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Tag Archive 'books'

David Robertson '81

David Robertson ’81

In Brick By Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Toy Industry, David C. Robertson ‘81 (with Bill Breen) traces how the company grew from a small woodworking shop in a tiny Danish town to become one of the most beloved global brands of all time. In 2003, LEGO was heading toward bankruptcy but a new management was able to steer things in the right direction, transforming the business into one of the world’s most profitable, fastest-growing companies.

From 2002 through 2010, Roberston was a professor of innovation and technology management at the Institute of Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland. He was named the LEGO Professor at IMD in 2008, which provided him with first-hand access to the insular company and its customers. He toured the factories that produce billions of bricks each year, watched designers dream up new toys, and interviewed the company’s top executives.

Book by David Robertson '81

Book by David Robertson ’81

His book reveals the grueling years of failed attempts that led to the invention of the plastic brick in 1958, followed by successful toys in next four decades. Then the seven key elements of LEGO’s growth strategy from 1999 to 2003, driven by the business world’s most popular innovation strategies, nearly ruined the company. A new leadership team pinpointed the root cause of LEGO’s problems—an overly aggressive approach to creating distinctive new offerings, with no overall guidance of the innovation process. This team then set up an innovation management system for consistently inventing new toys, building a culture where profitable innovation flourishes.

Robertson includes candid insights and critiques from the company’s leadership, employees, designers, and fans. He shares lessons that will guide leaders in their own efforts to improve their organization’s innovation.

Scott Davis in his Forbes review of the book wrote: “LEGO is a fascinating story about innovation run rampant. And it very nearly paid the price with failure. But instead, LEGO used the experience to figure out where it went wrong, change course and transform itself in the process. … In Brick by Brick, Robertson uncovers and shares a rare inside exploration of innovation-led transformation at its worst—and best. Any manager can learn from these lessons.”

In 2011, Robertson joined the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is a Professor of Practice. He teaches innovation and product development in Wharton’s undergraduate, MBA, and executive education programs. Click here to learn more about his work.

Avital Norman Nathman MALS '07

Avital Norman Nathman MALS ’07

Avital Norman Nathman MALS ’07 has edited a new collection of 35 essays, The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality (Seal Press) unravels the social media-fed notion of what it means to be a “good mother” in an era of mommy blogs, Pinterest, and Facebook. This volume takes a realistic look at motherhood and provides a platform for a diversity of voices, sharing revealing, candid, and sometimes raw stories to expand the narrative of motherhood we don’t tend to see in the headlines or on the news.

Book edited by Avital Norman Nathman MALS '07

Book edited by Avital Norman Nathman MALS ’07

The essay writers come from all walks of life, from professors to porn directors and musicians to massage therapists, who share tales of panic and feeling overwhelmed, surprise pregnancies, single motherhood, dealing with the terrible twos, adopting a child, and several other issues. The honesty of the essays reflects a community of mothers don’t wish to be in competition with others or with the notion of the ideal mom. The foreword is by Christy Turlington Burns, founder of Every Mother Counts, and contributors include Jessica Valenti, Sharon Lerner, Soraya Chemaly, Amber Dusick, and more.

Read the Frisky interview with Norman Nathman about her book.

Editor Norman Nathman concentrated in women’s studies while earning her MALS at Wesleyan. She completed a master’s thesis on the status of feminism in the lives of women in their 20s, which encouraged her to investigate and comment on the role of feminism for women in other aspects of their lives, including motherhood.

She writes a blog, The Mamafesto, and has a regular series, “The Femisphere,” for Ms. magazine’s website, as well as a regular feminist parenting column, “Mommie Dearest,” for The Frisky. Her freelance writing employs a feminist lens on a variety of topics, such as motherhood, gender, reproductive justice and reproductive health, and has appeared in The New York Times, Bamboo Family Magazine, RH Reality Check, Bitch magazine, CNN, Offbeat Families, and elsewhere.

Daniel White '91

Daniel White ’91

In From Little London to Little Bengal: Religion, Print and Modernity in Early British India 1795-1835, (The Johns Hopkins University Press), Daniel E. White ’91, associate professor of British Romanticism at University of Toronto, examines the traffic in culture between Britain and India during the Romantic period. In the early part of the 19th century, part of Calcutta could be called  “Little London,” while in London itself an Indianized community of returned expatriates was emerging as “Little Bengal.” Circling between the two, this study considers British and Indian literary, religious, and historical sources alongside newspapers, panoramas, religious festivals, idols, and museum exhibitions.

