Author B. W. Prescott is the public persona of an anonymous, 57-year-old, white male who has spent his entire life contending with serious mental illness and addictions within his birth family. The problems caused by these mental illnesses and addictions have included medical issues and extended hospitalizations, civil litigation, arrests and criminal prosecution, terminations of employment, financial hardships, life-threatening physical violence, and social ostracization. Compounding these issues was the culture of Ben’s puritanical, ultra-conservative, and social climbing extended family that denied any suggestion that either a mental illness or addiction existed, and rigidly enforced a code of silence so as not to tarnish their public image.
When a series of catastrophic events unfolded in 1974 that were so severe that they could no longer be silenced or ignored and which publicly revealed the full magnitude of the problem, Ben, in a mixture or despair, rebellion, and an attempt to anesthetize himself from the pain, buried himself in school and work, and went on an eight-year drug and alcohol fueled bender that nearly ruined him. After hitting rock bottom, and after experiencing a life-changing, not-of-this-world encounter that he can only attribute to Devine intervention, Ben began the process of rebuilding his life and pursuing the path towards emotional intelligence that has become the basis of this book. Over the next thirty years, Ben remarried and raised a family; became a successful entrepreneur; buried half his family; stood by others as they battled cancer; suffered his own life-changing injury; became a multimillionaire–and then lost most of that fortune after 9/11. Along the way he discovered what life is about and realized what he’s supposed to do with the life he has been given.
Today, he is a “C” level executive, management consultant, and author with extensive expertise in the healthcare and technology industries. Ben has been a member of the executive teams of three very successful technology companies taking each from the earliest stages, through multiple financing rounds and rapid growth, to exits through either an initial public offering or acquisition by a larger publicly traded company. In 2000 a company that Ben co-founded and served as President and Chief Operating Officer was honored by the Smithsonian Institution as being one of the ten most innovative technologies on the planet out of field of nearly 4,000 global nominees. He has been a trusted advisor to the senior executives of companies such as Hewlett-Packard, W.R. Grace, Morgan Stanley, Blackstone, MetLife, United Healthcare, Ernst & Young, Microsoft, and many other Fortune 500 clients. He currently coaches and advises entrepreneurs and CEOs of early to late stage technology companies and serves as the Managing Director of the knowledge management, advanced analytics, and big data practice for a technology accelerator and venture fund based in California.
Driven by his life experience and a burning need to ensure that others do not have to silently suffer with the twin issues of mental illness and addiction with which he has so long contended, Ben has made these issues a focus of his personal and professional existence. He has authored several articles and book chapters on the application of technology for managing the delivery of clinical services and the administration of public health and patient navigation initiatives. He has edited three books on patient and family journeys through addiction and mental illness. He has been a featured speaker and presenter at several national and international healthcare and technology conferences. He has spent decades working with various Children’s Hospitals and National Alliance on Mental Illness chapters across the United States on outpatient and community outreach programs designed to mentor and serve the physical and emotional needs of patients and families dealing with abuse, addiction and mental illness. In other volunteer efforts he has worked with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Boy Scouts of America, and several school districts on mentoring programs to educate and equip at-risk children and adolescents.
He is a former Big Four CPA and Consultant. He pursued his doctorate in Organization Behavior and earned his MBA from programs that were rated in the top five in the nation. He holds bachelor degrees in Economics and Psychology from the University of California. Ben has been married for over 27 years to an educator and parent coach who has dedicated her professional and personal life to the nurture and development of children. Together they are the proud parents of two grown children, a son and a daughter, who carried on the family tradition of swimming, water polo, and lifeguarding. Their son is an Eagle Scout. Their daughter was in the Assistance League and volunteered her time to help homeless families and children of abuse. Both kids are recent college graduates who now work in the software and healthcare industries. Ben maintains his sanity by surfing and hiking the coastal hills and valleys of his native California.
To improve the Emotional Intelligence of America,
To speed the Recovery of those who’ve suffered the effects of Abuse, Addiction & Mental Illness.
