2019 Indie Best Award Long-List: On Life and Meaning: 100 Essays Inspired by 100 Guests.

Shelf Media hosts the annual Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book Competition for best self-published or independently published book. In addition to prizes, the winner, finalists, long-listed, and more than 100 notable books from the competition are featured in the December/January issue of Shelf Unbound.

In On Life and Meaning: 100 Essays Inspired by 100 Guests, Mark Peres profiles one hundred guests who have appeared on the On Life and Meaning podcast. Each profile collects personal remarks by the author shared at the end of each podcast episode and “final thoughts” about the journey of life we are on.

The book is for readers who are interested in the stories of other people and in the big questions of life. It inspires readers to more fully examine their own lives and to connect with other people in new and meaningful ways. We want the true, the good, and the beautiful. We want a world in which we can flourish. We can make more of this life when we reveal our essential selves.

About The Author: Mark Peres

Mark Peres is a professor of leadership studies at Johnson & Wales University and host of the On Life and Meaning podcast. He loves helping students realize their potential as learners and leaders. He enjoys a variety of hobbies, including blues guitar, art and photography, reading and writing, and the company of friends. He graduated from Florida State University College of Law and Rollins College, where he studied history and the philosophy of religion. Mark is the recipient of the 2019 Davey Award. He is a husband and a father.


At the heart of this project is the notion we all want to know and be known. We want to connect with other people in ways that affirm who we are. We want to know that we are loved. In the kinetic world we live in, intimacy does not come easy. It takes intention and design, and all sorts of trust, to reveal ourselves to other people. In sharing who we are we risk not being liked. But only in telling the truth do we gain the acceptance we seek.

The guests of this series shared who they are. I’ve sat with them as they considered my questions, talked about the most personal concerns, laughed, and cried. My appreciation for it expands every moment.

What prompted On Life and Meaning? Like many ideas, it came to me in the night with an impulse to do something about it during the day. Here is what was in the mix: I teach courses on ethics. I earn my living discussing the choices we make. I read philosophy and theology and history and literature, and I am fascinated by the piece of work we are. I’m a fan of Krista Tippet and her On Being radio show that I have woken up to on Sunday mornings for years. Her conversations give room for her guests to explore hearts and minds. I get a kick watching old Dick Cavett shows and watching recordings of interviews Mike Wallace conducted in the late 1950s. The interviews hold up decades later. I have running conversations with friends in coffeeshops that are spirited and fun and informed, and each time I’ve thought, wow, that would have been fun to capture. I live in this city on the make, being made by residents who are contributing their talents in countless ways worthy of far more recognition than they receive. And, if not finally, certainly urging me on is wanting to bring people together and to create something lasting and of value for my family and friends.  

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Article originally Published in the December/January 2020 Issue “2019 Indie Best Award Winners”

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