One Cause At a Time – Archive

An Archive of Chicago Now One Cause at a Time Posts

Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Your Post Public Domain Day Summary

leave a comment »

(Note – all links are non-affiliate links)

On January 1st, 2022, works that were published in 1926 entered the public domain. As a result, certain literary works could be redistributed, reused, and displayed without regard for licensure or ownership. This year’s entries into the public domain, however, are very noteworthy for they have some notable inclusions such as:

Now Public Domain!

One of the main advantages to items entering the public domain is that writers, musicians, and others can create derivative works that either keep the work in public view or foster further creativity. As an author, I have written public domain characters like the Black Bat, the Masked Rider, and Marty Quade.. Other kinds of derivative works include

  • High-quality EPUB and AZW files like those provided by Standard E-Books (who just included some new-to-the-public-domain works)
  • Volunteer-created audiobooks like those provided by Librivox
  • For-profit compilations like those provided by Delphi Classics
  • Scanned digital comics through the Digital Comic Museum
Now Public Domain

However, there are a few caveats when creative derivative works. For example, writing works based on Winnie-the-Pooh and/or Bambi should take care to base themselves on the original work and not Disney’s animated versions. (Disney owns the trademarks on their particular iterations of the character). Different countries also have different standards for what is considered public domain , and ebook vendors like Delphi Classics often differentiate the availability of their products. Although there was a landmark court case involving Sherlock Holmes several years ago, the last of the stories included in 1926’s Casebook of Sherlock Holmes passed into the public domain this year. For writers, scholars, and creators, every aspect of the Sherlockian canon is now freely available to use for derivative works.

This post is not intended to be extensively thorough in regards to public domain works. It is meant to serve as a resource for the greater community. In an effort to find unique resources for creativity, education, and community building, many are seeking free-to-use and easy-to-obtain services. With the “opening up” of public domain in the United States over the past few years, there is a great sense of excitement about what is being made available…and that works are no longer at risk of being lost or ignored.

If you have questions or comments, please leave them below or join the conversation on our Facebook page. You can find direct contact information via our About page, and you can subscribe for e-mail updates when new posts are available. And as always, thanks for reading!


Written by gordondym

January 3, 2022 at 11:13 am

Celebrating the Gene Roddenberry Centennial and Star Trek

leave a comment »

Today marks the 100th anniversary of Gene Roddenberry’s birth. As the creator of Star Trek, his humanistic values have had a great influence on many nonprofit, social enterprise, and other business professionals.

As one of those professionals who have been influenced by this work, I thought it might be a great opportunity to highlight some of the Star Trek-influenced posts (and other media) that have appeared on this blog over the years. Enjoy!

We’ll have another post (a very timely book review) uploaded next week, but until then, please leave comments below, visit our Facebook page, or email us directly.

And as always, live long and prosper.

Written by gordondym

August 19, 2021 at 6:45 pm

Posted in Commentary, Mobile, Reading

Tagged with

BOOK REVIEW: Star Trek – The Klingon Art of War

leave a comment »

Two things have kept me busy in the past few months: new employment and Star Trek. Reengaging with past Star Trek series (mostly Deep Space Nine and Enterprise) has reminded me how much the franchise has affected my life as well as inspired several Star Trek-themed blog posts). So I came across The Klingon Art of War (not an affiliate link), I was curious about whether it would be a similar-themed leadership guide for nonprofits and social enterprise as Wess Roberts’ Make It So: Leadership Lessons from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Although it is less didactic than Make It SoStar Trek – The Klingon Art of War functions as a smart, savvy reworking of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Organized into ten “principles” with related stories, Klingon Art of War serves less as a practical leadership guide and more of a metaphorical exploration into leadership strategy. (In fairness, author Keith R.A. Candido’s intention was focused on highlighting Klingon history and lore, not focusing on business leadership). However, recontextualizing Sun Tzu’s theories through a Klingon perspective provides an easier way to understand. (Especially given the high prevalence of “honor” in Klingon society which could easily be translated into “integrity” in our present times).


