The month of March continues to be one of the busiest for most in my circle (including my amazing sister who just came back from a trip to London and was recently accepted to my alma mater, the University of Florida). This week’s posts have been short and sweet, but I am happy to say next week will be packed with articles on course development (designing the instruction sheets for the PCP reboot), the first installment in the Ideate content development series, and a post on the design process for my first slidedoc. I think part of what has made 2014 so fruitful has been the drive and commitment by my colleagues, family, and friends to grow their body of work. That kind of commitment is contagious! I am working to expand my BoW by taking on three new books (in addition to inhaling the second book in the Sword of Truth series). This month, I am reading Words that Work by Dr. Frank Luntz, Creative Workshop by David Sherwin, and Cook This, Not That! by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding. Four very different books, four ways to tap into areas of potential growth in this the year of the Body of Work.
I’ve always been a big fan of science fiction (I’ve devoured most sci-fi shows and am on my second viewing of the Dr. Who reboot), but good fantasy from my perspective was hard to come by outside of LOTR. I picked up the first installment of Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series after realizing it was the basis for a fantasy series I’d sampled a few years before, Legend of the Seeker, a mostly forgettable but entertaining show featuring several folks from the film adaptations of LOTR. I have enjoyed immersing myself into Goodkind’s world. I cannot help but see Joseph Campbell’s Hero Cycle in Richard Cypher’s journey from simple forest guide to Seeker, wizard, and lord. Reading and becoming invested in this story is teaching me more about crafting stories and integrating them into presentations, as well as bringing to life Duarte’s idea that conflict is a constant in a great story.
The name Dr. Frank Luntz is familiar to me from reading Alex’s blog, in particular her review of Win, so when I ran across Words that Work while perusing the bargain books at Barnes and Noble (yes, I love a bargain!), I of course bought it immediately. I am looking forward to learning more about the impact words have on decision making. I teach my students that language and the ability to use it well can have immediate and lasting impact. Learning the right words to create resonance can help me not only teach others but also achieve my own professional goals. I am particularly intrigued by the use of real case studies of working words in action.
Another area I’d like to grow is my design skills. While I have found a way to design pretty much anything and everything I need in Keynote (so intimidated by Photoshop, even after completing a Lynda course on the subject), I have reached the point where I know I need to learn to use the tools of the design trade, and I’d like to learn by designing new types of deliverables. Creative Workshop is an application-based, skill building book. It contains 80 exercises broken up into seven categories. The purpose of the book is to help designers push and challenge their creative skills, to tackle the spectrum of design (from branding to video) in order to grow creativity through practice. I’ve owned the book for a few years, but felt intimidated by the projects. After completing Ideate, for which I created several icons and visualizations, I realized that innovation and growth as a designer will only come from challenge, so it’s time to tackle Sherwin’s challenges!
As I mentioned previously, I have been perfecting a few of my own homemade recipes, in particular my mojo marinade. If you know me well enough, you know I love to cook. In my home, we create a menu for each week’s dinners. Trying out new recipes and cooking for and with my significant other is the highlight of my day. I don’t usually buy cookbooks anymore because, let’s face it, I can Pinterest pretty much anything, but I loved the first book from this duo, Eat This, Not That!, so I picked this book up on my B & N bargain book trip. As soon as I opened the book, I was hooked. Not only were the recipes easy and yummy, the book is so well-designed! My favorite sections are the preambles to each category. For instance, the salad section contains a “salad matrix,” a visual breakdown of salad bases, vegetables, toppings, and dressings one can create hundreds of combinations with. Each section is color coded, includes call outs, variations, and visual representations. I can’t wait to plan this week’s menu using Cook This, Not That!