Derek Snook, self-described son of a Baptist minister and entrepeneur joins me to discuss his recent book, The Definition of Success: What Living Homeless Can Teach You.
He tells me what was intended as a one-night experiment lasted a year, and years later he has decided to publish a book about how this experience had an impact on him and what he learned from it, including a well-paying temp agency he started and recently sold.
Definitely a different take on “loving your neighbor as yourself” if I ever heard one!
A few interesting points that came up in our discussion:
- While Derek could have quit this experiment at any given momenty and gone back home, most homeless and less fortunate don’t have that option
- How living in bubbles in our culture is destructive to indviduals and groups, including the toll isolation is taking on mental health in general
- The intriguing way a city’s layout is actually important to society
- What can we do to erase the barrier between wealthy and poor churches, as well as the racial divide, even in the church, between black and white congregations
After graduating with a BA from an elite school in 2009, Snook chose to move into a homeless shelter in the hope of finding out what might be needed to live a life of purpose. Against the advice of concerned friends and family members, Snook remained there for a full year. Out of this experience he founded an employment agency offering real incentives and stability to homeless job-seekers– Charleston-based IES Labor Services.
During this period of voluntary homelessness, Snook kept a journal to record the fascinating stories, conversations, and interactions that formed the core of his life in the shelter. After years of pouring over these notes and supplementing them with experience as a business leader, Snook published his first book, “The Definition of Success: What Living Homeless Can Teach You” in 2018.
Derek’s website at dereksnook.net
Follow Derek on Instagram.
Get a copy of his book from Amazon
Check out Derek’s 2015 TedX talk
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Thank you so much, and I look forward to talking to you in the next episode of Fire On Your Head.