Grant Writing

GRANT WRITING Monkey Publishing, copyright and written by Mary Gladstone-Highland.

In setting forth this book Sub-titled “The Complete Workbook for Writing Grant Proposals that Win”, the author has presented remarkably detailed instructions on preparation of these extremely important tools that aid an investigator/project manager in attempting to obtain money required to start, continue and/or expand his/her or organization’s activities. It contains 3 parts Pre-Grant Writing, Grant Writing and Post Grant Writing. Part 1 provides introductory material for the newbie along with helpful suggestions for all. It contains the first 8 chapters with the first an overall presentation; 2 – documents required and details; 3 – digital reputation, importance and management; 4 – research and its importance; 5 – connections, people and organizations; 6 – importance of following exactly grantors rules; 7 – discussion of importance of differences in level and areas covered by funders, e.g. local vs federal, NIH vs NSF; 8 – language importance, e.g. Mark Twain Quote; “Substitute damn for every time you’re inclined to write very; your editor will delete it and the writing will be as it should be.” Part 2 contains the next 4 chapters with 9 – the organizational information required; 10 – how to best present the reasons for your ‘need’ for the funding; 11 – your evaluation of the impact anticipated by your project if funded; 12 – additional documents to be included. Part 3 contains chapter 13 which provides the grant writer with some of the most important follow-up suggestions. Three appendices and an Application Template terminate the book.

Discussion: The author has provided an extremely valuable amount of data for any individual or organization desirous of obtaining funding from any source. The material is set forth in a relatively concise and easily understood manner.  One of the perhaps more helpful, although granted somewhat awkwardly presented, features is the presentation of answers provided in Appendix I to grant proposals provided at the end of each chapter, The reader is supplied with the ‘test’ grant proposal and referred to this appendix where the proper answer is supplied ‘from the perspective of a grantor’. Also most helpful, Appendix III presents application examples and the Template provided is a valuable addition. (Personal opinions of a person once quite involved in preparing grant applications.)

5* Must read for any one/organization contemplating grant proposal.

The Thin Gray Line

The Thin Gray Line ISBN: 9781098740139 assumed published, copyright and written by Michael Kenneth Smith.

This is a story of the Civil War between the states of the newly expanding democracy. The protagonist, Luke Pettigrew was little more than a boy when he is forced to leave his home on a hardscrabble farm in Tennessee by his seemingly uncaring father. He joins the confederate Army, is severely injured and attempts to make it home, when Clyde, a trader, finds him struggling, lifts him into his wagon and gives him a ride to his burned-out home a short distance from his own. Worried about him, he returns to find Luke passed out, takes him to his home where, with Joanie his wife’s help, he removes the partially destroyed leg above the knee because any medical help is at least 50 miles away and he won’t be able to make it alive. As he begins to recover, Clyde’s young sons Timmy and Tommy start asking him questions and he tells them his story. Luke had been assigned to the Ambulance Corps where he had met Col. Bedford Forrest, had performed heroically in battle, had fought at Shiloh, had joined Jeb Stuart where his horse had been shot from under him resulting in the badly injured leg that had required amputation. From this initial activity, Luke continues an interesting and quite serendipitous journey through the war-torn south as he engages in numerous activities dictated by the time and his abilities – care of the wounded as well as amputees specifically, a group with communicable disease, racial concerns, impact of the war on social relationships and more. The characters include several important and even notorious figures of the time as well as a number of fictional heritage.

Discussion: Although presented as a most interesting fictional tale with appealing characters, the author has set forth a fascinating history of some of the first and little known successful attempts made to supply functional artificial limbs to amputees. A man by the name of James Hanger initiated the procedures and lived until 1919 but his company continues today “as a world-wide leader in the development and manufacture of prosthetic devices with branches around the world. During WW I, the company received contracts from the U.K. and France and vaulted them to the top of their field where they remain today.” The only unfortunate aspects of the story are the manner in which the proof readers have let the author down and just a passing but haunting thought of what happened to Luke’s ‘long-sustaining true love’.

5* Heart-warming Civil War tale providing interesting historical details.

The Daily Better

      The Daily Better ISBN: 9781628656992 Authors place Press, copyright and written by Henry Edwards.

In the Preface, the author explains that, although having been raised with all of the amenities available to a child born in this period in the United States, he acquired an obsession “with America’s hypocrisy and the “evils” of capitalism” with a “rotten Core of America – materialistic, militaristic, superficial, overweight…bloated both physically and metaphorically. I also started believing that all of humanity was doomed for decline and fall.” He moved into alcohol and drug abuse and “high school partying moved into an addiction.” Therapy turned things around and he began looking not only at America but also the rest of the world. With voracious reading he began to learn that humanity actually had progressed in fantastic proportions with the passage of time. “Pestilence, War, Famine and Death – the Four Horsemen of the Biblical Apocalypse – are all in retreat. I end up noting that there is a world-wide epidemic of anxiety, depression and suicide. The causes are many and complex, but I propose an additional cause: pessimism.” He expresses hope that by presenting here a full year’s 365 days of Reasons for Optimism others may gain a similar degree of overall optimism. An introduction provides a discussion of how a meeting with one of today’s more pessimistically inclined individuals might proceed and then the substance of the book begins with the list by date of occurrence and/or date of birth of the person responsible for the activity discussed. The first is a brief description of The Montreal Protocol of 1989 that set forth global agreement that stopped the use of chemicals contributing to ozone depletion. Another local/international/global beneficial action that benefits a particular part, or all, of mankind then is set forth in similar manner and the list continues for a complete 365 days. After each individual presentation, there is an accompanying “Thought for Today”.

