Monday, December 31, 2018

Books I'd Like to Read, But No One's Written Yet

Good morning.
And the beat goes on................

As 2018 mercifully fades into the rearview mirror, this is the time of year when everyone sends out their lists. Lists of what's been accomplished, lists of upcoming plans, lists of needs, lists of New Year's resolutions, lists of predictions.  In the last couple of years, we have lists of books people have read. or mean to read: Books that help us to improve our skills; to trigger our imaginations and creative juices; books to make you a better manager; books to guide your professional development; books to help you cope.

Many of these books contain good advice - sometimes pragmatic and even inspiring.  Most of them are in the "self-help" genre.  While well intentioned, most of them also often don't really help us very much.  They may address the exact major challenges we face, and they may offer valid prescriptions for action and behavior, but they often miss the point of telling us what we need to know to actually change things.  

I suppose it's a lot to expect to ask for blueprints to success that will unfailingly work.  After all, the author's - though experienced experts and perhaps even wiser than we are - primary motive in writing the book in the first place is to make money.  Nothing wrong with that, and often times we are, at the least, entertained and given some ideas that we might try out - some of which might even be of real benefit to us.  But infallible answers that categorically are the answers we seek - well, those works are hard to find.  

So here's my - tongue in cheek, sort of  - list of a few books that I would like to read next year:

  1. Magic Words - a straightforward compendium of exactly what to say to donors and funders to get them to finally loosen their purse strings and give you money.  The book might be subtitled just that:  Oh For Pete's Sake - Give Us the Damn Money Already.  I use the title MAGIC WORDS, because it so often seems that only magic will help as you try to close the deal with potential supporters.
  2. You Want Me To Do What?  Seriously?  What to say when people make inane, ridiculous, stupid, insipid and totally impossible requests.
  3. The Five Habits of People Who Know When to Tune Someone Out.  Self-explanatory, I think.
  4. OMG - One More Grant - Sympathy and advice for when you have to write just one more freakin' grant.  
  5. Dead Ends - An explanation - in plain English - as to why you won't get the job or the promotion that simply doesn't exist.
  6. Playing to Empty Seats - a dystopian novel as to the future wrought by technology and the internet. 
  7. Why You Say Yes, When You Should Say No, and No, When You Should Say Yes - an attempt to explain why our brains seem to be hardwired to screw ourselves on a regular basis.
  8. We're Working On That - an explanation of why real progress on equity seems to move at a snail's pace.
  9. Everyone's A Leader Doesn't Mean No One's A Follower - why the notion that everyone is a leader only makes sense, if, at times, we're all followers too.  
  10. I'm Ok, You're Ok - the Rest of Them Are Nuts - The truth about everybody you know.
  11. The Corporatization of the NonProfit Arts - the truth about the similarity of some of our organizations and the wider corporate world, including the non-essentiality of the staff rank and file.  
  12. Relentless and Endless Storytelling - an examination of decades of fighting just to protect the status quo of the NEA.

Next year is very likely to be as crazy and turbulent, if not more so, than this year.  Still, there is always hope, and, for some inexplicable reason, I remain optimistic -- although I often feel like this line from the Paul Simon song, America:

"'Kathy, I'm lost' I said, though i knew she was sleeping.                                                    
          'I'm empty and aching, and I don't know why'"

Wishing you all a very Happy, healthy, safe and sane New Year.

Don't Quit