Mike Green has always been a traveling man.
As a youth growing up in Hornell, his mother would sometimes drop him off at James Street Park for a few hours of fun. The playgrounds and ball fields couldn’t contain him for long, though, and Green would often end up exploring the city.
“I’d be up to Kmart and people would say to me, ‘Does your mother know where you are?’ Green recalled. “When I was in Hornell as a young man, I was always drawn to travel books. Being from a small town in Western New York, an old railroad town, some people might think you can’t go places, but I knew that I was going to travel”
Green has stepped on all seven continents and visited 63 countries since leaving Hornell at the age of 20. His journey recently culminated in his first book, “Wandermust: A Hero’s Journey to Seven Truths.” The book is an “adventure leadership memoir” that captures the lessons Green imparts to clients as a performance coach who helps individuals maximize their potential. Many clients are corporate leaders across industries like aerospace, cyber security, energy and government.
Green’s coaching in adventure leadership is conducted in far flung locales across the globe, including Mongolia, New Zealand, Scotland, Peru, Uganda and the Alaskan interior, where he now resides with his family.
“I’ve always believed in service to others,” said Green. “Couple that with my curiosity of people and places, I found myself gravitating towards outdoor experiential education where I would take individuals out into the wilderness and help them develop and overcome challenges in life. It’s ultimately all about human performance.”
During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with his usual travel routine grounded by the virus, Green found himself looking for a new personal challenge. His wife of him suggested he write the book he’d been thinking about for years, and 575 days after he put the first words to the page, the book was finished.
The book details how Green discovered a leadership truth on every continent as he leads a fictional client through the Alaskan backcountry, taking the client on the same process of discovery that he’s learned through his own adventures. Hornell factors prominently in the narrative. In one vignette, Green details how his Hornell upbringing of him got him through a job as a lumberjack in Scotland when the odds were stacked against him.
“I think what sets Hornellians apart is the old railroad work ethic where your iron is your word,” said Green, who graduated Hornell High School in 1990. “The iron of the Hornell rails goes through not only Hornell, but it is embedded in the culture that I grew up in where you work hard and you follow through. I write extensively about Hornell and his culture in the book, how I discovered the leadership truth of integrity.”
Alstom employee’s side gig: Nickalus Linza’s EP ‘Dirt & Stone’ recorded in Nashville
For subscribers: Tanning helped make NY prosper, now the remnants are making a Wellsville church entrance sink
Craving ice cream? Here are 50 shops, stands and restaurants to try in the Southern Tier
Mike Green teamed up with fellow Hornell native to publish new book
Green’s hometown played a prominent role once again as he began to explore different avenues to publish the book. Through social media, he knew Michael McGruther, a contemporary at Hornell High, had started his own publishing company several years ago. Like Green, McGruther’s career had taken an interesting path since leaving the Maple City.
McGruther was working as an actor in New York City when he began writing his own original screenplays. One of his early efforts of him, Tigerland, found fast success. Released in 2000, the film starred Colin Ferrell and was directed by Joel Schumacher. McGruther went on to make several more movies and continued to sell screenplays.
He founded Hosel & Ferrule Books in 2018 and began focusing on writing novels rather than screenplays. McGruther quickly decided that Green’s book was a good fit with his young company.
“My goal with my publishing label is to elevate new writers and establish fresh intellectual property,” said McGruther. “I do believe the root of the culture tree is in books. Mike’s book, even though it may seem on the surface like a book about leadership, it’s actually a really moving story about a guy seeking the truth. I was super excited about working with him.”
McGruther helped Green navigate the publishing process. The pair also connected over their shared love of their hometown. Hornell’s influence has figured prominently in a few of McGruther’s screenplays, including one that focused on breaking away from a small town — not necessarily by choice, but by necessity.
“The economic hardships we’ve seen in Upstate New York, it can’t destroy the backbone of the good people,” McGruther said. “That’s what appealed to me about Mike’s book and why I feel like it’s important.”
With his background in Hollywood, McGruther thinks Green’s life of international travel and adventure may even be ideal for the big screen. McGruther is exploring a film adaptation of the book.
Mike Green plans author appearance in Hornell
Green’s debut book was released in March and it is available on Amazon. Green’s initial foray into writing came in his hometown newspaper, when the Evening Tribune published dispatches from his travels in the Sunday Lifestyles section during the 1990s. His early writing by him was influenced by his former English teacher, Mr. Quinlan, and the Tribune’s former travel editor, Alan Littell.
“The response was overwhelming, and that gave me the confidence that people are interested,” said Green. “Hornell and my parents taught me a strong work ethic.”
Green’s mother and a “whole tribe of great friends” still reside in Hornell. Green plans to return to Hornell later this year for a book celebration in his hometown of him.
“Somewhere in Hornell there’s a young man or woman who knows there’s more to life than Steuben County, they just don’t know how they’re going to do it,” said Green. “Well, I came from a middle-class, fourth-generation railroad family. I was able to work on every continent on the planet and 63 countries because I believed in myself. I just want to reach one person who says I was kind of on the fence, but then I got Mike’s book and it really empowered me to do it.”
Chris Potter can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ChrisPotter413. To get unlimited access to the latest news, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.