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What Do Lost Explorer Benedict Allen and John Quinlan’s “boot-eaters” Have in Common? Papua New Guinea!
John Quinlan John Quinlan
Detroit, MI
Sunday, November 19, 2017

John E. Quinlan is the founder and CEO of Growth Strategies
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Remote, mysterious and still known as "the land of the unexpected," Papua New Guinea is where tribal warfare continues with bows and arrows, sorcery abounds and cannibalism stories still filter out from remote mountain areas.


While Benedict Allen's story about going missing and then being found a few days later has gone viral, his relatively brief adventure is tame compared to what Detroit/Grosse Pointe resident John E. Quinlan endured during his seven years of building and running a coffee business in the rainforest of Papua New Guinea with more than 2,400 tribal farmers.

According to Quinlan, the term 'boot-eaters' was the common name of the Oro Kaiva people where he worked and lived. "They were called boot-eaters because people in that region previously didn't realize that boots were separate from the person wearing them, and so they would eat people, boots and all, during their cannibal years, which ended in the mid-1960s," says Quinlan.

Quinlan had set out with his Papua New Guinea wife to develop a sustainable livelihood for several thousand rural coffee farmers in a region where many had never seen a tall white American, and where electricity, piped water and external communications were nonexistent.

He committed to total immersion in the tribal Papua New Guinea landscape, to being open and vulnerable with them, and gained deep insights into sharply differing human cultures and into himself as he tried to live out a vision of change. The secluded mountain rainforest home of John and his wife became a center of both profound joy and constant anxiety, where death was more than a possibility on numerous occasions.

But it wasn't the boot-eaters or the bows and arrows that nearly ended Quinlan's life. It was an assassination attempt with rifles, and there were no helicopters to rescue him and his wife. 

Being lost in Papua New Guinea can take many different paths. Satellite phones and GPS can help people navigate the geography. The real difficulty, though, the challenge, is in understanding how the tribes react and interact with foreigners. It's being able to stay open not just for a few weeks, but for as long as it takes. And, for a stranger in a strange land, it's also recognizing when those spears get too close and having the courage to walk away intact and not remain lost.

John Quinlan has been inspired to share his story and his unique learning's and perspectives with others, especially business leaders. Quinlan returned to the States and wrote a book about his experience, Tau Bada: The Quest and Memoir of a Vulnerable Man. "Tau Bada" means "big white man" and relates to his strikingly different appearance compared to the general population there.

He continues to apply what he's learned to his consulting work for executives, business leaders and small groups. Quinlan recently presented his story at TEDx Wilmington.


Tau Bada: The Quest and Memoir of a Vulnerable Man (ISBN 978-1-63413-956-4, 2016), MCP Books, paperback, 333 pages, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the author's website:  http://www.TauBada.com  View the book trailer here: http://bit.ly/TauBadaBookTrailer


About John E. Quinlan

John E. Quinlan is the founder and CEO of Growth Strategies Global LLC, an organization development consulting firm that specializes in family-founded and closely held businesses. He has been a founder and chief executive officer of a publicly traded company, a leadership coach, and a management consultant in the United States, and owned a fishing business and a coffee plantation in the South Pacific. After the humiliation of losing his publicly traded company in 1985, Quinlan began a motorcycle trek through the United States – a quest for self-discovery that led him to the woman he would marry. What he learned on his travels over the past 40 years turned into the book Tau Bada, and gave him the strategies he uses today that make him so successful as a consultant. Married to Fiona, he has three stepdaughters and resides in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and in Cairns, Australia.

Media Contact: For a review copy of Tau Bada or to arrange an interview with John Quinlan, contact Scott Lorenz of Westwind Communications Book Marketing at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on twitter @abookpublicist



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Name: Scott Lorenz
Dateline: Plymouth, MI United States
Direct Phone: 734-667-2090
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