An enormous number of highly varied actions, people, dates and global areas are presented to offer reasons for optimism. The dates range from antiquity and even before, to present day. The objects – TV, Web, Telephone, sonar, space, quantum theory and more. Coverage ranges through women’s rights, sexual freedom, racial relations, medical advances, and various aspects of children’s well-being, the poor, disabled, health issues and more. Individuals of note include Albert Schweitzer, Ford, Benz (Mercedes Benz), Andrew Carnegie, Jesse Owens, Walter Reed, Washington Roebling (Brooklyn Bridge), Jane Austin, Thomas Edison, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others. Places – Antarctica, various places in England, Africa, America, Apollo Theater in Harlem, Canary Islands, others.

Discussion: Turned off by the pessimism constantly encountered, the author has provided a monumental amount of ‘evidence’ to offer corroboration for his desire to create a basis for world-wide optimism. From this reviewer’s perspective, he has offered excellent material. Regrettably also from this reader’s perspective, the format; i.e. fitting occurrences into a 365 day pattern, although quite unique, results in inclusion of numerous repetitious episodes of the same basic material. The effect is a little ponderous that, at least for this reader, seems to result in an undesirable detraction from the main theme. Additionally, inclusion of his statement with respect to wars being less frequent and less costly in lives will be open to lengthy contemplation as will his comment with respect to Dr. Benjamin Spock’s teachings – a legacy the basic psychology of which along with its manner of application are particularly controversial in the minds of many today.

Conclusion: A bright light offered especially to Americans in this chaotic period of political struggle and questionable Department of Justice activity.

4* 5* Much needed optimism offered; -1 presentation as described.

Into the Woods

Into the Woods, a 16th century mystery novel assumed published copyright and written by Josh Soule.

The book opens with Chapter Zero where a “beast, no longer interested at clawing its way through the door to devour the family dwelling inside, but rather the townsmen who had just fired his musket… it did not slink through the trees… The beast was no longer afraid, no longer timid; it no longer would hide from the people of this town. The monster would not stop until it had its fill of death…A deep rumble escaped the beast’s throat as it skulked its way down the dirt path toward the town square.” A prologue follows that apparently begins recounting events that preceded this occurrence by three months; i.e. March 3, 1590. The reader is introduced to John who has left Paris where he had been studying art, to return to Carn, a small town on a trade route that is home to farmers and tradesmen. He has no family, was raised by Michael, the town priest who also was responsible for Thomas and Henry who were in similar circumstances. They were inseparable as children and often played close to and occasionally ‘on a dare’ entered the huge forest that began at the town’s edge. Their ‘acts of bravery’ occasioned by the rumors of its being inhabited by a creature that supposedly could change from human to beast. As the friends are reunited upon John’s return, more information is provided about them. Henry is married with small children and seemingly possessed of some lung problem; Thomas is a very large man, a hunter as well as owner of a farm on the outskirts of the village and a real ‘loner’; John again lives in the church with Michael, is the intellectual of the threesome and often approached by town residents for help. As time progresses, reports of cattle being killed in a horribly destructive manner surface and the three friends decide they must investigate for the safety of the town. Thomas and Henry are constantly at odds on the method to be followed and John acts as arbiter. On one attempt they are attacked by a rabid bear and manage to kill it without being infected. However, John is brutally mauled with broken ribs and more, but does recover. The town celebrates the heroes and believes all is well and life activities continue normally until sometime later another attack occurs. The tale’s description of the time and activities leading to this and the subsequent events comprise the remainder of the story.

Discussion: This book’s most unusual and especially intriguing dedication provides a compelling basis for post-reading thought. It is to “every pastor, priest, or any other religious leader – no matter where you live or what title you go by it is a very challenging task to care for the masses as your own family – the severity and complication of this cannot be fully compared to the symbolism in this book. The physical, spiritual, and emotional toll you have taken upon yourself cannot go unnoticed. Thank you.” The tale itself explores the existence of a mental attitude to protect another individual from some feature/condition/action. Frequently such activity may appear to be helpful, but conversely it may provide grossly detrimental results. In accord with the author’s expressed beliefs, the tale examines this attitude. With respect to the mechanics of presentation, the story itself projects the period and its physical and mental patterns moderately well. The characters, although not as well ‘fleshed-out’ as they could be, are adequate. *SPOILER ALERT*! Their movement within individual scenes occasionally leave gaps that require the reader to fill, or ignore, and for the pragmatist, some of John’s post bear activity is most difficult to accept as are occasional activities of others.

