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 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.

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.

Skeletons

   SKELETONS ISBN: 978317(incomplete) Xlibris publishing, copyright and written by Bryce Wellington Rhymer.

Sub-titled “Poetry of Human Nature”, this little book consists of a large collection of poems exploring individual thoughts and emotions as one wanders through life. Characteristically, as with thoughts themselves, the subjects presented do not follow any particular pathway. They range through “A Retiree’s View, A Sad Reality, Alone, Poetic Insight, Wrong Doing” and a host of others. They explore subjects of love, why one may enjoy writing poetry, relationships, “who’s in charge of you”, how continued disregard of basic discipline will cause the downfall of any institution and numerous other thoughts every individual considers, even if not more than occasionally.

Discussion: The reader will discover that the interesting contents of this little book have been quite well provided in the description employed for its introduction to the prospective reader. Exactly as described, it is a simplistically written tale of human behavior and how such individuals realistically think. A recounting, in a rhythmic poetic pattern, the often immense depths and flow of emotions, feelings and thoughts we all harbor but do not express. Thus, they simply add a little more to the already heavy psychological luggage many individuals carry through life as “Skeletons in your closet.”

4* Quite fascinating assembly of thoughts/emotions shared by all.

The World According to Jennie Morris

The World According to Jennie Morris, published, copyright and written by Jennie Morris.

Sub-titled “Adventures and mis-adventures of a single female traveler”, the author provides an astonishingly extensive list of places visited in the world, portions of which had been visited before many of today’s amenities were available, and were revisited more recently. Included are large portions of Africa, Near and Far East and South-east Asia including Cambodia, the Killing fields and the total area dominated by the Khimar Rouge, Borneo, Australia, New Zealand, Russia including the Trans-Siberian Express, Central and South America and more. Her experiences have included diving Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as well as other notable as well as lesser known areas, swimming with Shark and Semiaquatic reptiles, chasing Komodo Dragons and more. This fascinating book can provide an interesting escape for anyone needing one and for the travel junkie it presents a remarkably extensive list of areas to peruse in attempting to choose their next itinerary.

Discussion: The recounting of this woman’s truly remarkable travels is even more fascinating when considering all have been made largely on a somewhat restricted budget. They, along with snippets of the authors thoughts provided here also provide some insight to the actual answers to the constantly recurring questions she receives as to why she would travel to places that so often called for dangerous activity in miserable circumstances. Her answer always explains that it no doubt may be difficult to understand and is to a certain extent even for her. Regardless, she, has found each journey to be a compellingly enjoyable experience.

As just stated above, a most pausible answer to these questions may be found in the book’s prologue. When one considers the restriction on travel funds, one is aware that this fact advantageously functioned to bring her intimately into contact with the working and/or poorer classes of residents in all of these countries, thus providing a greater understanding of the true nature of each country, its people and its basic culture. The author states: “You learn a great deal about humanity by frequenting waiting places” – airports, train stations, boat docks, doctor’s offices and such, and even more especially when attempting to cross borders of countries less frequently traveled. “Cultures lay themselves bare in these times of watching.” More importantly perhaps, “You also cannot escape yourself, and so much downtime comes from excruciating amounts of reflection and overthinking.” And here perhaps, the real underlying reason appears. She states “I grew up in a family of alphas, a family of chaos, anger, jealousy, put-downs and violence. I was never thought much of by my siblings, and all of my attempts at being loved and accepted were met with derision and insults.” It is a well-known fact that thwarting of a young child’s attempts to earn familial love not infrequently leads to the world of books. This activity allows escape for the individual whenever desired, and into a totally different and magical world where dreams can be realized and unwanted thoughts ignored for a time. The author discovered the same escape at an early age and with growth and maturity was able to obtain the means to actually realize many of those dreams. Her prologue ends with the somewhat poignant “Though I have forgotten more than I remember regarding my travel adventures of the past 20 plus years, I wanted to put a few on paper to those who may enjoy a break from life for a little while.”

Conclusion: Thus, this once poorly understood child has produced a book that actually serves two purposes. The first she has verbalized. The second is that it provides the travel aficionado the basics for a wide range of excellent travel itineraries from which he/she can select their next series of adventures. A third, possibly only vaguely considered, is to follow either of two routes to give even more help to those who best can benefit. First, each of the areas discussed could be expanded by setting forth more details about the places, fellow travelers, and adaptations made by particular residents of these countries to their dreams within the mores of their society. (A plethora of stories lie within the brief synopses that have offered only a tantalizing hint of the many tales waiting to be set forth) Second, the huge number of opportunities for fictional treatment of the material presented certainly deserves consideration.

Summary: This book, although it is granted to suffer from numerous faults set forth by most writers in their first attempts, provides synopses of material that fulfill the author’s stated purpose “to put a few (journeys) on paper to those who may enjoy a break from life for a little while”. But most importantly from this reader’s perspective, it presents synopses of tales a reader hopes she will expand upon in her non-fictional prose to provide further substance for those ‘needing a break’. But also, consideration of a fictional line of endeavor could be considered for the huge number of individuals who look forward to stories that satisfy their needs in the many genres nuanced by the brief descriptions provided.

5* Recommended for targeted audience; others as well for reasons explained.

Future Women

    Future Women ISBN: 9781950336104 The Books Factory copyright and written by Chrissa McFarlane.

Sub-titled “Minority entrepreneurship and the fourth industrial revolution in the Era of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency”, the author is the Founder and CEO of Patientory, a company whose purpose is to  “Create a health industry servicing patients in ways that would make every medical record easily assessable by healthcare providers by using Blockchain and cryptocurrency.” She explains that the use of these technologies can eliminate one specific problem of enormous size. She recalls that in 2017 “Wannacry” ransomware crippled UK’s National Health Service & affected over 150 countries and in 2018-19 hackers broke into Singapore’s gov’t health data again causing wide-spread damage. She says “Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology and doesn’t require third-party interventions.” Thus it can help healthcare systems reduce the risk of hacking because it would take too much time/energy to hack all of the nodes within a network to infect the system. Users either can own their own information by joining the chain or by helping to secure the servers and distribute the data on a network and that variations of the system are being used in numerous countries already. Her establishment of a company that can aid in dissemination of personal medical records properly by the owner to the proper agency more expeditiously, with lower cost and far greater security is a tremendous advancement for an industry that is struggling with massive problems and huge, often totally unnecessary, expenses as well as the absolute essential requirement of keeping safe intimate personal facts. As one of the very few women of color in such an elevated position, she seeks to provide a framework for, and instruct others how to proceed to enter the ranks of successful entrepreneurs. After the usual disclaimer, dedication and introduction, the Table of Contents lists numerous chapter headings with explanatory sub-headings widely ranging from a most helpful explanation of blockchain and its many advantages as well as of Cryptocurrency and how they function; through Minority and Mindset; need for flexibility in all thinking and activity especially when seeking financial empowerment; and a host of other pertinent subjects with much biographical and autobiographical material that should serve well as instructive to the individuals she is urging to attempt to pursue an entrepreneurial path.

Discussion: There is a considerable amount of repetition in this book. However, because presentation of this and similar material no doubt serves as basic for lectures, it is not unusual. Thus, this presentation is highly recommended for the author’s target audience and parenthetically the quite clearly set forth explanations of blockchain and cryptocurrency can be most enlightening for all individuals so frequently being introduced today to these and other technological terms.

5* Excellent for target audience; highly informative for all readers.