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by Rachel Hutchisson, Business Doing Good & Blackbaud, Inc.

School’s out!  At least it is in my house.  And that means a lot of things, including summer reading.

I’m always interested — more interested than my kids, I’m sure — to see what the teachers assign.  Beowulf, A Passage to India, 1984, A Brave New World…all good, important things to read.  But I also look at summer as a time for my kids to relax and dip into something completely different.  Something read by choice, out of interest, that helps them just be.

Of course, that means I’m always on the lookout for books that might appeal.  And I just found one in the soon-to-be-released teen version of Marcus Samuelsson’s memoir Yes, Chef.  This book, due out on June 9th, is called Make it Messy: My Perfectly Imperfect Life, and it’s targeted at teens.

I read Yes, Chef: A Memoir, back when it was released, and I enjoyed it not just because it was about food.  I enjoyed his voice, his story and the way he talked so openly about the challenges he had faced in life.  How those challenges ultimately prepared him for opportunity and made him who he is today.  I genuinely loved the book, and when I was finished, thought “my kids should read this.”  And they certainly could as there’s nothing in the book that precludes a teenager from dealing with the content. 

But then along comes this new version, aimed specifically at teens, turning Samuelsson’s memoir into more direct advice for kids trying to find their way.  Kids who are thinking about where they fit in school, what college path to follow, what life could or might bring them.  So I’ve placed my order, taking that risk that my $15 will bear fruit in the form of a “yea, that looks interesting” response when I pass it under the nose of a teen living in my house. 

To be serious, I’m not just doing this because I want my kids to read.  I’m doing this because I care about what’s next in life.  And Samuelsson touches on so many important themes so well, including the importance of heritage, of the farm-to-table approach in cooking, of not losing sight of who you are as you journey to new places and try out new things.  All of us in the business of doing good probably share this desire, to help not only our kids but anyone get the bug — to do good work that you enjoy, to do it well, and to do it in a way to helps the world.  That’s the ideal.

So check out the book.  See what you think.  And share it with the kids you know who might, someday, be the people you want working for your business.

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