various times also been a dive master, environmental consultant and head of environmental protection for the Marshall Islands. Andrew readily admits that he has a strong need to feel that he’s doing something worthwhile with his life but that following this desire, often without thinking about the consequences, has given him both extreme highs and worrying lows. He’s a very forward-looking person. Someone who feels that life’s too short to put up with situations that don’t make you happy and that if you want to feel good about yourself you should always be ready to move onto the next chapter in your life. As you’d expect I challenge him – hopefully fairly gently! – on that. At one level it makes sense, but when is enough enough? When does making a fresh start tip into giving up because things have got a bit tricky? I think it’s fair to say that Andrew isn’t into giving up when things get tricky. You don’t buy an abandoned hilltop village in Portugal and turn it into a fully functioning retreat complete with running water and electricity if you quit at the first sign of trouble. But Andrew’s reflections on the cost of being this driven are fascinating.

Jo Bradshaw

Season 1, Ep. 16
Welcome to Serendipity Soup! The antidote to celebrity success podcasts.Who are the champions of your life? The people who are there at just the right time, with just the right support, to supercharge your life and take you to whatever your next level is. This month my guest on Serendipity Soup is Jo Bradshaw: an outdoor instructor, mountain climbing expedition leader, public speaker and leadership coach. I learned a lot from my conversation with Jo, but I was particularly taken by two things she talks about. The first is the importance of every single person to the successful functioning of the teams she leads. The second is this concept of ‘champions of your life’. Jo mentions several of these people as she talks and I hope you’ve been lucky enough to have had some champions of your life too. Here are links to some of the things we talk about:Breaking The Fever S2-04 I Power dynamics in the office - with Laetita Vitaud: Tuckman’s ‘forming–storming–norming–performing’ model of group development: Dweck and the ‘growth’ mindset: UK: Nolan: – Improving children’s mental health: Duke of Edinburgh’s awards: Expeditions: Adventure: