“Ahead Of Her Time”

In all honesty, I have only ever read one memoir. 

I’m not really one for reading about how other people do things, as I like to take complete ownership and make my own way forward.

However, that seems to have been my problem!

So, when I was offered the chance to read a new memoir, ‘Ahead Of Her Time‘ by Judy Piatkus, I thought…I’d be a bit silly not to!

I had already been given the opportunity to publish an article written by her on how you can run a business and be a parent at the same time, so this seemed like it would be a very interesting read already!

In 1979, Judy Piatkus founded what would become a global publishing brand – Piatkus Books – from her spare bedroom.

A single mother, with a child with learning disabilities, at a time when being a self-made woman entrepreneur was rare, Judy defied expectations, influencing, shaping, and giving rise to a new industry of personal growth and development publishing.

Who would not be moved and motivated by reading about such an inspiring woman’s journey to success?

Here is my honest review of this fascinating and motivational book…

First Impressions

Judy’s first taste of entrepreneurship came when she worked at Robert Hale and was asked to become a reader for the company in her spare time. It was a role, which was heavily based on her own opinions but which offered her an extra income.

After a year, she decided to start her own business with another woman (neither of them had the first idea about how to start a business from scratch) and from there, she just kept moving further and further towards success.

I was impressed and motivated to read about how she had to take so many small steps to achieve the first step on her journey.

We can often get disheartened by how many “small jobs” we have to push through, just to move up ONE rung on the ladder!

Moving up the ladder…

In 1974, aged just 24 years old, Judy launched her joint-venture business Severn House with her friend and colleague Edwin Buckhalter and just £2500 in loans from friends and family.

Just four years later, Judy had earned a whopping £50,000 (that was a whole lot of money in 1978!). She was pregnant with her second child – her first daughter was two-years old at the time, and she decided to sell her shareholding in Severn House to her partner, Edwin.

In 1979, at four months pregnant, Judy launcher her own sole-venture publishing company, which she registered under her own name – now known as Piatkus Books.

As a senior business-woman, there were no working women clubs or meetings and Judy had to develop her professional career in a world where men were the leaders of most business sectors – including in book publishing.

Using contacts that Judy had made in her previous positions, she was able to get herself more work. Here, Judy reminds us of just how important it is to network in any sector or niche.

In her book, Judy also makes it very clear that she listened to all advice that was given to her – from career guidance counsellors at school, to the owners of her largest library wholesalers.

One part of this book, which made me really quite emotional was the following:

“My younger daughter was not born when I published the first of those novels. One day, many years later, when she was fourteen, she came home from school and said, “Mum, there’s a novel I really want you to buy for me. All the girls in my class are talking about it.”

“What’s it called?” I asked.

“It’s Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews,” said my daughter. “Darling, I published it before you were even born!” I replied.

It was such a thrilling moment for both of us.”

This is something that all mothers wish for.

Especially single mothers like myself!

For our children to be proud of us for something they didn’t even know we did. For them to know that we had built something ourselves before they were born, so that we could give them and ourselves a better life. And, for us to feel that pride in knowing that we made our child just as proud of us as we are of them.



Overall, I found this book to be extremely insightful.

It was great to see how another single mother, with a child with learning disabilities was able to propel herself and her business into such an amazing place in the publishing world!

This memoir is a lovely and heart-warming read, with so many tips on how Judy Piatkus was able to carve her success into what it is today.

Judy worked with huge writers, who were not even heard of when she first started to work with them. She helped create bestsellers and a global platform for people and authorities in their fields, such as Mary Berry, David Allen, Brian L. Weiss and Jon Kabat-Zinn (amongst many others).

‘Ahead of her time’ details the turbulent experiences and risks that Judy had to take in order to launch Piatkus Books in the first place. It shows us that the courage she had really can be achieved by all of us.

I also personally learned some fabulous ideas for how I can reinvent certain ideas for my own jewellery business and how to build a brand identity, which actually fits my own ideals for how I want to present myself and my business to the world. Rather than trying to fit solely into what it is that I think others would want to see.

Of course, what others want is extremely important too, but staying strong in your own values and identity is clearly the most important factor in building a brand identity.

Judy Piatkus. Single Mum. Entrepreneur. Inspiration.


Judy Piatkus is an entrepreneur, publisher and business coach specialising in conscious leadership.

She founded Piatkus Books when she was in her 20s and grew the company to become an international brand, before selling it in 2007, just before the global financial crash that she had shrewdly foreseen.

She is now a keynote speaker and a coach and mentor to start-ups. In 2011 she founded Conscious Café, a network that brings people together for connection and discussion.


Twitter: http://twitter.com/judypiatkus

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/judy.piatkus/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/judypiatkus/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/judypiatkus/

Give ‘Ahead of Her Time’ a read for yourself and let us know if it helps you to become the entrepreneur of your dreams.

This book review was part of a gifted collaboration with Judy Piatkus, author of ‘Ahead Of Her Time’. All thoughts are of my own honest opinion.