In the book Carry A Big Stick, David Gilchrist is touched by comedian Tim Ferguson’s account of his fascinating media career and his subsequent diagnosis with multiple sclerosis.


There is an old proverb that goes: "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." Australian comedian Tim Ferguson knows what it is like to do all three.

When you’re sitting in camp under your awning, reading a good book and slowly sipping on a chardonnay, consider making that book Ferguson’s Carry A Big Stick.

Between its covers you’ll discover a heartfelt story of how Ferguson, as a member of the Doug Anthony All Stars, enjoyed the celebrity life of the international comedy circuit, television and radio when a multiple sclerosis diagnosis hit him hard.

Multiple sclerosis is a poorly understood disease of the central nervous system that still perplexes medical science, despite 150 odd years since it was first described.

The worst part about this disease is its potential to completely disrupt the lives of those it afflicts. It can interfere with the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, yet there is no one symptom that indicates the presence of MS, nor is there a single test.

On rare occasions it can be benign, but more often, as with Ferguson, it brings about a slow deterioration in capabilities.

While it is completely impossible to fully get inside the head of anyone faced with the news that MS has invaded one’s life, Ferguson’s story goes a long way towards explaining its full extent. Along the way he welcomes the reader with warmth and sincerity and carries you through a heartfelt journey that is his life.

Beyond his MS diagnosis, Ferguson masterfully tells us about a boy who grow up attending nine schools in 13 years, and become a quality entertainer with his mates Richard Fidler and Paul McDermott.

The one element of Tim’s life that MS didn’t affect is his quick wit and remarkable sense of humour. Indeed, it is his humour that makes this book such a thoroughly entertaining read. So throw it in the glovebox and hurry to your next destination, or, better still, get someone else to drive.

Carry A Big Stick by Tim Ferguson is out now on Hachette. RRP is $35.00

YOUR SAY: Have you come across any books that have really left you touched?