Book by Daniel White '91

Book by Daniel White ’91

White shows how an ambivalent Protestant contact with Hindu devotion shaped understandings of the imperial mission for Britons and Indians during the period. He focuses on global metaphors of circulation and mobility, communication and exchange, commerce and conquest, and he follows the movements of people, ideas, books, art, and artifacts initiated by writers, publishers, educators, missionaries, travelers, and reformers. In the course of the book, he places luminaries such as Romantic poet Robert Southey and Hindu reformer Rammohun Roy in dialogue with a fascinating array of lesser-known figures, from the Baptist missionaries of Serampore and the radical English journalist James Silk Buckingham to the mixed-race prodigy Henry Louis Vivian Derozio.

White also is the author of Early Romanticism and Religious Dissent (Cambridge University Press). At the University of Toronto, he has directed the graduate collaborative program in Book History and Print Culture.

Michael Collins '81

Michael Collins ’81

Michael Collins ’81 has written a new book of poems, The Traveling Queen (Sheep Meadow Press). He sent us the following comments on his collection:

“This book is dedicated to Annie Dillard, who began teaching at Wesleyan University while I was there and who encouraged me to pursue a career as a writer so many times that she finally overcame my misgivings.

“In general, the writing of the book was informed by my sense that poems are promises. ‘So long as men can breathe or eyes can see/ so long lives this [poem],’ Shakespeare promises in one sonnet, ‘and this gives life to thee.’  Or, as Etheridge Knight writes in one poem, a lyric can be a chanted as ‘a spell to drive the demons away.’

Poetry by Michael Collins '81

Poetry by Michael Collins ’81

“In the language of the dollar, poems aspire to be ‘legal tender for all debts [that is to say, all promises], public or private’: legal tender for debts we incur in promising to be good as our word, to love ‘till death do us part’ (for the marriage vow is itself a little poem), to sprout up under the reader’s boot soles, like Walt Whitman, or to look long into the Medusa face of reality, so that the reader will not turn to stone. (Prayers and psalms are these sorts of poems).

“The fact that poems are promises gives the poet (at least at my level) something in common with the Ponzi schemer: For, like a Ponzi scheme, a poem is a lie whose worth is based entirely on what people invest in it. But, unlike a Ponzi scheme, a poem is a lie that becomes truer the more people invest in it, the more they allow it to structure their imaginations: Who would think of ‘Homer,’ who may or may not have existed—may or may not have been made out of ‘a mouthful of air,’ as Yeats said one of his poems was—if the Illiad had not made the fires of war and the wills of gods and nations grow out of Helen’s red hair?

“As this special sort of Ponzi schemer’s product, the poem always has the potential to rise in value to the point of becoming priceless—and the potential to become worthless, like the post-World War I German money people are said to have had to cart in wheelbarrows to make simple purchases.”

From The Traveling Queen:

The Funeral

Before they close the casket
the preacher tries to open heaven with his voice,
and whisper the strongman in.

In her review of the collection in the New York Journal of Books, Laverne Frith writes:

The Traveling Queen is a wildly rich and passionately far-reaching collection of poems about which it is almost impossible to make generalizations. One thing is clear—Michael Collins is a poet of obsessions. He is obsessed with history, obsessed with mythic women, obsessed with God. But most of all, Mr. Collins is obsessed with death.”

Born in Jamaica, Collins holds a PhD from Columbia University and teaches English at Texas A&M. He is the author of Understanding Etheridge Knight (University of South Carolina Press, 2013) and has authored literary criticism, creative nonfiction, journalism and fiction in various publications such as PMIA, Callaloo, and Singapore’s The Straits Times.

Johanna Tayloe Crane '93

Johanna Tayloe Crane ’93

Johanna Tayloe Crane ’93 is the author of a new study, Scrambling for Africa: AIDS, Expertise, and the Rise of American Global Health Science (Cornell University Press) which documents how and why Africa became a major hub of American HIV and AIDS research in recent years after having formerly been excluded from its benefits due to poverty and instability.

Book by Johanna Tayloe Crane '93

Book by Johanna Tayloe Crane ’93

“American AIDS researchers became interested in working in Africa for two major reasons—one humanitarian, and one having more to do with scientific/professional motivations,” Crane said. “Once effective HIV treatment was discovered in the mid-1990s and the American epidemic began to come under control, many U.S. researchers became interested in using the knowledge they had gained fighting HIV in the United States to fight HIV in the part of the world that was hardest hit. That’s the humanitarian piece.

