Book by Elaine Biech
Review by: Marcelle Heerschap
Student Academic Affairs & Advising
George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Today, personnel within academic advising offices often are asked to lead training sessions for new professional and faculty advisors. It sometimes can be difficult to generate enthusiasm for these sessions and games can often help “break the ice.” The Trainer’s Warehouse Book of Games may be a useful tool in these situations as well as when working with groups of students either in advising sessions or freshman experience courses.

This book is divided into three sections with 22 chapters, each addressing different topics depending on the reason for the game. Topics included go beyond the traditional ice-breakers into areas such as: “Participation Encouragement”, “Training Techniques”, “Organization Knowledge”, and “Teamwork and Team Building.” The book is organized as a complement to a catalog of props, toys and materials from the “Trainers Warehouse” which has a catalog of over 350 products.

Chapter one defines the concept of Experiential Learning Activities (ELA’s) during which “a learner participates in an activity, processes the activity, identifies useful skills or knowledge, and transfers the learning to the workplace or life in general” (p.3). The trainer is instructed to use these activities or games to build a relationship with the participants, facilitate learning, and help the participants discover the answers for themselves.

Throughout the book, authors describe in detail many different ways the same equipment and activities can be used to obtain different outcomes. Some of the equipment needed for activities is easily attainable, e.g., index cards, pencil and paper, while others items should be purchased ahead of time, e.g., an “answer board” or a set of “Mnemomic Monsters.” Pictures of the materials used in the book are provided and help the reader get a better idea of the type equipment needed. 

This book is well organized and easy to comprehend and would be a very useful tool for anyone doing a lot of training. Advisors may also find some of the icebreakers useful for classes they teach.

Trainer’s Warehouse Book of Games: Fun and Energizing Ways to Enhance Learning, (2008). Book by Elaine Biech (ed.). Review by: Marcelle Heerschap. Wiley Periodicals (Jossy Bass) 440 pp., $35.00, (paperback), ISBN # 978-0-7879-9092-3
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