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The Rediscovery of Hope and Purpose

NFB Publishing, Buffalo, NY (Anticipated Release: Spring 2021)

I had a breakthrough twenty-six years into a teaching career. I woke up to a discovery that impacts the very way we educate and live our lives. Like an anchor holding a ship in stagnant water, the world has lost touch with two fundamental principles that define every person’s journey into the future. Hope and purpose have become foreign entities, replaced by obsession, greed, preoccupation, and an idle mindset. The world has been blinded. Poverty has been the scapegoat for the world’s problems. I swallowed that understanding for a quarter century until I had an awakening.

The Rediscovery of Hope and Purpose projects light on a course of action for civic and personal development. This book is unique in that it does not advocate for change. A moral compass of hope and purpose is alive within each person, but over time many people lose the ability to recognize this. The book helps people rediscover the comfort and joy that come from living a life of hope and purpose through a call to rediscovery, not change. Written from the vantage point of an educator who has invested years of attention to the lives of students, families, and community members, this book contains explicit examples to guide readers by focusing on factors that can improve individuals and communities. The Rediscovery of Hope and Purpose challenges hopelessness by providing the reader with an uplifting experience. The book is designed to drive home a compelling message that hope and purpose are eternal fires ready to be rediscovered. It unlocks the shackles so many have clamped on hope, allowing readers to achieve a reawakening.

Fully edited and 78,000+ words in length, ten highly encaptivating interviews with inspiring people are dissected and intertwined with personal experiences, narratives, history, and reflections. Eleven chapters uniquely develop the reader’s vision of how to build and identify, hope and purpose. Central ideas of the chapters are focused on living within the trenches of need, humor, mentorship, philanthropy, service mindedness, creativity, grit, history, family, observation and education and their effects on hope and purpose. I personally conducted the ten interviews that begin each chapter. All interviews have a central focus on the interviewee’s understanding of hope and purpose. Contributors to this book include world renown whittler, Chris Lubkemann; the first female Boston Marathon runner, Kathrine Switzer; the founder of Field of Dreams Uganda, Michael Warneke; globally recognized photographer, QT Loung; the last American homesteader, Ken Deardorff; Seinfeld writer and co-producer, Peter Mehlman; three-time NCAA National Champion Head Football Coach, Tom Osborne; billionaire philanthropist and founder of 5-Hour Energy, Manoj Bhargava; Harvard President, Lawrence Bacow; and 104-year old children’s author, Beverly Cleary. I utilize the interviews as the springboards for each of the chapters after which I present compelling firsthand experiences and historical references. Memoir letters I received from my father, an immigrant to the United States from World War II Germany, are peppered throughout the book. These letters about resiliency tie together all narratives to provide a tight central theme.

Each chapter of The Rediscovery of Hope and Purpose is divided into three subchapters. Part one grabs the reader’s attention with a raw and unedited interview. Thoughtfully selected, each interview approaches the theme of hope and purpose from a different avenue. Through the voice and mindset of eleven diverse individuals (some well-known and some obscure), a light is broadly shed on hope and purpose. Part two of every chapter melds the interview with structured narrative, helping to tie the insight of the interview back to the central theme. The third subchapter loosens the reins that were tightened in subchapter two by incorporating historical narrative and personal letters.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ranging across woodworking, soccer, the symbiotic relationship between plants and fungi, and the importance of storytelling, The Rediscovery of Hope and Purposes expands our understanding of hope and resilience, of the necessary combination of passion and pain. Christopher Albrecht is a teacher—a word that hardly encompasses what he does in the classroom and in this book. He helps his readers to see, as he says, “The path to hope and purpose starts with an uphill run.” Combining stories of the well-known and the lesser known, Albrecht tells the story of empowerment: of women and girls, of immigrants, of college presidents, and most poignantly of his father. Near the end of the book, Albrecht notes: “Teaching is a lot like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. Inspiration is analogous to attaching two adjoining pieces of a puzzle. Satisfaction is when two pieces finally fit.” This book is a jigsaw puzzle, too, and one that fits: if the reader is willing to take time to learn the lessons in it and make a commitment to hope. I am a richer person for having read it.

Dr. Heidi Macpherson, President, SUNY College at Brockport

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Christopher Albrecht asks the question, “Can one person change the world?” and proceeds to answer it through insightful interviews. His natural curiosity and gift for teaching through example shine through in this down to earth and very personal ode to “hope and purpose.”

Betty Belanus, Ph.D., Education Specialist, Curator & Folklorist, Smithsonian Institution

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In his book, Christopher Albrecht shows how we can draw inspiration and hope from others. The people he interviews and writes about remind us that we, too, can achieve fantastic things even in the face of great adversity and uncertainty. A positive, encouraging, and inspirational read that is perfectly suited for our modern time, The Rediscovery of Hope and Purpose will challenge you to be the best person that you can be.

Jacob Cianci-Gaskill, Ph.D., biologist, University of Missouri

Unconventionally Successful

NFB Publishing, Buffalo, NY (2020)

Unconventionally Successful (NFB Publishing, Buffalo, NY) is the first book released from a broad grassroots project Christopher Albrecht (2018 New York State Teacher of the Year & 2019 Inductee into the National Teachers Hall of Fame) has published, which uncovers what best practices schools, individuals, and communities need to consider to increase their levels of success. People want our world to be full of successful journeys and results. This book sheds light on many unconventional and potentially unconsidered out of the box thoughts and actions that led to extraordinary outcomes. Entertaining and informative, this novel binds three formats: interview, reflection, and narrative. Albrecht spent three years interviewing hundreds people with a diversity of backgrounds and lifestyles asking them to reflect on their recollections, memories and experiences with teachers and their many impacts on their lives. Focused around eight interviews, the author parallels research on similar historical narratives and reflections. The result is a one of a kind read that uncovers unconventional patterns, unique circumstances, and opportunities, which light the road of joy and happiness that root themselves in our schools and colleges. The patterns Albrecht has discovered and shares in this groundbreaking book have the potential for lifelong effects and impacts on the success of individuals, communities, schools, and the world we live in that are not explicitly obvious. This book is a must-read for all people who enjoy discovering non-linear, unique and creative paths that lead to innovative ways individuals and groups have found happiness, joy and success.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Christopher Albrecht’s second book builds on the premise of the need for and the roadmap for rediscovering two essential elements in meaningful human existence: hope and purpose.  While not conforming to any known genre of literature, this book is compelling and insightful with personal narratives, family bonding, and sensitive interviews that force the reader to reflect, analyze, and to be inspired to be a little better, give a little more, and not lose the true essence of our time on earth.  If the pandemic has taught us nothing else, it has pointed us toward those things that help us look for that rainbow or that one shining star amid the darkness.   Albrecht’s book is that guiding star for me.  Hope, Purpose, and Albrechtism– what we all need right now, more than ever!

Carol Strickland, Executive Director, National Teachers Hall of Fame

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Rediscovery of Hope and Purpose offers a thoughtful, timely, and empowering message that will benefit all readers. Through Christopher Albrecht’s poignant personal narrative, beautifully interwoven with the stories and perspectives of individuals who understand the value and the power of hope, readers will be moved by the heartfelt insights, powerful experiences, and meaningful outlooks on life presented throughout this book. In the midst of these challenging times, Christopher’s interviews, biographical sketches, and personal recollections offer strategies, ideas, opportunities for self-reflection, and other considerations for a better tomorrow.

-David Bosso, Ed.D., 2012 Connecticut Teacher of the Year, 2019 National Teachers Hall of Fame Inductee

Copyright 2020, Christopher W. Albrecht

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