“In addition, once international programs finally began to fund free HIV treatment in Africa in the early 2000s, researchers were drawn there by the scientific opportunity to study huge numbers of patients about to receive their first antiretroviral treatment ever. This large number of ‘treatment naïve’ patients did not exist in the United States because people had been getting experimental treatment since the 1980s, and so working in Africa became very appealing. It’s this second factor that the book is more focused on, as well as the inherent tension between scientific ambition and humanitarian concern.”

Crane is an assistant professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences of the University of Washington-Bothell. Though her interest in AIDS/HIV research and its impact in Africa has Wesleyan roots, you wouldn’t guess it by looking at her undergraduate transcript.

“I was an English major at Wesleyan, largely because I thought I wanted to be a writer,” she said. “It took me some time to figure out that fiction writing wasn’t really for me, but that I did love telling stories about the ‘real world.’ This is partly what led me to study anthropology, and to write ethnography (which we often call ‘thick description’). So I think l learned a great deal about writing at Wesleyan that fed into my effort to write what I hope is an engaging, accessible ethnography of the politics of global HIV research.”

During her undergrad years, Crane tried and failed to enroll in the then-popular Wesleyan course “AIDS and its Discourses.” Instead, she studied critical theory and postcolonial theory. Those lenses on to power and inequality influenced her path to studying global health inequalities.

“I first started working in the field of AIDS research post-Wes, in the late 1990s, studying HIV among homeless folks in San Francisco,” she said. “I started working in Uganda in 2003.”

AramSinnreich

Aram Sinnreich ’94

Aram Sinnreich ’94 is the author of the new book The Piracy Crusade: How the Music Industry’s War on Sharing Destroys Markets and Erodes Civil Liberties (University of Massachusetts Press). An assistant professor of journalism and media studies at Rutgers University, he served as an expert witness on the 2010 court case Arista Records vs. Lime Group, which was settled out of court before he could present his 20,000-word report. The Piracy Crusade was built on the foundation of his unused research at the time.

Sinnreich argues that Hollywood, the recording industry, and the United States government are acting as crusaders who are waging a destructive war against digital technology innovators and so-called “pirates.” Attempting to shut down peer-to-peer sharing and unlicensed streaming of media, the industries have used excessive force against and attempted to dehumanize users in order to stop copyright infringement.

Sinnreich writes that the resulting laws and policies have only succeeded in hurting free speech, privacy, and open discourse while failing to curb the trend in pirating. The book begins by charting a social history of the music industry and examining its relationship with 20th-century technology. Challenging the dominant narrative of the changes undergone by the music industry, Sinnreich then looks at P2P, or peer-to-peer, file sharing in comparison to traditional music economics and recent trends in sales. He then exposes the “collateral damage” of the piracy crusade.

piracy crusade

New book by Aram Sinnreich ’94

Sinnreich is also the author of Mashed Up: Music, Technology and the Rise of Configurable Culture (University of Massachusetts Press) and has long been interested in music and intellectual property. He has published dozens of music recordings and performed with various musical ensembles.

During his time at Wesleyan, he studied with several music professors (Anthony Braxton, Jay Hoggard ‘76, Abraham Adzenyah, and Neely Bruce), worked at WEESU, and interned under Pete Ganbarg ’88 at SBK Records. After graduating Wesleyan he worked as an analyst for the New York-based Internet research firm Jupiter Communications.

“My clients were the major record labels and film studios, and my job was to keep them apprised of new technology developments and advise them about how best to take advantage of them,” Sinnreich says.

“When Napster was released in 1999, I fielded a survey that demonstrated P2P [peer-to-peer] users were actually buying more music than otherwise identical Internet users who hadn’t used the service. I thought my clients in the music industry would be delighted to hear this, but to my surprise they disputed my findings, and even issued a press release to discredit my report!

“That was the point at which I realized how complex, and often irrational, the entertainment industry’s relationship to intellectual property is.”

Sinnreich has also served as expert witness for cases such as MGM vs Grokster, the P2P suit that reached US Supreme Court in 2005. When he moved into the world of academia, he maintained his interest in the social and legal dimensions of music and technology.

As he wrote and researched The Piracy Crusade, Sinnreich published drafts of his work-in-progress on MediaCommons Press, an open scholarship platform that allowed him to receive comments and feedback from music industry executives, analysts, and attorneys as well as the general public. And, in the spirit of his research subject, the completed manuscript of his new book is available for free online under a Creative Commons license, as well as for sale on Amazon.

