What is it like to grow up in the United States as an Asian immigrant male who was born in Manila, Philippines?
For Alex Tizon (the photo above was on the inside book cover), it was a lifelong struggle to overcome the shame he felt as he faced popular stereotypes that portray Asian men as weak, short, and unsexy, among other characteristics. While growing up, he collected memories and files of evidence that he believed refuted those stereotypes.
The culmination of his effort was Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self, a powerful, brilliantly illuminating and sometimes humorous story of his life and of Asian men in America.
A Pulitzer Prize winner and ground-breaking journalist at the Seattle Times, Tizon’s last career stop was the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication.
When a book touches me, I write to the author to share my appreciation. But I was shocked and saddened when I looked for Alex Tizon’s contact information and discovered he had died, of natural causes, in 2017, at 57.
You can get his book by clicking here.
Imagine having the opportunity to sit down with Ken Grossman, founder of perhaps America’s greatest craft beer company. As you sip one of his many brews, he tells you how, in 1980, he started a company that would eventually produce a million barrels of beer a year. As he tells his story, though, you sense that he is trying not to sound like he is betraying his humble nature. That is what it is like to read Beyond the Pale: The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
With his bare hands, ingenuity and unflagging commitment, the longtime backpacker and bicyclist, now in his 60s, overcame obstacles that would sink mere mortals. He built a company with quality and sustainability as his guideposts; his brewery in Chico, California has become the city’s biggest tourist attraction. Sierra Nevada added an even more impressive facility near Asheville, North Carolina.
Ken Grossman’s story is remarkable in many ways. And his book came out before 2018’s fire that destroyed Paradise, just up the road from Ken’s brewery. His (and Sierra Nevada’s) response to that disaster reminded me of his dogged determination that created Sierra Nevada nearly four decades ago. He called a special brew Resilience and is donating all sales (not just the profits) of the beer to the Paradise recovery. And he convinced breweries across America to join the effort.
Beyond the Pale is an inspiring story and you can shop for the book by clicking on the cover above.
(In the interest of disclosure, my son works for Sierra Nevada in Chico.)