Have you ever read a book that stays under your skin and makes you think about it as well as ideas that seem to spawn in your mind because of it?
Are you tired of negativity in your city and among your neighbors? Do you feel like you live in a community without the actual community cohesiveness that would be nice?
Have you ever wondered to yourself, 'there are so many issues that need to be tackled in my neighborhood and I would love to help but I don't know where to start.' I know I have. And now I've read a book that is both under my skin and causing my mind to go off in what could be some good directions. What is the book? Instructions from The Cook, written by Cleveland's own George Nemeth (BFD) (@georgenemeth) and Jack Ricchiuto (@DesigningLife.com). You can read about or order Instructions from The Cook here.
Have you ever had an idea about something you'd like to do for a neighbor, for your neighborhood, or something you'd like implemented into City life? Or maybe you have an idea for neighborhood kids or a business venture. It all seems overwhelming but Jack and George wrote this book to show how it doesn't have to be. And as a matter of fact, they say two important things:
- good things, ideas with longevity, usually start out small not large.
- "people will authentically support what they help create" (page 55 of the book).
- there are lots of good ideas, not just one
- meeting to talk about ideas with people of all sorts of mindsets is usually much more productive than just meeting with people who think like me (this ties into the 'lots of good ideas' truth above).
When Jack and George wrote about 'slow and small' being better than 'fast and big', it took me back to how we learn (my education training kicking in). We learn at our best, our most comprehensive, when we start with a solid foundation of information and then expand our knowledge on that topic/subject as we go along. It helps us not live with pre-conceived ideas, but to be open to possibilities...and yeah it helps us retain the information in a way that leads to the ability to be creative with the knowledge.
I keep thinking about this book ....they point out (and it's so true) "....negativity doesn't necessarily breed progress...."It can bring people together to solve a neighborhood issue, but then when it's resolved, usually people go back home and wait for the next problem. In order to affect something positive Instructions From The Cook recommends building trust amongst ourselves, having no pre-conceived goals set in stone, but let the community build on ideas. Get to know our neighbors.
It reminded me of the famous Jane Jacobs book The Death And Life of Great American Cities, written in the early 60s and yet it rings very timely now. One theme that ran through the book was how things kept getting built by city planners without much thought to how the residents would really use the building or space, and certainly without much input from them. Does this sound familiar? LOL Ah, the Clevelander's lament. And it keeps getting me back to the point that those of us in the community are the ones who can affect postive change, not our governments and our cdc's. How do they know what we want if we don't tell them???
The book gives examples of how people have done just what J and G recommend. They show why it works. And darn if it hasn't gotten me thinking. I find myself back in communication with my own CDC, I find myself talking to other people in the neighborhood. I find myself discussing ideas with a few friends (and yes, at this point they are 'like-minded' friends but I'm hoping it becomes more diverse).
Thought I've had, because of the book: Pick an establishment I'd like to support in my community, and start going there once a month at a regular time. Let people in my 'hood know when I'm going. And anyone else I meet, or anyone else they meet, can come too. It supports the neighborhood and allows us to start getting to know each other and see what kind of ideas might sprout.
Second thought I've had because of the book: If someone on my street needs their lawn mowed I could do that for them all summer. Maybe in turn, they could provide me with something I need in return. Maybe I could tutor someone's young middle or high school student in return for that student cleaning out my gutters and doing other jobs that are just a bit too much for me. You get the idea.
I've had quite a few more thoughts, but am more interested in what other people might want to do. And I'm also dying to get together with George Nemeth and talk about the book over some good coffee! What say you, George? And does anyone else want to come? Peace Out - 3C
(I debated where to post this: my outside blog or Active Rain. Shaking things up a bit by posting it here to see what others in the Active Rain community think about it, get the book some exposure around the country, and also then link it to my outside blog.)
talk with me on Twitter at @clevecarole