Kate Cooper ’82 in Timgad, Algeria

Kate Cooper ’82 in Timgad, Algeria

Kate Cooper ’82 has written a new history of the early Christian movement, Band of Angels: The Forgotten World of Early Christian Women (Overlook Press), in which she provides a vibrant narrative of the triumphs and hardships of the first mothers of the infant church. As far as recorded history is concerned, women in the ancient world lived almost invisibly in a man’s world. Piecing together their story from the few contemporary accounts that have survived required painstaking research, and Cooper offers a fresh perspective on the triumphs and hardships encountered by these early women.

Book by Kate Cooper '82

Book by Kate Cooper ’82

The book tells the intriguing story of how a new way of understanding relationships took root in the ancient world. As Cooper demonstrates, women from all walks of life played an invaluable role in Christianity’s growth to become a world religion. Peasants, empresses, and independent businesswomen contributed what they could to an emotional revolution unlike anything the ancient world had ever seen.

Cooper is professor of ancient history at the University of Manchester. Born in Washington, D.C. and also educated at Princeton and Harvard universities, she is the author of The Virgin and the Bride and The Fall of the Roman Household. She is the recipient of the Rome Prize and a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome

Author web site: kateantiquity

Poet B. J. Buckley '76

Poet B. J. Buckley ’76

B. J. Buckley ’76 has written a new collection of poems, Spaces Both Infinite and Eternal  (Limberlost Press) which considers the natural world, quiet, unspoken events—the accidental death of an owl, a porcupine gorging on apples, unobserved fragrant meadows, the roar of wind through cottonwoods. The presence of man is barely acknowledged in the rugged western landscapes of these poems. Buckley’s voice is a quiet guide through rural, mountainous territory.

Book by B. J. Buckley '76

Book by B. J. Buckley ’76

Her book is printed letterpress, using lead type on a old hand-fed platen press.

A native of Wyoming, Buckley lives on a ranch near Power, Montana. She has worked in Arts-in-the-Schools programs throughout the Rocky Mountain West for more than 30 years. She is the author of two previous books of poems, Artifacts (Willow Bee Press) and Moonhorses & The Red Bull, with artist Dawn Trask (Pronghorn Press). For her writing, she has received the Joy Harjo Prize from Cutbank: A Journal of the Arts, the Rita Dove Poetry Award from the center for Women Writers at Salem College, The Robert Penn Warren Narrative Poetry Prize, and the Comstock Review Poetry Prize. Her work also currently appears in About Place: The Future of Water.

 

Wet Spring

by B. J. Buckley

In the low bluffs, bones of buffalo lie exposed
by spring rains. So much meat, and the wind still hungry,
still cold at heart. Rain: a thousand hooves pounding dust.

Scattered out of the cattails the red-winged blackbirds,
evading for now, a hawk’s pursuit — falling, winged ash,
back into the green fire of the reeds, raining song over their enemies.

The horses are turned ass into the wind, rain saddling their flanks.
Clouds of breath rise from flared nostrils, manes knotted with damp,
the beautiful muscles rippling beneath their skins like rain-swollen rivers.

By late afternoon the sun’s corralled the thunderheads,
reined them in. Meadowlarks flash out of the coulees, yellow,
yellow — if only all wars could be so easily broken.

So many acres of stony ground, so many acres of clay —
It takes long hard rains to soak in, to crack the dessicated
seed — rainbows of wildflowers arching over the hills.

Fifty years might pass before another blossoming;
a lifetime between rains. The heart’s a mustang — it won’t be broken.
Look, how swallows thread the sky, weaving the blue cloth of darkness!

From Spaces Both Infinite and Eternal

Joshua Dubler '97

Joshua Dubler ’97

Joshua Dubler ’97 is the author of the new book Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison (Farrar Straus Giroux). A religion scholar who was working on his dissertation at Princeton University, he spent more than six years working with prisoners at the Graterford Maximum Security Prison outside of Philadelphia, focusing his studies on the religious diversity of the prison chapel.

Book by Joshua Dubler '97

Book by Joshua Dubler ’97

Down in the Chapel tells the story of one whole week at the Graterford chapel in which Dubler attended Jewish, Muslim, Native American, Catholic, and various other services and study sessions. Conversing with chaplains and correctional officers as well as prisoners, he keeps his presence in plain view as he investigates issues of faith and everyday life during incarceration.

