John Brodie Donald is the author of two books Catataxis and Bolt from the Blue.  This site explores the main themes in those two books through blog posts for readers who seek further material

An ex-Investment Banker, John now works as a cyber expert in the insurance industry and is based in Sevenoaks, Kent. He is a senior lecturer on the  Security and Risk Management MBa Course (SRMC) run by the Frontier Risks Group. He is also an accredited mediator for Family and Commercial disputes.

He is also the progenitor of the Lost London Churches Project 

As a sideline, he also produces maps and cartographic illustrations for publications like this Contact me if you are interested in commissioning one…


Catataxis is the confusion between different levels; a misunderstanding of the difference between the micro and the macro. It comes from two Greek words. The first “kata” meaning down or through as in catastrophe or cataclysm. The second “taxis” meaning rank or level, as in taxonomy. So catataxis is a confusion or breakdown between hierarchical levels.

There are four maxims of Catataxis:

1.    More of the same is different
      2.   Complexity requires simplicity
      3.   Order requires chaos
      4.   Categorisation destroys information


Bolt from the Blue

A guide for every CEO faced with a disaster not of his own making, such as a regulatory intervention or a cyber attack. Donald and Pullen provide a strategic guide to a CEO who is facing potential armageddon. They explain why dealing with a regulatory intervention is not just a matter for lawyers and why you need the full spectrum of PR, shareholders, stakeholders and government all on side. This book spells out the lessons that can be learnt from the biggest regulatory disasters of the last 15 years. It explains what steps can be taken to get through a regulatory intervention and come out the other side with both reputation and company intact.

About Me






John Brodie Donald was born in London and spent his early life shuttling between the Far East and boarding schools in the UK.





He worked for  20 years as an Investment Banker in Asia and Europe with Phillips and Drew, Jardine Fleming and ING Barings. During this time he spent 7 years living in Japan and a further 7 in Hong Kong.





He left the financial services sector to run a Scotch Whisky company in 2004 and has since been involved in a variety of business ventures and startups in cyber security, business intelligence, internet platforms and alternative assets. He is the CEO of Quadrant Four Risk which is based in Sevenoaks, Kent and provides a variety of risk management services.