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First Chapter Reveal: Unlocking the Mystery of You: The Pinnacle of Purpose by D.L. Anderson

Unlocking the Mystery of You 3Title: Unlocking the Mystery of You: The Pinnacle of Purpose
Author: D.L. Anderson
Publisher: Author House
Pages: 195
Genre: Self-Help
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Do you know who the most important person in your life is? Just look in the mirror and you will see – it’s you. Whether you’re a college student, a housewife, a salesman, or the president of the United States of America, the most important person in your life is and will always be you.

That being said, your primary objective in life should be to know who you are so that you can position yourself to succeed in offices aligned with your purpose. After all, your purpose is the collective reasoning behind your existence. As one philosopher puts it, “Purpose is the only real reason you are here, for you exist because your purpose exists. Thus apart from purpose, you have no authentic motivation for living. You may very well exist, but when you’re gone, very few will ever know that you were here.”

Now for some of us discovering our purpose is simple. We understood it long before we ever became adults. For others it is not so easy, and for more reasons than I can gather. This is why the process of personal discovery is so critical; for not only does it allow you to discover your purpose. It also positions you to persistently follow the evolution of your purpose.

This is important because we are all changing every day. Consequently, our purpose will also change contingent to the season of life we are in. Still, in spite of this inevitable change and all the complexities which make understanding your purpose difficult, you will always be able to detect your purpose simply because it is the source of your fulfillment. So if you’re in a job, relationship, or any office which is persistently unfulfilling, odds are it is not aligned with your purpose – and unless you are willing to concede the awesome measures of fulfillment you would experience otherwise, you need to start thinking about making a change so that you can both enhance your life and have profound impacts in the various groups and societies you are in.

“Unlocking the Mystery of You” champions this cause focusing first and foremost on purpose and the crucial role it plays in achieving personal fulfillment and setting the stage for the individual to be a catalyst for group fulfillment. It accomplishes this goal by utilizing a purposeful roadmap designated as the Pinnacle of Purpose. The Pinnacle of Purpose is a progressive path illustrated by 7 ascending levels which, if followed sequentially, not only have the power to transform your life. It will provide you with the greatest measures of fulfillment and success life can offer. All you have to do is follow the crucial, yet simple order of purpose, beginning with confidence and concluding with peace.

So if you’re ready for a change; if you’re ready to stop sleeping on your dreams and your truest passions; if you’re tired of the status quo and living a life which feels incomplete; if you’re tired of wishing your life was better and are now prepared to do something about it; if you’re finally ready to take that ever-difficult leap of faith, then this is a book you must read. Because in this book I show you how to take that leap of faith without falling, for when you leap towards your purpose, you will always land squarely on your feet.

This is true first and foremost because your purpose is what makes you unique to every other individual in the world today, a premise which thoroughly validates the existence of every man and women on the earth. The problem is that many don’t understand their purpose. Once upon a time I didn’t either. That is until I got serious about life. It was then that I realized what purpose is.

It is the collection of all your authentic desires; it is your passion. It is your North Star and your direction; it is your life-long teacher – and above all else, it is that which causes you to press through any form or measure of adversity until you unleash your maximum potential, for it gives you the strength to hold on when you have no strength left within you to hold on.

First Chapter:

I DID IT ON PURPOSE

“I didn’t do it on purpose” was one of my favorite sayings as a child. Why? It is because this confession had gotten me out of trouble on possibly 1,000 occasions, a minor exaggeration to be sure. In any event, these 6 words were priceless because they constituted my original “get out of jail free card” and saved me in several sticky situations.

Now this card didn’t work all the time, mind you. After all, there were some things I did which I could neither honestly nor semi-honestly justify with my patented excuse, and I wasn’t going to compromise the longevity of my lucky card for any incident which was clearly inexcusable. No sir; I was going to drink from this well until the water ran dry – which it did and much sooner than I would have liked. Alas, all good things must come to an end.

Fast-forward several years in time. Here you’ll find me with a much different outlook on life and a new preferred saying. That would be, “I did it on purpose,” a definitive statement which speaks to one of the most profound realities in life. As such, I will offer it as an interest point.

Classically this is where the rubber meets the road; for as everything we do is incontestably on purpose, our consistent actions reveal who we are with regards to our inner self as opposed to our personal face-value. Accordingly, it is our actions more so than our words which tell the tale of the man or woman we’re trying to be.

