August 27, 2008

Book Review - Project Management for Mere Mortals

This combination of printed materials and video instruction divide the content of a project management course into digestible segments. Each lesson is self-contained and provides clear explanations and practical application of project management skills. Using a "live" case study, this program goes through all phases of project management, from planning a project to fiishing one, and provides guidance on scheduling and budgeting, building teams, managing changes, and more. This LiveLessons format is geared toward those who need to learn project management skills, but do not have the time to attend a course in person.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Project Management for Mere Mortals: The Tools, Techniques, Teaming, and Politics of Project Management
Claudia M. Baca
HD 69 .P75 B325 2008 DVD

Book Review - Sustainability Handbook

This handbook discusses the benefits of sustainable practices for all types of organizations. It provides guidance on how organizations can reach for economic, social, and environmental sustainability. It provides suggested policies, ethical and behavioral codes, and metrics which can be used as organizations are moving toward sustainable practices. At the same time, it provides wealth of reference materials. The first half of the guide is focused toward CEOs and other senior organizational leaders. It encourages them to define the scope of their sustainability activities, plan a route to achieve their goals, and select appropriate measures to determine their progress and success. The second half of the book provides guidance specific to different types of organizations, including NGOs, government organizations, academic institutions and for-profit companies. This book is a practical guide as well as a helpful reference book.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

The Sustainability Handbook
William R. Blackburn
HC 110 .E5 B563 2007

August 26, 2008

Book Review - Worst Cases

Some people fear catastrophic disasters--a meteor hitting New York City, an earthquake disloding coastal cities such as Los Angeles from the rest of California, or a nuclear explosion killing all living things within a specific region. Clarke asserts that it is only a few extremists who immagine situations at this level. At the same time, less extreme events--typhoons, hurricanes, disease epidemics, and other natural and man-made disasters--seem to be occurring with greater frequency. Clarke believes that the increase in these lower level events is desensitizing societies, leaving them less shocked even as damage levels increase. As the severity of disasters rise, however, the possibility of a catastrophic disaster becomes an increasingly realistic. Clark discusses the conflict resulting from more information being available to society and its leaders, but at the same time, people's unwillingness to heed appropriate warnings and to give them appropriate attention. This book is intended as a wake up call, bringing attention to consequences that that we may believe are impossible.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Worst Cases: Terror and Catastrophe in the Popular Imagination
Lee Clarke
HV 551.2 .C533 2006

August 22, 2008

Book Review - The Leaders We Need

This book approaches the topic of leadership from the point of view of the followers. Maccoby shows that most people follow a leader because their style and personal qualities are the right fit for a specific situation, not because the leader posesses certain traits or behavior patterns. He asserts that the paternalistic and autocratic leadership styles of the past are not appropriate for today's business demands or social culture. Instead, he suggests that successful leaders must be able to engage and interact with their followers in a collaborative, team approach. Maccoby bring not only professional training as a psychoanalyst and anthropologist to his interpretation, but uses anecdotes from health care organizations, fortune 500 companies, and government organizations to support his conclusions. This book offers an unusual perspective on and approach to the subject of leadership.

This book is available in HECSA Library:

The Leaders We Need and What Makes Us Follow
Michael Maccoby
HM 1261 .M317 2007

Book Review - Separated by Duty, United in Love

This guide offers advice for military couples on how to deal with periods of separation. Vandevoorde describes the challenges of being apart from a loved one from a variety of perspectives. She shares her personal experiences as a former solder and as a military wife as well as relaying the reactions and comments of other servicemen and women and their spouses. As if walking a couple through the separation, Vandevoorde's book begins with the relationship challenges faced in the last few days before the military member leaves as well as the emotional stages that both partners go through during the separation. She discusses some of the biggest challenges that military famililes face during separations--communicating with one another, budgeting, taking care of children, and being tempted by infidelity. She offers time-tested approaches to overcoming these challenges as well as tips on handling careers, minor emergencies, and the wear and tear of everyday life. Like the departure, she states that the return of a loved one is also stressful for everyone in the family, and offers strategies for smoothing the transition and finding "normal" again. Finally, she discusses the strength that many military families find in religion and the support that they draw from one another, during separations as well as when loved ones do not return home. This practical book can be helpful to servicemen and women and their spouses regardless of their prior experience with being separated from one another.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Separated by Duty, United in Love: A Guide to Long-Distance Relationships for Military Couples
Shellie Vandevoorde
U 21.5 .V36 2006

Book Review - Blue Covenant

How did the world's most essential natural resource become so threatened? This is the question that Barlow attempts to answer in this book. She describes the shortage of clean water now occuring in isolated locations around the world, indicating that if current trends continue, this water shortage will magnify into large-scale resource wars. She discusses the current state of the world's freshwater resources, the growing control of and profits generated from this resource by private companies, and actions that people around the world are taking in order to obtain and secure their access to sufficient water supplies. She frames this water shortage in the context of other environmental issues, particularly global warming, asserting that these two issues pose the greatest threat to human survival. Following in the tradition of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, she proposes changes in water use, commerce, and governance in order to prevent further water shortages.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Comiing Battle for the Right to Water
Maude Barlow
HD 1691 .B366 2008

