Thursday, May 14, 2015

Book Review: Unselfish: Love Thy Neighbor As Thy Selfie

In 2013, Oxford Dictionaries chose the word “Selfie” as their International Word of the Year.  Not only does this illustrate how social media sharing has become such an integral part of our society, but it also reveals how self-centered we’ve become. It’s been reported that many are even taking to plastic surgery for the express purpose of improving their selfie photos. Personal promotion has become more profitable than ever.

While many seem more inhabited by a sense of entitlement and hunger for the spotlight, in contrast there are also compassionate individuals who put their own interests aside for the sake of others. They see the needs of the world around them and eschew their own desires to make the world a better place, one person at a time. Occasionally these acts of kindness appear in the national media, but more often than not, we hear more bad news than the uplifting news that would to inspire us to improve the world around us. In Unselfish: Love Thy Neighbor As They Selfie, Paul D. Parkinson has compiled a collection of stories that fly in the face of our culture’s desire to put self first. In these dozens of heartwarming tales, we read real life reports of many who are bettering the world through their acts of charity and service. These essays include individuals who have:
  • Risked financial ruin for the sake of others
  • Used their talents to provide life-changing gifts to those in need
  • Paid and/or risked the ultimate price in the line of duty
  • Already established charities of their own at very young ages
  • Lived in abject poverty in order to bring hope and healing to the poor
  • Given up wildly profitable careers to pursue a greater purpose 
One of the individuals profiled in Unselfish is Mason Wartman, owner of Rosa’s Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia. Unlike many of the stories in the book, his did become a national one and was featured on several television programs. Here he is on the Ellen DeGeneres show:

A remarkable aspect of Unselfish is the ordinariness of most of the caring people within it. Most of the people profiled are not rich and famous—they are average folk who have decided to make a difference in one way or another. This makes their testimonies that much more inspiring, as it makes their choices thoroughly relatable. Not all of us can pack up and move to a foreign country to provide aid, but we can do simple things like charitable lemonade stands or having motivational talks with at-risk youth.

Unselfish is available in Kindle format, but its hardback edition is just lovely and would make an excellent gift. The pages are made up of sturdy magazine-like stock, with glossy photos and wide dimensions. Each story is very brief, usually taking up only one page of text. Reading a page or two at a time would be a great way to enjoy the book. Indeed, reading a story a night to one’s children would be an excellent activity, especially given that the culture in which our children inhabit completely goes against the values presented in this title. It’s an uplifting volume, the next Chicken Soup for the Soul for this generation. I heartily recommend it, and applaud not only the selfless people featured within, but also Paul D. Parkinson for his efforts in bringing these inspirational stories to light.

About Paul D. Parkinson

PAUL D. PARKINSON is a former Regional Vice-President of a medical supply company, which he left in 2012 to found various media enterprises.  As President of Gradual Elevate Media, Paul wrote the story for and oversaw the production of the feature film, Nowhere Safe - a movie that addresses the issue of cyberbullying.  Paul's work is in media that positively affects society and culture. 

He and his wife Rebecca have 6 children.

For additional information, visit:



You too can be a part of making the world a better place. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Unselfish is being donated to the Cambodian Children’s Fund, founded in 2004 by former Hollywood executive Scott Neeson, whose story appears at the beginning of Unselfish.


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