James J. Owens with Jenny Ming / The World is Just a Book Away

Event has passed (Tue Nov 21, 2017 - Tue Nov 21, 2017)
The Bindery


James J. Owens visits The Bindery to discuss his new anthology, The World is Just a Book Away. Join us!

The World is Just a Book Away is an anthology that represents a 15-year journey by USC professor James Owens to capture the stories of how books and reading inspired some of the world’s most prominent people. Owens’s earliest memory is of reading The Encyclopedia of World Travel with his mother. The many books they shared opened his eyes to the wonders of the world. The legacy of literacy and love of books his mother left behind after her tragic death by suicide when he was just 9 years old provided the guiding hope in his life that ultimately led to The World is Just a Book Away.

Recognizing the life-changing nature of reading, Owens set out in 2002 to create this unique and deeply moving book. At first glance, the 60 people in this anthology may not seem to have much in common—yet they all share their personal love of books and reading in The World is Just a Book Away. This book provides readers with unique insight into the personal stories of 5 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, actors, royalty, world leaders, scientists, humanitarians, and many more, including:

His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Liam Neeson
Natasha Richardson
Vanessa Redgrave
Senator Edward M. Kennedy
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Yo-Yo Ma
Jude Law
Miep Gies
Jane Goodall
President Mikhail Gorbachev
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Susan Sarandon
Martin Scorsese
Lisa Ling
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
Jane Fonda
Her Majesty Queen Noor Al Hussein of Jordan
Ted Turner
Buzz Aldrin

“I feel honored and humbled that the 60 people in this book who have inspired the world in so many different ways have entrusted me with their stories. My most heartfelt aspiration is that The World is Just a Book Away will inspire you to explore books you might have never considered, embarking upon journeys into new worlds and magical realms of knowledge, imagination, endless possibilities, and hope.” – James Owens, Founder and Editor, The World is Just a Book Away

James J. Owens is a professor of management communication at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. James is Founder and CEO of the international children’s charity The World is Just a Book Away (WIJABA), which promotes literacy by developing libraries and educational programs. Since its inception in 2008, WIJABA has built 90 libraries, touching the lives of more than 70,000 children in 3 countries. James collected and edited the 60 essays in this book over the course of 15 years. His profit from this book will benefit the charity. James is also a writer, a corporate leadership coach, and a motivational speaker. He lives with his son Alexander in Santa Monica, CA. For more information please visit https://www.wijaba.org.

Jenny Ming is the Chief Executive Officer of Charlotte Russe Holding Inc. Previously, Ming was president of Old Navy, where she oversaw all aspects of Old Navy and its 900 retail clothing stores in the United States and Canada. Business Week magazine named Ming one of the nation’s top-25 managers in 2000. She also appeared in Fortune magazine’s 2003 and 2004 lists of the 50 most powerful women in American business. Ming was born in China and raised in San Francisco. She earned a bachelor of arts in clothing merchandising with a minor in marketing from San José State University.


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