Dubler, who graduated from Wesleyan with a BA in College of Letters and religion, is currently assistant professor of religion at the University of Rochester. He is coauthor with Andrea Sun-Mee Jones of the 2006 book Bang! Thud: World Spirit from a Texas School Book Depository.

Johanna-Crane

Johanna Tayloe Crane ’93

In her new book Scrambling for Africa: AIDS, Expertise, and the Rise of American Global Health Science (Cornell University Press), Johanna Tayloe Crane ’93 considers the past exclusion of African countries from advancements in HIV medicine and shows how the region has transformed into a center for international research and global health programs.

crane

Book by Johanna Taylor Crane ’93

After conducting research in the United States and Uganda over the past 10 years, Crane traces the flow of knowledge and money between laboratories and conference rooms in America and sub-Saharan HIV clinics. Her findings reveal how global health science has paradoxically benefited from and even created the very inequalities it has attempted to redress.

Scrambling for Africa aims to provide a critical geography of expertise that challenges the practices and universal acceptance of “Western” AIDS science. The author questions who global health science is for, who really benefits, and how.

Crane is an assistant professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington-Bothell.

Christina Pugh ’88

Christina Pugh ’88

In her new poetry collection Grains of the Voice (Triquarterly Books/Northwestern University Press), Christina Pugh ’88 reveals a fascination with sound in all its manifestations, including the human voice, musical instruments, and the sounds produced by the natural and man-made worlds. All of these serve as both the framework of poems and the occa¬sion for their changes of direction, of tone, of point of reference. The poems contain echoes—and sometimes the words themselves—of other poets, but just as often of popular and obscure songs, of the noise of pop culture, and of philosophers’ writings. Beneath the surface of her work, Pugh explores the nature of and need for communication and celebrates the endless variety of its forms.

Poetry by Christina Pugh '88

Poetry by Christina Pugh ’88

Pugh comments: “The title of my book was taken from ‘The Grain of the Voice,’ an essay on opera that was written by the critic Roland Barthes. In it, Barthes discusses a form of articulation that is, in his words, ‘a dual posture, a dual production—of language and of music.’ In short poems that both recall and revise the traditional sonnet, I have explored such ‘grains’ by incorporating particular musical and poetic line—from pop and rock songs, hymns, and poets ranging from Milton to Louise Bogan—into my own lines of extended syntactical thought. I hope that these poems may incite both new thought and new music in the mind and ear of the reader.”

Pugh’s previous collections of poems are Restoration and Rotary. Her awards include the 2000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship and a 2005 Ucross Foundation Residency Fellowship, the Grolier Poetry Prize, and four nominations for the Pushcart Prize. She is an associate professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Sam Wasson '03

Sam Wasson ’03

Best-selling author Sam Wasson ’03 has published Fosse (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), an authoritative and fascinating biography of the renowned dancer, choreographer, screenwriter, and director Bob Fosse. The only person ever to win Oscar, Emmy, and Tony awards in the same year, Fosse was a masterful artist in every entertainment medium he touched, and forever marked Broadway and Hollywood with his iconic style that would influence generations of performing artists.

Biography by Sam Wasson '03

Biography by Sam Wasson ’03

Wasson reveals the man behind the swaggering sex appeal by exploring Fosse’s reinventions of himself over a career that would result in his work on The Pajama Game, Pippin, Sweet Charity, the film Cabaret, All That Jazz, and the original Broadway production of Chicago. The author researched a wealth of unpublished material and hundreds of sources including friends, enemies, lovers, and collaborators, many of whom have never spoken publicly about Fosse before. He touches on Fosse’s prodigious professional life and also on his close and conflicted relationships with everyone from Liza Minnelli to Ann Reinking to Jessica Lange and Dustin Hoffman.

Wasson captures a man who was never satisfied with his achievements and lived an offstage life full of turmoil. He uncovers the deep wounds that encouraged Fosse’s insatiable appetites for spotlights, women, and life itself.

In her review of Fosse in The New York Times, Janet Maslin writes: “Mr. Wasson is a smart and savvy reporter, and his book abounds with colorful firsthand tales. … Whoever Fosse was and whatever his work meant, Mr. Wasson’s book is required reading for anyone eager to understand his brand of — to use a term that appears here constantly, and can’t be outdone — razzle-dazzle. And to see through his darkness.”

Wasson is also the author of The New York Times best seller Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman and two books published by Wesleyan University Press, A Splurch in the Kisser: The Movies of Blake Edwards and Paul on Mazursky.

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