Category: Business
Publication date: July 6, 2021
Extent: 136 pages

Exploding Turkeys and Spare Trousers

Adventures in global business

Ken Pasternak



From New York to Beijing, Paris to Juba, Moscow to Mexico City, Ken Pasternak’s distinguished career as a banker, management consultant, executive educator, author and keynote speaker has provided a wealth of experience with people and organizations internationally. In this book he shares some of the most memorable stories from his wide-ranging travels and his many encounters with different cultures, and draws out truths that still apply today in both life and business.

‘Inspiring!… Stories that pack profound insights… A great read for the fundamentals of business.’
New York Times #1 bestselling author of Triggers, Mojo, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

A former Director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Vice President at Citibank, Ken’s unique background combines experience in executive development, management consulting, institution building and corporate banking.
He is the co-author of Managing Your Strengths and Performance at the Limit, Business Lessons from Formula 1 Motor Racing.


Travels and Aphorisms. This is one of those quick, read any way you want type books that you can read straight through or you can read a short chapter in a few hurried minutes, in any order you want. Those familiar with Christian daily devotional books will recognize the overall format, though this is a purely secular book based on Pasternak’s near 50 years of travelling all over the globe as a high level corporate businessman. Filled with short yet interesting stories, many of them apparently already shared on his LinkedIn page in nearly the same (200 ish word) length, this is a great book for someone looking for a light read or a businessman looking for a business-oriented read with some solid truths in that space. Very much recommended.


Fun and enjoyable read. Beware this is not a business or investing book but a memoir of the author’s life experience that was fun, unusual and memorable. After each small story there is a lesson learned that was informative and at times interesting. I enjoyed traveling to all the interesting places the author has been and experience some the most memorable moments especially the F1 stories.


This work is a series of short notes and stories, each of which is no longer than a single page, about various events in the author’s life and what he has taken away from the experience described. Think a format similar to Aesop’s Fables.

This was a quick read for me. Each story was well-written and concise. This work would make an excellent gift book, or perhaps a restroom reader.


Love this book for its comfortable conversation, the feeling of the author’s presence. It is easy to read and plenty to learn. Simple stories with simple conclusions that drive you through the wisdom of the author aka coaching you through storytelling.


They say you can’t judge a book by its cover – or by its title – but I was immediately intrigued and hooked by both when introduced to Ken Pastenak’s wonderful new work, “Exploding Turkeys and Spare Trousers.” Part travelogue, part memoir, and part business book, with each vignette the author transports us in time and place, taking us along with him on a journey of international exploration and discovery. Through his insightful and often-humorous storytelling, reading this snapshot-filled book often felt like a chat with an old friend walking you through his business trip photo album, sharing one interesting and entertaining tale after another…each accompanied by a universal lesson in leadership and in life. And, as it can be read in any order – either from start-to-finish or at random – these light and tasty, appetizer-sized chapters collectively add up to one sumptuous and memorable meal.


This book is a heartwarming and uplifting read. The best part is how much the reader can identify with the life lessons, Mr. Pasternak has learned from his travels and encounters. And yes, these lessons are useful in business, but carryover to all of our shared experiences. The self effacing humor makes this little gem an easy read. Highly recommend.




Paperback / 9781788602815 / July 6, 2021 / £9.99

Ebook / 9781788602808 / July 5, 2021 / £4.99

Audiobook / 9781788602853 / May 11, 2021 / £4.99

Paperback and eBook Bundle / £11.24


Ken Pasternak

Ken’s unique background combines experience in executive development, management consulting, institution building and corporate banking. He has lived in six countries and worked with executives in the public and private sectors around the world. In his speaking engagements and workshops Ken focuses on building high performance organizations through visionary leadership, team effectiveness, creating a winning culture and improving cross-cultural understanding.

Previous to his more than twenty years in consulting and teaching, Ken was Director of Education and Training for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London; and prior to that he was Vice President at Citibank where over an 18-year career he was based in New York, London, Helsinki, Istanbul, Brussels, and the Channel Islands.

He has taught on Executive MBA programs at the Trulaske School of Business at University of Missouri, Aalto University (Helsinki), Koç University (Istanbul) Copenhagen Business School and lectured for Wharton Business School Abu Dhabi. His clients have included Ford Motor Company, Nokia, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Ecobank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, American Tower, Newmont Goldcorp and Bosch Automotive to name just a few.

He is the co-author of Performance at the Limit, Business Lessons from Formula 1 Motor Racing published by Cambridge University Press (3rd edition 2016) which served as inspiration for an eight-part BBC World television series (2007) titled “Formula for Success.” Performance at the Limit is available in Japanese, Turkish and Chinese.

Ken is also the co-author with Allan Katcher of Managing Your Strengths (2002) which discusses Life Orientations® as a practical strength-based methodology for gaining better self-understanding and developing successful strategies for improving one’s effectiveness with others.

In March 2019 he was selected to join Marshall Goldsmith’s 100 Coaches cohort. Worldwide, one of just 160 people from 16,000 applications.

In 1998, Ken was awarded the title of Academician of the Russian Federation by a consortium of seven major Russian universities in recognition for his efforts in establishing a country-wide network of business centers focused on training and supporting small and medium size enterprises. During his career, Ken has been instrumental in establishing teaching institutions in Istanbul, Beijing, Budapest, Moscow, and Tashkent. Representing the EBRD, he played a key role in establishing the Joint Vienna Institute (JVI) in close collaboration with the IMF, World Bank, OECD, EU and World Trade Organization. He was twice the Institute’s Chairman and for over 20 years, Ken taught seminars four weeks a year at the JVI to thousands of executives from countries undergoing major transformation and change.

Ken has been a member of the International Council of the American Management Association, the Academy of Management, and the Association for Talent Development.

A graduate of Yale University, Ken is a citizen of the USA and Finland and splits his time between Helsinki and Boca Raton, Florida.