No one can make you feel inferior without your consent, said Eleanor Roosevelt. Jez Rose is not so succinct. His book is about the idea that other people can’t make you feel things or react in prescribed ways. You can control how you feel and how you will respond. Between stimulus and response there’s a gap in which to choose. That’s where you can “flip the switch”.

The obvious way to “flip the switch” is in your immediate response to stimulus, being conscious and controlled in the moment rather than reacting without thought. The aim is “to change our behaviour and in turn alter our future through the consequences of our conscious actions”. There’s also stuff about being reflective and then planful about what makes you happy. There are little exercises to do, like making lists to help understand what is standing between you and greater contentment.

It’s good to be reminded of the fundamental notion that you choose your feelings and your behaviour, but the basic idea is over-stretched even in this short book. It’s fluffed out with folksy observations combined with amateur psychology. At a more mundane level, he says he brings fruitless board room discussions to a standstill with this killer question: “Do you need to make a decision on this right now or can it wait until you have all of the facts?”

I’m sure Rose is inspiring and entertaining as a speaker. Unfortunately his book reads like an overly-extended TED talk. There’s far too much of the author, his beloved Gran and her wisdom (such as, “Learn from your mistakes”). There’s a lot of padding and precious little evidence of an editor, who might have pointed out to Jez there is no “Isle of Mann”. He never stops touting for work, by telling us how extensive and successful his business practice is. For example, “I’ve worked with thousands of individuals and groups of people, all over the world and from all walks of life, from almost every sector of industry, to achieve things they didn’t think were possible.” Pity his editor didn’t think it possible to deliver this book in half the space.

Books | September 2016