Robert Ashton

Robert Ashton

Social entrepreneur, Quaker and author
Booking enquiry
Robert Ashton - author tools

Available for

Workshop, Talk, Reading, Interview, Commission a book


Age 14 to 16, Age 16 to 18+, Further Education, University, Adult


Biography, Business, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Self-help

Book types

Non-fiction for adults


Robert Ashton is a social entrepreneur, author and Quaker. Over the years he has set up a marketing agency, advised countless growing businesses, founded a social enterprise that provides apprenticeship training and successfully campaigned for the establishment of his local community foundation.

His books on starting and growing a business are accessible, practical and based on experience rather than theory. His presentation style is informal, inclusive and engaging. The stories he tells about the successful ventures he has worked with, and some of the tough lessons he learned along the way inform, inspire and help people see their own opportunity. He has also written a book about prejudice and another about homelessness and believes that everyone should have an equal chance in life.

In 2019 he took a year off to study, graduating from the University of East Anglia with a creative writing MA. His dissertation was the first three chapters of a book that explore how rural life continues to evolve. His research revealed that people are rediscovering a sense of community that had all but been lost over the past 60 years when we al became more mobile and supermarkets replaced village shops.

Climate change and the energy crisis are driving a return to ways our great grandparents would recognise. Robert enjoys helping groups see how the past is informing our future, helping group see their world a little differently. 

Robert believes in leading by example and is currently seeking planning consent to build an earth sheltered, hugely energy efficient dwelling that will allow him to live without using any fossil fuels. Called Dial Corner, this new home will have south facing windows and thick walls that store warmth from the sun, releasing it back into the rooms at night. It will generate its own power from an array of solar panels and export the surplus onto the grid.

He lives in rural Norfolk with his wife of almost 40 years and a colony of feral cats.

Books by Robert Ashton

While I will always be a social entrepreneur, I am now writing books that I hope will help others change the world. I graduated in 2020 from the University of East Anglia with a creative writing MA and am currently working on a book about how life is evolving in rural East Suffolk, building on the work of oral historian George Ewart Evans. My research showed that people are starting to return to almost forgotten ways, and rediscovering the sense of community that has been almost lost over the past 50 years.
Any Spare Change

Any Spare Change

Nobody sets out to become homeless or to sleep rough. But circumstances can conspire against you, leaving you vulnerable, frightened, very alone and perhaps even abused. Norwich Quaker Robert Ashton decided to he wanted to understand what led people to live sleep rough in our cities and spent summer 2019 talking to people in and around the streets of his city. 
How to be a Social Entrepreneur

How to be a Social Entrepreneur

A book for budding social entrepreneurs, written by an experience soxial entrepreneur. This book tells you what you need to know to lead sustainable social change in our world 
The Entrepreneur's Book of Checklists

The Entrepreneur's Book of Checklists

Easy to navigate and simple to read, The Entrepreneur's Book of Checklists is not written to be read froom cover to cover, more to become an invaluable source of reference at every stage of the small business journey. As important as an evangelist's bible, or a car mechanic's workshop, this book will be used, heavily bookmarked and become a much worn friend. Each checklist is backed up by supporting advice or a real life case study - see how the tips have already helped someone just like you. 
Sales for Non-Salespeople

Sales for Non-Salespeople

If you know how to sell, you know how to succeed. Selling is the most important, and perhaps the most misunderstood workplace skill. Once you understand how to sell you will become more persuasive, naturally and confidently. This book has four sections, enabling the reader to focus on their most pressing need: * Selling basics - a simple, explicit guide to the sales process; * Selling yourself - and how to get noticed, connected and respected; * Selling to colleagues - presenting, persuading and getting promoted; * Selling to customers - winning orders and succeeding in shops & at show 
How to Start Your Own Business for Entrepreneurs

How to Start Your Own Business for Entrepreneurs

Relevant to entrepreneurs of any experience, it covers absolutely every aspect of starting a business from bullet-proof plans to the best way to structure a business for a successful sell-on later. It includes information on brand management, customer service, marketing, financials and staffing, so you are fully prepared to set sail on your business journey. 
The Life Plan

The Life Plan

Changing your life does not have to be a daunting process. All you need to remember, is that the key to successful life change is lots of small, but positive steps, that together create huge impact. The Life Plan contains 700 of these small steps, leading you step by step through each area of your life.