FIVE STARS for Tau Bada: The Quest and Memoir of a Vulnerable Man
“Rich in humor as well as adventure, this memoir should find a very wide audience.”
Grady Harp, Top 100 Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer, 2016
‘The quiet transitions to real courage and the soul milieu that connects and binds us as mutual occupants of a shared planet.’
Michigan born author John E Quinlan makes his literary debut with a book so fascinating on every level that he calls up the spirit of adventure in all of us while at the same time carrying the standard for being genuine and trusting of ourselves and authentic with others. John is an organization development specialist, having founded and served as CEO of a publicly traded company, a management consultant and a leadership coach. Having graduated in economics from Albion College in Michigan he also earned a Master of Science in organizational development from the American University in Washington, DC.
In the skillfully written Introduction John shares that in 1985 his publicly created trading company failed and it is the seeking of refuge to lick his wounds and avoid public humiliation that started his journey toward self-discovery. He motorcycled from Michigan to the Pacific Coast and beyond to Australia and Papua New Guinea. ‘I ended up in an all-consuming and near fatal struggle at the other end of the world – and learned that the struggle was all the while, within myself.’ ‘The human collage, set against the backdrop of such profound natural beauty, challenged my cultural and social attention-deficit disorder. It permitted me to move into self-reflection and create meaning.’
And with that eloquent overture we are invited to join John on his journey to and through Australia and Papua New Guinea’s Oro Province. He meets (in Colorado) and marries Fiona Delaney from Papua New Guinea and from there a journey through Fiona’s home opens more windows on fascinating experiences at the heart of every true adventure than is imaginable.
In synopsis, ‘Over a period of seven years, John Quinlan and his wife, Fiona, traversed the rivers, valleys and mountains of Papua New Guinea, visiting innumerable villages on a remote plateau located in the Oro Province. During this time, they generally were considered a familiar and welcome presence, greeted warmly by the region’s farmers and villagers as they concentrated on building Java Mama, a locally based certified organic coffee business. And all of this is accompanied by fine color photographs of a culture that is likely new to most of us.
The title of John’s book TAU BADA means ‘big white man’ and while that title refers to John as he explored and discovered the secrets of Papua, the true essence of the book is one of the global similarities in all men. We are all vulnerable, but as John states, ‘What was risky, and what was I fearful of? Was it the untraveled asphalt and concrete roads or the uncharted inward journey? There were no maps for the latter!’ Rich in humor as well as adventure, this memoir should find a very wide audience: everyone searching for meaning to this life will grow as they accompany John, a Tau Bada!
FIVE STARS for Tau Bada: The Quest and Memoir of a Vulnerable Man
A fascinating Journey. This book is truly an awe-inspiring quest of discovery for one man, re-evaluating his life, taking on challenges, dealing with the consequences and all the time living life to the full.
Susan Keefe, Amazon Reviewer, France, 2016, Author and Blogger
Ever dreamed of doing something different, going to exotic places, stepping right out of your safety zone and taking the bull by the horns?
Do you wonder if people really do just change direction, start new businesses in different countries, juggle their lives, just like that? Is it possible?
Well, in this incredible biography the author takes the reader on his remarkable journey. After the end of his marriage he gets on his motorbike, leaves Grosse Point (a suburb of Detroit) and begins an adventure which takes him from the American West, through to Australia/Papua New Guinea.
An established CEO- entrepreneur, the author is not afraid of taking risks, and going with the flow. This bravery takes him on travels to amazing places, where he forges forward with the courage of a true entrepreneur.
On his odyssey, he finds new love and is never afraid to go with the moment, something I truly admire.
The book is beautifully descriptive and I especially loved his account of his life whilst he was running his South Pacific fishing business, which gave some fascinating insights into what life is really about living on-board ship. His first impressions and dealings with the South Pacific island natives and his business dealings with them are interesting, and the great thing is, that whatever the outcome he brushes himself off and starts again.
