Summer Reading, vol. 10: Ellen Ott Marshall

This week, we spoke to Dr. Ellen Ott Marshall, professor of Christian Ethics and Conflict Transformation at Candler. Dr. Marshall’s work focuses on contemporary Christian ethics, with an emphasis on the role of conflict transformation and peacebuilding. She is the author of two books on ethics and recently edited a timely collection entitled “Conflict Transformation and Religion: Essays on Faith, Power, and Relationship.” Her two suggestions are engaging and practical reads that reflect her subject matter expertise!

Dr. Marshall’s first suggestion is “Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life” by Amy Herman. Herman, an art historian, wrote this text to help her readers hone their powers of “visual intelligence” in order to be more perceptive in their professional and personal lives. As Dr. Marshall notes, Herman “has been teaching a course on perception to all kinds folks for 15 years or so,” and this book’s readable prose reflects the author’s expansive pedagogy. It would be well worth a read this summer!

Dr. Marshall’s second suggestion is “The Power of Positive Deviance: How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World’s Toughest Problems” by Richard Pascale and Jerry Sternin. As Dr. Marshall puts it, these authors suggest an “asset-based approach to life’s problems.” Indeed, the book proposes that outsiders, or “positive deviants,” may be the most likely to come up with solutions to problems in business or communities. The book implies these “positive deviances” can be assets for individuals as well, providing suggestions for creative problem solving on the personal scale.

Thanks to Dr. Marshall for these great suggestions, and many thanks to all of you who have followed this summer reading series! Stay tuned for more information about Pitts exhibits, instruction, and resources as the semester begins!

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