Notwithstanding, this tale does not always reflect who we truly are. In this regard, some of us at face-value are pretenders who are trying to be someone they’re not. This is why establishing our life upon a firm foundation of purpose is so vital, for the consistent inundation of purpose ensures our intentions and consequent actions are perfectly aligned with our destiny. Therefore, the first step in unlocking your personal mystery is dedicating yourself to being yourself and living a life of purpose.

TRUE YOU

Now if you’re like me, you know very few people who consistently say what they mean and mean what they say. You know even fewer people who without fail practice what they preach. Why the inconsistency? For the most part it’s because their lives are established on conflicting purposes; hence the irregularity.

Then again if you’re like me, you may have noticed this contradictory trend a time or two in your own life. So what did you do? I’ll tell you what I did – I set out on a personal journey to discover a path where everything I did was not only on purpose, but with purpose; specifically purposes which reflected “the real me.”

Who am I referring to when I mention the real me? Definitively I am referring to the man I would turn out to be after I successfully established my purpose in life. That is the man I was destined to become before various conflicting factors set me off-course and led me down paths contrary to my destiny. Consequently, if there is a real me, there must be a version of me who is not as real.

I’ll never forget the first time I heard someone teach on the concept of true north. It was during an astronomy lecture at Ball State University. I remember thinking to myself, “If there is a true north, then what is the regular north I’ve been learning since kindergarten?”

Of course everything made more sense at the end of the lecture. Without going into the details, there are multiple manifestations of the astronomical concept of north. However, only one of these manifestations is true north; that is the direction along the earth’s surface towards the geographic North Pole. The other variations may at times be congruent and persistently similar. Yet they are not consistently the same as true north.

The same rule applies to all of us. See the majority of us exhibit multiple manifestations. The two prevailing manifestations are “you now” and “true you.” You now is the person you are at this present moment. True you is the person you will become once all of your singular purposes are properly aligned and consequently coherent. Accordingly, the search for purpose in life is actually a search for the most authentic version of you. It’s the elongated process in which you discover and are converted into true you.

STRENGTH IN DIVERSITY

The next question we must attend to is this – why is it important for us to be true to ourselves? Honestly I could provide over 100 reasons why this cause is beyond essential. However, I would like to focus on 1 in particular; that is diversity.

Certainly diversity is a prominent pillar of every progressive society. For an example consider a football team and ask yourself this question – how effective would a team be if everyone on the offense was a quarterback and everyone on the defense was a linebacker? Trust me; not only would this team be unsuccessful. They wouldn’t be very enjoyable to watch (unless perhaps you were rooting for the opposing team).

Therefore, I would ask you to consider this follow-up question – if everyone in your society (e.g. business unit, family or organization) were a carbon copy of the person next to them, how successful would your society be? Think about it.

Here’s the next point I would like to make – every progressive society is depicted by roles which are fulfilled by the successful administration of an over-arching, correlating assignment (which I will consciously refer to as an office throughout this composition). A principal key to the success of each society, then, is that each office is occupied by the person best suited to fulfill its corresponding roles. In every other case, the inclusive lack from a poor arrangement will prevent the society from reaching its full potential. As such, it would continually degenerate until corrective actions are taken.

Almost 10 years ago I was the Director of Consulting Services at one of the largest IT firms based out of Indiana. There I enjoyed managing one of my favorite and most successful teams. It was also one of my most diverse teams, a crucial factor which positioned us to incur awesome measures of success; more success than we would have achieved otherwise.

Upon understanding this development, I began actively looking for ways to increase the diversity of our team. Thus whenever I interviewed potential candidates to fill open positions, I first considered the members currently on the team. Then I not only looked for the candidate who exceeded my expectations; I also looked for someone who would add diversity to our group.

Masterfully my strategy proved correct every time the team grew. By gradually increasing the diversity of our team, we found ourselves consistently innovated with new ideas, processes, and ways of thinking in general.

Sure we had a pretty large group of seasoned professionals who possessed awesome talents and the ability to get a lot done. However, the greatest source of our strength was not our numbers or our expertise. It was our diversity and the awesome opportunities it presented us.THE WORLD NEEDS YOU

At the same time, I learned that managing and participating in a diverse group presents several challenges. In particular, it forces each team member to regularly rethink and often recalibrate their views. These actions (though very necessary) are sometimes difficult because many of us have a hard time considering or admitting when we are wrong or when our way of doing things is not necessarily the best way to get things done.

Fortunately there was no one in our group who was too terribly rigid that they couldn’t see past their own methodologies. Hence this is not where I encountered most of my challenges. These unforeseen happenstances transpired as a result of the inverse scenario; explicitly some team members became discouraged when their ideas were not adopted by the group and began to withdraw.

