Posted September 18, 2019 by Mark Perna
Today, it has been one year since Answering Why was released. Since its publication, it has attained bestseller status and has won seven national book awards. I’ve done countless book signings at keynotes and presentations around the country. Multitudes of positive reviews have come in and continue to be shared as people get their hands on the book. It’s incredibly humbling for me to watch the ever-widening ripple effect of this message.
The journey of this book began much further back than a year ago. I spent two years writing it—and many more years before that developing the concepts and strategies that make up the bulk of the book. For me, it feels like Answering Why has been out much longer than a year. I’ve been living it for so much longer than that.
I didn’t set out to be an author; I set out to make a difference in education and workforce development. Writing Answering Why became a natural part of that mission. The next generation deserves more than the negative stereotypes and lackluster career exploration of the past. When they ask “why?” they’re asking a serious question. Giving them a real and compelling answer is what the book is all about.
Not only that, but the book’s free resources are also making a difference. So many professionals have told me that their staff chose Answering Why as their organization’s book study, using the substantive discussion guide that accompanies the book. The action guides (both 1 and 2) continue to make an impact for people in all walks of life who engage with the Why Generation. And the parent/child career conversation starter is a great tool for educators to share with parents navigating the career exploration experience.
Perhaps least anticipated was the warm welcome the book has received from the Why Generation themselves. It’s written for those in older generations who engage with young people at home, school, and work, but it has also helped young people understand themselves better. I always tell Why-Gen audience members at my speeches that I’m going to out them. And I do…as one of the most tenacious, talented, pitbull-like generations we’ve ever seen. They have incredible potential to change the world for the better and Answering Why champions their contribution. Though they can’t believe that someone is actually saying something positive about them, it’s a message I wholeheartedly believe and will continue to spread.
As I reflect on Answering Why turning one, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. So many generous individuals have contributed to the book’s continuing success, but more than that, to the success of today’s younger generations. Here’s to many more years of making a bigger difference in education and workforce development…together!