Prescription for life
Another book-themed activity, Omakase, is a tailor-made activity to encourage staff to read more, to broaden their horizons and at the same time cultivate their temperament and relieve work pressure. Omakase is a Japanese word that means “please!”. Customers put themselves in the hands of experts and let these professionals to take them on a journey into the unknown. To deliver this experience of “trust”, Hactl worked with Book Director Nathan Lee (Nathan) to create a questionnaire about staff lives. Based on each participant’s feedback, Nathan then provided them with a written “prescription”, for which he had selected a number of books tailored to their specific needs.
Nathan, the Book Director, did not know any of the participants personally. As he read the questionnaires, he described it as meeting a new person for the first time, but it seemed like they had known each other for a long time. “We are all used to showing our strong, hard-working side, but everyone has problems and mixed emotions in their lives. If you choose the right book, you’ll find that other people are facing similar situations and no one is really alone.” Nathan describes a library or bookshop as a vast forest, and himself as the guide who knows the clues and trails, leading everyone to a tree worth looking at, or perhaps a few beautiful views.
Kenneth from Engineering and Facilities Services, who is always trying to challenge himself and achieve a breakthrough in his life, received a copy of Armstrong’s biography First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong in his prescription. Hannah from Corporate Communications, a keen traveller, said in her questionnaire that she was bored because she hadn’t visited abroad for so long. She received a copy of a French novel entitled Les gens heureux lisent et boivent du café (Happy People Read and Drink Coffee). “It was a great surprise for me,” she says. “Reading it during the pandemic was like going on a rejuvenating trip. I felt very light physically and mentally.”
After Michelle from Human Resources received an illustrated book of Pixar’s animated film, Soul, she set aside a weekend afternoon to watch the entire film with her daughter. In the film, she discovered thoughts that she had always wanted to share with her daughter, but could not put into words. Michelle hopes that at some point in her daughter’s life, she will remember the film and understand what her mother wanted to convey.
Beyond knowledge, there are many indescribable experiences we can enjoy through books. Books can be closely linked to life and help each person to solve their internal problems. In effect, a book is like a prescription for life.