Consensus is my preferred way to lead and always has been. So I recognized I was indirectly responsible for the withdrawal that was occurring. In consequence, I had to upgrade my management strategy to account for this unanticipated offshoot.

In time I came up with the perfect solution. I met individually with those who were withdrawn from the group and reassured them that they were critical to the team’s success. More importantly I told them why. In doing so, I reminded them why I hired them and described future scenarios where I was confident their expertise and background would be crucial to the team’s continued success.

The lesson I learned then was sure – there are peaks and valleys in everyone’s life. For that reason, we can not allow for the valleys to cause us to lose sight of the value of our role as it pertains to the group’s success. Neither can we allow the peaks to deceive us into believing we’re “all that,” for no one person will ever exceed the value and potential of a progressive group or society.

What it all comes down to is this – the world needs you. You don’t have to take my word for it. Just consider all of your offices in life and ask yourself this question – who is better suited to fulfill each of my offices than me?

See I’m convinced the vast majority of us have at least one life office which no one can fulfill better than we can. For those of you who are unconvinced, this does not mean the world doesn’t need you. Quite the contrary; what the world needs is for you to find a way to succeed in the offices you were called to and in the roles you were destined to fulfill.

Now the cause behind this need is certain and one which I hope you will never forget. Therefore I will offer it as an interest point.

This matter lends itself to why societies degenerate. It is because critical roles are not being fulfilled by the person best suited to fulfill them. Consequently, the correlating offices are either empty or occupied by someone less qualified – and alas, everyone involved will suffer the consequences in the end and after all.

BE YOURSELF

“Everybody has an office,” I declared to an adult group to whom I was delivering a spiritual lecture.

“The problem,” I told them, “is that many fail to recognize their purpose in life because they are fatally trying to be someone they’re not.” Then I shared with them a profound statement which I will offer as another interest point.

Understandably death in this context is not literal. It is figurative. That is to say, the longer you try to be someone you’re not, the farther you will migrate away from your true self. Stay on this path long enough and you will be so far removed from your true self that he or she will be metaphorically deceased – and as it is scarcely possible, we all perceive the likelihood of raising someone from the dead (metaphorically or literally).

Now I was able to make this decisive declaration for one simple cause – I had been there. Admittedly, I knew what it was like to lose sight of my true self because I was too busy trying to be someone who I thought was better than me; namely someone who I thought the world would better appreciate.

That’s when I realized I had effectually become a self-contradiction. By trying to be someone I was not, I was contradicting my own existence as well as decreasing my personal value.

While on this regressive road, I began to understand the nature of our world and found it to be similar to that of a spoiled child. You know the type. You’ve seen them throwing themselves out in grocery stores and acting unruly in restaurants all across the country. The $500 question is simply why?

Here’s the answer – a spoiled child doesn’t really know what they want. Consequently, the worst thing for them is a parent who constantly bends over backwards to meet their child’s unrealistic and unfounded demands, for these actions only work to reinforce the deficits of the child. This is true even though the parent is merely trying to be appreciated by giving the child what they presume he or she wants.

What these parents fail to realize is tragically classic; that is the child does not know what he or she wants. This is precisely why they are often only able to appreciate one thing; that is a parent who will stop spoiling them and teach them the true meaning of appreciation.

Trust me; it’s bad business when you have parents trying to befriend a child, for every parent should focus first and foremost on being a credible authority as this is the first step in effectively raising children. This is especially the case during their informative years.

How does this example relate to you and the world? Well I’ll tell you. The world is like a spoiled child in that it is by default inappreciative. Consequently, it will never appreciate those who bend over backwards trying to be someone they presume everyone will accept. On the contrary, the only way the world will appreciate you is if you stop trying to be everyone’s friend and start being yourself.

Again I ask you to trust me and faithfully consider the following statement – being yourself is the only thing you’ll ever truly be good at. This truism speaks to another interest point.

On this wise, the one sure way to tell if you appreciate yourself is by determining how committed you are to being yourself. Or as the young people tell it, “Just do you.”

Certainly this is the only way you will ever unlock your personal mystery because again, as the young people say, you are “keeping it real.” In essence, you are being yourself in every situation. This allows people to know what to expect out of you regardless of the situation or circumstances you are in.

Markedly this is exactly when the world will begin to appreciate you, for you will have proven yourself to be reliable – and who doesn’t appreciate someone who they can consistently count on?

