All of us would probably want more time to read books. Those of you who sleep only four or five hours a night may have found that your regimen allows you to get through your “Must Read” list.
But if you’re like me, who really needs those eight hours to re-energize, the only time I seem to get for non-work related reading involves waiting: waiting at the doctor’s office; waiting for a flight; waiting to get to my destination on a flight; or waiting on automotive maintenance or repair.
But as the cash register jingles of the holidays approach, it might make sense to get ahead of the game and purchase two books that have piqued my interest. This way, you’ll have them ready when “waiting” for someone, something or somewhere.
First is a work from an author that many of you have either met or heard about. You actually may have tasted his chocolate. And that’s last year’s 2017 Candy Industry Kettle Award nominee and Springfield, Mo.-based chocolate maker Shawn Askinosie.
Next week he will visit high school senior classes in the Springfield public school district to discuss his book, “Meaningful Work: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul,” which he co-authored with his daughter, Lawren.
In the book — due out next Tuesday — Askinosie, a former criminal defensive attorney, describes his quest to discover more meaningful work. That search led him to volunteering in the palliative care wing of a hospital; visiting a Trappist monastery where he became inspired by the monks’ focus on “being” rather than “doing”; and eventually searching through jungles across the globe for cocoa bean farmers to make award-winning chocolate.
Askinosie shares his hard-won insights into doing work that reflects one’s values and purpose in life. He shares with readers visioning tools that can be used in any industry or field to create a work life that is inspired and fulfilling. And he shows us that everyone has the capacity to find meaning in their work and be a positive force for good in the world.
During his visit to five local high schools, Askinosie will challenge the students to seek work that reflects their values and purpose in life. The presentation will highlight tools that can be used at any age and in any industry or field to create a work life that is inspired and fulfilling.
As he explains, “I am honored by the opportunity to launch the book at my alma mater, Glendale High School, and share the lessons of finding meaningful work with this important audience. The high school students in these SPS assemblies today are the business leaders of our community tomorrow.”
In similar fashion, yet from a totally different perspective, Steven Wallace, a former lawyer and t-shirt distributor from Wisconsin, describes his experiences in traveling to Ghana and setting out to build the Omanhene Cocoa Bean Co. In “Obroni and The Chocolate Factory: An Unlikely Story of Globalization and Ghana’s First Gourmet Chocolate Bar,” (Skyhorse, Nov. 21, 2017) Wallace shares his incredible journey.
The book, as the press release describes, “is a colorful tale that takes readers around the world, from the residence of Ghana’s head of state, to the Amsterdam offices of a secretive cocoa conglomerate, to a meeting with a Bond-esque nemesis. Wallace tells how he is forced to deal with bureaucratic roadblocks, a legacy of colonialism, inscrutable international politics, as well as a constant uncertainty about whether he'll go broke before his bean-to-bar chocolate company can even get off the ground.”
In a Q&A contained in the press release, Wallace responds to what was behind the motivation for someone from Milwaukee to open the first gourmet chocolate company in West Africa. His response is inspiring:
“When I was 16, I lived in Ghana with my host family. It was a transformative experience, and I wanted a way to return to that evocative place. As a first-born son, I had always been doted on, living in a petri dish of family encouragement and creativity that infused me with the belief that accomplishment was possible, even if I was young and inexperienced. I believed failure was not something to be dreaded — I could face it if needed and deal with setbacks. I realized I didn't want to be 80 years old and regret not having tried this.”
Now to be totally transparent — that is the fashion these days, isn’t it? — I have not read either book yet, but plan to do so. I just wanted to let our readers know that chocolate, aside from being inspirational to create and consume, is also a powerful, life-changing elixir.
And here are two books that prove it.