Meaningful Work by Shawn Askinosie
  • Title: Meaningful Work
  • Subtitle: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul
  • Author(s): Shawn Askinosie, Lawren Askinosie
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • Year: 2017-11-14
  • ISBN-10: 1101993774
  • ISBN-13: 9781101993774


“Meaningful Work” by Shawn Askinosie is an inspiring and transformative book that challenges conventional notions of success and redefines the purpose of work. Askinosie, a former successful criminal defense lawyer turned chocolate maker and social entrepreneur, shares his personal journey of finding meaning and purpose in his career. The book is a blend of memoir, business philosophy, and social impact, offering readers a blueprint for creating a fulfilling and purpose-driven work life. Askinosie advocates for a shift in focus from purely financial gains to a deeper connection with one’s work and the positive impact it can have on others.

In “Meaningful Work,” Askinosie delves into the principles of practicing law and producing chocolate, drawing powerful parallels between the two seemingly unrelated fields. He highlights the importance of mindfulness, empathy, and ethical decision-making in both professions. By sharing his experiences as a chocolate maker who engages directly with cocoa farmers and ensures fair trade practices, Askinosie demonstrates how businesses can prioritize social responsibility and create a positive impact on communities. Through heartfelt anecdotes and practical insights, the book encourages readers to align their work with their values and passions, ultimately finding greater satisfaction and purpose in their careers. “Meaningful Work” serves as an inspiring guide for anyone seeking to infuse their work life with deeper meaning, compassion, and a sense of fulfillment.

Book Review

“Meaningful Work” by Shawn Askinosie is a profound and heartfelt exploration of how individuals can find purpose and fulfillment in their careers. As a former lawyer turned chocolate maker and social entrepreneur, Askinosie shares his personal journey of transformation, providing readers with valuable insights and practical strategies to infuse their own work lives with meaning and significance.

One of the key strengths of the book is Askinosie’s emphasis on the importance of mindfulness and intentionality in our professional lives. He narrates how he transitioned from a successful but unfulfilled criminal defense lawyer to a purpose-driven chocolate maker. Through a series of self-reflective moments, he realized that he was seeking deeper meaning and connection in his work. This realization led him to establish Askinosie Chocolate, a company committed to direct trade with cocoa farmers, ensuring fair wages and ethical practices. Askinosie’s decision to engage directly with the farmers not only improved the quality of his chocolate but also made a positive impact on the lives of cocoa communities.

Throughout the book, Askinosie presents practical examples of how businesses can integrate social responsibility and community engagement into their operations. He shares the story of his trip to Tanzania, where he met cocoa farmers and established a direct relationship with them. Through this personal connection, Askinosie was able to understand the challenges faced by the farmers and, in turn, create a more equitable and mutually beneficial partnership. He goes on to explain how his company supports educational programs and initiatives in the cocoa communities, exemplifying how businesses can create lasting social impact beyond financial gains.

Furthermore, “Meaningful Work” challenges the traditional notion of success solely measured by financial achievements. Askinosie’s chocolate-making journey illustrates that meaningful work is about finding alignment with one’s values and passions. He shares how embracing vulnerability and being open to change allowed him to discover purpose and joy in his career. This powerful message encourages readers to reevaluate their own career paths and seek meaningful work that aligns with their core values.

In conclusion, “Meaningful Work” by Shawn Askinosie is a moving and insightful book that encourages readers to embark on a journey of self-discovery and purpose-driven work. By sharing his own transformational experiences and the principles he embraced to build a socially responsible business, Askinosie inspires individuals to find meaning and fulfillment in their careers. The book serves as a powerful reminder that meaningful work is not only about personal success but also about making a positive impact on others and the world at large. “Meaningful Work” is a must-read for anyone seeking to create a purpose-driven and fulfilling career that brings joy and benefits to both themselves and their communities.

Word Count: 443

Target Audience

The book “Meaningful Work” by Shawn Askinosie is recommended reading for a diverse audience seeking a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment in their careers. Its target audience includes:

  • Professionals Seeking Meaning and Fulfillment The book is highly recommended for professionals who feel unfulfilled or disconnected from their work and are searching for ways to infuse meaning and purpose into their careers. Askinosie’s personal journey from lawyer to chocolate maker and social entrepreneur serves as an inspiring example of how individuals can transform their professional lives and find greater satisfaction through purpose-driven work.

  • Social Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders Social entrepreneurs and business leaders looking to integrate social responsibility into their organizations can benefit from the book’s insights on building a socially conscious business. Askinosie’s experiences with direct trade and community engagement provide valuable lessons on creating businesses that prioritize ethical practices and make a positive impact on society.

  • Students and Graduates Students and recent graduates entering the workforce can gain valuable guidance from “Meaningful Work” as they embark on their career journeys. The book encourages young professionals to consider their core values, passions, and social impact when making career decisions, helping them to align their choices with their desired sense of purpose.

  • Individuals Interested in Mindfulness and Self-Discovery The book’s emphasis on mindfulness, self-reflection, and intentionality appeals to individuals interested in personal growth and self-discovery. Askinosie’s journey of self-exploration and vulnerability serves as a powerful reminder that finding meaning in one’s work requires a deep understanding of oneself and a willingness to embrace change.

  • Anyone Seeking Inspiration and Positive Change “Meaningful Work” is recommended for anyone seeking inspiration and a call to action to create positive change in their lives and communities. Askinosie’s commitment to making a difference in the lives of cocoa farmers and supporting education initiatives demonstrates the transformative power of purpose-driven work.

Overall, “Meaningful Work” is recommended reading for individuals across various stages of their careers and walks of life. The book’s blend of personal narrative, business philosophy, and social impact serves as a source of inspiration and practical guidance for those seeking to align their work with their values, make a positive impact, and find greater meaning and fulfillment in their professional lives.