A successful entrepreneur recounts his quest to find happiness and God in this debut book.
Tracing his career history, the author asserts that he was driven by a desire to rise above his inauspicious beginnings. Ash grew up on the rough streets of Montreal’s inner city and was an underachieving, shiftless student in his early days. But he showed entrepreneurial promise even then, aggressively selling newspaper subscriptions door to door at the green age of 12. Still, Ash recalls that he was emotionally beleaguered by the death of his father from diabetes, stymied by bankruptcy, and engulfed in recreational drug use. His early triumphs as an entrepreneur—he was a serial starter of new businesses—were modest. He decided that the road to contentment was paved with wealth and power. Gradually, he found both prosperity and a kind of spiritual awakening. He started a payday loan business that turned out to be spectacularly lucrative. He met his future wife, Lise, and was inspired not only to become a better businessman, but also a more moral human being. Eventually, Ash found solace and guidance in the Bible, which helped him to reconceive what success meant. “Today, I operate in God’s economy,” Ash writes. “I no longer measure my success in dollars and cents.” Following the loss of his mother, who suffered from mental illness, Ash devoted himself to helping the homeless. He established an innovative housing center for their treatment named The Vivian, after his mother. The author’s remembrances remain laudably candid; he pulls no punches in describing his shortcomings and challenges. This isn’t a now-familiar appropriation of Christian doctrine to validate the unrestrained accumulation of money as a divinely sanctioned mission. Ash expertly traces his path to realizing that materialism is misguided and that transcendent philanthropic aims justify the noble pursuit of entrepreneurial victories. The title is unfortunately misleading: this is not a how-to book about finding prosperity despite bad credit, although that is a component of Ash’s story. He dispenses little practical business advice. Instead, this is a meditation on the deeper purposes of commerce, understood from the perspective of religious commitment.A forthright, inspirational account of a businessman’s spiritual struggles.