Thursday, June 5, 2008

Reading List for Mariners - from U.S. MMA

- Photo is by Will Van Dorp aka tugster

A reading list from the United States Merchant Marine Academy's is available on line - I can't get the link to work, use google and search for "HUMANITIES SEA-YEAR PROJECT .

I've cut and pasted the ones I've read and would recommend. I've italicized the remarks of the author of the list Dr. Magnus, the Humanities Sea Project Coordinator - the non-italicized are my remarks:

Mark Twain's Huck Finn is on the list but Life on the Mississippi - on line here is not.

Joseph Conrad. Heart of Darkness. A captain learns about the temptations that can make a person ignore the rules of society.
- There is a stretch between the sea voyage and the river trip where I found it tough going. The the main character stayed too long on the beach at the mouth of the river for my taste, I like to keep moving, but it pays to stick with him while he repairs the river boat that take him into the heart of darkness.

Joseph Conrad. Typhoon. This is a story of a huge typhoon in the Yellow Sea and the impact of the storm on human character.
- Conrad was a merchant seaman, this is a great story.

Joshua Slocum. The Voyage of the Spray: Sailing Alone Around the World. Written in 1900, Slocum told his story of skill and fortitude as a master navigator. - If you have not read this, don't even talk to me. - Sailing Alone Around the World is on line here.

Herman Wouk. The Caine Mutiny. This World War II novel asks, "What do you do when the ship's captain is mentally unbalanced? and "When should a captain be regarded as incompetent and relieved of command?” That is not what the novel asks. If the officers and crew had remained loyal to the captain that question never would have come up.

Robert Frump. Until the Sea Shall Free Them. Life, Death and Survival in the Merchant Marine. - Good read, about the Marine Electric which sank in 1983 off the coast of Virgina

Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell. Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer. A gripping account, with acute insight into the psychology of leadership.
- Good book, if you are a Shackleton fan and interested in leadership it is a must read.

Steven Covey. Principle Centered Leadership. Presents strategies for successful leadership, a long-term, inside-out approach to developing people and organizations. The key to dealing with the challenges that face us today is the recognition of a principle-centered core within both ourselves and our organizations. - Highly recommended, I have a copy on the ship.

Steven Covey. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Before you can adopt the seven habits, you'll need to accomplish what Covey calls a "paradigm shift"-a change in perception and interpretation of how the world works, which affects how you perceive and act regarding productivity, time management, positive thinking, developing your "proactive muscles"(acting with initiative rather than reacting), and much more. Good but Principle Centered Leadership is much better.

Skip Strong and Twain Braden. In Peril: A Daring Decision, A Captain's Resolve, and the Salvage that Made History. Great saga of a daunting leadership challenge - The almost unbelievable true story of the Cherry Valley and the biggest salvage award ever. It takes place in 1994, Captain Skip Strong, now a pilot in Maine uses a fully loaded tanker, off the Florida Coast, during a storm, to pass a line to, and tow a tug and tow. The propeller of the tanker was churning up mud from the bottom at one point! Review here
The story is here (pdf) - The story starts on page two.

Later I will list the books on my shelf that are not on this list.

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