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  • What about Bob?

    This website features the work of Bob McKinnon. He is a writer, designer, podcast host, children’s author and teacher. What unites all of his work is the desire to help others move up in life – just as others have helped him.

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  • America's Dreaming

     

    Bob’s new children’s book, America’s Dreaming, has just been released!  It tells the story of a child whose simple dream is to feel welcomed and seen.

    Now On Sale!
  • Three Little Engines

    New York Times’ best seller Three Little Engines, a  modern retelling of the beloved classic Little Engine that Could, is now available in Spanish!

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  • NPR Special Program

    On the 50th anniversary of The Piano Man, Bob interviewed Billy Joel to discuss his contributions to our ideas of struggle and success in America.

    The Piano Man at 50
  • New Series

    Check out Moving Up in Communities, our new  series sharing stories of innovation and advancement in communities across the country. This series is supported by the journalism nonprofit Economic Hardship Reporting Project

    Fast Company Moving Up in Communiities
Three Little Engines

From Bob McKinnon comes this modern retelling of the beloved classic, Little Engine that Could, that asks young readers, “How does your journey differ from others?” It also serves as a thank you letter to all the parents, teachers, role models, and even strangers, who help to clear the storm or pull the tree trunk from their track.

Available in your favorite bookstores.

How did you end up here?

Have you ever asked yourself this question?  Or wondered why your life turned differently than you expected or from others you know.  On this site, you’ll find tools, writing and podcast episodes that explores this question and others.  Watch Bob’s TEDx talk to learn about his journey and the science behind how we see our lives and those of others.

Children’s Books

I think I can, I think I can, I think I… can’t?  What’s an Engine to do when even believing in yourself won’t get you to the top of the mountain? In this modern retelling of the beloved The Little Engine That Could, The Little Blue Engine and her friends attempt to reach the town on the other side of the mountain, but they quickly realize that not every engine is on the same track, and they all face different obstacles in their journey. In Three Little Engines author Bob McKinnon asks young readers: How does your journey differ from others?

While paying homage to the beloved classic, author Bob McKinnon acknowledges that although positive thinking and confidence are important, they are not always enough to help you succeed. In many instances, success requires a helping hand. This book is a gentle introduction to the idea of socioeconomic mobility and inequality in America. Heavily inspired by his own experiences, McKinnon teaches the youngest of readers how to recognize opportunity and inequality in the American Dream, and, most importantly, how to extend a helping hand to those on different tracks of life. At its heart, Three Little Engines is a thank you letter to all the parents, teachers, role models, and even strangers, who help to clear the storm or pull the tree trunk from your track.

Three Little Engines is now a New York Times best seller!  Order your copy today from your favorite online bookseller or your local bookstore:

 

What is Your American Dream Score

What is Your American Dream Score?

Spend five minutes taking this quiz, and you’ll find out what factors were working in your favor and what you had to overcome to get where you are today. At the end, you’ll receive an overall score and a personalized summary of the results (and probably a big dose of pride and gratitude).

Newsletter

Party

By the time you read this, I will have attended three very different parties over the course of a week.

The first was a celebration of life for a dear friend who died way too young. Friends from her college days and early New York years gathered to remember a life so bright that to simply say her name would bring a smile to your face.

The second is an altogether different affair. A party to celebrate the launch of my new book. While this is my third published book, it is my first book launch party. The first book came out just as my second daughter was born. She was premature, needed immediate surgery and spent the first six weeks of her life in NICU. The only place to be was by her side. My second book came out during COVID. Tough to throw a party then. Hopefully the third time will be the charm.

The third party is a bittersweet affair. It is the end of year party of my oldest daughter’s soccer team, which I have coached since they were all little girls. Sadly, this may mark the end of the team, as many of the girls move on to other high school pursuits. Coaching this team has brought such joy to my life. To see it potentially end will be very tough for this softie.

A party, by definition, is simply a social gathering where people talk, eat, drink and enjoy themselves.

When younger, I – as the Eddie Murphy song goes – “partied all the time.” As I’ve grown older the amount of partying and the nature of the occasions has changed significantly.

A few nights ago, over the dinner table, my daughters reminded me that years ago, we used to have frequent, “just because” parties at our home. Spontaneously on a random Friday or Saturday night we’d invite a few families over – just because. The grownups would sit around  laughing, telling stories  – while the kids ran around, stopping occasionally to eavesdrop. They were awesome.

During the pandemic, “just because” became “we can’t.” For whatever reason, they have not resumed. My daughters suggested that maybe they should and I think they’re on to something.

Everyday we are able to draw a breath, there is something to celebrate. Until of course there isn’t.

Not to contradict Prince, but we don’t have to “party like it’s 1999” or because there is some special occasion. We have to party just because it’s today and we can.

This week’s recommendation: Watch this two minute story about Valentines and Memorial Day. Guaranteed to make you feel wonderful.


See all posts from Moving Up Mondays blog

Monday Morning Notes

Delivered to your mailbox each Monday morning, these short notes offer an opportunity each week to reflect on who and what contributes to where we end up in life. Readers tell us it’s a great way to start their week on a positive note. See the latest note below:

Party

By the time you read this, I will have attended three very different parties over the course of a week. The first was a celebration of life for a dear friend who died way too young. Friends from her college days and early New York years gathered to remember a life so bright that to …

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Attribution with Bob McKinnon

Attribution is a podcast, where people from all walks of life, reflect on who and what has contributed to where they ended up. Our hope is after each episode, you feel a little more inspired, grateful, or supported, then when you first hit play. Check out the latest episode below:

Episode 29: Random w/ Mark Rank

Mark R. Rank is recognized as a foremost expert on issues of poverty, inequality and social justice. To date he has written 10 books on a range of subjects, including an exploration of the American Dream and  a new understanding of poverty and inequality. In this episode, I talk to Mark about his latest book, The Random Factor which looks at the role of luck and chance in shaping the course of our lives. It was a fascinating discussion, one I was lucky to have. I hope you enjoy. 

Show Links: 

Mark R. Rank

The Random Factor

Poverty Risk Calculator

Your American Dream Score