August 20, 2008

Book Review - Rethinking Science, Technology, and Social Change

This book questions and challenges many ideas about the relationships between science, technology, and society. Schroeder begins by stating that many previous scholars have argued that society and its priorities direct scientific discoveries and subsequent technological implementations of them. Schroeder disagrees, arguing instead that science and technological capabilities have a "life" or direction of their own. He asserts that technology, then, has effects on society through its economic consumption and the political ramifications of the power it provides and its regulation. Essentially, this book questions the cause and effect relationship between science and technology on one hand and social organizations and social change on the other. This book is not likely to end this debate, but the discussion should be of interest to everyone involved in scientific or technological pursuits.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Rethinking Science, Technology, and Social Change
Ralph Schroeder
Q 175.5 .S2996 2007

Book Review - Life in the Chesapeake Bay

This beautifully illustrated guide provides identification, description, and habitat information about the plants and animals that live in America's largest estuary. The guide begins with an overview of the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay and a discussion of the classifications of species that are found there. Subsequent chapters are organized by ecological regions, including sand beaches, shallow waters, wetlands, and deep open waters. Because of this organization, the interaction of individual species with each other and their role in the ecosystem emerges. Drawings, color pictures, and physical and behavioral descriptions enable individual species to be identified. This book is an important resource for scientists working in the Chesapeake region, but it would also be valuable for fishermen, birdwatchers, and other hobbyists who want to better understand the plants and animals around them.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Life in the Chesapeake Bay
3rd ed.
Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson
QH 104.5 .C45 L56 2006

August 18, 2008

Book Review - Career Success in Engineering

Today, successful engineers must balance the theoretical and technical information learned in school with practical skills such as project management, leadership and teamwork, professional ethics, continuing education, and professional growth. This book designed for engineering students and early career professionals offers practical advice for selecting a career path and getting a job. Once employed, it provides guidance on professional responsibilities, communication skills required on the job, and background on financial issues that affect design and construction projects. Licensing, continuing education, and professional development activities are discussed, placed in the context of career advancement. The final chapter collects information about project management, teamwork, legal and regulatory issues, codes and standards, and contracts that will be constant themes in the working life of a practicing engineer.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Career Success in Engineering: A Guide for Students and New Professionals
Bernard R. Berson and Douglas E. Benner
TA 157 .B447 2007

Book Review - Lessons of Disaster

During every disaster, public officials question what can be done to prevent it from happening again. Inquiries and investigations after the fact often uncover problems or unpreparedness, and reports are written in order to record "lessons" that can be "learned" from these situations. Birkland looks critically at this process and examines whether the "lessons" are really internalized by governments and that the information "learned" is put to practical use. He begins by putting forward a model of how learning occurs and how policy changes are made. This model is then tested by examining airline and homeland security, earthquakes, and hurricanes using the events of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina as a starting point. At the end of each chapter, the analysis is summed up and some conclusions are made. The final chapter, however, reassesses the learning model. It asserts that lessons are not really being learned because little real policy change is occurring as a result.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Lessons of Disaster: Policy Change after Catastrophic Events
Thomas A. Birkland
JK 468 .P64 B585 2006

August 8, 2008

Book Review - Dirt

This book explores the history of soil usage throughout human history. Montgomery argues that people are using up their dirt. Through intense cultivation, we are gradually using up the nutrients in fertile soil. When the land does not have protective vegetation, wind and rain lead to gradual, often imperceptible erosion. Montgomery argues that as dirt runs out, we will be unable to grow food that supports our survival. This unusual book shows how dirt and agricultural lifestyles helped to shape human societies and how the shift to an urban lifestyle has altered our relationship with the land. This book will force readers to look at dirt, one of the most ubiquitous materials around us, in a new light.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations
David R. Montgomery
S 590.7 .M66 2007

Book Review - Moving a Nation to Care

This book is intended to raise awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder. Since our nation has been at war, an increasing number of soldiers are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from depression, sleep and anxiety disorders, and overusing alcohol or drugs. This book presents the symptoms of PTSD so that they are easily recognizable and provides background especially oriented for those outside the military community to help them understand the origins and consequences of this complex problem. Meagher uses the personal stories of soldiers to illustrate the devastating effects of PTSD on these individuals and their families. She also describes how the military health care establishment and Veterans Administration is falling short in the identification and treatment of this condition. Meagher's intention with this book is to bring this failing to light so that the American public will be moved to improve the treatment of the men and women who protect their freedoms.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Moving a Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America's Returning Troops
Ilona Meagher
RC 552 .P67 M43 2007