All the same, as wonderful as this occasion is, enduring appreciation does not come painlessly. Neither does it come quickly. Contrasting, it comes tenderly and gradually. The same way a small child does not instantly appreciate the discipline of a wise parent, the world will not immediately appreciate the value of an authentic man or woman.

Do not be troubled by this reality, for in time this value will surely be realized. You just have to be committed to standing up for yourself even when you’re standing alone – and there will be several instances when you are.

ARE YOU READY TO WALK THE PATH?

How does this all relate to living a life of purpose? Decisively everything we have discussed thus far is only possible if we have effectively established our unique purposes in life. In this regard, your life purposes (i.e. the distinct causes which collective constitute your purpose) are like tour guides. Their job is to guide you along the path which leads to your destiny.

As for me, I’ve walked this path in my life and have achieved awesome levels of fulfillment and success. From now, I want to share what I have learned by leaving behind breadcrumbs for others to follow. Therefore, the following pages of this book will speak to the aforementioned path of fulfillment and provide various life examples for both validation and understanding.

All things considered, everything in life is a choice (with the lone exception of physiological involuntary actions). Thus conclusively, if you choose to follow this path, I can make you the following guarantee – even though you will endure various seasons of grind and change, you will eventually acquire the greatest measures of fulfillment and success the world has to offer. That’s my personal guarantee.

So if this pledge sounds like a good deal to you, keep reading this book. I’m going to show you how I got there and how you can get there too.

On the other hand, if you decide not to follow this path or some similar path, I can guarantee you the opposite. Regrettably you will fail to acquire the greatest measures of fulfillment and success while never realizing your true potential. Furthermore, you will still endure various seasons of grind and change.

Granted this is not the classic life-or-death scenario; not even close. However, the quality of your life is at stake. Thus the question of the hour is simply this – how much fulfillment and success are you prepared to leave on the table?

THE SUMMATION

The majority of us will reach a point in our lives where we discover that we are not authentic reflections of the man or woman inside. As an ill-advised traveler, we’ve deviated from the beaten path and gotten lost.

All the same, course correction is not a difficult matter. All we need is a map. Enter: the Pinnacle of Purpose, a dedicated roadmap which provides purposeful direction along the path which leads to true you and concludes with the greatest allotment of fulfillment and success this life can afford.

What is more, the Pinnacle of Purpose (as illustrated in this composition) provides ample instructions and advice on how to handle various situations which could potentially cause us to lose our way. This manner of intelligence is critical because our world is unfortunately filled with haters and doubters. Disappointingly these losers in life are going to invest time in throwing stones at us as we carry on our quest.

Now in submitting this warning, I would advise each reader not to be overly concerned about this matter. See I’m not only going to show you how to become immune to these unwarranted acts. I’m also going to show you how to use these stones to help you get to where you are going. Advantageously I’m going to show you how to turn their throwing stones into your stepping stones.

Last but surely not least, I’m going to lay a foundation for achieving self- actualization by discussing the importance of excelling in each of our life offices – and although the full disclosure of this process will be addressed in the next composition in this series, it is imperative for each purpose seeker to understand how important it is to always give our best effort in every life situation. For once we establish this model way of living, and everything else will begin to seamlessly fall into place. This brings me to my final world on this lecture.

No matter what anyone tells you, the world needs you. Therefore, if you don’t know who you are, it’s time you found out. Only then will you be truly appreciated and wholly succeed in those offices you were called to fulfill.

 

 

Interview with Eric Williams, author of Guardian

Guardian banner



Title: Guardian

Author: Erik Williams

Publisher: Harper Voyage Impulse

Pages: 254

Genre: Military Thriller

Format: Paperback/Kindle

The heart-pounding, action-packed sequel to Demon.

A secret order at war with itself.

A Syrian official who wants to set the Middle East ablaze.

And all of them want nothing more than one unlucky CIA agent …

CIA agent Mike Caldwell just confronted a fallen angel and survived. But he wasn’t the only one tracking down Semyaza, and the demon’s escape from an ancient tomb has caught the attention of several powerful entities. Now they will stop at nothing to get Mike to play by their rules.

Mike must head out on an international mission to confront the covert brotherhood in an effort to save the world from destruction.
FOR MORE INFORMATION

  • Guardian is available at Amazon
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid.  However, I didn’t let other people read my stuff until 2005, when I started writing for publication.

When did you first know you could be a writer?

When someone agreed to publish something I wrote and they’d also pay me was pretty much when I realized, “Hey, maybe I can do this.”

Who or what influenced your writing once you began?

