Prestwich dad writes books during lockdowns about 30 famous people who overcame adversity

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A father-of-five from Manchester has used lockdown to write a book about how famous people from recent history overcame adversity in their lives – which he hopes will help others through challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the outset of the crisis, Steven Mason sought inspiration by looking at the lives of 30 illustrious personalities, mainly from the 20th century.

He soon discovered that many of these remarkable people, including iconic figures from the worlds of politics, science, business, entertainment and sport, had experienced significant misfortune and hardship on their path to ultimate success.

Steven, 40, who lives in Prestwich, spent thousands of hours researching and writing about their lives and the result is a 434-page book, The Adversity Formula: Inspirational Lessons from History.

The book will be released on Wednesday, March 10. Published by i2i Publishing, it costs £14.95 and is available on Amazon and at Waterstones.

Among the 15 men and 15 women featured are Muhammad Ali, Ella Fitzgerald, Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Marie Curie,Stephen Hawking, KFC founder Col Harland Sanders, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, civil rights activist Rosa Parks, Audrey Hepburn and Walt Disney.

Steven, who works as an insolvency practitioner at Manchester-headquartered Inquesta, identifies five key characteristics that each adopted, which were key to how they dealt successfully with the challenges they faced.

He said: “It’s far more than a series of biographies. The book encourages readers to look at the levels of adversity faced by successful individuals and, in turn, to help them build resilience in their own lives through a formula which summarises the main traits adopted by those I’ve written about.

“I’ve always enjoyed history and, during the first lockdown, looked at the lives of people I found interesting and fascinating, and discovered they had all faced significant difficulties.

“They experienced their fair share of poverty, bereavement, jail, prejudice, segregation, economic crisis, wars, divorce, sickness, injury and defeat, yet ultimately found success.

“I thought it would be inspirational to write about what they went through and what we can learn from them.

“Lockdown forced me to stay home and curtail my other leisure activities, so without that I would never have been able to write the book.”

He added: “Things don’t go to plan for pretty much everyone, and I hope the stories and my formula will help people to overcome their own setbacks. It’s not just the experience of adversity but also the way people respond to it which helps determine a successful outcome.

“I hope the book will be enjoyed by people who are interested in history as well as those who are interested in forming a better understanding of themselves and how to deal with the challenges they face.”

Steven added: “I passionately believe that in today’s world, we have become too scared to make mistakes.

“This search for perfectionism, as shown through the countless images of faultlessness we see on social media, leaves us devastated when tough times happen or when we make our inevitable mistakes.

“We only see the finished article. We rarely see the suffering and toil it took to get there, but the book aims to do just that.”

Steven has dedicated the book to his grandfather Walter Levy, a British soldier who survived harsh conditions in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during the Second World War.

His book has won praise from writers, politicians, historians and fellow authors.