Tag Archive for writing

Hlinko ’89 Shares His Knowledge of Effective Viral Marketing

John Hlinko '89

In Share, Retweet, Repeat (Prentiss Hall Press), John Hlinko ‘89 shows readers how to take their ideas, causes, and products, and craft marketing campaigns around them that create buzz—in a quick and cost effective way. In the world of constant communication using new technologies, the average consumers of information have become micro publishers of information as well.

Hlinko has been involved in the realm of viral marketing for most of the last 20 years, working with a range of Fortune 500 companies and helping lead MoveOn.org and DraftObama.org. In his book, he shares his expertise on how to create spreadable messages to optimize return on investment with any budget, large or small.

Hlinko suggests focusing on three key components that he calls the Viral Trifecta:

1) Crafting content that is “spread worthy”
2) Identifying and engaging the people most likely to spread it
3) Taking advantage of the technologies that will help you spread the content

Book by John Hlinko '89

In the introduction to his book, Hlinko writes:

“We’re in a time when consumers are more cynical than ever about the information they receive—especially from companies. According to a survey by Yankelovich, a research firm with a particular expertise in consumer attitudes, 76 percent of consumers don’t believe companies tell the truth in advertisements. Their friends, on the other hand, they do still trust … If you want your message to penetrate beyond the 24 percent who are still blissfully receptive in advertising, a peer-to-peer spreading component is critical.”

For more information about Hlinko’s book, go to http://shareretweetrepeat.wordpress.com/.

Rinzler ’05 Writes About Buddhist Teachings for New Generation

Lodro Rinzler '05

In his book The Buddha Walks Into a Bar …: A Guide to Life for a New Generation (Shambhala), Lodro Rinzler ’05 shows how Buddhist teachings can have a positive impact on every little nook and cranny of your life—whether you’re interested in being a Buddhist or not. These teachings can help inspire individuals to make a difference in themselves and in the world. The book explores the four dignities of Shambhala (the tiger, lion, garuda, and dragon) and the three yanas, or vehicles, of traditional Tibetan Buddhism.

Rinzler writes in his book’s introduction that the volume is “about taking these traditional teachings that have been tried and tested over thousands of years and saying, ‘I am going to try to live my day with a little more compassion,’ or, ‘I’m going to slow down a bit and enjoy my life.’ You don’t have to change you. You are great. This book is just about how to live your life to the fullest.”

In a recent profile of Rinzler at The Daily Beast, Allison Yarrow writes:
“The tactic that’s earned him an audience outside the practicing Shambhala Buddhist community is that he applies meditation techniques to modern temptations often perfected on college campuses—drinking in bars and one-night-stands. While the benefits of meditation have crept into the scientific mainstream in recent years, Rinzler believes ancient teachings continue to be misunderstood by outsiders who see them as “hippie stuff.” Hence the slick wardrobe of bow ties and fitted jeans. He’s rebranding the practice for a new millennium, starting with himself.”

Justin Whitaker’s review of the book at American Buddhist Perspective says: “Rinzler does a good job of weaving ancient wisdom with the kinds of situations many young people will find themselves in today: from relationship break-ups to experimenting with alcohol. His use of pop culture: cartoons, comic books, rap music and the Rocky movie, help ground Buddhist practice in the real life experiences of his intended audience.”

In a recent essay “Becoming Who You Want to Be (When You Grow Up)” at the Huffington Post, Rinzler writes:

Book by Lodro Rinzler '05

“… I call upon members of my generation to look not just for a profession which might make you happy but also contemplate who you want to be as you get older. What are the core values you care about, as opposed to a profession you think might be suitable?

“If my generation, Generation O, took on this simple question we would not squander years trying to find the ‘perfect job’ or the ‘perfect position’ within a company. We would discern what is important to us and live all aspects of our life in line with that core intention. We wouldn’t all be astronauts or athletes but we would be who we want to be, and by doing that we would ultimately create that Change with a capital C.”

