I want to give you a scenario. You’re 22 years old – it’s already attractive to many of you isn’t it? You do well at school and head off to Uni. You work hard and do so well that even before you finish your uni course you land a plum job in a merchant bank. You work hard in your new job and life is looking pretty good. One day your boss calls you into the office and greets you with the words, “We’ve decided to terminate your employment. Your work isn’t good enough, you’re a bit too different and you don’t fit in with the others.”

That’s what happened to a young Australian by the name of Brett Kelly. Brett’s world came tumbling in on him. This was the first time in his life anything had gone really wrong. He lost his confidence in himself, lost all sense of purpose and direction, and slipped into a routine of getting up late, watching the Midday show and wasting the afternoon.

Then one day Kerrie Ann Kennerly turned Brett’s life around. Sitting there day after day watching the Midday show Brett noticed Kerrie Ann’s passion for her job, the way she so obviously enjoyed what she was doing, and gained so much energy from it. “That’s what I want” he said to himself – “that type of energy, that type of passion.” But how? Where could he find it? How could he learn to have that type of success?

He had no answers but he figured people who were successful in their chosen career probably did. So he made up a list of prominent people he admired – from rock stars like Peter Garrett, to political leaders like Bob Hawke and Jeff Kennett, to entertainers like HG Nelson. The idea was to interview them, discover their secrets, then publish the interviews in a book. When he got through all his interviews Brett was startled at what he learned about success. Brett had always thought that success in work and life would come from skill and talent and so he had chased qualifications, skills, and experience. What he found was that the one thing all the people he interviewed shared was the ability to build high quality relationships.

You want to know the title of his book? Collective Wisdom.