3* 5* Post-read thought stimulant; -2 spoiler alert re: presentation, at end of discussion.

Challenging Everything

Challenging Everything ISBN: 9781946633873 Forbes Books copyright and written by Scott Cullather & Kristina McCoobery.

The book opens with the usual acknowledgements, an interestingly titled “Tick Tick Tick Boom” prologue followed by a Part One: The Story which contains 4 chapters that also have intriguing titles – Why INVNT? Why Live? Challenge Everything, and Secret Sauce: The Tribe. Part Two: The Work follows with 3 somewhat less uniquely named chapters that explain their business and another that also is a uniquely titled epilogue: Fired/Acquired/Fired/ Reacquired. A short Biography of the authors and list of references completes the book.

Discussion: This is an unusual presentation from a number of perspectives. First, it is the story of the structuring of a company based upon an idea arising from the changes appearing with the advent and growth of new technology. It details the building, operation and activities of the organization whose job is to prominently present a company’s or organization’s product by presenting a show, e.g. “The Genesis Mint Concept launch was the first official event in New York’s Hudson Yards.” (They present similar productions worldwide as a highly successful “story telling agency” with branches distributed in several key sections of the world,.) Second, it describes the unusual manner in which this entrepreneurial couple actually were forced to proceed. Third, the innovative additions they have made to advertising, and fourth, the unique manner in which they divested themselves of the company only to re-acquire it two years later.

Three particularly helpful features of the book are 1 – their listing of “From Chaos to Clarity: The 7 Steps of INVNTion™”; 2 – their “Performance Content and the Big Power of Small Data”, which describes their application of a narrative-led innovation-inspired “Performance Content’ that is “a collaborative of creators, strategists, innovators and producers combined for the first time with the latest in predictive analytics.” Specifically, it “uses algorithmic formulas to leverage over 220 million minutes of video that’s been tagged with a variety of relevant meta data points, like ethnicity, gender, place, time, color, celebrity, and non-celebrity.” The results allow them to predict the probable acceptance level of a product from their proposed design. 3 – the “core” of INVNT, described as a “Makers’ Dozen” that provides “a can’t fail toolbox of twelve universal ideas and practices that we believe can be applied successfully to any endeavor, whether that’s harnessing the power of live to build a brand, developing your team’s capabilities, starting your own business, navigating your career inside a large organization, or just effectively inventing your future,”

Summary: Most helpful presentation for the entrepreneurial mind.

5* for ‘niche’ group; great entrepreneurial thoughts for all.

Trinity’s Fall

Trinity’s Fall assumed published, copyright and written by P. A. Vasey.

A prologue describes a man awakening in unusual surroundings somewhat similar to those of a hospital room with various leads retracting into the wall. Finally recognizing himself but strangely not functioning under his own thoughts, when a young woman enters he attempts to kill her. But again suddenly, he crashes emotionally, recovers and finds the woman gone. The first chapter then opens with a woman in Detroit answering her cell phone when a man asks “Is that you Kate?” She answers that she is Dr. Sara Clarke and whether she can help him? His answer “I don’t want to freak you out” She asks why should she? And she is told he is directly across the street and waves. He is a man she does not remember, but he tells her his name is Pete Navarro and that she actually knows him very well. He wants to know from whom she is hiding because of the name Sara Clarke. Eventually they connect and she discovers that she had been Sara functioning as an ER physician in rural Indian Springs when a man was brought in after being struck solidly by a large truck travelling down I-95 while walking down the highway at night. She had called Navarro, another physician, in for consultation because upon examination the patient’s tests had showed weird components rather than those normally found in the human body but that he seemed ‘to be alive although comatose’. She has no memory whatsoever of Indian Springs, the man brought in to the ER, nor of the man with whom she was speaking, although he had been her co-worker. From this unusual introduction the reader begins to follow a complex plot involving the attempted take-over and eventual destruction of the human race by the alien Vu-Hak who first entered earth through a wormhole that served as an intergalactic portal that had evolved from the crater created at the atomic bomb testing site.

Discussion: further details certainly would be a disservice to the prospective reader. There is a sizable number of characters who are not particularly ‘well fleshed-out”, but sufficiently to elicit at least varying amounts of empathy. The aliens, and humans converted to alien-like components to a degree, can read minds, manipulate electrical fields, gravitational fields and more and can exhibit bursts of special activity, mental as well as physical when required, and are almost indestructible. The plot is of a complexity that makes for somewhat lesser enjoyment for this particular reader, but no doubt will appeal to most devotes of this genre. (An admittedly most irrelevant aside – Navarro likes Suntory scotch liquor. I’ve never had it outside of Japan where we had it occasionally if it was the only scotch available.)

4* 5* probably for alien genre devotees.