Rinzler is a meditation practitioner and teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage. Over the last decade he has taught numerous workshops at meditation centers and college campuses across the United States.

Schwartz MALS ’77 Co-Writes Life of Dancer Pearl Primus

Peggy MALS '77 and Murray Schwartz (Photo by Stan Sherer)

In The Dance Claimed Me (Yale University Press), Peggy MALS ’77 and Murray Schwartz provide an intimate perspective on the life of Pearl Primus (1919–1994) who made her mark on the dance scene in 1943 with impressive works incorporating social and racial protest into their dance aesthetic. Friends and colleagues of the dancer, the authors explore her influences on American culture, dance, and education. 

The Schwartzes trace Primus’s journey from her childhood in Port of Spain, Trinidad, through her rise as an influential international dancer, an early member of the New Dance Group (whose motto was “Dance is a weapon”), and a pioneer in dance anthropology. They interviewed more than 100 of the artist’s family members, friends, and fellow artists, and others.

Primus traveled extensively in the United States, Europe, Israel, the Caribbean, and Africa, and she played a significant role in presenting authentic African dance to American audiences. She was celebrated by dance critics and contemporaries such as Langston Hughes. But she found controversy in both her private and professional lives, marrying a white Jewish man during a time of segregation and challenging black intellectuals who opposed the “primitive” in her choreography. Her political protests and mixed-race tours in the South triggered an FBI investigation.

Peggy Schwartz is professor of dance and former director of the Dance Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Murray Schwartz is former dean of humanities and fine arts at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He teaches literature at Emerson College.

For an interview with the authors, click here.

LaBennett ’94 Studies West Indian Girls in Brooklyn

Oneka LaBennett '94

Black teenage girls are often negatively represented in national and global popular studies, either as being “at risk” for teenage pregnancy, obesity, or sexually transmitted diseases, or as helpless victims of inner city poverty and violence. These pervasive popular representations often portray Black adolescents’ consumer and leisure culture as corrupt, uncivilized, and pathological.

In her insightful new study She’s Mad Real (New York University Press), Oneka LaBennett ’94 draws on more than a decade of researching teenage West Indian girls in the Flatbush and Crown Heights sections of Brooklyn to argue that Black youth are, in fact, strategic consumers of popular culture—and through this consumption, they are far more active in defining race, ethnicity, and gender than academic and popular discourses tend to acknowledge.

The author also focuses on West Indian girls’ consumer and leisure culture within public spaces (such as a YMCA, a Barnes and Nobles bookstore, a McDonald’s, a movie theater, and a museum), in order to analyze how teens are marginalized and policed as they attempt to carve out places for themselves within New York’s neighborhoods.

LaBennett is assistant professor of African and African American studies and women’s studies at Fordham University, New York City. She is also research director of the Bronx African American History Project (BAAHP). Along with Daniel HoSang and Laura Pulido, she is co-editor of Racial Formation in the Twenty-First Century (forthcoming, University of California Press).

Wilensky-Lanford ’99 Writes About Chasing for the Garden of Eden

Brook Wilensky-Lanford '99 - Photo by Gianmarco Leoncavallo

In her illuminating new book, Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden (Grove Press), Brook Wilensky-Lanford ’99 traces the stories of various men who have sought over time to find the “real” Garden of Eden all over the globe, often in the most unlikely places, despite scientific advances and the advance of Darwin’s theory of evolution. This obsessive quest consumed Mesopotamian archaeologists, German Baptist ministers, British irrigation engineers, and the first president of Boston University, among many others. These relentless Eden seekers all started with the same brief Bible verses, but ended up at different spots on the planet, including Florida, the North Pole, Ohio, China, and Iraq.


On the web site Religion Dispatches, the author answers questions about her book and her approach to writing about each of the seeker’s quest to discover Eden on earth.

