On Life and Meaning: 100 Essays Inspired by 100 Guests

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In On Life and Meaning: 100 Essays Inspired by 100 Guests, Mark Peres profiles 100 guests who have appeared on the On Life and Meaning podcast. Each profile collects personal remarks by the author shared at the end of each podcast episode and “final thoughts” about the journey of life we are on.

The book is for readers who are interested in the stories of other people and in the big questions of life. It inspires readers to more fully examine their own lives and to connect with other people in new and meaningful ways. We want the true, the good, and the beautiful. We want a world in which we can flourish. We can make more of this life when we reveal our essential selves.

Mark Peres

Mark Peres is a professor of leadership studies at Johnson & Wales University and host of the On Life and Meaning podcast. He loves helping students realize their potential as learners and leaders. He enjoys a variety of hobbies, including blues guitar, art and photography, reading and writing, and the company of friends. He graduated from Florida State University College of Law and Rollins College, where he studied history and the philosophy of religion. His book is the recipient of a 2019 Davey Award, a 2019 Platinum MarCom award, and was long-listed for the 2019 Best Indie Book from Shelf Unbound magazine. He is a husband and a father.

We asked Mark a few questions about his publishing journey and goals for the book.

Mark on working with SPARK Publications

If you have a vision for publishing a work that is personal and true, trust that SPARK Publications will share in your hope and will work to breathe it into life. They bring design and editorial guidance and publishing expertise, but also more: SPARK Publications brings a creative spirit to leave the world a better place.

Is there a particular moment that SPARKed your interest in writing a book?

Giving a go at reading The Lord of the Rings in third grade. With this book, so many years later I hosted a podcast called On Life and Meaning. The spark was sharing welcoming comments at the end of the first episode. The idea came quickly that my comments and storytelling at the end of each episode would give me the content for a book profiling each of my guests. Frodo would be proud!

Now that your book is published, are there any goals or experiences you’re looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to a spectacular review of the book in The New York Times. Just kidding. I do look forward to opportunities to read my work and to meet people drawn to discussions about meaning and purpose. My hope is that the book inspires readers to more fully examine their lives and risk deeper relationships.

What surprises did you encounter on the road to writing and publishing the book?

The best joy was having friends and family rooting for me. Allies encouraged me when I needed it most. I think this is true for everyone: encouragement is all around us if we remain open to that energy.

How did SPARK Publications help in championing and publishing your book?

SPARK Publications has been a great partner helping me shape and realize a book that would have the beauty and weight of a work of art. They embraced the vision and took on the project as their own. They invested in the success of the book and offered the emotional support that helped it come true. 

What advice do you have for other authorpreneurs and aspiring writers?

Be who you are. Express what is honest about you. Go to your vulnerable place. It’s where your power resides. In that heart-space you will attract brave people. Trust in what happens next.

Tell us about your future plans—what’s next for you?

Hah! I’d like to write and speak and connect with people and ideas. I love that this project allowed me to honor 100 people profiled in the book and to share their stories and my own. I’d like to continue doing work that invites people into story and conversation.

If you could broadcast two sentences to the entire world, what would they be?

Our planet needs you. Step up.

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