Author, Media Consultant
From an early age, Kent had a fascination with the way things worked. As a kid, he tormented his parents with backyard explosions, cultures of microbes, model rocket launches, and dismantled appliances. A fan of Jacque Cousteau and the TV show, Sea Hunt, he began scuba diving at age fifteen.
He studied biology & oceanography at the University of Georgia for three years before eventually changing his major to business, but he never lost his fascination with the the natural world. He has studied Chaos and Complexity theory. His thirst to understand the world around him led to an eclectic career that spans many disciplines. His activities include:
- Starting his own photography business in Chapel Hill, NC at age twenty-three.
- Building his own house at age twenty-six.
- Obtaining a real estate broker’s and pilot’s license.
- Starting a homebuilding business in Atlanta, GA.
- Selling accounting and CAD-CAM software to the construction industry.
- Building a technology consulting firm called Unitech Associates, which is still active
- Helping to develop a national chain of portrait studios. (Glamour Shots)
- Writing the bestselling how-to book, The Complete Guide to Contracting Your Home.
- Becoming a media consultant and evangelist for the Drupal content management system
Kent Lester's writing career followed a circuitous route. During his early entrepreneurial years, writing a book was the furthest thing from his mind. But after building his own home and becoming a homebuilder in Atlanta, Kent saw the need for a book that could take an extremely complex project like homebuilding, and simplify it. He teamed up with friend Dave McGuerty to write The Complete Guide to Contracting Your Home. Now in its 4th edition, Contracting has sold over 300,000 copies and is considered the preeminent book on home construction, having been used as a textbook in several homebuilding courses.
On a dare from an old oceanography classmate, Kent decided to write his first novel. Joking that a good author writes about what he knows, Kent made a list: complexity, travel, scuba diving, oceanography, the environment, biology, genetic engineering. He drew from prior college studies, research into complexity theory, and a stint on the biosafety board of St. Joseph’s hospital. The final result was a disturbingly realistic plot that blurs the line between fact and fiction. Many of the fictional scenes in The Sixth Extinction have foreshadow recent events.
Media and Web Consultant
The roles of authors, publicists, readers, and publishers have been upended with the growth of the Internet and digital publishing. It’s not enough anymore to simply be an author. One has to be a public relations expert, a promoter, a social networker, a blogger, a publicist--the list goes on. As an evangelist for digital media and Drupal, Kent consults with businesses and authors who are reinventing themselves to match the new social paradigm. He is the co-founder of the Atlanta Drupal User’s Group and works actively in the community.
The terms “futurist” or “generalist” are unfamiliar to most, but they accurately reflect the latest trends in science. The Internet and social networking have highlighted the unique properties of complex networks. (Something that nature has known about for millions of years.) After managing several businesses and construction projects, Kent became fascinated with the similarities of these diverse but complex entities. The same tenets of complexity could be applied to an organism, a social network, a photography business, a house.
Computers have made it possible to study these tenets in detail. Chaos theory describes the inherent unpredictability of chaos, while Complexity theory highlights the unique ability of complex systems to self-organize. It is the unique interconnectedness of diverse systems that leads to unpredictable outcomes and fascinating insights. The new, social web, is dramatizing these insights to the public; insights that have remained elusive since the origin of life. Kent has become an authority on complexity theory and is planning several non-fiction works on the subject. He provides consulting to businesses who are looking to join the new “connected marketplace.”
Kent currently lives in Atlanta with his wife Penny. He continues to write and consult.
Favorite travel destinations: Tahiti, New Zealand, Bay Islands of Honduras, Ireland, England, Munich, China, Hawaii