Even for those working remotely (like me) and dealing with COVID-19 related issues, The Klingon Art of War provides some strong ideas about personal conduct. Despite harsh-sounding phrases like “Choose Your Enemies Well” and “Always Die Standing Up”, Star Trek – The Klingon Art of War promotes a positive, straightforward approach to handling matters. Even the book’s main narrative conceit – a Klingon scholar describing his reaction to these stories – provides insight into how text can be interpreted and misinterpreted. As much as Sun Tzu’s The Art of War focused on strategy and winning every battle, Star Trek – The Klingon Art of War focuses on personal integrity and perceptions of situations. Although it isn’t a substitute for other resources, Star Trek – The Klingon Art of War provides a metaphorical exploration of living with integrity.

For Star Trek fans, The Klingon Art of War also provides some great background on Klingon culture and society within the series. Several appendices explain Klingon weapons, a practical application of Klingon principles, and understanding a historical context. Although it may seem frivolous to give meaning to tie-in literature, Star Trek – The Klingon Art of War cannot help but feel appropriate during this time. With several Star Trek series attempting to deconstruct Trek lore, The Klingon Art of War (published in 2014) reconstructs Klingon lore into a great mix of insightful tie-in literature and practical guide.

I highly recommend Star Trek – The Klingon Art of War for nonprofit and social enterprise leaders, Star Trek fans, and people looking for an entertaining diversion.

For now, though, I am now considering taking Klingon language lessons thanks to this book.

Have comments? Please leave them below or join the conversation on our Facebook page. If you wish to email me, use this contact form.

And thanks for reading!

Written by gordondym

September 1, 2020 at 8:11 am

Book Review: TREKONOMICS – The Economics of STAR TREK

leave a comment »

Much of my professional career (working with nonprofits, social enterprise, and private clients), as well as my personal philosophy, has been shaped by Star Trek. Whether adopting leadership lessons from Jean-Luc Picard or ethical principles based on the Federation, I have always gravitated towards Trek’s values (second only to those of Doctor Who). So when a recent YouTube video on the economics of Star Trek name-checked Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek by Manu Saadia, I was intrigued enough to check out the book for myself.

As someone who finds higher-level economic theory relatively dry, I thoroughly enjoyed Trekonomics. Far from being a how-to-get-there guide, Saadia uses Star Trek as an endpoint for this theoretical exploration. Focusing primarily on Star Trek: The Next Generation and its follow-ups, Saada explores the implication of various types of technology (like replicators) and the change in attitudes around wealth and money. (As Saadia himself states, the original Star Trek series mentioned currency, commerce, and other economic factors. Balancing both economic theory and fannish enthusiasm, Trekonomics explores the greater meaning of how an “ideal” world like the Federation might emerge. With the growing conversation about Universal Basic Income, our society appears to be moving slightly towards a shift in perspective.


In many ways, however, Trekonomics feels like a very well-considered argument of support for another book featured on this blog. As much as Winners Take All by Anand Girharadas highlighted the ways in which “elites” fail at social change, Trekonomics provides insights into the end goal. (Granted, it assumes that the society of  Star Trek was fully conceived rather than enhanced by scriptwriters and production crew). Even though the book can feel a bit draggy at times, Trekonomics does a very good job in providing a slightly fan-oriented theoretical base to a fictional economy.

So why review this book? Many nonprofits, social enterprises, and individuals are driven to foster social good and social benefit. Frequently, they engage in utopian thinking without considering the consequences or believe that their actions have minimal consequences. One of the advantages of Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek is that it successfully reverse engineers such a society, examining the attitudes that could move society forward towards such a future.

It’s also a really good read for any Star Trek fan, and it’s highly recommended.

Please feel free to join us on Facebook or leave your comments below…and as always, thanks for reading!

