WHILE browsing in one of my favorite bookstores in New York City—The Strand in Union Square—there was the quote from Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero that was emblazoned on one wall—“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading and collecting books and comic books. To this day, whenever I travel, a bookstore is a place I must go and spend some time.

To even write one book was not even a dream. It was to write the adventures of the X-Men, Spider-Man, Daredevil and Captain America for Marvel Comics was the dream. And it still is.

Now to have penned eight books is something I cannot believe. I still pinch myself to see my name in the credits. Now, I am working on my ninth tome albeit a change of pace—a story about a local music icon.

I do read a great deal many authors from fiction and non-fiction. Two recently self-published books have found their way to my shelf—“From Having a Boss to Being My Own Boss” by former Ateneo volleyball player Leonard Loo, and “Ready to Serve” by Michael Angelo Chua, the team owner of Professional Chess Association of the Philippines’s side San Juan Predators.

Both books are self-published and candid narratives, and when I learned of their existence, got both.

Loo’s book is about how he took control of his life and to become a self-sufficient entrepreneur in Japan where he has lived in the last several years. And I have to say not only am I proud of Leonard for his great fortune but also for penning a book.

Anytime someone I know does write one, it is something I must get because it provides further insight to the person while learning a thing or four.

For his part, Chua released a book titled, “Ready to Serve,” and it recounts his youthful years in Tondo, the impact of the immersion program of his school days at the Ateneo de Manila, volunteering for Gawad Kalinga to ultimately being a successful businessman and as a Toastmaster. His entire experience can be summed up in the title of the book—ready to serve.

In his book, Chua mentions all the people who have had an impact in his life—from John Lennon and the Beatles, to his teachers to even that kid who made a huge impression on him during his immersion.

Clearly, it had huge impact on Chua because he put up his Building Bridges Program with its two-fold aim of communicating empowerment, and partnering with Gawad Kalinga.

His willingness to serve and not to count the cost has seen him blessed.

His first class management of the San Juan Predators is admirable and enviable. Granted the budgets aren’t Philippine Basketball Association level is beside the point. Chua cares.

His sponsorship of the self-help programs of PCAP along with the massive support provided by league commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria is a Godsend, and I hope that the players of PCAP take advantage of these programs.

What makes both books enriching is they have chosen to share the methods and their ladder to success. To bare a part of their soul. And that is priceless.

Both occupy a spot on my bookshelf along with my books from Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Mark Bowden, JRR Tolkein, Laura Hillenbrand, Jack McCallum, Robert Kiyosaki and more.

If you are interested in getting Leonard Loo’s “From Having a Boss to Being My Own Boss” and Michael Angelo Chua’s “Ready to Serve,” you may message each individual on Facebook. They are relatively inexpensive, but is time and money well-spent.