December 3, 2014

The Joy of Engineering

The dearth of fresh, engaging engineers has American manufacturers sweating bullets. Two men believe it is high time for a higher ed engineering revolution.

In their book, A Whole New Engineer: The Coming Revolution in Engineering Education, David E. Goldberg and Mark Somerville say a lack of creativity, imagination, and people skills are putting today’s engineering grads at a huge disadvantage.

Elevated to rock star status at some companies (Apple, anyone?) today’s engineers are seen as mission critical to manufacturers across the spectrum.

Traditional engineering schools, however, reward students with a fixed mind-set, emphasizing logic and rote memorization, say Goldberg and Somerville.

This archaic combination – in the Age of Ubiquitous Information – is completely useless in today’s team-oriented culture of personality.

Combine a slate of fear-inspiring “weed-out” courses with the traditional dry approach, and voila … an uninspiring program is born.

Engineering, it seemed, was ripe for a revolution.

In 2008, two colleges – the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign – partnered to inspire its engineering students with positive emotions.

The authors write:
“Despite vast differences in size, age, governance, location and mission, the two very different schools found that the difference between a challenging education and an environment that only fosters positive emotion rests on five pillars: joy, trust, courage, openness and connection. To help change from an operating system of fear to one of joy and trust, [there are] five technologies of trust: wholeness, intrinsic motivation, coaching, culture and change management.

Has the new approach worked? Indeed, say Goldberg and Somerville:
“Old-style engineering education shut engineering practitioners and employers out of the education process. This revolution demands a more active engagement between practitioners and educators, both to help drive out the old style and bring in a new, welcoming yet rigorous culture in engineering education.”

If ever there were a student body that needed joy in their lives, engineering majors would be it. Here’s to the next revolution … and may it come equipped with mechanical pencils, hugs, and the next Great Idea.

Marketing the Engineering Revolution

David E. Goldberg and Mark Somerville, both with deep roots in the higher education system, wrote A Whole New Engineer to promote a holistic approach within traditional engineering programs. 

After resigning his tenure and professorship at the University of Illinois to work full time for the transformation of engineering education, Goldberg now works with individuals, organizations, and networks around the world to collaboratively disrupt the status quo.

Mark Somerville, PhD is the associate dean for Faculty Affairs and Research at Olin College and professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics.

Somerville and Goldberg have used A Whole New Engineer to promote conversation about the evolving engineer and how to change engineering education.  

Because its program is featured widely in the book, Olin College uses the book to promote itself and to promote change in engineering education.  

A campaign is underway to send the book to thought leaders, college deans, and engineering leaders around the world.

A Whole New Engineer is available on Amazon.

June 16, 2014

On Jerry's Bookshelf: The Prosperity Track

James R. Peters takes the title Financial Expert to a new level. How does he do so? He holds impressive degrees in financial services and managerial finance, as well as the titles CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) and CFP (Certified Financial Planner). He boasts over ten years of managing financial portfolios and advising both individuals and corporations. He offers his expertise as a speaker, the platform so crucial to being a recognized expert on any given subject.

Certainly these credentials make James Peters a Financial Expert, but do they significantly set him apart from every other financial advisor claiming that title? Perhaps not, but Peters has one thing that does set him apart, that validates his financial expertise – a book.

Peters’ book, The Prosperity Track: Energize, Enable, Empower, offers cohesive and relevant advice on reorganizing your life to be truly prosperous. By recognizing that prosperity means something different to everyone, Peters opens his audience up to include not just individuals and families, but businesses and corporations as well. In addition to being genuinely informative and helpful, the book effectively functions as the marketing boost that sets Peters above other financial advisors. Authoring The Prosperity Track enables Peters to showcase his insight into financial management in a respected and powerful medium: the book. It also beautifully showcases the empowering, encouraging attitude Peters brings into a subject that can seem incredibly daunting to many; the book includes sections on motivation, goal-setting, and overcoming excuses. With this book, Peters establishes himself as a cut above the competition.

Peters’ book, The Prosperity Track: Energize, Enable, Empower, is available on Amazon.

