Paul Parkinson shows new book

Paul D. Parkinson compiled and wrote stories about people who are unselfish and do acts of kindness.

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It’s no accident that Cache Valley native Paul D. Parkinson’s book about putting others before yourself was released on the same day as Kim Kardashian’s coffee table book of (sometimes risqué) selfies, titled, “Selfish.”

Parkinson, a Logan High School and Utah State University alumnus who owns Gradual Elevate Media and Unselfish Stories LLC, closely follows Hollywood and the media, and when he found out about the mega-celebrity’s book last year, he thought “there needs to be a counterbalance.”

But “Unselfish: Love Thy Neighbor As Thy Selfie,” featuring 99 stories written by other people about their unselfish idols, is not “an anti-Kim Kardashian project,” Parkinson said.

“This is the other side of the spectrum — unselfishness,” he said. “This book will stand on its own merits. I hope as many people read it as they do (Kardashian’s) book. The goal is for people to realize we need to turn the camera around, so to speak, and focus on other people, find ways we can serve them and not be so concerned about promoting ourselves.”

Parkinson started compiling story ideas with the help of his family, but mostly, it was just asking people he knew if they’d like to tell a story. Parkinson wrote a handful of entries.

One of the most notable stories he wrote was on Utah State University alumna Liz Howell, whose husband, Brady Howell — also a USU alumnus — was killed while on his intelligence post at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. “What will your story be?” references the title of a speech Howell herself gave at USU last year.

Ross Peterson, a former USU history professor and vice president, contributed a story on a star Aggie athlete turned educator. John Hill was a student of Peterson’s when, in the spring of 1982, he severely injured his arm, robbing him of the option to play professional sports. Hill decided to turn that into an opportunity and did his student teaching at Logan High to become a coach. He currently teaches at Patriot High School in Riverside, California.

“I think for people (who read ‘Unselfish’), no matter where you live, someone may be different — racially or ethically or religiously — and you should never judge them other than how they treat other people,” Peterson said. “I just thought he was a great example of someone who could come into a community like this and win a lot of support then decide to go home. He’s just a fundamentally really good person.”

The “100th” entry in the book allows readers to write their own story about someone they admire.

After just a few days on the bookshelves, “Unselfish” has already received considerable attention — Parkinson has been interviewed by a TV station in Tampa and by conservative commentator Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze” (the latter interview will air Saturday). Amazon.com lists “Unselfish” as temporarily out of stock.

Parkinson said he’s not surprised by the positive response.

“People want to read something that makes them feel good,” he said.

Parkinson says in the book’s introduction that “Unselfish” “celebrates just a few of the unsung stories of regular people and celebrities alike going against the grain and helping their fellow man. ‘Unselfish’ will reignite your faith in humanity and may just inspire you to ‘love thy neighbor as thy selfie.’”

In a list of endorsements provided by Parkinson, actress, comedian and former Saturday Night Live cast member Victoria Jackson said, “’Unselfish’ should be on the coffee table of every Kardashian home! It reminds us what truly brings happiness — loving others.”

“Unselfish” is available locally at Coppins Hallmark, The Book Table, USU Bookstore and Deseret Book.


Twitter: KevJourno

Kevin Opsahl is a staff writer and features editor at The Herald Journal. He can be reached at 435-752-2121 ext. 1016 or by email at kopsahl@hjnews.com

Please be aware that Cache Valley Publishing does not endorse, and is not responsible for alleged employment offers in the comments.

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