Reading Time: 6 minutes

What Are You Reading?​

Recommendations for 2022 from the Epicenter Innovation Team​

A new year is exciting for a LOT of reasons. Most exciting to me is that a new year means new books! Whether that means new to you or new to the world, a fresh start to a year means a new to-be-read list. How do you make a to-be-read list? It might contain some hot new releases; last year Disasterology by Dr. Samantha Montano was on our to-be-read list and ready to rocket to the top upon release. Your to-be-read list should also contain some of those elusive books. You know, the books you bought two years ago because it was highly acclaimed and you keep meaning to read but is now a coaster or holding up your end table. There’s no better way to cross these gems off your list than committing to reading them now. So what’s on the Epicenter Innovation team’s to be read list for 2022? Some expected works but also some serious surprises! You’ll have to keep reading to find out!

Shawn Gerard, Operations Coordinator

This list COULD be a mile long, so I’ll pick just three:

Making Conversation by Fred Dust

Every once in a while, the Epicenter Innovation core team does a team read. These are always really fun as we each take a chapter and lead a discussion on it after we do the reading earlier in the week. It’s excellent team-building but also a great way to end our week. We recently decided our next read will be Making Conversation by Fred Dust. We thought back to how we spend our days. Communication is at the heart of most of what we do in our lives in one way or another. So don’t we owe ourselves to invest in our communication skills?

The Power of Agency by Anthony Rao & Paul Napper

This is a book I have considered reading for some time but didn’t think I needed to. I understand my agency and how it works, so why do I need to read this? This book was recently recommended to me as a book that everyone should read in their life. I take such a recommendation seriously, so I decided to pick it up. Ten minutes into the audiobook, I realized that I had no idea what agency truly is and this book could seriously benefit me, so I paused my audiobook and bumped the physical version of this book to the top of my list. 

The Expanse Series by James S.A. Corey

Over the last three years, I’ve become an avid reader. It started as trying to learn, was upheld by pursuing a Master’s Degree, and now is often just for fun! When I’m not reading some interesting or obscure non-fiction topic, I read fantasy & science fiction. This year my goal is to finish The Expanse series. If you’re a self-proclaimed science/tech nerd, I recommend checking it out!

Nia D’Emilio, Learning & Events Coordinator

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Why Nia wants to read: “I’m a big King head as my coworkers know, and this is the next one I want to dive into. I’ve actually read the opening chapter! It’s the first in a series of three, so it’s a little bit of a commitment, but I have heard great things and have liked what I’ve read so far!”

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

What made Nia put this book at the top of her list: “This is a book that was given to me as a gift by a friend after I finished my Master’s. I should have read it a long time ago, as I’m sure it’s got some great lessons that apply really well to the pandemic. It’s about how the common trait among high achievers is ‘grit,’ which the author defines as a combination of passion and perseverance.”

Matt Green, Director of Engagement & EDSU Cadre Manager

Some of you may know Matt from Epicenter Innovation’s Emergency Management book club, which he formed and has hosted regularly via Zoom for over a year now. If you know Matt, you know he is always up for a challenge. This year, he received a subscription to the Easton 100 Greatest Books Ever Written for his birthday. So in 2022, Matt hopes to make a dent in some of the classics, ranging from Moby Dick by Herman Melville to The Odyssey by Homer. 

Doug Bruce, EDSU Team Member

Currently reading: Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink

Doug’s experience reading this pick: “I can’t get through more than a couple of hours at a time. I truly think it’s amazing how fast conditions can deteriorate in a disaster and how we take a lot of things in society for granted. The stress on the EMS system, and our healthcare system as a whole, it’s something we shouldn’t take lightly.” 

Up next: Risk: A Users Guide by Gen. Stanley McChrystal & Anna Butrico

This is a book I, too, have been looking forward to since its announcement. In 2021, Epicenter Innovation’s Emergency Management Book Club read Team of Teams by Gen. McChrystal. This has rapidly become one of my most important leadership books for handling large teams. When Risk: A User’s Guide was announced, I knew it would be a must-read for our book club in 2022. If, like Doug, this book is on your 2022 to-be-read list, head to the link here to join our book club and get notified when we are ready to kick this book off later this year!

Doug also recommends: Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George Thompson

What made Doug recommend this book: “It’s all about communication and especially how to communicate effectively in tense situations, written by a former academic turned law enforcement officer.  For me, there were a lot of great takeaways, but the way we communicate something is as important as what we are communicating. Simple things like asking someone to do something after we explain why we’re asking them to do it, as opposed to just telling them or ordering them. Simple psychological tricks that are helpful, especially for Emergency Management. I have found that in my work in an EOC for resource mobilization that sometimes by giving context to my request, the person on the other end of the phone is far more interested to help.” 

I (Shawn) was assigned to read this book in college and glossed over it lazily like many other first-year college students. Although a few points did stick with me, this book has come up steadily once a year or so in my law enforcement, security, and now, emergency management career. Having a conversation with a friend recently, I found out about the author’s strange journey to writing Verbal Judo. A former police officer with a Ph.D. who once taught high school English and saw a better way to communicate. After hearing about this journey, I know I owe myself to re-read this book.

So there you have it, folks; this is what the Epicenter Innovation team has on its bookshelf to-be-read in 2022. If you are interested in these book picks, join us for our book club, which will start again in April of 2022.


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Epicenter Innovation® is an award-winning professional services firm driven by human-centered, resilience-focused innovation. Our team is here to help you implement a proven framework for creating impact & unlocking the potential of your people.

We’re the connective tissue between organizations that produce technology and those in the field using it. By working on both sides of the public/private-sector divide, we serve as translators & change-makers at all phases of the disaster management lifecycle – driving human-centered, resilience-focused innovation before, during, and after major incidents.

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