March 26, 2014

Using a Book to Help People in Their Hardest Period - Grief

Susan Alpert’s company, Susan Alpert Consulting, seeks to make the unbearable a little more bearable. “I started my company because people have a great need for assistance after they have lost their partner or their aging parents. Most of us aren’t prepared for the paperwork and formalities that come with the loss of a loved one. You can have accountants or attorneys but you are mostly responsible for dealing with the change – and the worst part is that you don’t know what you are expected to know.” Susan’s expertise in her business comes from her own painful experience, the death of her husband. “As an entrepreneur and head of a company, I thought I was very well-versed in business matters. But when my husband died, I found out I had no idea what to do; what needed to be filed, what to do first. It was an incredibly overwhelming period, and I realized that everyone needs help at these periods in life but they don’t know what they need.”

As Susan experienced, the grieving period is a bewildering and complicated time. “I’ve discovered in my line of work that one of the first things people very naturally worry about after the loss of a loved one is how their lifestyle will change. Regardless of what you have, you really can’t know how this loss will impact your life. You are going through a terrible grief period and you don’t know what’s going to happen to you.”

In a world where it seems like everyone is competing for your time and money, how can you know where to turn after such a devastating loss? You want to find someone who can guide you through this major life change without taking advantage of the precarious financial and emotional situation you are in – someone like Susan. Susan wanted to get her services out to people, without bewildering them in their most vulnerable time. So Susan decided to write a book.

“I knew there had to be a way that I could reach a lot of people; I had done television and radio but I really wanted to express that I had been through the same things, I had been in that same position.” Her book, Driving Solo: Dealing with Grief and the Business of Financial Survival, gives Susan the chance to communicate with people in a more effective way, to let them know that she has been there. “I know what it is like to be married to the love of your life for 46 years and then have to go through the pain of caregiving – on both sides of the experience. My book allows me to tell my story in a way that others grieving can relate to.” In dealing with aging and death, the personal side of Susan Alpert Consulting is just as important as the business side, and a book gives Susan the forum to balance these two sides of grieving. After sharing her own experiences and the life-altering decisions she had to make in the book, she can build that relationship of trust that is so necessary to guiding others through their bereavement. Susan’s book is designed to reflect that – after leading in with her own story, she transitions to the instructive portion of the book with forms, a timely charting course, and business explanations.

And finally, a book also allows Susan to broadcast her most important message – especially to those people who may not be able to afford her services, but can afford her book. What is this message? “You can brush yourself off, get back up and start moving and living. Though this is the most difficult time, there is life beyond the loss, and you are the author. There are more chapters in your book to write.” Take Susan – before her loss, she never expected to be an author. The worst tragedy she could ever experience, the loss of her husband, has resulted in new life: a book that gives Susan the chance to help others in their hardest moments.

Susan’s book, Driving Solo: Dealing with Grief and the Business of Financial Survival, is available on Amazon.

February 6, 2014

On Jerry's Bookshelf: Kill the Company

Lisa Bodell's book, Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution, is more than just a provocative and exceptional business book. Lisa is CEO of futurethink, an organization that provides innovation research and training programs for businesses that seek to become “world-class innovators.” Her message is both clear and inspirational: anyone can innovate. And to help individuals and corporations unlock their creative potential, Lisa offers herself and her company via a wide array of products: three different workshop programs, numerous webinars, keynote speeches, award-winning content, and customized training programs. In short, Lisa has in her arsenal all the necessary weapons of an effective and respected thought leader.

The final touch? A groundbreaking business book that provides companies with the tools to diagnose their faults and remove entrenched behaviors that prevent innovation. Kill the Company is the ideal complement to Lisa’s business; it allows her to present her award-winning content in a manageable, authoritative way. The eye-catching cover, professional design, and accessible layout do credit to Lisa’s inspiring message. The book truly solidifies Lisa’s position as an influential thought leader and a mobilizing speaker.

