Chris Clews on “Raised on The ’80s” Exclusive Interview

Raised on The '80s

Raised on The ’80s: 30+ Unexpected Life Lessons from the Movies and Music That Defined Pop Culture¹s Most Excellent Decade

Why is this subject important in the world?

Pop culture will always be important since it provides entertainment and an escape from both personal and world events. It can unify, which so few things can do. In terms of what I do in finding the life and work lessons in 80s pop culture, I hope that it provides people with a new lens to view what I think was the greatest decade for pop culture. Finding deeper meaning in characters like Prince Akeem from Coming to America, Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Ferris Bueller, the kids in The Breakfast Club, Mr. Miyagi, and more shows us that sometimes the best lessons for our life come from the most unexpected of places and people. Opening your mind to what is possible and where that possibility might come from is really important for personal growth. 

What is the pressing issue, right and how are you addressing it?

There are so many today, but I think a big and important focus right now is on health, wellness, and how it impacts our personal journey. I address this through several lessons in all of my books. For example, in my 2nd book, I talk about what Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid can teach us about recognizing and dealing with stress. At one point in the movie, he says, “Don’t forget to breath. Very important.” And it is very important. Stress is like dehydration. By the time you realize you have it, it’s too late. Take time to breath– whatever breathing is to you. Walk your dog, play with your kids, have a cup of tea, do yoga, work out, and meditate. And leaders in the workplace need to breathe as well. They say sh*t rolls downhill. Well, so does stress, and with a much larger impact. Leaders must also let their team members know they have the time to breathe. It is so important to communicate that. 

Chris Clews Biography

What is your background in this subject?

I just turned 52, which is actually a bit terrifying to say out loud. Like being chased through the woods by Jason in a hockey mask is terrifying. I’m not great at math, but I know that means I was born in 1970, which is equally terrifying to say out loud. All of my formative years – from age 10 to 19 – were in the 80s, so everything I did for the first time in my life, whether good, bad or indifferent, took place in the 80s. I’m proud to say that my first experience with Ferris Bueller-style rule-breaking came in 1982 when I was almost twelve years old. I bought a $2.00 movie ticket for E.T. and snuck into Fast Times at Ridgemont High. That simple decision was life-changing for a pre-teen. Having grown up in the 80s, being at a point where I’ve lived a bit, and being an 80s pop culture enthusiast gave me a pretty good background to start from with this endeavor. I spent over 20 years in corporate marketing, where I learned a lot about what to do and not to do when it comes to workplace culture and leadership so that I could apply those lessons to the first two books. My newest book focuses on life lessons from 80s pop culture, and it’s pretty cool to be at a point where you’ve experienced life enough to write about it in a way that’s different, unique, and hopefully fun for everyone.  

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

I’m a Dungeons and Dragons fan. I don’t play much anymore, but I enjoy reading about it and am super excited for the D&D movie coming out next year! I hope that it turns into a franchise. My red line is dressing up in medieval garb and battling in a field with foam swords as they did in the movie Role Models (not 80s but a fun one nonetheless).  I also met Andre, the Giant when I was a kid, which was one of the highlights of my youth and one of the reasons that I wrote about lessons from The Princess Bride in my 2nd book. There’s a picture somewhere, and I am determined to find it! 

What are your passions outside of your career?

Animal rescue is a huge passion of mine, and I’ll dive into that a bit more in the question of social causes. Staying fit and working out every day has always been a passion of mine, and when you pass the half-century mark in life, you definitely have to work at it more, but it’s worth it.  Hopping on my longboard skateboard to take the short trip to the beach. Playing sports has been a huge part of my life, although the ones I play have changed a little over time. I spend a lot of time with my dog Bodhi and enjoy experiencing new things with him or just going with him to local breweries in South Florida. I get a beer, and he gets some bacon. We both win. I basically live by a quote from the poet laureate Ferris Bueller who said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Raised on The ’80s

Tell me about your book.

Raised On The 80s: 30+ Unexpected Life Lessons from the Movie and Music That Defined Pop Culture’s Most Excellent Decade is the third book in my Ultimate Series on Essential Work & Life Lessons from 80s Pop Culture but the first one that focuses on life lessons rather than workplace lessons. Life lessons around confidence, individuality, judgment, legacy, decision making, “going for it”, living your life on your terms, passion, encouragement, belief in self, negotiating with yourself and others, personal growth, facing challenges, etc. And these life lessons come from nine 80s movies, including Road House, Field of Dreams, Trading Places, The Breakfast Club, Vision Quest, Can’t Buy Me Love, Cocktail, Die Hard, Dead Poets Society, and one musician who loved the color purple. Along the way, you’ll learn a bit more about growing up in the ‘80s through stories from my youth and today involving laughter, tears, and a lot of self-deprecating humor. You’ll also learn why I refer to 80s pop culture as this “variety of wonderful colors that an exploding glitter bomb produces” and why it continues to resonate and influence the pop culture scene four decades later. Of course, along the way, I hope that the reader has a lot of fun, learns something new about 80s pop culture that makes them want to explore it a bit deeper, and ultimately discovers a little something about themselves and their personal life journey. 

Are there any social causes that you believe in and support?

Yes! John Keating, who is played by Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, said, “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world,” which is absolutely true, but you have to walk that talk as well. Take action. I’m a huge advocate of animal rescue in general and, more specifically, pit bulls and bully breeds. I have a rescue pit mix named Bodhi (after Patrick Swayze’s character in Point Break – the original, not the remake), and he is awesome! Bully breeds are so misunderstood, and I want to do my part to educate people about these amazing and wonderful companions. There are so many great organizations doing tireless work to educate and advocate on behalf of bully breeds. Stand Up For Pits foundation is a great one to follow.  I also donate a portion of the proceeds from my speaking gigs and book sales to the rescue that saved Bodhi – WonderPaws Rescue – located in South Florida. 

What is next for you?

I focus on launching this book in late September, along with the growing number of keynote speaking engagements across the country that I have lined up for the remainder of 2022 and into early 2023. I’m already thinking about book #4 in the series and may have a few co-authors lined up. I’m just so fortunate to do what I truly love, finally. As Dr. Peter Venkman said in Ghostbusters, “I love this plan! I’m excited to be a part of it! LET’S DO IT!”

Best Children’s Books to Give for Holi and Diwali(Opens in a new browser tab)

Where can people buy the book?

My newest book – Raised On The ’80s: 30+ Unexpected Life Lessons from the Movie and Music That Defined Pop Culture’s Most Excellent Decadelaunches September 27th and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon in paperback and Kindle at 25% off retail.  

The other two books in the series (The Ultimate Series on Essential Work & Life Lessons from 80s Pop Culture) are also available on Amazon, with digital formats also available on Google Play, Apple Books, B&N, and more. 

Thanks for the megaphone, and Stay Rad, everybody!

Exit mobile version