Author in Profile: Valerie Pierce

Valerie Pierce

FOCUS, the new book by International Business Consultant Valerie Pierce, is described by The Sunday Business Post as the definitive guide to success.

It is a development on her previous publication, which formed the basis of her training programme, Clear and Critical Thinking, which has been implemented by corporations and businesses world-wide, with the names of Coca Cola, RTé, IBM and Diageo gracing her client list.

She is named as one of the 50 top businesswomen in Ireland by the Sunday Tribune, and her book, Quick Thinking on your Feet, was Number One on the Hodges and Figgis Bestsellers List.

Her training courses differ from normal skills and personal training, through their focus on thinking rather than behaviour. Pierce first noticed this gap in training provision while working her way through college as a receptionist. She observed that the training dealt with tactics and strategy, and was very good, but missing one crucial element: thinking.

Following on from the success of her publications and courses, her new book returns to her roots, where she feels she has acquired her lifelong skills. The book opens with a dedication to her mother, who died when Pierce was young, leaving her with the gift of eight years, which she utilised, with her father’s support, throughout her life: In Memory of my Mother’s Magic, One of Short Influence with Long Impact.

“There is a lot of money being made from concentrating on a negative past when it can be more beneficial to draw upon our positive experiences,” Pierce told NewsFour.

When asked how her interest in philosophy was sparked, Pierce replied, “I never believed a thing they told me in school. I always wondered where they got their stories from; the notion of original sin for instance. I travelled a lot on completion of school and lived in France for five years. It was while I was studying French in TCD that I stumbled into a philosophy lecture where they were discussing original sin, and a light went on. I thought, ‘at last someone to tell me the truth’.”

Pierce went on to complete an MA in philosophy, which provides a backdrop for her teachings. She dislikes the static labelling that psychological practice can sometimes lead to, opting for a more fluid approach. She believes that a person does not have to be defined by their past and that it is wrong to put people into descriptive boxes. She told NewsFour that she really admired aspects of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, for two main reasons.

“His theories had been highly acclaimed worldwide for many years, yet despite this, he was prepared to throw away all his thinking for new theories. I think that is very brave. Also, he made a statement that resonates with me. ‘If you want to know the meaning of a word, look at what it is used for. Meaning comes through use’.”

The illustrations, provided by Alan Clarke, are an effective visual aid. The topics covered include the spiral staircase, with its learning curves and platforms of passion, productivity and perseverance.

NewsFour asked Pierce if she ever felt daunted by the big corporate names that she provided training for. Without a hint of arrogance and without hesitation, the simple reply was “No.”

She is currently working on a new course based on the ideas from the book.
For more information see Valerie Pierce’s website
By Maria Shields O’Kelly