Hard Conversations

Hard Conversations

I think that hard conversations reveal that we possess a fundamental sense of justice and responsibility and care. Hard conversations show us, experientially, that we are moral beings, and any education worth the name will allow us to reflect upon, and understand, that personal moral core. . . The last thing I would want my students to do is take a purely dispassionate approach to Chris Burden’s self-destructive performance pieces, the systemic, institutional racism and torture found in J.M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians, the traumatic historiographic ambitions of the World War II combat film genre, or the extremely graphic murders described in Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho.

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How Reflecting on Literature Improves Workplace Performance

How Reflecting on Literature Improves Workplace Performance

What really happens when employees participate in Books@Work? While participants tell us that getting to know their colleagues and sharing perspectives is the number one reason they enjoy the program, what exactly does this collective reflection have to do with work? New research suggests that not only is collective reflection relevant, it just might make your employees more productive!

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Top 10 Things You Can Do to Improve Literacy

Top 10 Things You Can Do to Improve Literacy

What can you do to help improve literacy? The Literacy Cooperative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving literacy rates in Northeast Ohio has launched – today – a campaign: the Top 10 Things You Can Do to Improve Literacy in the Greater Cleveland Area. Books@Work is honored and excited to be included in the Literacy Cooperative’s Top 10. The campaign is both hands-on and holistic, recognizing that there is a great need for literacy education for both children and adults. Together, we can make a difference.

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The Books@Work Badge

The Books@Work Badge

At Books@Work, we know that our participants are committed to learning and personal growth. This program exists to encourage and support individuals and communities as they engage with reading, conversation, and collaboration. Without the active engagement of our participants, Books@Work would not be possible.

We are pleased to announce the Books@Work Badge, a digital representation of that journey. Using Mozilla’s Open Badge system, the Books@Work Badge is both a testimony to participant learning as well as a credential that individuals can take with them as they move forward in their careers and communities.

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Meet Your New Trainer

Meet Your New Trainer

Athletic victories do not come easily, as we all know. Performing requires countless hours of practice, conditioning, and hard work. In his 1854 Walden, Henry David Thoreau made an impassioned plea for what we might call the athletic reading of challenging books. For many people, Thoreau is remembered as the lone cabin-dweller enjoying direct contact with nature. If we remember Thoreau only for his ecological consciousness, however, we miss one of the most compelling defenses of active literacy in American literature.

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A Text at Work: O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi”

A Text at Work: O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi”

Since this is the season for gifts and giving, our latest installment of a Text at Work is O. Henry’s famous holiday tale “The Gift of the Magi.” O. Henry was the pen name of William Sydney Porter (1862-1910), a popular American short story writer. The prestigious O. Henry Award bears his name, and is granted every year for excellent short fiction. A Text at Work is a Books@Work “teaser” – a chance to experience a reading and a set of questions to spur discussion. Read it on your own, or share it with a friend. But please don’t forget to come back and comment!

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Taking the Gown into Town

Taking the Gown into Town

In our recent discussions at Books@Work, we have been tossing around the term “ecosystem” to help us understand the many interconnected ways our program can make a difference. We are learning to see that every partner in a Books@Work program, from the individual participants to the companies and faculty, is connected to a whole network of relationships.

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Philosophy and Human Potential

Philosophy and Human Potential

Why read philosophy? The short answer: philosophy helps us discover what it is we value and believe. This response may sound counterintuitive. After all, shouldn’t I already know my own thoughts? Aren’t they my beliefs? Undoubtedly. But values and beliefs are often like the air we breathe – we rely upon them to live without giving them much thought. Philosophy offers us a mechanism for paying closer attention, for seeing ourselves anew.

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A Text at Work: Kurt Vonnegut’s “2BR02B”

A Text at Work: Kurt Vonnegut’s “2BR02B”

Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical, often dark and usually humorous novels are both popular and complex. His somber yet fantastical vision of the world was born out of harsh personal experience. Most notably, as a young man Vonnegut enlisted to fight in World War II, where he was captured by the German army. As a prisoner of war, he survived the fire bombing of Dresden. This experience would become the source material for Slaughterhouse Five, one of his most important works.

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