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Books & Brews, March 12, 2024 - Wellsprings of Work

WMRA’s March Books & Brews will featured, Samuel "Skip" Halpern discussing, Wellsprings of Work: Surprising Sources of Meaning and Motivation in Work.

WMRA's Books & Brews is made possible thanks to our series sponsor, Gaines Group Architects. The Gaines Group has offices in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg.

About the Book

Samuel "Skip" Halpern brings a unique set of perspectives and experiences to the subject of meaning and motivation in work. This is a measured look at the value of work as well as its limits and trap doors, exploring the many ways people find their reason to work and what ultimately makes work fulfilling. Some of the concerns raised also address today's societal forces ranging from the challenges brought on by Covid, to the digital revolution, to the gig economy.

In exploring this topic, Halpern refers to the thinking and attitudes of many sources, including philosophers, psychologists, scientists, artists, religious figures and even professional athletes. This exploration of meaning and fulfillment also draws on his work experiences as a lawyer, investment adviser, business owner and consultant. As Halpern writes about work, he interweaves philosophy and psychology; business, investing and law; politics, theology, sports, and views of reality from both the East and West.

About the Author

At Brown University, Mr. Halpern earned his undergraduate degrees in an interdisciplinary course spanning politics, philosophy, psychology and modes of thought. He spent a year studying at the London School of Economics, then graduated from the GW Law School in DC. His work life has revolved around protecting pension and health benefits for a wide range of workers, from Broadway stagehands to athletes in Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and the Association of Tennis Professionals; from steelworkers and auto workers to teamsters. He has advised U.S. government agencies, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and investment funds sponsored by China, Thailand, Brunei, and Sri Lanka, not to mention Inupiat Eskimos above the Arctic Circle in Alaska. He continues working part-time today as an expert witness and adviser to the NHL Players Association.

Many of these experiences take form in the book, as engaging stories that help explore meaning, motivation, and values in our secular, capitalist society. His thinking—and the book—are also influenced by his extensive travels, from East Asia to India to North Africa and more.

Halpern is a local author; he and his wife live in Luray, Virginia, and are very involved in local politics and community action.