Peter Cowley

Dec 18, 2023

Public Success, Private Grief

A Conversation with Peter Cowley

New Books Network 2023

Richard and Kimon talk to Peter Cowley, angel investor and author of the book, Public Success, Private Grief. Peter started his career as a software engineer, moving to Germany after graduating from college. He returned to the United Kingdom in 1984, where he embarked on a career as an entrepreneur. He’s started over a dozen companies, worked closely with 7 different charities, and angel-invested in over 70 companies. Peter also has late-stage cancer, launching Project Cancer to document his experience and increase awareness.

Now 68, Peter was recently diagnosed with a type of lung cancer that affects non-smokers and is difficult to detect. Peter does not expect that current treatment will be effective, and is dedicating much of his remaining time to passing on the life lessons he’s learned. Peter’s bravery in the face of terrible illness is most visible in vulnerability talking about the challenges he’s faced in life.

Too often in the world of entrepreneurship and business, people downplay their struggles. Peter is an example of a business person with a holistic worldview, recognizing that there is more to life than mere monetary rewards.

Through Project Cancer, Peter documents his own experience with cancer. He’s featured interviews with researchers, and his personal oncologist, and examined the UK’s healthcare system, the NHS.

In Public Success, Private Grief, Peter opens up about more than just his ongoing struggle with cancer. He also discusses his family life, including bravely sharing his experience of losing two children. Peter is also a recovering alcoholic, having a family history of addiction.

Along with his wife, Peter wrote Public Success, Private Grief to show how people can process experiences of extreme tragedy and still maintain love and a sense of optimism about the positive aspects of life.

Peter has created a 350-day plan of the things he wants to do while he is still able. Public Success, Private Grief is slated for publication on April 17, 2024. Much of his time will serve in the release and promotion of this deeply personal self-help memoir.

In addition, Peter is planning a trip to Antarctica and has begun arranging short one-on-ones with various close friends. Some of his plans include taking a stand-up comedy course and eating at Michelin-star restaurants.

Peter describes the medical regimes he’s undertaken, highlighting how through his treatment, he’s remained active. Peter has run and half marathon and gotten married in the Galapagos. While many people suffering from a terminal illness might become less active, Peter credits his entrepreneurial taste for measured risk as an inspiration to keep living life fully.

Truly a one of a kind, Peter is unlike any guest Richard and Kimon have ever had on the Entrepreneurship and Leadership podcast. He has managed to turn his adversities into strengths, portraying the messy realities of life to contribute more value to others.

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About Peter Cowley

Invested Investor

Invested Investor on the New Books Network

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Richard Lucas and Kimon Fountoukidis

Richard Lucas is a business and social entrepreneur who founded, led and/or invested in more than 30 businesses.

Kimon Fountoukidis is the founder of both Argos Multilingual and PMR. Both companies were founded in the mid 90s with zero capital and both have gone on to become market leaders in their respective sectors. Kimon was born in New York and moved to Krakow, Poland in 1993. Listen to his story here.

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