Written by gordondym

September 22, 2019 at 7:50 pm

2018 In Review

leave a comment »

Every year, this blog examines 2018 in review,  and determines where and how we proceed. This past year, this blog has focused as much on community-based initiatives as much as more personal glimpses into caregiving and freelancing.

So I’ll be working on a formal content creation calendar to streamline blogging and provide a more consistent voice.

But please consider this a “greatest hits” post, quoting one great post per month and linking directly to it.

January – There’s huge shame around being employed in a job that does not require your full skill set, and nobody wants to talk about it…until now.

February – …it’s no longer about productivity. It’s about survival.

March – Like J. Alfred Prufrock, I am afraid that I am measuring my life in coffee spoons.

April – …but after thirty pages fought off the temptation to write soliciting a job as Gary’s ghostwriter.

May – …they take the ideas of community engagement and community investment to a higher level

June – One of the hardest aspects of handling Anthony Bourdain’s passing is that there will never be closure or an “a-ha” moment that speaks to his motivations

July – “We like to think of evil as a cartoon: We think evil looks like Hitler or a serial killer. We think we’re good people, and we’re nothing like them. But the truth is, evil is banal. Most often, evil is people with privilege looking the other way, people deciding not to make a fuss, to stay silent.”

August – “Community” often gets used in a variety of contexts without understanding the full meaning of the word.

September – “The better you plan, the faster you respond”

October – …networking is not a “quick fix” but requires consistent follow-up

November – Put simply: casual coffees and get-togethers are much easier to schedule than attending paid high-end networking events.

December – The results of that idea were not just the client work they were seeking…but the start of a larger community

As always, you can comment below, join us on Facebook, or contact me directly.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful New Year!

Written by gordondym

December 18, 2018 at 9:23 am

Blogger Outreach: An Insider’s Perspective

leave a comment »

As a Chicago Now blogger, I’m finding myself in a middle of a popularity contest: between helping friends with their efforts, getting requests from media and organizations to profile them, and creating real-time topics…I am never at a loss for topics that make great posts. However, I also recognize that many nonprofit, community and other mission-driven organizations are looking to engage bloggers (and yes, blogs are still relevant in today’s times) to drive their mission. As an effort to provide guidance and insight (as well as generate interest in my freelance work as a digital marketing consultant and copywriter, here are some guidelines for engaging in strong, smart blogger outreach.

  • Do Your Research On Your Target Blog – it’s more than just reading the blog to ensure that its content fits your mission. Be sure to check out its unique monthly traffic through free tools to ensure that you will get proper coverage. Check out the blogger’s social media profile to see whether they are amenable to writing about your organization.
  • Create a Solid Pitch – When I’m working with public relations agencies and higher level organizations, it may often come in the form of a solid cover letter with an attached press release and/or pitch sheet. For smaller organizations, it’s usually a brief e-mail summarizing the highlights of the organization. (It helps to tie it into some event or milestone, like the 95th Street Red Line Station project or the Chicago Charity Challenge.) Either way, sending a brief pitch (and a short conversation via phone) usually helps me (as the blogger) provide the appropriate pitch/approach to writing it for the blog. Which leads to…
  • Create A Media List – Whether you create a high-end database or a simple spreadsheet via Microsoft Word or Libre Office, you should track your media contacts. Basic information should include the blogger’s name, e-mail, blog name, and URL, as well as unique monthly traffic for the blog. (For the record, One Cause At a Time receives 350 – 500 unique visitors per month according to Google Analytics). I would also suggest connecting with Public Narrative, an organization that assists nonprofits with communication and media and helps connect them with interested journalists.
  • Blogs help shape the story, not the spin – As a blogger, I try to write posts that encapsulate the best of technology, social change, and community-driven efforts throughout Chicago. Sometimes, bloggers like me get some of the fine details wrong, and I’m always willing to make corrections/clarifications. It is also tempting to use blogs as a way to generate “spin”, changing several details to provide an element of spin or make the blog post sound a little too promotional. (One small Chicago-based foundation, years ago, insisted on making changes that were different than what was discussed). Collaboration is key when working with bloggers since we straddle the line between “professional journalism” and “personal opinion.” (At least, that’s what I believe).
  • Ethical Bloggers Disclose When They Receive Complimentary Products – Whether I have received complimentary comics and books (as a pop culture blogger) or access to a conference, I have always disclosed when I have received free items and access. It’s not just out of a sense of ethics, but I am also bound by the FTC Disclosure Guidelines. (Worth a read if only because these guidelines also cover social media). Most of the time, that disclosure is relatively simple, such as A complimentary copy of this book was provided for purposes of review. My thoughts are my own.. When I have written books reviews for the blog, I have relied on the Chicago Public Library’s Interlibrary Loan service to find and acquire books (meaning no need to disclose). Otherwise, ethical bloggers opt to disclose when necessary
  • Always Ask For a Link to the Published Post – This may seem obvious, but this isn’t just for due diligence on the blogger’s part. In short, your organization and any blogger (including me) are looking for traffic and attention. Blog posts should be part of the “media mix” for any nonprofit or social enterprise, and that includes having it available for your organization’s marketing/public relations and other outreach efforts. (After I have completed a post, I add it to Google Plus (giving it greater weight), Twitter and this blog’s Facebook page). Having access is a given, and you have a right to using any positive media mention in your marketing efforts.

