Home Published Works Books Public Service Personal Reflections  
Public Service Personal Reflections

Personal Reflections and Other Motivational Books

Big Citizenship: How Pragmatic Idealism Can Bring Out the Best in America
By: Alan Khazei
Publisher: PublicAffairs

How Ordinary Citizens Can Make a Difference! Part memoir and part blueprint, City Year co-founder Alan Khazei describes how he came to create the community-service organization with his Harvard Law School classmate Michael Brown, his work to draft and push through the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, and his ideas for promoting service across America. In Being the Change Khazei shares his experiences founding and growing his City Year program, saving Americorps, and creating the new national campaign called ServiceNation, offering inspiration as well as practical advice. He addresses how to balance private and public funding; work with all levels of government; build bipartisan support on even the most contentious issues; attract volunteers, and get young people involved.

365 Ways To Change the World: How to Make a Difference-- One Day at a Time
By: Norton, Michael
Publisher: The Free Press

"You want to make a difference in the world, but don't know where to begin. Now you can. Here is just the guide to lots of exciting ways that are more personal and fun than merely writing a check. For every day of the year, 365 Ways to Change the World is packed with information and ideas that don't take a lot of special skills to put into action, but will achieve something positive: Observe a "Buy Nothing Day" Plant a "peace pole" Sew a panel for an AIDS memorial quilt Collect rainwater to water your plants The suggestions cover twelve important areas in which you can influence change, including in your local community, as a consumer, making a cultural contribution, and addressing problems such as the environment, health, and human rights. You can go through the book day by day or use the index to flip to the issues that concern you most; to help you take action, a complementary website links straight to many of the sources listed in the book. Great to give as well as to keep, this is an inspiring, practical resource for making the world a better place -- one day at a time."

10 Ways to Change the World in Your 20s
By: Libuse Binder
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.

Our generation and the next face a myriad of environmental and social problems, on both a local and global scale, which are already affecting our quality of life. Ten Ways is designed to offer both practical, easy to implement suggestions for tackling many of these critical issues, as well as resources to help us connect with others already making a difference.

A G-MAN'S LIFE: The FBI, Being Deep Throat, and the Struggle for Honor in Washington
By: Felt, Mark; O'Connor, John
Publisher: Public Affairs

Mark Felt's role in history was secured when he decided to share his views on the Watergate break-in with a young reporter on the Washington Post named Bob Woodward. He made sure that the greatest political scandal in the twentieth century, which would besmirch an entire administration and bring down a presidency, was revealed in an unchallengeable way.

This absorbing account of Felt's FBI career, from the end of the great American crime wave through World War II, the culture wars of the 1960s, and his conviction for his role in penetrating the Weather Underground, provides a rich historical and personal context to the "Deep Throat" chapter of his life. It also provides Felt's personal recollections of the Watergate scandal, which he wrote in 1982 and kept secret, in which he explains how he came to feel that the FBI needed a "Lone Ranger" to protection it from White House corruption. Much more than a Watergate procedural, A G-Man's Life is about life as a spy, the culture of the FBI, and the internal political struggles of mid-20th century America.

Only as he neared the end of his life did Felt confide his role in our national history to members of his family, who then shared it with their lawyer, John O'Connor. The answers to the questions Who is Mark Felt? And why did he risk so much for his country? are brilliantly answered in A G-Man's Life.

A Kind of Genius: Herb Sturz and Society's Toughest Problems
By: Roberts,Sam
Publisher; Public Affairs

A renowned New York Times journalist tells the inspirational story of one of America's most imaginative and effective social entrepreneurs.

By the People: A History of Americans as Volunteers
By: Ellis, Susan
Publisher: Energize, Inc

Volunteering is so pervasive in the United States that it can be observed daily in almost every aspect of life, from giving blood to handing out political leaflets. The problem is that volunteering, because it is so pervasive, often goes unrecognized. The historical chapters of this book present an overview of the involvement of volunteers in every area of American life and trace the effect of this involvement on American institutions, professions, and social events. Yet presenting a history of volunteers is not enough. We needed to define terms like volunteer, which has many connotations, and note how the past gives direction for the future. We feel that the ramifications of our historical data are important not just the history itself. In fact, our perspective on the past gave us a way to address some concerns we have about the present, including: The ways in which volunteering is often misunderstood and therefore volunteers are incorrectly stereotyped as meddlers, do-gooders, radicals, or untrained and unpaid labor. The frequent assumption that volunteering is only done by select segments of the population, such as seniors or women. The tendency to credit volunteer work only in the social welfare area and not to see the many volunteer activities in other aspects of American life, such as political and cultural. The assertion that volunteer involvement is a substitute for adequate funding. By The People puts these issues in historical perspective and suggests implications for the future. There is even an entire chapter specifically on the evolution of the profession of volunteer management.


