Book Q&A with President Stroble
From an interview conducted on May 13, 2013
What was the best book you last read?
After meeting Laura Liswood, senior advisor with Goldman Sachs and fellow International Women's Forum member, I began reading her most recent book, The Loudest Duck: Moving Beyond Diversity While Embracing Differences to Achieve Success at Work. I am inspired by her practical and theoretical understandings about how to build an inclusive community that truly embraces differences as a strength.
When and where do you like to read? Do you prefer paper or electronic books?
I like to read while I eat breakfast and get the day started—a mix of the print newspapers that arrive on the front lawn and electronic newsletters and blogs. At one time I craved owning a paper copy of every book I read (and I still have many of those and am a reluctant downsizer of book collections), but now I enjoy the convenience of electronic books that I can read while on plane flights or anywhere I am. So much to read and enjoy and learn from and so little time!
Are you a re-reader? What books in particular do you find yourself returning to, and
I do have several favorites that I return to for inspiration and to reflect upon as I think, speak, and write. Among these are any book by Jonathan Kozol, Sharon Welch's Sweet Dreams in America: Making Ethics and Spirituality Work, and several favorite books about leadership with a focus on strengths, diversity, and inclusion. Most of the time I will read something new, however, rather than re-reading. I just completed Bob Dotson's newly-released American Story: A Lifetime Search for Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things; I like not only the stories but Dotson's reflection on what they say about an American ethos. Next, I am moving on to Brand Thinking by Debbie Millman, How Stella Saved the Farm by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Timble, and The Five Percent by Peter T. Coleman.
Do you tend to hold on to books or give them away?
I have always like this proverb: It is more generous to give a book than to lend one, and the result is the same. I do form an attachment with books I have owned and read. When I look for a book on my shelves at home or in the office, I usually remember the size and color of the cover. Several years ago, I learned that poet Haki R. Madhubuti was speaking on campus at The University of Akron. I remembered reading Black Words That Say: Don't Cry, Scream (small red and white paperback) by Don L. Lee when I was an undergrad in a Black Literature course at Augustana College. What a thrill to meet him and have him sign the copy I had saved for so many years with his newly adopted name!
How do you decide what to read next? Do you read more than one book at a time?
I am always reading more than one thing at a time and mixing book reading with reading of articles; online news stories; blog posts; magazines on topics as varied as opera, religion, and cooking; backs of cereal boxes. I crave to read!
What influences what you read?
I read books that are given to me, I read books and articles that fill gaps in my knowledge, I read books that are recommended to me by friends and colleagues, and I read things that are just fun. I'm generally reading something about leadership and issues and trends in higher education. Right now I am focused on learning more about ways to encourage greater global diversity and inclusion in leadership; every book and article I read suggests another, and the list is growing longer. Books by or about people I have met or will meet are usually on the list—I look forward to meeting Kofi Annan in May and will read more by and about him before then. At one time I taught courses in adolescent literature and always enjoy a quick read of a good adolescent novel. First person narratives—fictional or real—are a favorite.
Who are your favorite authors?
This list ebbs and flows with time, so here are a few: Sherwood Anderson, Jerome Bruner, Bill Bryson, Robertson Davies, Peter Elbow, Nora Ephron, Howard Gardner, John Holt, Kenneth Koch, Lois Lowry, Jenny Nimmo, Chaim Potok, Stacy Schiff, Jerry Spinelli and Eudora Welty. And a perennial favorite, my husband Paul E. Stroble. I highly recommend any title published by Webster University Press and greatly anticipate the next volume, which will coincide with the university's centennial.
President Stroble recommends:
American Story: A Lifetime Search for Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things
by Bob Dotson
At Home: A Short History of Private Life
by Bill Bryson
A Century of Change 1912-2012: Loretto's Second Century
Initiated by Sister Patricia Jean Mansion
Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics
by Ross Douthat
Chess Child: The Story of Ray Robson, America's Youngest Grandmaster
by Gary Robson
Cleopatra: A Life
by Stacy Schiff
The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter—And How to Make the Most of Them Now
by Meg Jay
Digging to America
by Anne Tyler
Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
by Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan, Charles Burck
Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America
by Jonathan Kozol
Hesselbein on Leadership
by Frances Hesselbein
A History of the World in 100 Objects
by Neil MacGregor
Life is a Choice: A Guide to Success
by Dr. David Washington
Power Genes: Understanding Your Power Persona, and How to Wield It at Work
by Maggie Craddock
Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box
by Madeleine Albright
The Rise of Women Entrepreneurs: People, Processes, and Global Trends
by Jeanne Halladay Coughlin with Andrew R. Thomas
The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal
by Jonathan Mooney
Running Shoes Are Cheaper Than Insulin: Marathon Adventures On All Seven Continents
by Anthony Reed
Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow
by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie
Sweet Dreams in America: Making Ethics and Spirituality Work
by Sharon D. Welch
What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self
by Ellyn Spragins