There’s obviously more to blogger outreach and relations which can be covered in a single blog post. Think of this as a great “starter” to get you thinking about your organization. We’ve been lucky to highlight some great community-based efforts over the past few weeks, and we have some great plans for the blog coming in the near future.

Questions? Comments? Please leave them below, or please feel free to use this form to contact me directly.

And thanks for reading!

Written by gordondym

August 30, 2018 at 12:13 pm

How Harlan Ellison Influenced My Writing

leave a comment »

Harlan Ellison in Boston
Photo by Pip R. Lagenta via Flickr
With Harlan Ellison’s recent passing, I have to admit that…well, he’s been on my mind a great deal. Not out of concern…just a group of unread ebooks on my phone. In fact, I was so bored recently that I found – and watched – the 2008 documentary Dreams with Sharp Teeth to pass the time…

And now, I realize that Harlan Ellison’s work has not only had a notable influence on my work but has also provided a great example of courageously expressing your values and opinions…even if it means facing criticism. In a time when “civility” is promoted as a community ideal, Ellison’s I-don’t-care attitude and blunt realism serve as both welcome examples and cautionary tales. Sometimes simultaneously.

Growing up, I knew about Harlan Ellison – after all, he wrote one of my favorite Star Trek episodes, as well as a really memorable Outer Limits episode. He even wrote the introductions to Pinnacle’s first wave of Doctor Who paperbacks. I knew the name…but I didn’t know the man or his other work.  But it wasn’t until my first year of college – an abortive year at the University of Chicago – that I was formally introduced to his work by a woman I was quite…infatuated with.

That summer, I checked out The Essential Ellison from the West Lawn Branch of the Chicago Public Library…and read it cover to cover. That led to searches for well-worn paperbacks in thrift shops, with Ellison’s work competing for my hard-earned dollars with Doc Savage paperbacks. Reading his work voraciously, I found myself not only enjoying his prose…but sought out other ephemera, like tracking down the episode he wrote for The Man From UNCLE or even catching adaptations of his work for The Twilight Zone such as  Shatterday or Paladin of the Lost Hour. 

I have always believed that great writing always looks easy to do…until you actually have to do it. Ellison’s prose and essays had a sharp, incisive attitude. Yes, I heard all the storiesabout Ellison’s difficult attitude (and to be honest, I share Harlan Ellison’s predilection towards disruptive behavior and blunt honesty). And his later life was not without controversy…but there was something straightforwardly honest about the man.