Cops, Teachers, Counselors : Stories from the Front Lines of Public Service
By: Williams Maynard-Moody, Steven; Musheno, Michael Craig
Publisher: University of Michigan Press

This is the first major study of street-level bureaucracy to rely on storytelling. The authors collect and examine the everyday work stories told by police, teachers, and counselors to arrive at an interpretation of how ""frontline"" government workers approach their work and process their experiences.

The authors identify two coexisting, though at times rival, metanarratives, which they label the "state-agent narrative" and the "citizen-agent narrative." The former portrays a democratic state as an edifice built on law and predictable procedures that insure like cases will be treated alike and that street-level workers are the agents of elected and administrative principals. The citizen-agent narrative, on the other hand, reveals workers concentrating on the identities and moral character of the individuals and groups with whom they must interact. The citizen-agent narrative provides a frame or map that workers employ when there are tensions between their view of fairness and the dictates of policy and law. The authors reveal both the destructive and constructive effects of workers' employment of the citizen-agent narrative and argue that both narratives are irreducible elements of contemporary governance.

Steven Maynard-Moody is a Director of the Policy Research Institute and Professor of Public Administration, the University of Kansas.
Michael Musheno is Professor of Justice and Policy Studies, Lycoming College. He is also Professor Emeritus of Justice Studies, Arizona State University.

Courage to Care, Strength to Serve - Leader's Guide
By: Zeiderman, Howard
Publisher:Touchstones Discussion Project

Maryland's former Lieutenant Governor, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, comissioned Courage to Care, Strength to Serve as a curricular supplement to community service. Discussions of these texts encourage thoughtful reflection on volunteer service activities.

Doc : Memories from a Life in Public Service
By: Bowen, Otis R.; Dubois, William P.
Publisher: Indiana University Press

No Indiana governor in the 20th century has been more popular or successful than Otis R. Bowen. In his long-awaited autobiography, "Doc" writes in rich detail about the hard work and persistence that got him into and through medical school. His commitment to serving people made him a beloved family physician in Bremen, a respected state legislator and legislative leader, and one of the most esteemed governors in Indiana history.Otis Bowen grew up poor in Fulton County, but was rich in the things that matter. With the support of his parents, siblings, teachers and friends, he pursued a dream of becoming a family physician, making many sacrifices to finance his way through medical school. As a newly minted doctor, Bowen first practiced medicine in the Army. He describes his experience on the field of combat in the Pacific during the last major battle of World War II, and tells of his life after coming home from the war to serve the medical needs of a small northern Indiana community.

An almost accidental entry into politics and public life led Bowen to the capitals of Indiana and the nation. Drafted as a candidate for Marshall County coroner in 1952, Bowen moved up from that office to become a member of the Indiana House of Representatives, to House leadership as Minority Leader and Speaker, to the governor's office in 1973, and to President Ronald Reagan's cabinet in 1985. The first person to serve eight consecutive years as Indiana's Governor, Bowen candidly explores the challenges, crises and triumphs of that period. In an equally candid way, he recounts his efforts and frustrations as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Before retiring in 1998, Du Bois also spent a decade in higher education as president of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Indiana (an association of Indiana's private colleges and universities) and as the system marketing and public relations director for Ivy Tech State College.

Fifty-Two Simple Ways to Make a Difference
By: Simon, Paul
Publisher: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

This practical and inspiring book for general readers reminds us that the little things we do count, and offers concrete suggestions for small ways of making a difference. Says the author, "I always run into people who have the 'well-what-could-I-do?' attitude. But small things really do make a difference. The longer I live the more I realize that the small things really are the big things in the long run."

Homegrown Democrat: A Few Plain Thoughts from the Heart of America
By: Keillor, Garrison
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)

In this thoughtful, deeply personal work, one of the nation's best-loved voices takes the plunge into politics and comes up with a book that has had all of America talking. Here, with great heart, supple wit, and a dash of anger, Garrison Keillor describes the simple democratic values—the Golden Rule, the obligation to defend the weak against the powerful, and others—that define his hard-working Midwestern neighbors and that today's Republicans seem determined to subvert. A reminiscence, a political tract, and a humorous meditation, Homegrown Democrat is an entertaining, refreshing addition to today's rancorous political debate.

