A book by Shelley Kurtz Sommer ’83
You don’t need Harry Potter to create reading magic. “Kids love stories about people,” says Sommer, a library director and middle school literature teacher who blogs at www.sommerreading.com. Her biography — chosen by the Junior Library Guild and named a 2012 Sydney Taylor Honor Book — teaches children about real people during a time when children are struggling to figure out who they are. Greenberg, the son of Jewish immigrants, was star of a very American game during trying times. Fans threw pork chops at him as he stood on first base. He stayed positive, sharing words of encouragement with Jackie Robinson. “He maintained his dignity,” she says, a good lesson at any age.
A book by Michael Salgaller ’81
Salgaller left the National Cancer Institute and a rock star of a boss to join a fledgling cancer vaccine start-up whose name people couldn’t get right. It was humbling, an experience others can learn from. As co-author and editor, Salgaller has compiled lessons learned from those who “have lived and breathed their particular disciplines every day,” he says. For example, a corporate attorney tells business partners to get a “pre-nup.” Biotech start-ups take more years, funds and facilities than your average business venture, he says, but the rewards of moving a breakthrough from the bench to the bedside — where it helps the most people possible — is, simply, exciting.
A book by Chris Morrison ’85
For Morrison, it was accountants; for his brother Tim, it was metallurgists. Both men relied on their technical co-workers to sell their products and services. Now the salesmen are sharing their strategy for serving clients, building relationships and uncovering customer needs in their new book. Resource-driven selling, Morrison says, “helps salespeople and leverages some of the non-selling resources, the knowledge base.” But he must first dispel the “Fair Deal Dan” salesman stereotype, something Morrison vanquished in his UD senior sales class. The brothers, who run The Geode Group, are also sharing lessons on helping sales by empowering and training technical workers in a UD MBA course.
A book by Ro Bily ’52
Bily began to write when she finally had free time — at age 65. While she does not feel like a writer — she admits that she is still perfecting her grammar — Bily says her hobby is more of an obsession than work. She has found the writing process that works best for her: jotting down ideas and editing them later. In her fourth book, Lunar Quest, Bily examines ventures such as traveling to the Moon, but she has faith in Earth’s potential. By keeping children educated, she believes the planet’s inherent problems can be fixed. “I’m 81 and I’m still interested in the future,” she says.
A book by William Matthews ’67
After working with hundreds of businesses, Matthews noticed they were all making the same mistakes, such as creating a weak management foundation, failing to hire the best people available and underestimating the amount of money necessary to sustain their organizations. These commonalities inspired him to write a guide to starting a successful business. Matthews thinks readers will be surprised to know how much support is available to them. “There are plenty of people out there willing to help if you ask them,” Matthews says. “There are a whole lot of folks that want people to do better.”
A book by Matthew Shadle ’03
To Shadle, hallway conversations about the Iraq War were unproductive. Faculty and fellow students of UD’s theology graduate program had different approaches to moral reasoning about war, as well as assumptions about the causes of conflict between states. “International relationships can learn from Catholic theology,” Shadle says. His book, born from his dissertation, shows us how culture and religion shape identity, which impacts how states define themselves and how they choose to act in a global setting. “Catholics who wish to develop a perspective on war’s origins consistent with their faith do not have to create something out of nothing.”
A book by Father Brian Morrow ’72
Beware the creepy, winged Moresy Bug, who bites people who are never satisfied with what they have. Morrow has used Bug in his homilies for 20 years to discuss greed and giving with children during Advent. “We talk with kids about who was bitten by the bug,” says Morrow from Rome, where he is on sabbatical from his Longmont, Co., parish. He collaborated with a parishioner and an illustrator to tell that the greatest gift is not under the tree but in the heart. “People have asked us to do a children’s book on Lent, so we may write another one.”
A book by Ziad Zennie ’74
Zennie’s clients were right to wonder why he referred to Western theories during his training sessions for Middle Eastern business professionals through Meirc Training and Consulting in Dubai. So he and Farid Muna conducted an empirical study. Interviews with 310 leaders at 129 organizations in 12 Gulf and northern Arab countries uncovered increased interest in participative decision making. Accurate self-assessment, self-confidence and adaptability were among the top-ranking competencies of emotional intelligence. Results are important for future leaders and companies doing global business, as well as those looking for explanations of political trends, says Zennie: “An organization is a microcosm of a bigger structure.”
A book by Laura Roecker ’03
If Roecker could go back to sixth grade, she would be stronger, more courageous. So she and sister Lisa Roecker created a character to inspire: 15-year-old Kate Lowry, who has to navigate prep school and solve her friend’s murder. The sisters team-write their books, agreeing on characters and plot then alternating writing chapters. They also agreed that they hated the publisher’s choice of covers: Kate, in a prep school uniform, with pink hair. Pink? “It was a debacle,” Roecker says. But they’ve since embraced it, editing their words to dye Kate’s hair. Watch for it to turn purple in their sequel, The Lies that Bind.
A book by Jim McDevitt ’96
Call it a bucket-list item, maybe two. McDevitt not only wrote a book, but he spent a year watching every Alfred Hitchcock film, one per week, to do it. The result is A Year of Hitchcock: 52 Weeks with the Master of Suspense, released in hardcover two years ago and coming out in paperback in October. From The Lodger (1927) to Family Plot (1976), the book traces Hitchcock’s career film by film with synopses, trivia and a “Where’s Hitchcock?” box for spotting the director’s clever cameos. “Hitchcock’s films are endlessly fascinating, even after many repeat viewings,” McDevitt says.