Paul McKenna, 48, left school at 16 and became a radio DJ, working his way up from Radio Topshop to Radio 1. When a hypnotist appeared on his show in the 1980s he became fascinated with the practice and trained to become one himself. He began performing in theatres and then on television – The Hypnotic World of Paul McKenna began in 1993 and at its peak attracted 12 million viewers. He has now sold more than three million self-improvement books, which have been translated into more than 30 languages; his latest, I Can Make You Smarter, is out now. McKenna lives in West Hollywood, California, with his ex-girlfriend Clare Staples, who is also his manager. English breakfast I cook a fry-up (pictured) nearly every morning, with baked beans and a mug of PG Tips. I call it the breakfast of champions. You’ve got fuel in the engine to do things – I’m quite a motivated person, so I need it. Religion My childhood was really good until my parents sent me to a Catholic school, which I hated. I was brought up a Catholic but I didn’t really like the religion so I looked at other things and found Buddhism in my teens. Now I describe myself as unreligious: I believe in God, I just don’t believe in religion. Helping hand I like helping other people. There’s that Chinese saying: ‘If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else.’ Unusual cases I tend to get all kinds of people come to see me – from someone who wants to quit smoking to someone with trichotillomania, where they pull their hair out compulsively. One of the most bizarre ones was a lady who was frightened of bananas; if I got a banana out, she used to freak. Slip-ons My favourite everyday shoes are my Converse trainers (pictured) because they don’t have laces so you can just slide them on in the morning, and they go great with jeans. I tend to wear them until they fall apart and then go and buy another pair. I’m not one of those people with hundreds of training shoes. Meditation I usually meditate in the afternoon. I am currently practising a technique called Big Mind, which was developed by my friend Genpo Roshi, who is a Zen master. The objective is to expand your consciousness and lose your sense of self. Working out I got into yoga in my teens – I used to be fanatical about it, but I haven’t done it for a while. I go through periods of wanting to work out and then I get so busy that I don’t have time. My workout routine at the moment is just running around everywhere and generally being excited about life. Headphones I used to be a radio broadcaster so I’ve worn every pair of headphones going, but my favourites are these ones by Beats by Dr Dre (pictured). They give great noise cancellation and the sound is so phenomenal that you feel like you’re in a nightclub. The makers have accentuated the bass and the top end; it’s like putting MSG on food, it makes you go ‘wow’. Tunes Music is my favourite form of art; I go to concerts more than galleries. As a kid I loved the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Who and the Rolling Stones, and then disco became the most glamorous music and that really excited me. Over the years, many people have introduced me to different types of music – Kenny Everett used to say to me, ‘It’s all very well growing up on this pop music, but when you grow up you’ll enjoy classical.’ But I still enjoy music with a repetitive beat. Reading I tend to read biographies – I’ve just read Keith Richards’ and now I’m reading Richard Burton’s (pictured) – and psychology books. If I read about somebody who can do something really exceptional, I hunt them down and say, ‘Please teach me.’ Dogs I’m a doggy person. We have two Great Danes: Mr Big is eight and a half, so quite old for a Dane; Bentley is three and a giant – he’s only a couple of inches smaller than the tallest dog in the world, which is 43in tall and also a Dane. My favourite thing to do is to play with them on the couch. Bedtime I like watching things on TV before I go to bed at about 11.30pm – I love cop shows, such as The Mentalist, which I’m watching at the moment; it’s sort of a psychological Sherlock Holmes. I used to go clubbing a lot but I was in a club recently and the music was really loud and all I could think was, ‘I just can’t wait for this to end so I can go home.’ I think I may have become old.