‘Hokey Pokey’ inspires Farmington Hills author’s new book

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Bob Young still clearly remembers the moment the idea came to him, at one of the lowest points in his life.

The Farmington Hills resident’s business had just lost its last contract, and he was sitting with a friend at a campsite where neighboring campers had a raucous party going. The group began playing “The Hokey Pokey”, a novelty dance song popularized in the 1950s.

Jon Aldred for Farmington Hills City Council

For those who’ve never heard it, the song goes like this:

“I turned to Tom and said, ‘The Hokey Pokey… what if that’s what it’s all about?’,” Young recalls. “The entire core of the book was delivered to me in a second.”

Young dictated the outline for That’s What It’s All About: Life Lessons from the Hokey Pokey into his iPhone, then went home and wrote every day until he had more than 60 pages. The day he finished, he was offered a new job.

Bob Young

The book offers strategies for overcoming fear, healing relationships, facing obstacles, changing course, and seizing opportunities, with a humor tied to the iconic song. As a musician and songwriter, Young shares some “Hokey Pokey” history, but admits he does not like the song.

“There’s just no cool version of ‘The Hokey Pokey’,” he said, “but it kind of ties the whole thing together… It gives you a memorable way of overcoming your fears. You can remind yourself of the body parts and movements. You turn yourself around, and you’re headed in a different direction.”

When it came time to publish his book, Young didn’t want it to fall into the heap of self-published tomes that never seem to gain traction among readers. He approached Jay Johnson, a representative of the Coeus Creative Group, a man he’d met through a business networking group.

Hokey Pokey bookThe company agreed to work with Young and suggested that he add more narrative to get his points across. He came up with the idea of adding the stories of four characters – two who used the concepts, and two who needed them – whose lives intersect in the end.

Young hopes That’s What It’s All About will open up other opportunities; he’s a prolific writer with hundreds of poems, songs, and even film treatments to his name. He also hopes it will encourage others to leave fear behind and pursue their own dreams.

“The fewer people who fear, the more people who will contribute to society what they should have in the first place,” he said. “That’s been my experience. When I put that foot in, incredible things begin to happen.”

Young will participate in the Plymouth District Library Author Fair, held Saturday, May 4. Event information is available here: https://www.facebook.com/events/601710440302406/.

Learn more about the book, order it, and download a “Goal Guide” at hokeypokeybook.com.

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