Juggling life between his business interests in Grosse Point and other part of the world is difficult at times, emotionally and financially draining, however, he copes with everything and is an inspiration to those of us who would love (or imagine they would love) to walk in his shoes.
He was known as Tau Bada, ‘big white man’ by the native farmers of Papua New Guinea where he worked hard to build them a sustainable living through the selling of coffee and chilies.
Travel lovers will thoroughly enjoy his accounts of his visits to different places, and wish they were a fly on the wall watching him meet people from many nations. It is an exciting way to really learn what it is like to live amongst various peoples and learn their customs.
This book is truly an awe-inspiring quest of discovery for one man, re-evaluating his life, taking on challenges, dealing th the consequences and all the time living life to the full. Whatever your dreams and ambitions, I would highly recommend this book, it is inspirational, informative and very thought provoking.
Amazon Reviewer, France
5 STARS for Tau Bada: The Quest and Memoir of a Vulnerable Man
For those who like reality adventure with a good introduction to doing business with different cultures and models that can be used when formulating cross cultural relationships.
R Gene Racho, President,
E R Long and Associates (retired).
Tau Bada reveals the quintessential John E. Quinlan: who he is, his strengths, weaknesses, personal philosophy of life, how he seeks to improve the lives of others while taking into account the cultural realities of those with whom he is working. More than an adventure story, and a love story which it is. A modern Western World business man, finds his one true love from across the world in a remote part of the US and follows her to her ancestral homeland in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in order to start a business that will enrich the lives of the local population. But the story does not end there. As with all adventure and love stories and when starting a new business not all goes well. Why tell it if it did. Tau Bada not only reveals the adventure, Tau Bada reveals himself: his thoughts, his doubts, his successes and his failures. He speaks of the processes, the business models and the people and advice whom he relies on for help. People like Bob Valk a wise and successful businessman with great personal insight. Bruce Gibb, a expert in the study of “Spiral Dynamics”: The science of understanding the cultural differences between peoples and how to develop a working model to achieve cooperation between the two. There are others but the important point is that Tau Bada uses each to define a business model and strategy for PNG that will enable a tribal culture to be competitive in the global business of today.
It is interesting to read how Tau Bada changes from a persona entwined in the tribal customs of PNG when developing the business there to John E. Quinlan, business man and consultant dressed in the uniform of the day: three piece dark blue suit, tie, or blue blazer, khaki slacks, etc. He must make this transformation to bring the products to the world market and to keep the business funded. Reminds me of reading a “superhero” comic. The transformation is never without pain. And that brings us to another excellent portion of the book: How Tau Bada/John E. Quinlan deals with pain. The pain and frustration of dealing with the realities of establishing and running a business in PNG, reintroducing a consulting business after being dormant, and most importantly, rebuilding a personal relationship with his one true love. All this, Tau Bada/JEQ spreads out for all to read. Literally, an open book. At these junctures the reader will discern the real Tau Bada/JEQ.
The reader can envision Tau Bada joining in with the group around the fire pit, telling stories and drawing the thoughts, concerns, expectations of these tribal peoples that would be further amplified in the formal meetings of the next day. Then, fast forward to the equivalent in Grosse Point, the tavern and John E Quinlan’s meetings with his network there… or at his fireside where he introspectively questions himself, and gets answers that enable him to move to the next level.
Tau Bada/JEQ closes on an upbeat note. Comfortably ensconced in his Grosse Pointe MI castle (a man’s home, no matter how humble or ornate, is his castle) surrounded by his one true love, his family. There is an epilogue, but the intrigued reader will want more. Yes, there is the potential for a sale of the company in PNG, but will Tau Bada be content with walking away from the challenge of changing his tribal family and bringing them to a higher level on the spiral? Those who know JEQ/Tau Bada will enjoy the speculation. After all, it is the never ending story of one JEQ, who found his love and then became Tau Bada of Tabuane in the PNG highlands.
This book is a definitely recommended read, especially for those who like reality adventure with a good introduction to doing business with different cultures and models that can be used when formulating cross cultural relationships.
