On balance, I don't think I would change much at all. Although it does not seem so on a bad day, I have had a charmed life. As a result of doing badly in my finals at Cambridge - which at the time seemed a huge disaster - I could not do any of the conventional jobs, so I set up a market research company called SRU. This was the first of 10 start-ups, paving the way to a wonderfully independent and plural way of life. But more important for someone with as jagged and uncomfortable a personality as mine was that I then married a wife who has at all stages stood up to me, sorted me out and humanised me.
If I did have to start again, however, I would hope to be wise enough to do a few things differently. First and most importantly, I would invest more time learning how to handle people properly. Such people skills as I have gained have been learned painfully - at a cost to others and accompanied by a certain amount of hubris.
Second, I would also hope to have the wisdom to become more of a financial whizz. As luck would have it, I (and my business) have done OK financially and along the way I have managed to bring to bear enough common sense to avoid serious financial alarms. However, the fact that I know that I do not really understand the finer nuances of money and finance has frequently left me sleepless and far less confident than I should have been.
Lord Stevenson is chairman of Pearson, Halifax and the House of Lords Appointments Commission.