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Special Newsletter • April 21, 2005


Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and we feel that a perfect gift for a loved mother, grandmother or mother-to-be is a copy of The Soul of Success: A Woman’s Guide to Authentic Power, by local author Jennifer Read Hawthorne.

This timely book shows how 27 remarkable women broke through to a deeper experience of success in their personal and professional lives by tapping into their authentic power. Through moving personal stories from women of many professions and walks of life, the book explores 27 essential principles not often associated with success, such as Compassion, Self-Love, Intuition, Forgiveness, Freedom, Intention, Accountability and Wholeness. Its central theme addresses the question: Is the quest for success wearing you out?

Erin Brockovich says: “The Soul of Success encompasses everything I believe in. Integrity, faith, honesty, intuition and courage are traits that we all have, yet we sometimes forget to trust and believe in them. Trusting in your soul is the key to your success. Well written and worth the read."

And Deepak Chopra describes The Soul of Success as: “A beautiful book that shows us how glorious life can be when we go within to find the deeper aspects of success.”

Jennifer will be at 21st Century Books Friday night (Art Walk) May 6th, 7:30-9:00 to personally autograph copies of The Soul of Success.

For our mail order customers: We will be happy to gift wrap and include a beautiful gift card with your order of The Soul of Success via our website at no extra charge. Jennifer will be happy to autograph your copy if desired; just include the first name of the person who will be receiving the gift in the “Gift Card” field upon checkout.

Jennifer was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to talk about her latest soon to be best seller.

Tony: Could you please give our readers some background information about yourself?

Jennifer:  I was born and raised in the South—Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas—but mostly Baton Rouge, my hometown. My father used to say that I began my public speaking career when I was about seven, when I’d gather all the kids in our neighborhood and make them sit in rows on our driveway so I could talk to them! I entered my first speaking contest in the eighth grade, when I heard about a 4-H contest that sounded fun and easy—I won it and kept entering every contest I could from that point on.

In 1969 I graduated from LSU in journalism, with a minor in speech and broadcasting. A political activist, I then moved to Washington, D.C. to be close to politics and the growing anti-war movement of the late sixties. My work was fun and exciting—I worked for a Presidential Commission—but as I walked to work in the mornings I found myself thinking: There must be more to life than this.

One day I walked into the Peace Corps building, applied and was accepted. Within two months I left for West Africa, where I spent two years teaching English to beautiful, bright Dahomean students (today Dahomey is known as Benin, bordering the African giant Nigeria). I then traveled around the world for a year before returning to the U.S., including East Africa (where I became a student of TM), India, Thailand, Malaysia and Nepal. Strongly influenced by Hesse’s Siddartha, my travels were largely compelled by a deep desire to experience and live in a state of inner peace.

A full-time TM teacher for many years, I moved to MUM (then MIU) in 1980 and have lived in Fairfield since then. I served as director of Accounts Payable at MIU for several years, then worked as a technical writer and trainer for Hawthorne Documentation, as well as a visiting faculty member at MIU in technical writing for the Master’s in Professional Writing Program.

In 1993 Marci Shimoff and I formed The Esteem Group, a speaking business designed to inspire women. That year, Chicken Soup for the Soul became a bestselling book, and we proposed to Jack Canfield, creator of the series, that we co-author a version for women. It turned out to be the opportunity of a lifetime: Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul became a #1 New York Times bestseller within two months of its release, and the subsequent Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul hit #1 on The New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly and USA Today lists.

Other bestsellers include a second volume for women and a volume for singles, and last year Barbara Holden and I released a book called Diamonds, Pearls & Stones: Jewels of Wisdom for Young Women from Extraordinary Women of the World, for which we interviewed many Fairfield women. Together my books have sold 12 million copies, much to my amazement and gratitude.

Since my latest release, The Soul of Success: A Woman’s Guide to Authentic Power, I am mostly traveling again presenting keynote presentations, based on this new book, primarily to women’s groups.

Tony: What was the driving force behind your creation of your latest book?

Jennifer: In recent years I have found this phrase repeatedly arising within me: I want to be in the world in a new way. Having been blessed with success in the traditional sense, I have still often found myself asking, “What’s the point of position and material abundance if we’re exhausted and out of balance?” I am fascinated by the “masculine” and “feminine” aspects of success. I believe most of us—men and women—have mastered the masculine approach to life—“doing” to the point of exhaustion, even workaholism. When we allow the feminine aspects of nature to operate in our lives—principles of “being” like honesty, self-love, intuition and intention—then our outer achievements and successes connect deeply with our soul destiny and purpose. And best of all, we get to relax, because life is being lived from a much deeper and truer place. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for material success! But I don’t think it’s worth it without peace. I hold Ghandi’s words very dear: “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.”

