Lifeline to a Soul by John K. McLaughlin

The book I am spotlighting today, Lifeline to a Soul, has just been selected as the winner of the 203 PenCraft Seasonal Book Award Spring Competition in the Autobiography genre! The PenCraft Seasonal Books Awards recognize books of remarkable literary quality, artistic excellence, and popularity with readers. As you read on you'll see why this book was awarded. Don't forget to enter the giveaway!!

Book Description:

Lifeline to a Soul takes the reader inside the fence and chronicles the victories and challenges one man faced as a first-time teacher in the strange world of prison life.
Guest Post:

The timer on the small microwave dutifully counted down the remaining twelve seconds in the musty prison day room.  Aplace, I had learned during my time there, where time typically passes slowly.

The young man sitting at the adjacent square table never adjusted his gaze when three measured chimes rang from the small appliance signaling that my cup of instant coffee was ready. I had seen the young man before, but didn’t know his name.  He sat with his eyes transfixed on the small silent wall mounted television that was showing NBA highlights from the night before.  The white earbud cord running from his ear to the transparent portable receiver on the table in front of him representing his only connection to the world outside the fence

My job as an entrepreneur instructor in a minimum-security prison provided me with a glimpse of what it is like to be incarcerated.  The dehumanization happens as soon as a new inmate puts on his first prison uniform.  He is no longer a name;he is a number.  This system exists for a reason, enforcing rules and handing out punishment is much easier to do to faceless numbers than people seen as unique individuals.  Unfortunately, it extinguishes the flame of potential in all but a very few. 

Right on schedule, a pair of guards walking side by side appeared across the concrete basketball court.  In their matching navy-blue windbreakers they walked businesslike from building to building checking to ensure the doors were locked. They quietly ascended the concrete ramp and entered the door that led to my dayroom.  The shorter guard quickly scanned the dayroom and barked at the seated inmate engrossed in SportsCenter.  “Git on your bunk, we’re counting”.  The young man never broke his gaze from the TV.  He rose and slowly walked into the adjacent bunk room. The guard made eye contact with me and made a quick notation on his clip board while the taller one disappeared into the bunk room.  Soon, he returned and picked up the headset of the tan plastic phone that hung on the wall and quickly dialed three numbers.  After a brief hesitation he spoke firmly into the receiver: “G Dorm – 29”.

Minutes later, as my students began to slowly trickle through the dayroom door some greet me with a nod of the head or a smile. I’ve got a good group of students this time and we haven’t met for a week. I call each student by his first name and we spend the next three hours working on their individual plans for businesses they are planning to start when they get out.

People on the outside have polar reactions when they find out I teach in a prison.  They either think I am doing noble work or that I am wasting my time.  To me, there is nothing noble about what I am doing.  I’m trying to provide a thin ray of hope to people who have become dehumanized by a system designed to control them, not help them. I feel like I am alone in this endeavor, single handedly battling an inevitable tide that is likely to wash away all the potential victories I hope to someday celebrate with this group of students.  

Meet the Author:

John McLaughlin spent half his life bootstrapping his start-up business to an industry leader. His desire to teach what he spent his career learning led him on a remarkable journey through the gates of a minimum-security prison where he taught entrepreneurship for almost three years. John has an MBA, a teaching certificate, and a marketing management certificate from Harvard Extension University. John enjoys riding a tandem bicycle with his wonderful wife, Reba on the greenways of Charlotte, North Carolina where they live with two extremely spoiled cats, Moe and Joe. You can learn more about John’s current teaching program at:

connect to the author: website

Enter the Giveaway:

LIFELINE TO A SOUL Spotlight Book Tour Giveaway


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