West Lawn Branch - Chicago Public Library by Gordon Dymowski

Photo by Gordon Dymowski

Harlan Ellison called it as he saw it…and realized that he might be wrong. He stood his ground and spoke his truth. He also called for social change where it was needed, but more importantly, he actually lived his principles. (He often mentored new writers, including Octavia E. Butler). And one of my favorite Ellison quotes has not only served as a personal mantra but has greater resonance in our time of “civility” –

“We are not entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our INFORMED opinions. Without research, without background, without understanding, it’s nothing. It’s just bibble-babble. It’s like a fart in a wind tunnel, folks.”

It’s that willingness to be honest, to see writing as much as an art as a craft, to see where the piece leads has not only influenced my blogging for Chicago Now but also my fiction writing  and “writer’s commentaries” on my short stories and essays.  It’s that total dedication to pure honesty and integrity in writing that has not only influenced me but has also helped me appreciate Harlan Ellison’s work even more.  I could quote several other writers who claim that Harlan Ellison is one of the greatest writers who ever lived…but I would rather let you seek out his work and enjoy it for yourself.

Ironically, for a man who led such a tumultuous life, Harlan Ellison passed away peacefully in his sleep. Somehow, I wish he would have gone down fighting…but I won’t complain.

Please feel free to leave your comments below or join the conversation on our Facebook page. Please direct any personal correspondence via my contact form.

And thanks for reading!

Written by gordondym

July 1, 2018 at 9:54 am

Book Review: DISRUPTED by Dan Lyons

leave a comment »

I’ll admit, I went into Disrupted (written by Dan Lyons) with a knowing familiarity; like him, I entered the startup world ten years ago, having just moved back to Chicago. Like many other reviews, I enjoyed the book’s slightly snarky take on startup culture….

But in light of that recent Google memo and various responsesDisrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons reads less like a satiric jab at technology, marketing, and startup culture and more of a clarion call for greater diversity and inclusion…as well as a rallying cry against ageism and elitism.

Let’s be clear – Disrupted is a very funny book, and Dan Lyons provides some scathing insights into startup culture. After all, having been involved in journalism for over 25 years, Lyons (then in his early 50s) decides to work for Hubspot.  From there, he receives a very gradual introduction into the more absurd aspects of Hubspot culture: the unusual language of HubSpeak (which requires a wiki to understand), the emphasis on personal politics over accomplishments….after all, Lyons only wanted a job where he could learn marketing, and then more forward in his career. It wasn’t meant to be anything serious…

But things begin to turn for the worse. Granted, Lyons is unsparing in assessing his own behavior (after all, he’s not a writer for HBO’s Silicon Valley for nothing), but he also notices some strange things. Insisting on buying free candy for employees rather than, say, paying them a higher wage. Noticing a preponderance of young, white dudes (in a particularly damning move, Lyons publishes a group photo and asks the reader to point out people of color. SPOILER ALERT…there aren’t any unless you count co-founder Dharmesh Singh). In short, the story continues on a nice, snarky path, but then….

Things begin deteriorating to the point that by the time you read the last chapter of Disrupted, you would swear that Dan Lyons shifted gears and wrote a paranoid techno-thriller. It’s hard to describe without spoiling, but Disrupted manages to make serious points about the nature of technology/startup/marketing culture – a tendency towards homogeneity and lack of diversity, emphasizing “dudebro”-style culture and self-aggrandizement over accomplishment and status. (As well as address blatant sexism, ageism, and other -isms that you can name).

(One particular damning fact: according to Disrupted, HubSpot has never made a profit. In most corporate cultures, that’s a bad thing, but in many startups, that’s considered healthy).

I don’t want to paint all startups with the same broad brush, but having worked with several in my professional endeavors….I’ve found several that have a sincere lack of self-awareness and a belief that they are doing “wonderful things” without justifying why they’re so wonderful. (Yes, I’ve also worked with startups that focus on results). With recent conversations about women were “genetically unsuited” for tech jobs, and with the increased need for more diverse populations in technology….Disrupted ends up making some serious points through a snarky, sarcastic attitude.