The writing styles of Ernest Hemingway, Cormac McCarthy, and Chuck Palahniuk were, and still are, my biggest influences.

Who or what influenced your writing over the years?

Believe it or not, a couple of TV shows really smacked me hard and said, “You can do better.”  Those would be The Wire and Breaking Bad.

What made you want to be a writer?

I like the idea of creating.  I’d love to make movies.  Would love to learn carpentry.  Right now, though, I write stories.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Maintaining the relentless pace while also ensuring it all made sense without a ton of exposition.

Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you. Be creative, you can talk about your first job, something that inspires you, anything fun that might grab the readers attention.

  1. I swear like a sailor and can be pretty damn sarcastic.
  2. I’m fun at parties.
  3. Given a choice of writing or binge watching TV shows all day, and assuming I didn’t have to worry about an income or being a decent husband or dad, I’d sadly choose TV.


 

Erik Williams is a former naval officer and current defense contractor (but he’s not allowed to talk about it). He is also the author of Demon and numerous small press works and short stories. He currently lives in San Diego with his wife and three daughters. When he’s not at his day job, he can usually be found changing diapers or coveting carbohydrates

For More Information

 

Mother of a Millionaire by Raoji Patel Book Feature

Mother of a MillionaireTitle: Mother of a Millionaire

Author: Raoji Patel

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 238

Genre: Biography/Autobiography

Format: Ebook/Paperback

Purchase at AMAZON

Children of Indian descent often move to the United States in search of a better life. Other Indian children, born in America, are often materially successful, but they lose touch with the values of traditional Indian culture, including a deep love and respect for parents and gratitude for the parents loving sacrifices to aid them on their life’s path.

In Mother of a Millionaire, author Raoji (Ray) M. Patel provides insight into the issues, both Indian children and their parents face, as they make their home in a new country with different customs and ways of living through eleven short stories. In some stories, a spouse’s selfishness creates a rift within the family. In a few cases, the sons rebel against the parents’ interfering ways, and they grow apart from their parents, or they simply banish the parents from their lives. In other stories, a father slips from his patriarchal responsibilities, creating family discord and a loss of respect.

This collection of short stories shows how Indian parents strongly believe forgiveness—one of the most difficult challenges to face—makes one happier and healthier and frees one from sin. But as an ancient Indian scripture says, forgiveness is “the greatness of the great” because it creates unprecedented greatness in the forgiver.

amazon

 

Raoji (Ray) M. Patel earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from MS University of Baroda, India, and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Patel is a retired small businessman cum engineer, and lives in Northern California with his wife Sushila and two adult children.

Raoji is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins January 266 and ends on February 6.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, February 9.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Spotlight: College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in Americans Prisons by Christopher Zoukis

Title: College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons
Author: Christopher Zoukis
Publisher: McFarland and Company
Pages: 300
Genre: Social Sciences/Education

Purchase at AMAZON

Provide education to prisoners and they won’t return to crime. America accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population, yet incarcerates about 25 percent of the world’s prisoners with about 2.3 million men and women in U.S. facilities. Examining a wealth of studies by researchers and correctional professionals, and the experience of educators, this book finds an irrefutable conclusion: the likelihood of an undereducated prisoner returning to crime is high, but recidivism rates drop in direct correlation with the amount of education prisoners receive, and the rate drops dramatically with each additional level of education attained.

Presenting a workable solution to America’s over incarceration and recidivism problems, this book demonstrates that great fiscal benefits arise when modest sums are spent educating prisoners, instead of dedicating exponentially higher resources to confining them. Educating prisoners brings a reduction in crime and social disruption, reduced domestic spending and a rise in quality of life.

Book Excerpt:

Hundreds of articles and studies about prison education, and many papers presented at academic and professional conferences, almost all come to the same conclusions:

  • Prison education reduces crime,
  • Prison education reduces recidivism, and
  • Prison education will make an enormously positive impact on our national economy.

This is an idea that evokes a lot of controversy, because most people are more concerned with educating their own children than educating prisoners. And the idea of providing post-secondary education in prisons is a hard sell because most of the public is unaware of how it can impact our economy and the safety of our communities.

Let’s understand from the start: the concept of educating prisoners is not a “bleeding-heart, humanitarian, feel-good-for-the-imprisoned” kind of cause. On the contrary, it is an issue with huge impact upon the economic stability of our country, the protection of our communities, and a higher quality of life for law-abiding citizens.

