09 April, 2012

Taking Yourself Seriously by Peter Taylor and Jeremy Szteiter

Title: Taking Yourself Seriously: Process of Research and Engagement
Format: Print & Ebook
Genre: Personal & Professional Development, Research, Writing Skills
Publisher: The Pumping Station
Released: February 2012

Book Excerpt

Why another book on research and writing? The short answer: the approach presented here is not addressed well elsewhere. Most texts on research lay out the step-by-step decisions starting with identification of the problem. Or they review the theories and methods involved in various kinds of research. Texts on writing provide guidance and exercises to improve your writing skills. In contrast, this book presents frameworks and tools to help you become more engaged in research and writing.

Suppose you have a specific question or a general issue that seems worth investigating. Now reflect on your level of engagement with that research. Is it important to you personally? Does the inquiry really flow from your own aspirations (as against being directed to meet the expectations of others-advisors, funders, trendsetters in the field)? Will it help you take action to change your work, life, or wider social arrangements? Will it help you build relationships with others in such action, in pursuing the inquiry effectively, and in communicating the outcomes?

If you've answered yes in each instance, that is good to hear given that these questions are not emphasized in other research and writing texts. If you answered no or maybe not to any of the questions, consider this analogy. For a car engine to move the wheels, the gears need to be engaged with each other. Similarly, for your research and writing to move along well, you need to align your questions and ideas, your aspirations, your ability to take or influence action, and your relationships with other people. These concepts can be shortened to head, heart, hands, and human connections. The frameworks and tools in this book can help you bring these 4H's into alignment. That is what we mean by engagement and by inviting readers to take yourself seriously.

About the Authors

Peter Taylor:
Peter Taylor is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston where he directs the Graduate Program in Critical and Creative Thinking and the undergraduate Program on Science, Technology and Values. His research and writing links innovation in teaching and interdisciplinary collaboration with studies of the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context. This combination is evident in his 2005 book, Unruly Complexity: Ecology, Interpretation, Engagement (University of Chicago Press).

Jeremy Szteiter:
Jeremy Szteiter is a 2009 graduate of the Critical and Creative Thinking program and now serves as the Program's Assistant Coordinator. His work has centered around community-based and adult education and has involved managing, developing, and teaching programs to lifelong learners, with an emphasis on a learning process that involves the teaching of others what has been learned and supporting the growth of individuals to become teachers of what they know.

Purchase Link:
http://thepumpingstation.org/books or regular online retailers

April 4 - Meet & Greet at VBT Cafe' Blog
April 5 - Interviewed at Writing Innovations E-zine
April 7 - Interviewed at BK Walker Books Etc.
April 9 - Guest Blogging at B00K R3VI3WS 
April 11 - Guest Blogging with Cindy Vine 
April 13 - Review & Interviewed at Books Are Cool
April 17 - Guest Blogging at The Golden Pen Review
April 19 - Guest Blogging at AZ Publishing Services 
April 23 - Interviewed at Reviews & Interviews 
April 25 - Guest Blogging at Mass Musings

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of The Virtual Book Tour Cafe' and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by The Virtual Book Tour Cafe', no payment was received by me in exchange for this review nor was there an obligation to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely of my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*


  1. Jeremy and I have started another form of virtual book tour that might interest readers--see http://bit.ly/xh4JbC.

    The idea is that a person arranges five (or more) people and a time for a stop on the tour. We then call those people using skype, do a brief intro to ourselves, the book, and one tool or process in the book. We then use a "five-phase format" (http://bit.ly/FivePhase) to have everyone reflect on and discuss the ways that their work intersects with or departs from what we've presented. We also have a nifty form to gather people's thoughts at the end and share them with the other participants.
    The first two stops have brought in people from Toronto and all over the USA. Stops are planed for Mexico, Portugal and Brazil. We welcome additional stops on the tour.