That’s Not Heartwarming, That’s Malpractice: Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work
Quick links from the episode:
- Pancho Villa: If you want to read a brief biography on Villa, we have once again turned to Britannica. The story that references Pancho Villa in this book was not specific as to when in the narrator’s life he joined Villa’s cause, but if we assume they were an adult, the narrator was most likely born around 1900 if not earlier.
- Jennifer diligently googled Charles A. Ward to see if she could find out if his life story was real, but nothing related to his crazy life fighting with Pancho Villa and being in prison and then transforming into a productive member of society came up. HOWEVER, Charles A. Ward is also the name of the author of Oracles of Nostradamus, and was one of the foremost scholars on the medieval astrologist when he wrote his book at the turn of the last century.
- Roots was a hugely influential pop culture phenomenon in the 1970s. To read more about Alex Haley and how he came to write his book, click here. Or, even better, head to Amazon to score a copy of the book to read it yourself. Don’t forget your local library may also have an ebook version you can check out from home.
- The CNN documentary that Jennifer was blathering on about in this week’s episode was “The Seventies”. There are other decades CNN covers available on Netflix, they are all amazing and you should watch them if you haven’t already.
No, you’re not seeing double, this was our second Chicken Soup for the Soul episode in March! Our first episode on Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul, was released March 16th, see the show notes here. But this week it was Paige’s turn to discuss Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work – a mouthful of a title. We, personally, would be interested in reading Chicken Soup for the Working Soul, which kind of sounds a bit like a Marxist chicken soup. Anyway, the real question was, would Paige be moved by these 101 stories of courage, compassion, and creativity in the workplace or would she be unable to finish due to sappiness?
Publishing Chicken Soup…Again
If you need deets about Chicken Soup as a series….you should probably just check out the show notes linked above. If you don’t feel like switching back and forth, keep reading for a slight variation of the background provided for the first episode. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen are two motivational speakers and the masterminds behind Chicken Soup. After publishing their first book in the early 90’s, Canfield and Hansen would experience crazy success, creating a media juggernaut that has gone on to publish 250 different books for nearly every kind of soul you could imagine. However, Canfield and Hansen would eventually sell the company, which has since diversified into other forms of media as well as actual food stuffs and even pet food.
Brass Tacks of this Week’s Episode
Once we got past talking about Animal Crossing and the impending medical crisis we are facing in the US, Paige walked us through what was an admittedly uninspiring read. Here are some of the topics and themes we touched on in this week’s episode:
- While not quite as spicy as Woman’s Soul, Chicken Soup’s recommendations for heartwarming stories once again were wolves masquerading in sheep’s clothing. Okay, maybe that is a little dramatic, but there were definitely some stories that instead of filling us with warmth and fuzzies were instead disturbing once we read between the lines.
- We were once again struck by a huge generational gap that existed between us and the narrators of these stories. One narrator mentioned growing up working in a ‘saloon’ in Seattle because this was the actual Wild West – you think this is a jest, but in fact this narrator would later go off to join Pancho Villa. If you know nothing about Pancho Villa, see the links posted above, but also know that Villa’s uprising was in the nineteen-teens.
- It gets weirder, too. Just a few hints: clowns climbing into bed with old people, strangers handing out massages at health food stores. Yikes.
Despite our reservations, there were some stories that had value. We learned how the creator of the comic Dilbert was encouraged to keep trying by an newspaper exec. Without this man reaching out, Dilbert may never had been born. We also learned that both Jennifer and Paige find stories about old people to be by far and away the most successful at eliciting an emotional response. (Just a friendly reminder to always reach out to your elder relatives!). We also learned about the huge success story that was Alex Haley, author of the phenomenally successful book, Roots.
Would Paige recommend this book? No, no she would not. BBE does not endorse Chicken Soup, possibly because we have no souls, but definitely because we can only handle so much sentimental content. BUT if you ever find Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul at your local thrift store or provided as reading material in your grandma’s bathroom…let us know! We are interested!