As I was planning to write this review, I would have said, “Read Disrupted by Dan Lyons for a fun, satiric look at tech culture.” Now, in light of recent events, Disrupted by Dan Lyons feels more like a call-to-arms….and either way, it’s a great read.

Please feel free to share your thoughts below or via our Facebook page….and as always, thanks for reading!

Written by gordondym

August 6, 2017 at 2:43 pm

More Nonprofit (and Life) Lessons from STAR TREK

leave a comment »

Earlier today, I made a guest appearance on WBEZ’s Morning Shift to discuss the 50th Anniversary of the original series of Star TrekThe idea was simple: discuss the lessons I had learned growing up watching the show.

(Really – I came of age during the beginning of syndication, and I’ve not only discussed the show on WBEZ in the past…I’ve also written several Star Trekrelated posts for this blog).

One of the areas that I touched upon in the conversation was how, as a nonprofit professional, the show influenced my own attitudes around social justice and social conscience. However, I think Star Trek contains many lessons that resonate not only within my own work in community organizing (and yes, I can draw a straight line between Star Trek and community organizing around tobacco prevention), but that I think have important resonance for other Chicago-area nonprofit and social enterprise professionals in their work….and their life.

So, just a few nonprofit (and life) lessons from Star Trek:

  • Missions matter…and knowing your mission is critical: One of the great aspects of Star Trek was that its mission statement was built into the fabric of the program. To quote: “Our…mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before”. Yes, it reflects the show’s 1960s-era times (and would later be amended to “where no one has gone before”), but Star Trek wasn’t just a show that took place in space – it had an organizing philosophy (unlike its competition Lost in Space). Knowing your organization’s mission – and defining your personal mission – can often mean the difference between getting by and moving forward.
  • Everyone is capable of both great good and great malice…and professionals learn to how to manage both capacities: Episodes like The Enemy Within and Mirror, Mirror show (in dramatic terms) how people often have two sides to their character, and that character assets in one context can be character defects in another. As nonprofit professionals, we can easily forget that we’re expected to always be noble, positive….but that the best of us work to integrate those negative impulses. And like Mr. Spock, we can work to integrate our emotional and intellectual selves in a unique manner.
  • Diversity and inclusion aren’t just phrases – they’re active principles: Many cite Star Trek‘s diverse cast as a touchstone for its futuristic thinking….but I would like to go one better and suggest that Star Trek‘s stories promoted the idea of healthy diversity. Journey to Babel highlighted differences between various alien races while in the midst of a crisis. Day of the Dove and Devil in the Dark focused on accepting differences, and how divisiveness never benefits anyone directly. (If you’ve been following the current Presidential race, Day of the Dove seems very timely). Nonprofits and social enterprise are both committed to the idea of diversity, but it means full diversity in ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and thought. Star Trek provides some great early – yet critical – thinking about these issues.
  • “Genius doesn’t come on an assembly line basis – you can’t simply say, ‘Today I will be brilliant'” –  Many nonprofit/social enterprise professionals struggle with both integrating new technology and maintaining a specific level of creativity and innovation. As this quote from The Ultimate Computer suggests, innovation and creativity are not traits that can be brought on demand, but require time, thought, and effort. Like many other nonprofit & social enterprise professionals, I find myself frustrated because I’m not being “creative enough”…but this quote reminds me that creativity and innovation require work.

Many of us who work in the nonprofit/social enterprise field find ourselves challenged to make a greater impact on the community with limited resources. However, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek series, we can find many great lessons that the show can teach us about our work. Let’s end with a famous quote from Return to Tomorrow – although focused on space travel, Kirk’s words about risk make it clear that despite our challenges, driving social change is definitely worth the effort:

What are your thoughts on Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary? You’re more than welcome to join the conversation via the comments below or on our Facebook page. You can receive updates via e-mail (instructions below), or contact me personally either through the One Cause At A Time About page or this Contact Me form.

