Lifeline to a Soul

The Life-Changing Perspective I Gained While Teaching Entrepreneurship to Prisoners

Having built a successful company from scratch, author John McLaughlin decided that he wanted to teach others how to do the same.  In his fifties and with no teaching experience, his only job offer was at a minimum-security prison camp.
Having no experience with prisons or the incarcerated, McLaughlin told his first class on his first day, “I am going to learn a lot more from you than you could possibly learn from me.”
John takes the reader along on his journey to discover a system that, by design, dehumanizes its denizens and heavily discriminates against race and income level. Through trial and error, John slowly builds an effective program despite mounting friction from the establishment. Ultimately, a scandal at the prison blindsides John’s progress and threatens to bring his teaching career to an unceremonious end.
Lifeline to a Soul takes the reader inside the fence and chronicles the victories and challenges McLaughlin faced as a first-time teacher in this strange world. His experience will entertain, enlighten, and educate anyone who is curious about what life is like inside a rural minimum-security prison camp.

Author's Notes

I was taught early in life that if I wanted to accomplish something, the way to get it was to not quit the pursuit until I achieved whatever it was I sought. This high level of determination has usually served me well. After building a successful business, I decided I wanted to teach business courses. I was in my early 50s and had no teaching experience, and every job application I sent to a perspective employer was met with complete silence.

I spent seven years re-educating myself and applying to every teaching position I could find in a three state radius until I finally landed the elusive first interview for an entrepreneurship instructor position at, of all places, a minimum-security prison camp.  After walking the prison yard and viewing the "classroom" where I would be teaching, I had serious reservations. I was so determined to teach though; I accepted the position and started a new chapter in my life.
It was a great decision. I was given the freedom to construct the class the way I thought it should be and met some men with great potential who just needed a little direction and confidence to change the direction of their lives. My experience taught me that prisons, by design, dehumanize their denizens. It's the only way to run an orderly prison. This strategy does nothing, however, to prepare the inmates who are ready to leave the prison experience behind them and work towards a brighter future.

Realizing we were in opposite philosophical camps, the prison staff became a greater hindrance to my efforts the more I tried to instill confidence and hope in my students.  When it finally ended, I told my father and his wife I wouldn't have any more colorful prison stories for them.  "You need to write a book about it" my father's wife's words hung in the air until I realized that was exactly what I was going to do.

We all have a story inside us worth telling and a receptive audience waiting.

John K. McLaughlin
Author of Lifeline to a Soul

Book Awards

  • Literary Titan, Amazon #1 New Release, Book Excellence Award

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Genre: Non Fiction > Memoir & Biographies

Listed on:

ISBN: 9798986689104

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