BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Bloomfield resident Karl Hughes has a few aha! moments for you, if you have a minute. A sixth-generation carpenter, the Bronx-born Hughes, 62, has spent 45 years in the trade and more than half of that time was spent thinking about writing a self-help guide, which he says will be beneficial to anyone, but especially blue collar workers. Published by THiNKaha, the guide is titled “Hammering Out a Living.”
“It’s been a work in progress for 25 years,” Hughes said recently during an interview in his Mohr Avenue home. “But believe it or not, I just started working on it in February.”
The book has an unusual format. It is essentially a compilation of 140 quotes and hashtags divided into seven sections, with headings such as “Choosing Your Path,” “Reputation Matters” and “The Importance of Values.”
For instance, in Section II: “Good Morning,” there is quote No. 19: “An affirmation is a belief put into words and repeated to yourself with conviction. Affirmations are a great way to begin your day.” And quote No. 24: “A positive outlook is essential for achieving a #SuccessfulLife, for without it, you will lose heart and become discouraged. #Affirmations #Carpenters.”
Hughes attended Manhattan College for fine arts and communications but preferred carpentry and its better wages. He remains a reader but said the thinks most blue collar workers are not big readers. He also said that there is a tremendous need for blue collar workers and believes that brief quotes that act as career road signs and inspirational thoughts are a way to reach them.
“Blue collar workers are somewhat frustrated, maybe thinking they should have gone to college or if they did, it didn’t work out,” he said. “The different road is a good road; the different road being the blue collar road.”
Hughes has been teaching for nine years in a New York City carpentry school established by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. For the last two years he has also been a member of the National Speakers Association.
Quote No. 88: “In the construction industry, your #Reputation is very important. Reputations get to the job site before you do. What sort of reputation do you have? #SuccessfulLife.”
“I relate those wonderful thoughts out there to construction people,” Hughes said.
Invited to a “thought leaders” conference in December, he met Mitchell Levy, publisher of THiNKaha Books.
“I had not heard of him,” Hughes said. “But a friend had published a similar book through him.”
“Hammering Out a Living” was the result of a three-hour interview with Levy in February during which Hughes produced the 140 quotes. Beneath these quotes in the book, are blank lines where readers can add their own thoughts. There is also an appendix listing bullet points on “Important things that are not taught in schools,” “Fending off negativity: They say/you say,” “Quick tips from Karl D. Hughes,” and other topics.
Hughes is preparing to work on additional books for readers in the blue collar trades. How to build a career in the blue collar trade and personal finances are two subjects he will cover.
“These books will be more in-depth,” he said. “‘Hammering Out a Living’ was a frame of mind. The new books will be from a different point of view. They have to be a little more detailed. The first book was done quickly and to the point.”
Earlier this week, in a follow-up interview, Hughes said a promotion for “Hammering Out a Living” on Amazon.com has begun.
“We’re getting a really positive response,” he said. “It all gets better from here.”
Quote No. 57: “Once you pick up tools, you never put them down. #SuccessfulLife.”
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