Listen To The Story

Kai Ryssdal: For our Summer Book Series this week, we've heard from an author, a bio mechanical engineer, a video gamer and a chef. We asked them to share books that helped inspire their careers.

Today, we end the series with a little frosting on top, courtesy of the co-founder of Crumbs Bake Shop, Mia Bauer.

Mia Bauer: My favorite book is Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence and I have read it over a dozen of times. The novel is set in New York City at the turn of the century. At first, this story seems completely disconnected from the life of a modern-day business woman, but the themes are so universal that they still resonate.

Ms. Wharton devotes considerable time detailing the food preparation in the kitchens of grand houses. Pages and pages are filled with exquisite meals and how they are prepared, served and consumed. I read these pages over and over because the beauty and artistry come to life and I appreciate the extensive planning and organization. There are endless details that come into play when getting a retail business off the ground and for the same reasons I marvel at them in the Age of Innocence I enjoy taking care of them in my business, Crumbs Bake Shop.

There was a time when social activity centered around meals and people came together to converse and enjoy food prepared at home. This is the memorable experience I hope to conjure for our customers when they walk in our stores. I had a very clear picture of how our stores should look and feel and the kind of unique, quality baked goods we should sell.

Yet, perhaps the most profound influence the Age of Innocence had on my decision to open a business was the promise I made to never live a life of regret. I did not want to be Countess Olenska, who must sacrifice the thing she loves, or worse Newland Archer. He lives out his days with aching regret because he must do what is expected of him. I abandoned a successful career in law to pursue a dream -- despite how many times could I hear the shock and disapproval in people's voices. But I knew if I didn't make the attempt I would always wonder: "What if?"

Ryssdal: Mia Bauer is the co-founder and vice president of Crumbs Bake Shop.

Read an excerpt of Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence. There, you can also check out all of book recommendations from our summer series. And let us know your thoughts -- send us a comment.