Consider this: the US accounts for only 5% of the world’s population, but it holds 25% of the entire world’s prisoners. There is something wrong with this picture. With our prison population now at 2.3 million, we, as a nation, incarcerate far more people per capita than any other country in the world – almost double the next closest nation. Our state and federal prison population has increased almost ten-fold since 1970 and this explosive growth not only creates an untenable financial burden for state and national budgets, but also creates an impossible situation for our judiciary overburdened by high recidivism rates. In some states, like California, prisons are so overcrowded that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state had to reduce their prisoner population by tens of thousands because the state’s system was “incompatible with the concept of human dignity”.

The growth rate in federal prisons is even worse than that of the states. While state prison populations dropped in 2009 and 2010, federal prisons are bursting at the seams, and federal prison budgets are increasing by 10% a year to accommodate the ever-growing prison population. Lawmakers are calling for the creation of a second federal “supermax” similar to “the notorious Florence ADX in Colorado – a place where solitary confinement has been raised to a torturous art, and prisoners seldom, if ever, see another human being. Conditions at this ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies’ are so harsh that the European Court of Human Rights initially refused to extradite terrorism suspects to the United States lest they end up in ADX”.

Hundreds of studies and all the research in the field of criminology affirm that prison education is the least expensive and most effective solution to overcrowding and strain on the budget caused by recidivism. Nevertheless, despite overwhelming evidence, policy makers and the general public still do not support funding post-secondary higher education in prisons. Year after year, even the most basic correctional educational programs are further reduced. Computers are not allowed. The result? Increased prisoner unrest and violence, and even more money spent for additional security.

Today, higher education for prisoners is almost non-existent. And, as we shall see, our failure to invest in opportunities for correctional college education weakens the very fabric of our society. With proper implementation, the impact of prison education can be enormous – not just on prisoners, but on our entire society and our nation’s prosperity. Let us hope that greater understanding will result in wise legislative action for our common good.

“In response to the American public’s growing fear of crime and the call for more punitive measures…, many legislators and policymakers have promoted building more prisons, enacting harsher sentencing legislation, and eliminating various programs inside prisons and jails. But more than half these prisoners are in on drug charges and another 10% on immigration violations, so that more than 72% of our incarcerated population are offenders with no history of violence. With re-arrest rates averaging around 67% to 80%, it is clear that incarceration alone is not working”.

In the opinion of Chief Justice William Ray Price of the Supreme Court of Missouri, “We may have been tough on crime, but we have not been smart on crime.” He noted further, “For years we have waged a ‘war on drugs,’ enacted ‘three strikes and you’re out’ sentencing laws, and thrown away the key to be tough on crime. What we did not do was check to see how much it costs, or whether we were winning or losing. In fact, it has cost us billions of dollars and we have just as much crime now as we did when we started.”

Despite all the studies that confirm society and the nation as a whole will reap significant benefits, the idea of providing post-secondary education in prisons is a hard sell. The public appears to have a visceral, but understandable, reaction against the idea of higher education for prisoners. Why, people ask, should Americans pay to provide a college education for prisoners when so many law-abiding, tax-paying citizens struggle to send themselves or their children to school? It doesn’t seem fair. Honest people have to pay to receive an education; why should prisoners get it for free?

And besides, say some of the opponents to correctional education, if we provide a learning environment for prisoners, perhaps prison will seem less terrible and serve as a less effective deterrent to crime. However, the deterrent argument fails, because people do not decide whether or not to commit a crime based on the program opportunities available if they are caught and sent to prison.

Others believe that people who commit a crime have chosen to limit their opportunities and freedoms, including access to valuable privileges like education. Therefore, handing it free to people who break the law feels wrong, feels like a slap in the face of justice.

These are legitimate concerns, but there are strong, legitimate solutions.

Make no mistake. Despite the fact that I am a prisoner myself, I do not dispute the concept of getting tough on crime. I do not advocate creating a cushy environment for prisoners. And I certainly do not propose taking privileges from deserving, hard-working people to pamper prisoners. That is not what educating prisoners is about.

So why, then, should we care about educating prisoners, educating people who didn’t care about the victims they hurt, the communities they impoverished, and the society they endangered?

We care, very simply, because they get out.  Almost everyone who is locked up now is going to be set free one day. If we treat prisoners like animals the whole time they’re locked up, that’s what we’ll get when they’re back on the streets: wild, dangerous animals. But if we educate these people, give them some positive reinforcement, and introduce the idea that they’ll have something to offer society when they return to their communities, that’s what we’ll get when they are free: people who have something to offer society.”