When the title of media personality Kim Kardashian's book "Selfish" was announced, Paul Parkinson felt it was a "no-brainer" that someone should respond with a book called "Unselfish."
But when nothing came, the Utah business owner took it upon himself to create that book.
"Oddly enough, that was where the idea came from to make a book called 'Unselfish,'” said Parkinson, a Logan resident. "And then as I started to delve into it and get stories, it made even more sense to do this."
Parkinson's book, "Unselfish: Love Thy Neighbor As Thy Selfie," is a collection of profiles of individuals or groups serving others in unselfish ways.
"There’s never been anything about it that’s anti-Kim Kardashian," he said. "It’s just been more, let’s create an alternative for people who want the opposite of what pop culture offers."
Parkinson owns and operates multiple media companies, and the book was published as a project for one of those companies, Unselfish LLC.
The book debuted May 5, the same date as Kardashian's "Selfish." "Unselfish" sold more than 10,000 copies in less than two months.
Parkinson chose the subjects of the book from reading news reports, talking to friends and reflecting on people he has known from his own life who gave selflessly.
"All the stories had two things in common," Parkinson said. "One is that it was about someone being unselfish, and two is that it was written by someone other than the person who did the service."
One story features a Hollywood executive who sold his possessions and moved to Cambodia to establish the Cambodian Children's Fund. Another highlights a woman who started a paper bead business to help African women in Uganda escape poverty.
"Unselfish" talks about well-known figures such as philanthropist Jon Huntsman and Pakistani women's rights activist Malala Yousafzai. But many of the stories focus on everyday folks — such as mothers who make sacrifices for their children, a daughter who cares for her dying mother and high school boys befriending a girl with special needs.
As a father of six children ages 6 to 22, Parkinson hopes his kids will discover that the most substantial and lasting happiness comes from making others happy. His older children even helped find stories to put in the book.1 comment on this story
"I would just like them to see how happy it makes people to give of their time and to serve others," Parkinson said. "We’ll sit as a family and we’ll talk about the stories and talk about ways we can be unselfish ourselves."
On the front flap of the book, Parkinson talks about how many people are concerned with how many followers they have or how many likes they get on Facebook. But he argues that the most worthwhile contributions are the ones we can make for others.
"The thing to walk away with is, 'Am I making life less difficult for those around me or more difficult?'" he said. "And what am I doing to make life less difficult for those around me?"