Books that influence and inspire us

May 17, 2022
Topics: News

By Elann Breti

There is something incredibly captivating about the transformative power of language. Words contain an infinite amount of meaning that can change people in ways they may have never anticipated and shift the trajectory of their lives.

As the newest addition to Page Two’s publicity team, I wanted to learn as much as possible about this company and the people who make it great. Taking inspiration from past blog posts, namely Pride Month Reads and the interviews with authors, I realized one thing I would love to know more about: what books guided the team members to their current roles? I reached out to the team and asked for the books—fact, fiction, or otherwise—that influenced their career paths thus far. In response, I received more insight into how powerful language can be, across all genres, in shaping our personal journeys.

Books alter the way we navigate our personal and professional lives

Deep Work by Cal Newport teaches the importance of shutting out distractions and prioritizing time management across projects. Gabi Narsted, our director of operations, has been with Page Two since its early days as a start-up. As many involved in start-ups know, sometimes the best approach is acting and problem-solving quickly, and this was no different for Page Two. However, with strong footing and growth over time, it becomes a priority to slow down and ensure you have a clear perspective on working effectively and efficiently, with minimal distractions.

Books shift our entire perspective and unlock new understandings

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer is a beautiful example of transformative language. For Maddie Taylor, our publicity and content marketing associate, this book is one of the most visceral examples of the phrase “this book changed my life. With gorgeous, illustrative language, this book emphasizes the beauty of leading with generosity, curiosity, and care—at work and at home. Kimmerer’s words will stay with you in a wondrous way and will continue to inspire you well past your initial reading.

Books ignite our passions and fuel long-held dreams

Veiled Countries/Lives by Marie-Clair Blais, translated by Michael Harris, was introduced to one of our co-founders, Jesse Finkelstein, during her first publishing job in Montréal. Growing up in a bilingual city and reading in both English and French throughout her childhood made getting a job at Véhicule Press a dream for Jesse. This role led her to Veiled Countries/Lives and showed her the stark contrast in the accreditation received by English-language books and books published in other languages. Though Marie-Claire Blais is highly regarded in French, the English-language world has yet to fully recognize her talents. This experience inspired Jesse’s lifelong passion for helping authors achieve the renown they deserve.

Books can stay with us, acting as pillars in our lives

The Phantom Tollbooth, written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer, sparked a love of words and writing in our marketing strategist, Meghan O’Neill. A beloved book for young kids, this story showcases how seemingly simple letters on a page can transport you to new realities. Juster’s work ignited Meghan’s curiosity about how stories are created, from imagining the first scene to holding a bound book in your hands. It was that very curiosity that pushed her to pursue a diploma in publishing, an MFA in creative writing, and now a PhD in publishing.

Books can open doors to new possibilities and relationships

The Awesome Music Project Canada by Robert Carli and Terry Stuart acted as a bridge connecting marketing strategist Chris Brandt to his passion for marketing. While supporting the launch of The Awesome Music Project Canada, Chris was introduced to Page Two’s co-founders Jesse Finkelstein and Trena White, who were looking for help with their own marketing. This grew into many projects with Page Two, ultimately leading him to his current role at the company.

Books can teach us more about ourselves and help us share what we care about with others

Big Em, En, & Little Hyphen by Fiona Siu and Page Two’s designer, Fiona Lee, was a class project for a typography class taught by Peter Cocking—who also happens to be Page Two’s creative director. The story is about three punctuation siblings (Em Dash, En Dash, and Little Hyphen), and the experience of creating this book from start to finish with her close friend is what solidified Fiona’s strong love for publication design. It also influenced her decision to join Page Two.

As I read through each thoughtful, insight-filled review, I was struck once again by how something as simple as ink on a page can act as a catalyst in our lives. One of the most astounding and remarkable things about books is that reading them is only half of the experience; keeping their words in your mind, turning their teachings into action, or enjoying a passionate conversation about different interpretations of their words are all ways that books can serve you beyond the first read.