Penguin Putnam To Publish Book On The Paradoxical Commandments Which Have Been A Global Word Of Mouth Phenomenon For More Than Three Decades
New York, New York, March 8, 2002 - Penguin Putnam Inc. has acquired the publication rights to Kent M. Keith's book on the Paradoxical Commandments it was announced today by Susan Petersen Kennedy, President of the company. The new book will be titled ANYWAY: The Paradoxical Commandments: Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World and will be released nationally in hardcover by G.P. Putnam's Sons this coming May. To date the book has also been sold in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Israel.
The Paradoxical Commandments have inspired people around the world for more than three decades, and served as a guideline for creating a life of meaning in the face of adversity. The first commandment states: People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway. The eighth commandment states: What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. Simple, eloquent, and profound, these and the rest of the commandments (ten in all) have been embraced by educators and politicians, entrepreneurs and rock stars, business leaders and public servants. You can find them on websites linked to scouting; the nationally known singing group, The Roche Sisters; the Special Olympics in New York; a homeless shelter in Philadelphia; a Methodist Church in Kansas; and a Rotary Club in Hong Kong. They have been cited and recited in countless speeches, newsletters, books, papers, reports, handbooks and the like. They've even been hung on the wall of an orphanage run by Mother Teresa. With the publication of ANYWAY, Kent Keith tells the story behind the Paradoxical Commandments, expands on his initial concepts, and shows that by living a paradoxical life, one can continue to do good in a world that often seems beset by misfortune, hardship, danger, and difficulty.
Kent Keith initially wrote the Paradoxical Commandments in the late 1960s. At a time when student leaders everywhere dreamed of changing the world through radical action, Keith, experiencing the turmoil of student activism at Harvard, had a different take: the world may be crazy, but if you act well and meaningfully, the world will change for the better'and so will you. He called it a 'Silent Revolution.' While working part-time as a speaker and consultant on secondary school activities, he developed a collection of ten Paradoxical Commandments and incorporated them into a handbook for high school student leaders. Published in 1968, and again several years later in a revised edition, it sold roughly thirty thousand copies.
During the next twenty-five years, Keith earned a Master's degree in philosophy and politics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, a law degree from the University of Hawaii, and a doctorate in education from the University of Southern California. He was, in turn, an attorney, a state government official, a high-tech park developer, and the president of a private university. Although no longer writing or lecturing about the Paradoxical Commandments he always tried to live by their precepts. What he didn't know was the extent to which they had taken on a life of their own.
In the early 1990s the commandments began to pop up in Keith's conversations with friends and colleagues: a Honolulu police chief who heard them recited at a law enforcement conference; a university librarian who showed him a printout of the Paradoxical Commandments that she had found on the Internet, where it was being distributed to librarians; a faculty member from USC who passed out the commandments in class and used them as the opening theme for every graduate course she taught.
But the full impact of what he had created eluded Keith until September 1997 when he was attending a meeting of his Rotary Club. A fellow Rotarian, wishing to acknowledge the recent passing of Mother Teresa, began the meeting by reading a poem, titled Anyway, that was included in a book entitled Mother Teresa: A Simple Path, and that had long been posted on the wall of her Children's Home in Calcutta. As Keith stood there listening with bowed head, he recognized his own Paradoxical Commandments in verse form. 'It was an incredible moment for me,' says Keith. 'Something I had written thirty years earlier had made its way around the world to India. It suggested to me that people everywhere were hungry for meaning, and reassurance that they could find the courage and strength to overcome the unexpected strains, stresses, and difficulties of life. It also suggested that people might want to know more about the Paradoxical Commandments.'
Susan Petersen Kennedy, who acquired ANYWAY for Penguin Putnam, agrees with Keith's assessment. She notes, 'This is a book I've wanted to publish for quite some time. I first heard about the Paradoxical Commandments a year ago from a friend who found them on the Internet and thought they had been written by Mother Teresa. My immediate reaction was, 'Oh my God, these are wonderful.' I asked an editor here to contact Mother Teresa's office to see if we could get permission to publish the commandments. Their response was, 'Yes, the poem does hang on the wall of Children's House, but it was not written by Mother Teresa. The author is unknown.' I promised myself that someday I would find that author. As fate would have it, I got a call two weeks ago from literary agent Michele Rubin who was representing a new publishing company, Inner Ocean Publishing (IOP). She told me she had the perfect book for me. When I received her proposal I was amazed as well as elated to find it was the very project I had set out to publish a year ago. I hope this book will give people courage to persevere in tough times.'
Inner Ocean Publishing originally published The Paradoxical Commandments by Kent Keith as a trade hardcover book in October of 2001. Chip McClelland and John Elder, who founded IOP in 2000, were instantly convinced after releasing the book that they could maximize their support of the book by teaming up with a major publisher. They chose to join forces with Penguin Putnam, which has had great success with books such as Conversations With God, The Art of Happiness, among others.
McClelland (CEO) and Elder (Publisher) see themselves as beneficiaries of the human-potential movement of the last twenty years. Their goal is to 'give something back' to the community that helped transform their lives. 'Our books are for people who are interested in finding purpose and personal meaning in life,' says McClelland. 'We've already seen how the Paradoxical Commandments have changed people's lives and we're excited that we'll now have an opportunity to bring it to an even wider audience in alliance with a publisher that truly understands our core philosophy.'
Penguin Putnam will launch ANYWAY: The Paradoxical Commandments with a national publicity and marketing campaign as well as major advertising.
Michele Rubin of Writer's House, who negotiated the sale of the volume rights, represents Inner Ocean. All foreign rights were negotiated on behalf of IOP by Linda Michaels of the Linda Michaels Literary Agency, who was instrumental in 'setting up' the book for its domestic rights sale in the USA. Paradoxical Commandments was originally brought to Inner Ocean by Editorial Director Roger Jellinek through Wally Amos, who had been using them for some years in speeches around the country.
Inner Ocean Publishing (IOP), a new publisher of non-fiction books, is the creation of businessmen John Elder (Publisher) and Chip McClelland (CEO). IOP publishes in the genres of lifestyle change, personal growth, new science and conscious business. Located in Maui, Hawaii, the company's mission is to facilitate better communication and peaceful co-existence, help readers evolve as more conscious and purposeful beings, and to encourage the use of intuition in daily decision-making. Information for authors and about the company can be found on their website at http://www.innerocean.com./
Penguin Putnam Inc. is the U.S. affiliate of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Putnam is one of the leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks including Berkley Books, Dutton, Frederick Warne, G. P. Putnam's Sons, Grosset & Dunlap, New American Library, Penguin, Philomel, Plume, Riverhead Books and Viking, among others. The Penguin Group is part of Pearson (FTSE: PSON; NYSE: PSO). Pearson is an international media company with market leading businesses in education, business information and consumer publishing. For more information, visit http://www.pearson.com./
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