When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Simon Jenkins: Get back in and do two hours writing.

TG: What gives you energy?
SJ: Biking.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
SJ: Debating with my wife.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
SJ: Dave Eggars – The Circle [I gave up all social media].

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
SJ: Certainly not.

TG: How do you deal with email?
SJ: By return every three hours.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
SJ: Re-revise anything I have just written.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
SJ: Moving house after divorce.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
SJ: After divorce, I moved houses.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
SJ: Socrates: ‘Beware the barrenness of a busy life. 

Simon Jenkins is a journalist and author. He writes weekly for the Guardian and has edited the Evening Standard and The Times. He was chairman of the National Trust from 2008-14 and previously deputy chairman of English Heritage. He served on the boards of British Rail, London Transport and the Museum of London. His books include works on London’s architecture, the press and British politics. His best-sellers include England’s “thousand best” churches and houses, his study of Thatcherism and a Short History of England. His most recent work is on railway architecture. He is current writing a short history of Europe.