Wilensky-Lanford says: “I want you to be able to follow each seeker’s logic for as long as possible, before that veneer of philosophy breaks down into straight-up belief. … For me, each theory became a miniature creative work, convincing in the sort of literary way where you’re rooting for the narrator of a great novel. I do have a soft spot for the ‘why not?’ school of Eden rhetoric, in which a location is deemed possible because it’s no more unlikely than the alternative. One of my favorite seekers, Tse Tsan Tai, tried to prove Eden was in Mongolia by virtue of the fact that Iraq was just too ugly.”

In her review of Wilensky-Lanford’s book in The New York Times, Andrea Wulf writes: “The stories she has collected in Paradise Lust are certainly weird, and at times strangely wonderful. … Wilensky-Lanford tackles her subject with an appealing mix of serious research and tongue-in-cheek humor. Neither too academic nor too whimsical, the storytelling … is often irresistible.”

In another review, Michael Kroner in the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes: “Paradise Lust is an entertaining history of a story we all know, whether we believe it or not. It is also a thoroughly researched and engaging examination of faith’s role in our lives. This is Wilensky-Lanford’s first book, and it bodes well for her of-this-world future.”

Wilensky-Lanford majored in religion at Wesleyan and received an MFA in nonfiction from Columbia University. For more about the author, visit www.brookwilenskylanford.com.

Upcoming New York City event:
Thursday, Sept.15, 7 p.m.: Restless Legs Reading Series, 266 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

Critic, Novelist, Poets at Writing at Wesleyan Talks

James Kaplan ’73, author of “Frank: The Voice,” spoke at the Russell House Feb. 9. (Photo by NamAnh Ta)

Cultural critic Wayne Koestenbaum, journalist Jane Eisner, poet Yusef Komunyakaa and novelist Amy Bloom are among the speakers featured in the Writing at Wesleyan 2011 Spring Russell House Series.

Author James Kaplan ’73, the Writing Programs’ 2011 Joan Jakobson Visiting Writer, kicked-off the series Feb. 9, followed by MacArthur award winner Sarah Ruhl on Feb. 10.

All events are free and open to the public.

The full list of speakers is below, or online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/writing/distinguished_writers/.

Wednesday, Feb. 16, Memorial Chapel 8 p.m.
The Writing Programs’ 2011 Annie Sonnenblick Lecturer Michael Cunningham is the author of the novels A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours (winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award & Pulitzer Prize), and Specimen Days. His latest novel is By Nightfall. He lives in New York.

“Journalism and Social Change” Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m.

A WESeminar will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sat., Oct. 23 in Memorial Chapel titled “Journalism and Social Change: A Conversation with Koeppel Journalism Fellows William Finnegan and Jane Eisner.” The presentation will be moderated by Anne Greene, director of Writing Programs.

William Finnegan

William Finnegan

William Finnegan, staff writer for The New Yorker, is the author of award-winning works of international journalism. He has written about immigration issues and politics in Europe and Mexico; racism and conflict in Southern Africa; and poverty among youth in the U.S.

Jane Eisner ’77, editor of the Forward, a weekly Jewish newspaper of major influence nationally and internationally. She has been a national and international reporter, columnist, and executive editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer and a leader in national discussions of media and democracy.

Jane Eisner '77

Jane Eisner '77

She also is the first woman to win Wesleyan’s McConaughy Award for her contributions to journalism and public life, and she is the first Koeppel Fellow in Journalism at Wesleyan.

The event is free and open to the public, and will also be webcast live.

This event is sponsored by the Koeppel Journalism Fellowship and Wesleyan Writing Programs.

Wesleyan Offers 4 New Certificate Programs

This fall, students have the opportunity to work towards one of four certificates, in addition to their degree.

The new certificate programs include South Asian Studies; Middle Eastern Studies; Writing; and Social, Cultural and Critical Theory.

“These are outstanding endeavors by the faculty to keep the curriculum fresh and innovative, and to help students study across the disciplines but with a road map for curricular coherence,” says Karen Anderson, associate provost.

South Asian Studies Certificate
Wesleyan already offers courses and resources for all students interested in studying the cultures of Bangladesh,