To build awareness of the fact that Recovery is a Choice,
To give people the tools they need to make the Best Choices (Recoveries) possible, and
To have a few laughs (and not take ourselves too seriously) along the way.
What makes you proud to be a writer from Orange County, CA? I take no particular pride in being an author from the OC, other than to provide evidence that not everyone who lives here is a shallow, vacuous, materialistic idiot.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I have been involved with mentoring kids and families struggling with abuse, addiction, and mental illness for about ten years. I first got involved in that work because I grew up in a family ravaged by addiction and mental illness. These conditions are insidious in their ability to undermine and cripple the development of healthy human relationship. I just got to the point where I couldn’t stay silent any longer. If sharing any part of what I had gone through could help someone coming down the road behind me, then I had to do it.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? Although I had started writing Managing Your Inner A**hole beforehand, it was only about a year and a half ago, following a string of deaths of old friends and colleagues, that I decided to try to get it published.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? Absolutely, as I said above my family history is the motivation for this work.
Did you come up with your title before or after you wrote the manuscript? The title actually came well before the manuscript. I threw it out in a conversation with my son about ten years ago as a joke about the obvious—we all have an Inner A**hole and we all struggle to manage it—only the truly frightening or delusional fail to recognize and/or admit this fact.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? Emotional intelligence and the development thereof. I prefer this genre because I think it has been so poorly covered in the past and because I believe it is so desperately lacking in our society.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? Clarifying and articulating for myself what I have learned. You never learn material like when you attempt to teach it.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? Actually no. I guess I’ve been lucky in this regard.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? The ability to connect with people like you and share stories about what we’ve learned. I truly believe that people are our bottom line. The greatest gift of my life has been the people I’ve met along the way. People are my wealth and my joy. The anticipation of sharing and connecting with the untold number of wonderful friends–whom I have simply yet to meet–is a real motivator for me.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Write from your heart.
Who is your favorite author? Henry Adams
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? The power to shape and change our individual and collective future lies within our hands. We each have the power of choice, but too often we either fail to recognize that fact or fail to exercise that power. We need to become increasingly mindful of that power and to hold our selves (and others) accountable for the choices we make.
How many published books do your have? One under this pseudonym.
Why did you write under a pseudonym? Because some of the stories I share in the book deal with some horrific examples of abuse, addiction, and mental illness. Several of the people victimized by these events are still living. To publicly identify myself now would subject them to undo trauma and heartache by digging up old wounds. When they are all gone, I will step forward with my real name.
Which book title would you like featured in this interview? Managing Your Inner A**hole: An Unusual Education in the Fundamentals of Emotional Intelligence.
What would you want people to know about this book? Don’t be put off by the title. The book is probably not what you think it is. This is a serious story told in a completely unconventional way.
“Have you ever let your emotions get the better of you? Have you ever felt like events, or circumstances, or other people were controlling you—instead of you being in control of you? Have you ever acted in a way that you later regretted because you were caught off guard, or were tired, or angry, or hurt, or frustrated, or didn’t really know what to do, or just didn’t have the time you needed to think through how you should respond to something or someone before you actually did? Have you ever hated yourself afterward, or wondered how you could be so dumb?
Have you ever wondered why nobody ever wrote down a practical set of step-by-step, bulletproof guidelines for developing and maintaining a healthy relationship? Or have you ever wondered why, if there really is a God and He really is the Creator of the universe, why He didn’t bother to take the time to leave us a simple list of instructions for dealing with the biggest emotional challenges of our lives?
If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, then this book is for you! That list of bulletproof instructions not only exists, God wrote them. Managing Your Inner A**hole is an unvarnished, unconventional look at the greatest practical advice the Bible has to offer without a hint of preaching, pretense, or posturing. Imminently logical without the guilt-trip, compassionate and humble without judgment or condemnation, this is a story of acceptance and empowerment about what it means to really love, what you have to do to really grow, and the surprisingly simple steps you can take right now to manage your own Inner A**hole and build a happier, healthier life and network of relationships than you ever dreamed possible.”