And as always, thanks for reading!

Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Written by gordondym

September 8, 2016 at 5:10 pm

Nonprofit Leadership Lessons from STAR TREK

leave a comment »

Books on nonprofit leadership often run the gamut from very high-level treatises to more down-to-earth entries like The Mission Myth and Who Says It’s A Man’s World? However, in an increasingly complex field, transitioning into nonprofit leadership (as well as social enterprise and other mission-driven leadership) can be a challenge. In fact, for many, it’s a challenge to boldly go where they have not gone before.

Thankfully, there is such a book….and it uses Star Trek (celebrating its 50th anniversary) as a metaphor.  Although written around general business leadership, Star Trek – Make It So: Leadership Lessons from Star Trek: The Next Generation by Wess Roberts, Ph.D and Bill Ross (available in softcover and Kindle) provides some excellent insights and practical guidance for mission-driven and nonprofit leadership.

(As many long-time readers of this blog know, I’m more than willing to use television and pop culture – especially Star Trek – to discuss issues around social change. In addition, I recently participated in DePaul University’s Celebration of Star Trek in May, and I’ll be on WBEZ’s Morning Edition on Friday, July 8th to discuss the franchise…NOTE: You can click here to listen/download the segment.)

Written from the perspective of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Make It So provides scenarios taken directly from episodes of Star Trek: the Next Generation. For each scenario, there’s a description of the issues, followed by a list of “Observations” then “Lessons”. By placing these Star Trek episodes within the context of leadership lessons, Make It So provides the reader an opportunity to explore critical issues with greater perspective. (After all, isn’t Star Trek noted for its ability to handle stories that “reflect on the human condition”? It’s a rather easy-to-read book that provides a simple point-of-entry for exploring the key responsibilities and values behind professional leadership).Picard

(For those interested in nonprofit leadership, the humanistic tone of Make It So will be especially appealing with its less aggressive, more humanistic tone. Unlike other books on leadership, such as perennial classic The Art of War or Roberts’ own Leadership Secrets of Attila the HunMake It So makes the most of its Star Trek framework, presenting high-minded ideas in a much more realistic context. Rather than make the reader feel less than capable, Make It So makes the case that leadership – especially mission-driven and nonprofit leadership – are lofty goals for anyone to strive towards. This more positive tone, as well as its use of Star Trek as metaphor, is that gives Make It So particular resonance for mission-driven and nonprofit leaders).

To be fair, I’ve not only read Make It So, but I’ve also used the book for guidance in my own efforts in nonprofit leadership.  Having grown up with Star Trek, I find many of the show’s values and morals very compatible with my own. I’ve used Make It So as a leadership touchstone – a way for me to think differently about various situations. Although other books about leadership take on a more formal tone,  the tone of Make It So provides greater resonance for those entering leadership positions. (For nonprofit leadership, navigating new responsibilities can be challenging, and Make It So makes the process much easier).

With Star Trek celebrating its 50th anniversary, it is easy to focus on television and movie content. But one of the remarkable aspects of Star Trek is how it tells stories that reflect a multitude of human experiences.  Star Trek – Make It So: Leadership Lessons from Star Trek: The Next Generation by Wess Roberts, Ph.D and Bill Ross provides an excellent example of how Star Trek philosophy can be applied towards other endeavors – most notably mission-driven and nonprofit leadership.

It’s definitely a book worth reading.

Do you have any thoughts about Star Trek‘s impact on nonprofit work and social change? Do you have any great book recommendations that impact the Chicago area social change community? Please feel free to let us know via the comments section below, or join us in further conversation via our Facebook page.  If you want to reach me privately, simply use this “Contact Me” form or any other method listed on this blog’s About page)

And as always, thanks for reading!

Want to receive updates via e-mail? Just type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.


Written by gordondym

July 7, 2016 at 8:43 am