This writer was fortunate to have been associated with the author when he was John E Quinlan, Change Consultant, about the time he met his one true love and began his first venture, Ocean Harvest, in New Ireland, PNG. Reading his story brought back vivid memories of the time. He taught me much about Organizational Development, process modeling and what being a “Change Agent” entails. JEQ is still JEQ and he will be a friend, always. –>
FIVE STARS for Tau Bada: The Quest and Memoir of a Vulnerable Man
Rich in geographical detail, anxiety, longing, and sometimes confusion, Quinlan’s memoir is a testament to his tenacity and courage in his choice and belief that there was a sense of destiny to his efforts that led to life-altering decisions.
Norm Goldman, Bookpleasures.com
John E. Quinlan’s memoir, Tau Bada: The Quest and Memoir Of A Vulnerable Man is set in Papua New Guinea, located just south of the equator, 160 km north of Australia. It is here where we find over six hundred islands and more than eight hundred indigenous languages. It is also home to the largest area of intact rain forest outside of the Amazon. Politically, it consists of four regions that are made up of twenty-two provinces and the National Capital District and each of which has its own special character and cultures.
The introduction to the memoir John informs his readers that he wishes to seek refuge from public and personal humiliation after his dismissal from a publicly traded company in 1985. Prior to being cast aside, John had been a successful management consultant and an executive coach who enjoyed all of the materialistic perks that goes along with the job, but also included a hedonistic life style as well as the self-deception and self-absorption that ran high.
After a failed second marriage, riding on his Harley Davidson, John embarks on a cross-country motorcycle trip in August 1999 from his home in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. During his trip he meets Fiona Delaney, who is from Papua New Guinea and who becomes his third wife.
At the time, John never heard of Papua New Guinea and as he becomes more acquainted with Fiona he learns that she has three daughters and is on the way out of a bad marriage. She was living in New York City and when he invited her to go on a motorcycle ride, her response was immediate, but only if it was a Harley. As he recounts, this small exchange marked the beginning of a new chapter in his life, probably one he would never have dreamed about. Meeting Fiona was a game changer and one that would lead to a new path where he would view himself differently within this world.
Smitten with love for Fiona, John decides to join her in Cairns, Australia and celebrate Christmas with her daughters in New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Eventually, the couple try their luck with their first business venture, a lobster and fishing company, which unfortunately ended in a bad fiasco.
In February of 2007 they marry and make Tabuane their home base. It is here where he is named by the locals Tau Bada (Big White Man). They were the first white people to ever be married in the village and it should be noted that it was not too long ago that this would never have taken place. In fact, they may have been eaten alive as this neck of the woods was known for its cannibalism.
Their second business venture focused on building Java Mama, which means good coffee, a locally based certified organic coffee enterprise. They were also involved in building a chilies business. The altruistic goal was to help the residents of Papua New Guinea enjoy the fruits of their labor that had been denied them for many years.
Living in Tabuane, John was becoming a member of the community and was being assimilated, though still an outsider and was viewed as the outside boss. And even though at times they were warmly welcomed by farmers and villagers as they crossed the rivers, valleys and mountains of Papua, mounting financial problems, isolationism, corruption, thefts committed by managers stealing payroll funds, cyclones, violence, road wash outs, tribal intrusions, killings in Tabuane, and the threats to their lives all took their toll. In addition, they had also to contend with village sorcerers who demanded that their advice, warnings, threats and poisonings be heeded. This certainly was a recipe for disaster and disappointment, even though John tried putting into practice all of his business skills to help resolve personal, social and cultural upheavals.
Rich in geographical detail, anxiety, longing, and sometimes confusion, Quinlan’s memoir is a testament to his tenacity and courage in his choice and belief that there was a sense of destiny to his efforts that led to life-altering decisions. By putting his experiences and reinvention of himself into a colorful narrative Quinlan has given a meaning to the life he lived prior to taking up residence in Papua New Guinea as well as during the time he was there. And I guess one of the lessons to take home here is that deciding to make a major life change does not mean that your world will fall apart, no matter that the outcome may not be as planned.