Tony: Now we know this is a great book for women…what about men?

Jennifer: Here are some of the comments I’ve received from men:

  • “When I first picked up this book I thought that since it was written by a woman to a woman audience, I would have little or no value reading it. BOY, WAS I WRONG. Jennifer did an outstanding job showing us how chasing after traditional success (monetary success) eventually will leave us feeling very empty...I urge you to read this book and see for yourself the powerful principles contained within. Jennifer...inspires us to get in touch with our real self—our soul. Highly recommended!”
  • “Although the title suggests this book is targeted to women readers, and the stories are written by women, the principles written about are really quite universal...The author, Jennifer Read Hawthorne, a very successful motivational speaker, really lays bare her soul. Her highly personal approach to her subject, and the vulnerability, intelligence, clarity and self-effacing humor with which she writes about coming to grips with the issues addressed in the book, are what makes it particularly moving. The women's voices in these 27 first-person accounts ring true with the authenticity of hard-won wisdom. It's a very potent combination: Ms. Hawthorne’s brilliantly communicated set-up for each story and the lesson learned in the story itself. This is an illuminating and thought-provoking treatment that will strike a resonant chord with many readers of both genders.”
  • And from my 21-year-old stepson, William: “I just finished reading your book, and wow! I was blown away. I honestly felt like each and every story I could deeply relate to. What beautiful appreciation of all of these principles that make life great...”

Tony: I love the personal aspects of your book…did you find it hard to reveal yourself on such an intimate level?

Jennifer:  So much so that I didn’t at first. But two things happened along the way to change that. First, early feedback from my editor and a panel of readers was that they loved my personal stories and wanted more. Then, re-writing 20 of the 27 introductions to chapters to reflect my own experiences, I began to realize their significance in my life and found it very humbling. As I wrote about my own life and the lives of the incredible women I interviewed for the book, I found the principles of success I was writing about becoming extremely enlivened within me. The result is that I feel more open, more honest, more receptive, more free and more vulnerable than I have ever felt. I like it much better than the other way.

Tony: Could you give us a few highlights of some of the stories that make up THE SOUL OF SUCCESS.

Jennifer :

  • “Dynasty” actress and real-life princess Catherine Oxenberg seemed like she had it all—looks, fame and money. But her fairy-tale life had a very dark side, starting with child abuse that eventually led to her struggle with bulimia. She details how the power of receptivity led to her healing.
  • Plastic surgeon Dr. Christine Horner was enraged when an insurance company told her they wouldn't cover reconstructive surgery on her mastectomy patient because the breast was an "organ with no function." She vowed to pass laws that would make insurance companies pay for breast reconstruction for every woman facing this surgery. Her power of intention got it done.
  • Under the threat of death from her father, Vicky Edmonds grew up believing she was a nobody. When Hurricane Gilbert struck Jamaica, where she had been headed on a family cruise, Vicky began a tiny campaign to collect food for destitute Jamaican children that snowballed beyond her wildest dreams. Having tasted her own worth, she soon began to reveal her poetry to the world, today teaching and giving voice to at-risk youth through poetry as a therapeutic and spiritual practice. She demonstrates the power of medicine within each of us for one another.
  • When Jacqui Vines was brought in as VP and General Manager of Cox Communications in Baton Rouge, she had a lot to prove. An African-American woman, she had grown up in both black and white foster homes and was now being thrust into the role of managing a $150 million company with 550 employees. She thought she was happy until Sept. 11, 2001, when she entered the boardroom at Cox headquarters in Atlanta to give a career-defining presentation—just in time to see the second plane hit the second Twin Tower. Everybody left the room to call someone—but Jacqui had no one to call. The power of honesty helped her see her life—and what was missing—in a new way.

Tony:  Thank you Jennifer, any final words for our readers?

Jennifer: Often while working on The Soul of Success I asked myself, “Does the world really need another book?” But I couldn’t stop the force of nature that compelled me to write, and eventually I came across these words from St. John of the Cross, who answered me perfectly: “They can be like a sun, words/They can do for the heart/what light can/for a field.” My prayer is that readers of The Soul of Success will find inspiration in its pages to help them live life in a new way, better than ever and fulfilling in every way.

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