Literatures, Languages & Cultures

If you’re going to take one person’s careers advice…

Final year Scottish Studies student Euan Lownie tells us about his first book, ‘Never, Ever Take Anybody’s Advice on Anything’, featuring words of wisdom from successful Scots.

As a final year student and new author, Euan Lownie knows a thing or two about multi-tasking.

Photo of Euan with book
Euan pictured with his new book in the School of Scottish Studies Archives

Approaching the mid-way point of his fourth undergraduate year, he has been busy juggling Scottish Studies deadlines with promoting his new book, ‘Never, Ever Take Anybody’s Advice on Anything - And other advice on careers and life from successful Scots', which has been published by 404 Ink.

Euan has spent around four years collecting advice for the book, which he started while he and his friends were considering what to do when they left school in Aberdeenshire.

Asked what inspired him, he says “Myself and many of my friends were unsure what we wanted to do, and those of us that had an idea often didn’t know how to get there. On a couple of occasions I had met someone who had been successful in a career I was interested in and when I asked for their advice I got some really interesting responses back. I thought that asking this question to lots of successful people would be really useful for those unsure about how to reach their employment goals.”

A celebration of Scottish talent

As a Scottish Studies student, Euan spends his time at University exploring Scotland’s rich and fascinating heritage from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives.

As well as finding out how to get ahead in various fields, another factor in his deciding to write the book was how inspired he felt by Scotland’s talent.

As he explains: “There are people [in the book] everyone is aware of, but I also kept coming across very interesting and talented individuals who were known in their field of work but not necessarily to the wider public."

"In many ways the book is also a celebration of Scottish talent, highlighting some of the great things Scots are achieving today.”

Transferable skills

From writer Irvine Welsh and Scotland’s Makar Jackie Kay to the founders of organisations and businesses including Glasgow Women’s Library, Social Bite and BHP Comics, Euan has sourced advice from dozens of inspiring Scots in the arts, science, medicine, sports, the public, private and third sectors.

Tapping into this pool of talent took, as he says, “a lot of work and research. It was the result of a combination of emails, letters, calls, meeting with people and the odd chance encounter.”

“I could only approach people with my vision and hope for the best. Luckily many amazing people bought into the idea and decided to support the project which I am very grateful for.”

Asked what skills he’s developed over the course of his studies that have helped, Euan says: “I’d say the main one… is time management. University has a lot of deadlines and assessments which you have to plan for. I’ve had to balance my time well between my studies, part-time job, other activities and creating the book.”

Scottish Studies is a very fascinating degree with many areas of interest. As it is a multi-disciplinary programme, you can also explore other subject areas in the University, as long as they relate back to Scottish Studies. I would recommend doing this, as it gives you a broader outlook on the subject matter. I would advise students to utilise the School of Scottish Studies Archives on George Square, which features the archive and a library. It is a lovely resource and one I have made great use of.

We asked Euan for his own advice for anyone considering doing Scottish Studies

Never, Ever Take Anybody’s Advice on Anything - And other advice on careers and life from successful Scots (published by 404 Ink) is now on sale featuring advice from, among others, Olympians Katherine Grainger, Chris Hoy and Andy Murray, artist John Byrne, actor Alan Cumming, musicians Lauren Mayberry and Fran Healy, and DJ / presenter Edith Bowman. Part of the proceeds go to Social Bite, a collaborative movement to end homelessness in Scotland.

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Related links

Find out more about Euan's book on the 404 Ink website

Read an interview with Euan on The Scotsman's website

Read Euan's reflections on the legacy of Hamish Henderson