Jonathan Chastek has a habit of succeeding. Ever since he was a young child, he has had the ability (sadly sometimes lacking in adults) to see what he wanted from life, how to go about it and the determination to get there! His entrepreneurial spirit saw him becoming a sweetie vendor before the age of ten – selling his best seller, giant Pixy Stix, for over one hundred percent mark-up! One sugar rush too many had parents complaining, and Jonathan’s fledgling business was shut down after a stern call from the principal to the Chastek parents (who were, in fact complicit, supplying their son with the sweets from a wholesale club to ensure he made a good profit!) Undeterred, Jonathan worked from home instead, hawking his sweets to the neighborhood kids – many of whom would come and knock on his door in little groups, anxious to score some sweet treats to while away their afternoons! This business proved fruitful as there were no local stores that the children were allowed to go to instead – they were all too far away and the children confined to the neighborhood.

At sixteen, the Beanie Baby craze started, and like any good arbitrageur, Jonathan got in at the beginning, buying low and selling high and making astounding profits – sometimes two or three hundred dollars for a quick hour’s work! 

Despite this fantastic fiscal start, Jonathan did actually have dreams of being a high-flier – quite literally, his childhood dream job was to be an airline pilot. With this goal in mind, Jonathan enlisted in the merchant marines and attended military school for four years, before realizing that he enjoyed the business life too much to be away from it, as the military would demand. Graduating with a degree in Logistics and Intermodal Transportation, he worked on the seas for a couple of years, but found it to be too disconnected from the world for his tastes – it took two days for the terrible news of the 9/11 tragedy to reach the ship, and Jonathan decided enough was enough.

He stepped sideways, into another form of transportation, and one that had long fascinated him: rail. He made the daring decision to move to Ohio for a job with a railroad – but it was, as so often, a great decision! Today, Jonathan is President of that railroad! 

Despite all Jonathan’s successes, he works hard to stay humble and appreciates those parts of life that cannot be bought or bartered: good health, a loving relationship, and the benefits of a great community. 

When Jonathan travels, he tends to eschew the touristy areas, seeking out instead the real culture of the country or region, like Christmas stores. He is inspired to write by the things he learns or experiences while travelling, and, in fact, this book was inspired by a 2019 visit to Spain during his MBA program, in which Jonathan was introduced to the concept of the Christmas Poop Log and was utterly delighted – and slightly revolted – by the idea!

Jonathan’s aim in writing is to introduce readers to new concepts and unheard ideas. He loves to read to his small son, Malcolm, and especially loves to share the obscure histories and pieces of information that he discovers during his travels and research – and who does not now thoroughly love the idea of the Christmas Poop Log? If you don’t, you must not have read the book yet. What are you waiting for?

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