Some books, they say, can change lives.
They inspire, they urge, they provoke, they push, they rescue, they save. Sometimes, they open a way. Other times, they help close a chapter. “The New New Journalism” by Robert Boynton did not change my life but it has transformed my views on what kind of research I should be doing, how I should be writing and most importantly, on why it was -and still is- so vital for me.
I have come across this book while browsing overflowing dusty shelves in the famous “Strand” bookshop in New York City. I was a few blocks away from New York University where Robert Boynton teaches journalism and is the Director for the Literary Reportage concentration. I had been interested in journalism for ages, since those snowy days spent reading John Reed’s autobiography in a Montreal café. I had started reading and collecting books on journalism from then on and as these books gradually piled up on my bookshelves, I developed a strong affection for them (the actual material objects that had travelled thousands of miles with me) and for their authors who made me realize how much I wanted to write and how hard I knew it to be. Read more
David came to HEC as a guest in March 2011, which is when the interview featured here took place. These were still early days as far as our blog idea was concerned, and as with Sarah, we started by interviewing our friends first. David is a long-standing member of the strategy-as-practice community of which all three of us are a part. We knew he’d not only oblige, but would be happy to contribute to anything that might help people figure out how to write better papers (even if it meant revealing to the world that he has a ping-pong table in his office and that he reads his drafts out loud to himself such that anyone passing by his open office door can hear him!) This interview is also interesting because David tends to write theory papers, and the process for writing those is a bit different from that of writing empirical papers. Personally, I found David’s explanation about getting the “line of argument” right particularly insightful. Much of the work we do is about telling a compelling, believable story about how things work in this great, big world that we inhabit, or in other words, getting “the line of argument right.” So roll out that carpet everyone, and make sure there are no more ripples in it when you’re done. (Read on, and you’ll understand!)
I’ve known about Scrivener for more than four years. In fact, this application is one of the reasons why I switched to Mac and bought a MacBook in the fall of 2008. Scrivener is an application that was developed to help writers with their projects. Initially created for fiction writers (and Mac users!), it has also since then been adopted by non-fiction writers, journalists and researchers alike… and is now available for Windows too. My first experiences with Scrivener were in developing ideas for short stories. But the more I played with the software, the more I became convinced that it would make a great research tool. I’ve tried to use it in research projects before, but I never used it from the beginning of a project… until recently. Some weeks ago, I started a new research project and I decided that this would be the occasion I was waiting for. I also decided that I would share my experience with you over the next months. Read more
I love libraries. I used to spend a lot of time working at libraries – I even had a job at my public library when I was an undergrad! Nowadays, I do most of my work from my office or from home, but I still try to go work in a library setting once in a while. My office is very close to the Grande Bibliothèque – the national library of Québec, and it’s an amazing place to read or work. Maybe someday I’ll devote a post to this library… but in the meantime, here are pictures of other very cool libraries and bookstores found around the world. Enjoy!
Montreal streets and buildings are frequently the medium for outstanding street art. In my spare time, I photograph those I find most beautiful or inspiring. As a respite from writing, I thought I might post a few here for you to enjoy.