Monday, November 30, 2009

Interview with Andrew Matthews

What a privilege it was for me to be able to interview Andrew Matthews, the author of the well-known 'Happiness in a Nutshell', even though it's only via email. Special thanks to Odelia of Pansing for arranging this :)

1) Do you often get fans who say to you ‘Can you draw for me…’ at your autograph sessions? If yes, do you ever get tired of it?
I love to draw at autograph sessions. When readers come to meet me in bookstores they usually expect that I will draw cartoons. For me, drawing cartoons at autograph sessions is a joy and I find it far more interesting than just sitting at a desk signing my name.

2) What’s the most difficult question you get asked about ‘happiness’?
Sometimes people have just lost a loved one and they ask me, “how can I be happy I just lost my husband?” It is very tough when we lose someone we care about. Sometimes only time can heal.
At the same time, life goes on. My new book Happiness in Hard Times includes stories of people who have bounced back from just this kind of experience.

3) I know you get asked this a lot – Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Firstly, there is nothing more important than being happy. No matter how much money you have or how many degrees you have or how famous you are, it matters little if you don’t wake up every day saying, “I’m glad I’m me and I’m happy to be alive”.

4) What makes you happy?
Spending time with my wife Julie – and travelling with her, drawing cartoons, writing books, painting pictures, sailing, meeting new people in different countries.

5) Follow your heart. Easier said than done, don’t you think? There are so many things the heart desires to achieve, but due to commitments and other limitations, these desires become impossible. How then, can happiness be achieved?
My book 'Follow Your Heart' was really about taking time in your life to do things you care about. Some people will say, “I hate my job, how can I be happy?” If you hate your job, then in the short term you can still take time to do things that give you joy. Listening to music, making music, spending time with your family, spending time on your hobbies. Life is short – if certain activities make you happy, then you must make time for them – even if you have to get up one hour earlier to do it.

And if you dislike your job, then in the long term you need to consider improving your skills or look at other options for earning a living.

6) Money gives you happiness, because you'd get to do what your heart desires. True or not true?
It’s funny… Ask poor people if money would make them happier and they’ll tell you, “Of course – most of our arguments are about money”. Ask wealthy people when the happiest times of their life were, and they will mostly say, “Before I got the money…”

Money is important. We buy food, pay rent, pay the phone bill. You want to fly to Hong Kong to visit your mother. Your daughter needs an operation. Is money important?

Here’s the problem – money becomes your God. You judge people by how much money they have. You judge yourself by how much money you have.

Note: You can read all about wealth in Chapter 7 of his recent book, 'Happiness in Hard Times' ;)

4 comments:

Xweing said...

I love that cartoon of the guy at the crossroads with the sign leading to 'average' or 'memorable'.

Keeps me thinking... of the decision I'm going to make soon! Wish me luck!

A Bookaholic said...

Hi Xweing, I wish you all the best in whatever you decide :) Take care and continue to keep us updated via your blog ;)

Ajip.. said...

I love andrew matthews writing.. How nice you can see him

A Bookaholic said...

yea funny chap! saw him when he was promoting his new book at Borders The Curve :)

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