Book by: Nina Vasan and Jennifer Przybylo
Review by: Allison Ramsing
College of Business, School of Design and Human Environment Advising
Oregon State University

Social responsibility is a current hot topic in education, the news, and in various other venues.  As Nina Vasan and Jennifer Przybylo state in Do Good Well, “social responsibility is the value that will define our generation” (p. 1).  While Do Good Well is not classified as an advising book, if looked at from a different lens, it does relate to everyday practice.  It is the advisor’s role to be familiar with the educational value of social responsibility.  Students are interested in pursuing careers with which they can make a difference in the world. It is the advisor’s responsibility to best direct them. 

Do Good Well reminds the reader that an individual can make a difference, but a team has the opportunity to make a bigger impact.  The book walks the reader through a number of self-reflection exercises.  Examples of helpful exercises are: Who Am I descriptors, What I’m Grateful For, What I Value, What Affects Me Emotionally, Ten People I Admire, and My Strengths and Weaknesses.  By taking a deeper look at oneself, the book challenges the reader to think on a larger scale and define the problem or cause in which to make an impact.  If the reader is still unsure after these exercises, there are a multitude of questions that inspire and encourage additional research in seeking out areas to make a difference.

This book can enrich the way advisors work with the students and colleagues through the questions we ask in appointments, the exercises we do for self-reflection and the way we explore social responsibility.  I would encourage advisors to read it, as I found many takeaways to use in my daily advising practices, such as the exercises mentioned above.  Students would benefit from reading this book in a course.  If not utilized in that manner, an advisor could easily modify some of the ‘knowing yourself’ exercises to use in an appointment to spur further discussion and thought processes.

To conclude, here is one key summary from the book for inspiration, An advisor’s example can create a legacy of good. Even simple changes advisors make can inspire change for the better. Every day is an opportunity. Make today matter (p. 530).

Do Good Well: Your Guide to Leadership, Action and Social Innovation. (2013). Book by Nina Vasan, Jennifer Przybylo, Jossey-Bass. Review by Allison Ramsing 576 pp., $30.00, (paperback), ISBN #978-1-1183-8294-3

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