Lisa’s book, Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution, is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

January 23, 2014

Mountain-Climber Builds His Inspiring Brand With a Book

Mitch Lewis has a remarkable story, a story he has chosen to share through a book. Like so many others, Lewis felt as though he was “stuck” in his middle age. He evaluated his day-to-day life, from his position as an executive at a tech company to his family; looking back at that stuck feeling, Lewis says, “I got to be a certain age in my life, and I found that I was both happy and unhappy, so I decided to make changes.” The “creeping sense of complacency, apathy, and lethargy” he experienced may sound familiar to many – it is easy to feel stuck in a rut, whether in a professional or personal capacity. However, most people do not react to this feeling as Lewis did - running seven grueling marathons and climbing the seven highest summits on all seven continents.

There is something incredibly compelling about Lewis’ story. Perhaps because we can all relate to that desire to achieve more in our lives, or perhaps because Lewis, as a self-professed “middle-aged, out-of-shape, ordinary guy,” succeeded so thoroughly in revolutionizing his lifestyle and body, his story inspires. Realizing this, Lewis works to share his experiences by shaping them into principles and lessons that translate into the corporate environment. “In addition to my so-called day job which also extends into the evening, my night job is working to enable other people to achieve greatness. I do this by speaking at different engagements on the subject of motivation and leadership, aimed at individuals, groups and corporations,” Lewis says.

Lewis shares his experiences of mountain-climbing, running, and philanthropic work on his website, However, Lewis decided to up the ante and publish a book, Climbing Your Personal Everest – A Journey of Self-Discovery and Leadership. Not only did Lewis see a book as an effective way to share his unique story, he also saw it as a marketing tactic for his speaking work. “Eventually, over time, I’d love to extend my speaking platform into leadership development training programs. Authoring a unique, informative book builds up my speaking brand,” Lewis says.

Lewis’ book complements the unique speaking program he has to offer. “I like to cover global experiences, spiritual elements, social networking mixed with humor. Authoring this book goes hand in hand with marketing my line of part-time work as a speaker. The more books I sell, the more I build my brand as a unique professional speaker and I can then give back more to charities I support. The reverse works as well: the more speaking engagements I have, the more books I can sell, the more people I can help.” His ‘Your Personal Everest Foundation’ looks to help people in disadvantaged countries who demonstrate unique talent in technology, music and art.

In addition to complementing his professional speaking, authoring a book has also proven to be a powerful networking tool in Lewis’ day job. “For people employed in corporate/executive positions, a book can allow them to market themselves to benefit the organization through a better brand. For example, I gave out signed copies of my book to colleagues, partners, and clients, as well as executives in my company to thank and recognize them for their leadership. Many had no idea I had even written a book, and that kind of personal gesture was really impactful. It has helped me build business and stronger relationships in the corporate world.”

Not only does a book allow Lewis to monetize the incredible experiences he has had, it also allows him to share his truly inspirational and moving story with others and hopefully impact their lives the same way it has his.

You can buy Climbing Your Personal Everest – A Journey of Self-Discovery and Leadership here.

January 17, 2014

On Jerry's Bookshelf: Brands & Rousers

How do you successfully operate a global business? For many, the answer to this question lies in strategy – often expressed in a phrase that sums up their fundamental business ideology, that strategy they seek to apply in every situation. For Luis Gallardo, at the moment he was the newly appointed global marketing and brand leader of Deloitte, that conventional wisdom took the form of an oft-repeated phrase: “think global, act local.” Eight years later and with considerable experience under his belt, Luis Gallardo explores his prior mentality that an overall strategy was the only requirement in successfully operating a global business. Brand & Rousers: The Holistic System to Foster High-Performing Businesses, Brands and Careers is an informative compilation of Gallardo’s expansive business wisdom, primarily focused on espousing the need to go beyond the “general strategy” route to successfully foster business growth.

 Gallardo’s book is filled to the brim with charts, graphics, and scenarios to aid the reader in implementing his compelling strategy: managers must become rousers, engaged from top to bottom, to make things happen. While the book will undoubtedly aid many companies as an invaluable guide to management, the book is also the perfect marketing tool for Gallardo’s new mentality: Think Holistic, Act Personal. A well-produced, impactful book such as this complements perfectly the speaking and consulting career that Gallardo has carved out for himself. Most importantly, the book sets Gallardo apart by presenting his significant business wisdom in a compelling, instructive way.

Gallardo’s book is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.