The Alphabet of the Human Heart: The A to Zen of Life


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The Alphabet of the Human Heart is Mathew Johnstone’s fourth book. He is the author of one of our favourites I Had a Black Dog and Living with a Black Dog which have been international best sellers.

Illustrations and words combine to take you on a journey through the ups and downs of life and articulates our hopes, fears, strengths and weaknesses that we all share from time to time. The author shares his insights on how to manage some of fears and find ways to achieve happiness.

By Matthew Johnstone and James Kerr

 I co-created the A to Zen of Life with my life-long friend, James Kerr who lives in London. I’d been tinkering around with the idea for this for over 12 years but I realised that to do it properly I needed someone with better word skills than I.

From day one, we began creative ping-pong from around the world. In many ways creating this book with James was perfect timing. We were old and wise enough to have come through some of life’s ups and downs with a fair degree of perspective and reflection. Anyone from 8 to 80+ will get something out of this book. Thanks to some savvy PR this book went to number 3 in the UK charts and number 1 in self-help. Y is for Yay!!!

Author Bio:

Matthew Johnstone had 15 years + as a creative in advertising where he worked in Sydney, San Francisco and New York. He worked for some of the world’s best agencies and won many industry awards.

In 2005 he published I Had a Black Dog an illustrated book on what it is to suffer depression and what can be learnt from it. This book has been a best seller and is now published in 20+ countries.

In 2008, with his wife Ainsley, he published the sequel Living With a Black Dog, a guide to those who care for people living with depression. This also was a best seller and made the top 10 best-selling books in the UK in February 2009.

In October 2009 Matthew, along with his co-author; James Kerr, published Alphabet of the Human Heart: The A to Zen of Life. It’s a book about balance. This book went to number 3 in the UK in March 2011.

His new book, Quiet the Mind is an illustrated guide on how to meditate which came out in March 2012 and went to number 1 in the UK book sales.

His two latest books: The Big Little Book of Resilience and Capturing MIndfulness 

Matthew also works as the Creative Director of the Black Dog Institute developing various creative, educational programs on understanding mental health, mood disorders, mindfulness and resilience for schools and the work place.

He also delivers talks to community groups, schools, corporations, health resorts, sporting groups and the farming community. He has talked extensively all over Australia and the UK.

When he’s not working for the Institute he is an author, illustrator and father of two.