Interview: Terrence Bull talks about Magic Beans
Updated: Aug 19
Terrence Bull talks to NZ Booklovers about his groundbreaking book, Magic Beans.
Tell us a little about Magic Beans.
‘Magic Beans—The Untold Story’ takes you on a journey alongside young Jack as the very wealthy and wise old man teaches him the twelve magic beans of business success. These magic beans will enable Jack to climb up from his bankrupt position and walk amongst the giants of industry. From there he can get back the passive income business (the goose that lays golden eggs) that was stolen from his father—i.e., he will be able to rebuild his family’s failed business, but this time secure its future by building it upon the right foundations.
It is written in a narrative style where the reader is transported into an old-world setting beneath an ancient oak tree growing beside a bustling country market. The old man uses everyday scenes from this environment to teach Jack invaluable lessons on business success: from children laughing and playing in the road to carts ladened with packages rumbling past them; a small bird visiting them as they sit under the old oak tree to a tax collector going from stall to stall collecting taxes.
We see these lessons through Jack’s eyes: from his initial fears and doubts to his breakthrough revelations and growing understanding. In the process our understanding grows alongside Jack’s and our beliefs are transformed forever as we learn how to build a truly successful business.
What inspired you to write this book?
I have been a Marketing & Business Consultant for over 35 years. During this time, I have built global companies from ground up and helped others do the same. I have taught thousands of business leaders all over the world how to grow their business and dominate their market.
When the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown happened, several businesses reached out to me for help. Some needed exit strategies, as the lockdown had brought them to a point of deciding to quit out of their business. Others needed help restarting their business while most had issues with their debt load, a lack of capital, sales, staff and time.
Traditional business and marketing consultancy would have taken too long to get their businesses on track as their fundamental core beliefs about business were wrong. These beliefs had them running hard out away from success instead of walking calmly towards it. I needed a quick way to help them out—a way to give them a radically change of thinking in just a few hours so that they could get their business back on track and moving forward. I simply didn’t have any time to waste trying to slowly walk them through the fundamentals of business that typically only global business builders know and understand. So, I built the Magic Beans program.
I took 35+ years of lessons that I have taught—and been taught by some wonderful mentors as well as the world’s leading business educators—and put them into twelve 1-hour sessions, where each session builds on the others.
I then wanted to make this program more accessible so I wrote ‘Magic Beans—The Untold Story’. It is the Magic Beans program told in a fun and entertaining narrative style where the wise old man teaches young Jack these twelve magic beans.
What research was involved?
As I’ve said, I have been working on this material in one way or another over the last 35+ years. It is a culmination of many of the foundational lessons I have taught my clients—and the lessons they have taught me. It brings together the understanding I have gained from reading countless books and spending serious time with my mentors and other business leaders from all over the world.
Everything I teach has been tried and tested over many years: both in my own businesses and that of my clients. It is all the ideas and thinking that have been proven to be consistently successful no matter what the industry or country the business operates in.
What was your routine or process when writing this book?
I set myself a strict deadline of one month to get it finished. I wanted the book to be about 40,000 words long—a short, easy-to-read book. So, to finish in a month, I needed to write about 1,300 words a day.
Once I started, every day I woke up, got ready to work, and then put aside all distractions to get those 1,300 words written before doing anything else that day.
In fact, I finished writing the book in about three weeks. This gave me extra time to go over it and polish it, as well as to lay it up ready for print, so I would have a good enough product to convince the best publicist I could find to take the book on. From there I could also get all the pricing I needed for a business proposal to secure the necessary funding.
If a soundtrack was made to accompany this book, name a song or two you would include.
Given the setting, I would imagine ‘Greensleeves’ may be heard playing in the background, as well as something like ‘Scarborough Fair’ from Simon & Garfunkel. However, given that it is all about business success, maybe ‘Walking on Sunshine’, ‘Here Comes the Sun’ and ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ could be redone in an English folk song style to match the assumed period. It would be great to see an old world musical troupe playing those songs on mandolins and the like in the market.
If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the lead characters?
For the wise old man, Sean Connery, if he was alive, would have been perfect. For Jack, maybe a slightly younger Tom Holland would work—as he was good at taking life advice from his uncle Ben… eventually.
I think of the move ‘The Name of the Rose’—where Sean Connery is teaching and mentoring the character played by a young Christian Slater—but not a dark and dirty, but a fun and vibrant movie.
What did you enjoy the most about writing this book?
I really enjoyed creating the interchange between young Jack and the wise old man—which I drew from many of the reactions and questions I have got from clients attending my seminars over the years. I really wanted to ensure that my two strawmen reflected the real-world feelings and reactions of businesspeople learning this material for the first time. I wanted to make my readers feel like they are inside the story sitting alongside Jack as he learns these revelationary truths.
What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?
I haven’t yet celebrated anything as finishing the book is only the first step in a very long process of getting it into people’s hands so that it can make a real difference to people’s lives.
I always think of all the people who are adversely affected by poorly run and managed businesses and the huge social cost that occurs when businesses fail. I think of fathers missing out on spending quality time with their children; mothers struggling to juggle the demands of their business and their family; new business people full of hope facing potential bankruptcy only a few short years later; and all the children who think owning a business is just one long never ending sacrifice that prioritises money over family. I want to show them that that is not what business is about. It is about freedom—not oppression.
I will be celebrating when this book is required reading for anyone who is starting up or running a business—maybe as part of getting a business registered. When all business courses include this book as part of their foundational teaching, then I can celebrate that I have made some small contribution to owning a business being better and safer for everyone.
What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?
This year I have read the ‘Ethan Gage Adventures’ series by William Dietrich—a great historical adventure series, ‘The Complete Works of HP Lovecraft’ (again)—which is mind blowing poetical prose, and, as usual, a raft of business books, video courses and articles to ensure that I am fully up-to-date with the latest ideas and thinking out there.
However, of all the books I have read this year, my favourite would be Neil Gaiman’s book ‘Fragile Things’—which is a collection of his short stories and poems. Since ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of The Rings’ was the first real books I ever read, I am rather partial to fantasy and adventure stories. However, I also love the works of Lovecraft and that style of poetical prose. Like Lovecraft, Neil Gaiman takes you to unreal fantastical places that pull at your imagination and heart strings in new and surprising ways. It’s great for escaping into on those cold wet days that are no good for gardening.
What’s next on the agenda for you?
I don’t want to simply toss out some magic beans and leave them in unfertile soil. I want everyone who has gained this knowledge to have somewhere they can go to get all their questions answered and find active mentoring that helps them on their journey to the land of the giants.
Therefore, I have a series of monthly seminars planned as support for those people who have read ‘Magic Beans—The Untold Story’ and want to learn more. I am also putting into place The Giants network to enable my readers to get together with likeminded businesspeople on a regular basis to help them to grow their business and attain their business goals.
I also want to make sure that everyone in the world has an opportunity to gain this knowledge. Therefore, getting this book out to the rest of the world will be my biggest challenge over the next couple of years.
If this one proves successful, I also have several other books from the same series that I want to write and get out in the coming years—including the next one which will be ‘The Golden Harp—The Untold Story’, which will be a book focusing on revolutionary sales techniques and systems. It will take the reader further down the path with Jack as the wise old man starts to help him get his new business off the ground.