August 6, 2008

Book Review - Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife

This book considers the question of how armies adapt to changing times and prepare for future conflicts. Nagl, an armor officer and instructor on national security studies, compares the development of counterinsurgency doctrine and practices used by the British in Malayan Emergency between 1948 and 1960 to that used by the Americans in the Vietnamese Conflict from 1950 to 1975. He asserts that organizational culture is a key factor is the ability to learn from unanticipated circumstances. It is this factor, he believes, which allowed the British to be successful against the Malayan insurgents while American efforts to quell the uprising in Vietnam failed. Nagl applies these lessons along with his experiences in the Gulf War and the current Iraq War. In the introduction to this paperback edition, Nagl highlights places where his combat experiences upheld the conclusions that he drew from history's examples. At the same time, he points out details that he underestimated or where his assessments did not quite capture the sophistication or difficulty of real life change. Nagl's work is well grounded with thorough academic research and peppered with the wisdom that comes from experience. This is a must read, both for combat leaders but also for policy and decision makers who must also be part of change when it occurs.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam
John A. Nagl
DS 597 .N27 2005

Book Review - Effective Work Breakdown Structures

This book from the Project Management Essential Library is full of practical suggestions for organizing and ordering the pieces of a project. It asks the project manager to conceive of the project in different ways. For example, a project can be broken down into component tasks, products, or based on some physical features. Haugan suggests that each of these structural organizations be considered and evaluated based on their cost and efficiency, taking into account task sharing and the reality that some tasks must be completed before others can be started. This book is full of visuals--charts, diagrams, and checklists--that make it easy to understand and to apply to real project situations. This is a quick read and is highly recommended, particularly for those already using PMBOK terminology and processes to manage projects.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Effective Work Breakdown Structures
Gregory T. Haugan
HD 69 .P75 H377 2002

August 5, 2008

Book Review - Dry Spring

This book focuses on the effects of global warming on the world's water supplies. As temperatures rise, the amount of water suitable for drinking declines. Not only are existing sources evaporating faster, changing weather patterns indicate that aquifers are not being replenished fast enough. We're simply using more water. Wood demonstrates how the decreasing water supply will affect us, particularly in North America, over the next 25 years. He asserts that those closest to river origins, in many cases Canadians or the residents of the northernmost U.S. states, will be using a higher percentage of water, while those further downstream will increasingly face drought conditions. At the same time, other parts of the world will be pounded with rain and devastated by flooding. After explaining the causes of the coming water crisis and predicting how it will play out in the coming years, Wood uses the last few chapters of the book to make suggestions about what we can do, both to lessen the severity of the coming water shortage and to survive it once it gets here.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Dry Spring: The Coming Water Crisis of North America
Chris Wood
TD 222 .W65 2008

Book Review - Fields of Fire

This novel launched the writing career of retired Marine James Webb. Webb was wounded in Vietnam and was decorated for his efforts. Based on his own experiences, he tells a story of a platoon of young Marines. They face a forbidding tropical jungle environment in which they must operate and a seemingly invisible enemy to fight against. At the same time, their mission lacks support and understanding at home. This celebrated novel has been recognized for its ability to convey the inherent conflict in war--abhorrence of destruction and loss of life while at the same time seeing attraction to war as a test of survival and opportunity to prove one's self. Based on actual events, this novel conveys the feelings and experiences of individual soldiers and functional units during the Vietnam War.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Fields of Fire: The Classic Novel of the Vietnam War
James Webb
PS 3573 .E1955 F5 2000

August 4, 2008

Book Review - Slowing Down to the Speed of Life

The hectic pace of life today has increased stress and had negative effects on people's physical health and happiness. Carlson and Bailey assert that by changing the way you think about your life and the events going on around you, you can feel like you are slowing down your life. Using anecdotes from their own lives and the experiences of patients and friends, the authors suggest simple techniques to stop your mind from spinning in destructive spirals and focus on the present moment instead. They also offer a similar strategy for reducing stress. Carlson and Bailey argue that most stress is generated by the way that we think. By changing our own opinions and thinking processes, they believe that much of our stress can be avoided or relieved. After presenting the basic principles of this practice, a school of thought called Psychology of the Mind, the authors concentrate on how these strategies apply to relationships, parenting, the work environment, and having an enjoyable and fulfilling life.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Slowing Down to the Speed of Life: How to Create a More Peaceful, Simpler Life from the Inside Out

Richard Carlson & Joseph Bailey

BF 637 .T5 C37 1997

Book Review - Healing Crisis and Trauma

This book explains how people react to traumatic experiences, both psychologically and physically. It helps caregivers understand the reactions or people who experience trauma and suggests ways in which they can help guide others toward healing. While much of this book discusses trauma in general terms, two chapters focus particularly on women's reactions to trauma and the reactions of patients with life-threatening illnesses such as cancer. Wainrib discusses the "Phoenix Phenomenon," an explanation for why some individuals who experience trauma show resilience and go on to rebuild their lives, while others experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. She discusses the role of the physical body, the mind, and spirituality in healing after traumatic experiences and offers suggestions to caretakers and those who have experienced trauma on how to move beyond their trauma and heal.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Healing Crisis and Trauma with Mind, Body, and Spirit
Barbara Rubin Wainrib
RC 552 .P67 W32 2006