Make a Difference: Your Guide to Volunteering and Community Service
By: Blaustein, Arthur
Publisher: Jossey-Bass

Make a Difference is an all-you-need-to-know guide for readers who want to get involved in their communities but feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of organizations that need help. Compiled and written by Arthur Blaustein, adjunct professor of social and urban policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and faculty advisor for its AmeriCorps program, this guide offers valuable information for everyone inspired to give back to their communities. Make a Difference helps readers everwhere find innumerable opportunities to put their expertise and talents to good use. Inspirational anecdotes from volunteers who took the plunge help readers overcome their fears about community involvement. Blaustein2s guide includes over 140 national, nonprofit organizations that use volunteers of all ages to make a difference where it counts. Make a Difference also lists 30 organizations that give up-to-date information on critical issues and policies. Whether readers want to tutor a child or an adult, promote causes they care about, or get hands-on experience at an organization2s headquarters, Make a Difference will inspire volunteers to get out there and make a difference in their communities--and their lives.

Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light - The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta
By: Mother Teresa
Publisher: Doubleday Religion

Mother Teresa was one of the most revered people of the 20th century, so it is no surprise that 10 years after her death people still want to know what impelled this poor, humble Albanian woman to give her life to God so completely. Kolodiejchuk, a Catholic priest and friend of Mother Teresa's who is actively promoting her cause for sainthood, assembles a startling and impressive collection of her writings, most of which have never been seen by the public. Two themes especially shine through in Mother Teresa's letters, namely, her absolute conviction that she was doing God's will, and a deep and surprising chasm of darkness within her that some would call the dark night of the soul. It is also apparent that this saintly woman was no pushover. In her quest to found the Missionaries of Charity, she aggressively pursued approval from her bishop, fully confident that God desired this work to be done. Kolodiejchuk is at times a bit presumptive in his interpretations of Teresa's letters, as no one can say for certain what was in her mind and heart at all times. What we do know, in part thanks to this volume, is that Mother Teresa's vocation to care for the poorest of the poor will continue to inspire people for generations.

Mountains Beyond Mountains
By: Tracy Kidder
Publisher: Random House

At the center of Mountains Beyond Mountains stands Paul Farmer. Doctor, Harvard professor, renowned infectious-disease specialist, anthropologist, the recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant, world-class Robin Hood, Farmer was brought up in a bus and on a boat, and in medical school found his life's calling: to diagnose and cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. This magnificent book shows how radical change can be fostered in situations that seem insurmountable, and it also shows how a meaningful life can be created, as Farmer—brilliant, charismatic, charming, both a leader in international health and a doctor who finds time to make house calls in Boston and the mountains of Haiti—blasts through convention to get results.

Profiles in Courage: Decisive Moments in the Lives of Celebrated Americans
By: Kennedy, John F.
Publisher: HarperCollins

John F. Kennedy has used wonderful skill in transforming the facts of history into dramatic personal stories. There are suspense, color and inspiration here, but first of all there is extraordinary understanding of that intangible thing called courage. Courage such as these men shared, Kennedy makes clear, is central to all morality—a man does what he must in spite of personal consequences—and these exciting stories suggest the thought that, without in the least disparaging the courage with which men die, we should not overlook the true greatness adorning those acts of courage with which men must live.

Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time
By: Loeb, Paul
Publisher: Rogat St. Martin's Press

"Soul of a Citizen awakens within us the desire and the ability to make our voices heard and our actions count. We can lead lives worthy of our convictions.

A book of inspiration and integrity, Soul of a Citizen is an antidote to the twin scourges of modern life-powerlessness and cynicism. In his evocative style. Paul Loeb tells moving tells moving stories of ordinary Americans who have found unexpected fulfillment in social involvement. Through their example and Loeb's own wise and powerful lessons, we are compelled to move from passivity to participation. The reward of our action, we learn, is nothing less than a sense of connection and purpose not found in a purely personal life." 

What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng
By Dave Eggers
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

What Is the What is the epic novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children--the so-called Lost Boys--was forced to leave his village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursued by militias, government bombers, and wild animals, crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom. When he finally is resettled in the United States, he finds a life full of promise, but also heartache and myriad new challenges. Moving, suspenseful, and unexpectedly funny, What Is the What is an astonishing novel that illuminates the lives of millions through one extraordinary man.

Back to TOP