Messengers of God – Elie Wiesel
I received this and a small stack of other books when my Aunt cleaned out my grandparents’ home after they died years and years ago. I just now came back around to this small, nondescript volume.
When I cracked it open, an envelope and folded news story fell out. The card carried my grandmother’s name on it, written in my mother’s tight, overhand hook writing. It was still sealed. I fingered the yellowed edges as I decided I’d go for it.
I grabbed my letter opener and carefully cut the side of the pristine envelope. A birthday card – Holly Hobbie. Inside, a plat message. Below, in that same tight, overhand hook, the signature: Happy Birthday. Love, Wesley, Cheri, Ross and Holly.
My name bled off the edge of the card as if my mom wasn’t quite planning on taking up that space.
Curiosity abounded. I checked the publishing date. 1976. Mystery solved: My younger brother was born in ’79. I never thought it was like my grandmother to not open a birthday card, but she also knew that the relationship was more than just a birthday card.
The news story was a feature story on Elie Wiesel in Parade Magazine from 1989.
These two touchpoints in time reflect the enduring quality of this book as it weaves together insights from Jewish tradition with juicy, deep, insightfully posed questions on the validity of our modern experience of the Divine.
Building a Storybrand – Donald Miller
Fitting for a modern business book, this formulaic, easy-to-read guide gives you just enough information to make you want to pay for the multi-thousand dollar online or in-person workshop based on the book. As always, you have to take the steps Miller outlines in the book and use the tools he offers in the bonus section to get the most out of it.
I enjoyed the easy-to-read nature of this book and found it super easy to incorporate the seven Storybrand steps into an undergraduate science communication class I’m teaching this semester.
The trouble will be figuring out how to tell undergrads how to coax dry, academic research articles to life using the Storybrand technique. The only question I have at this point is how easily my undergrads will take to this model, and how I can get them to see the value of integrating it with Sally Hogshead’s Brand Fascination framework as they learn to be wise communicators of scientifically valid research.
Focus Groups 101 – Michelle Brenner
This is just about the shortest research methods book I’ve ever read. Admittedly, it’s self-proclaimed as a primer on how to perform focus group research without the fluff or extra academic-ese of other research books. Again, we see simple, easy to follow steps.
This book provides step-by-step guidance on planning for, performing and reporting on focus groups. This is another of my texts for my science communication class this semester, and the last 3 weeks of the class will see students soliciting feedback on the multimedia advocacy campaign that they will be creating this semester.
I’m curious to see how students do – most are not used to getting any kind of feedback on assignments, much less real-world feedback on things they created. I mean sure, they get feedback in the form of grades, likes, shares and comments – but genuine, “look me in the eyes and tell me it’s ________” feedback is rare.
I’m glad I’ve planned to ask them for a reflection paper after that experience as part of their final grade.
Taking the Work out of Networking – Karen Wikre
I have a goal this year to reconnect with people in my Facebook who I have lost contact with over the years.
If you’re reading this on FB, give me a tag or a shout – I’d love to catch up with you personally and not on this platform.
As a person who is not good at intentionally putting others into her daily path, I’ve lost touch with some wonderful people over the years. This book is full of practical advice on how to stay connected without feeling like you need to have a “best friend” level investment in everyone you know.
It’s also got loads of “this is how to do that” advice about introducing people via email, how to connect with meaningful small talk without feeling pressure to tell your life story or feeling smarmy about it.
The thread:Each of these books put people at the center.
- Messengers is centrally about the individual stories of great men in the Old Testament, and how we can look at the Jewish understanding of their stories and make sense of our own story in the process.
- Storybrand falls in line with other business books that put the customer – real, actual customers – at the center of a company’s focus.
- Focus Groups gives detailed methods for gleaning real-world, real-people feedback on your products and ideas.
- Networking is centrally about others, not yourself. If you thought it was about you, you *really* need this book.
Each book is more about asking the right questions than about giving you right answers.
I like books like that because I’d rather chew on a good question than have someone give me a glib answer.
What are you liking about the book you’re super into right now?