Official Review: An Uncommon Journey by Shirley Raines

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Tomah
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Official Review: An Uncommon Journey by Shirley Raines

Post by Tomah » 13 Jan 2020, 14:17

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "An Uncommon Journey" by Shirley Raines.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Shirley Raines’ An Uncommon Journey: Leadership Lessons From A Preschool Teacher Who Became A University President is a memoir that doubles as a guide to leadership. We follow the author’s journey from childhood all the way to her appointment as the first woman president of the University of Memphis. Along the way, we receive tips and advice based on these experiences.

The author herself is a great example of the power of education, and this tremendous potential is precisely one of the things that make her so passionate about the field. She was a sharecropper’s daughter without expectations of even going to college. After earning a scholarship from the University of Tennessee, Raines graduates and becomes a teacher. She then goes on to direct a Head Start Program, get a master’s and a doctoral degree, and take leadership roles in universities.

There are fourteen chapters in total, the majority of which focus on the author’s years as president of the University of Memphis. Throughout the chapters, we see photos that illustrate particular events or people; they add a welcome layer of relatability. In the appendix, the book also provides notes and questions for reflection that make for a more engaging reading experience.

The book was written to inspire leaders, especially aspiring women leaders. By being introduced to the author’s stories, the reader gets a glimpse of the challenges and rewards of leadership, as well as the lessons learned along the way. In the final chapter, the author even mentions additional resources to aid the reader in deciding whether they’re fit for leadership and figuring out how to develop as a leader.

I disliked two aspects of the book. The first is that it’s somewhat dry; a more casual and conversational tone would’ve made it more engaging. The second is that the author spends quite a bit of time on minutiae that might bore readers not interested in higher education administration. For example, we read about various buildings that were built and renovated. While some of them offer opportunities to talk about broader leadership themes, others feel superfluous.

An Uncommon Journey is a great memoir that should be inspiring and informative to readers interested in leadership. It’s also exceptionally edited, as I’ve only found four minor errors. I rate it 3 out of 4 stars, deducting one point for the uninteresting details. There are no profanities whatsoever, making the book suitable for all audiences. I don’t recommend it if higher education doesn’t sound like an appealing subject to you since most of the book revolves around that.

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An Uncommon Journey
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Post by Wyland » 14 Jan 2020, 06:42

Wow, this sounds like an insightful read on leadership from a highly regarded educationist. Thanks for the wonderful review.

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Post by Ever_Reading » 14 Jan 2020, 06:55

It seems more and more people are choosing to write memoirs. I wonder if social media and the rising need to share, overshare in some instances, details of our lives is the cause. Nonetheless, I'm not complaining. Great review!
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Post by Rayasaurus » 14 Jan 2020, 10:18

This journey sounds like a pretty wild ride! I might like this sort of education-based memoir because I wanted to be a college professor for a long time. Thank you for the review!

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Post by Tomah » 14 Jan 2020, 12:06

Ever_Reading wrote: ↑
14 Jan 2020, 06:55
It seems more and more people are choosing to write memoirs. I wonder if social media and the rising need to share, overshare in some instances, details of our lives is the cause. Nonetheless, I'm not complaining. Great review!
Rayasaurus wrote: ↑
14 Jan 2020, 10:18
This journey sounds like a pretty wild ride! I might like this sort of education-based memoir because I wanted to be a college professor for a long time. Thank you for the review!
Wyland wrote: ↑
14 Jan 2020, 06:42
Wow, this sounds like an insightful read on leadership from a highly regarded educationist. Thanks for the wonderful review.
That's a good point about social media and sharing, but I'm not an expert in memoirs, so I have no idea whether they're related. It's an insightful read indeed, especially if you're interested in education. Thanks for the comments!

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Post by Nerea » 15 Jan 2020, 03:56

A book addressing the aspect of leadership is what I'd love to read. The fact that there are no profanities in the book make it more appealing to me. Sorry about the unnecessary details in the story. Thanks.
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Post by Dayodiola » 15 Jan 2020, 06:27

What is greater than setting a goal and achieving it? All humans are a leader, either by choice or by force. We all are boss to something or someone no matter how minute the extent is.

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Post by Prisallen » 15 Jan 2020, 11:08

This sounds like an inspiring book for people who want to be leaders. As for me, I have no interest, whatsoever, in that. Therefore, I think I will pass on this book. Great review, however!

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Post by Tomah » 15 Jan 2020, 12:34

Dayodiola wrote: ↑
15 Jan 2020, 06:27
What is greater than setting a goal and achieving it? All humans are a leader, either by choice or by force. We all are boss to something or someone no matter how minute the extent is.
Prisallen wrote: ↑
15 Jan 2020, 11:08
This sounds like an inspiring book for people who want to be leaders. As for me, I have no interest, whatsoever, in that. Therefore, I think I will pass on this book. Great review, however!
Nerea wrote: ↑
15 Jan 2020, 03:56
A book addressing the aspect of leadership is what I'd love to read. The fact that there are no profanities in the book make it more appealing to me. Sorry about the unnecessary details in the story. Thanks.
That's true, we all have opportunities of leadership from time to time, though not everyone enjoys it. Thanks for the comments!

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Post by Everydayadventure15 » 17 Jan 2020, 09:14

The appendix notes and resources sound like a helpful addition to this memoir. It’s nice to read an inspirational story and having an idea of where to go/what to do after reading it makes this more appealing than a traditional memoir. The dry bits are a little discouraging but, overall, the book sounds great!

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Post by Tomah » 17 Jan 2020, 14:27

Everydayadventure15 wrote: ↑
17 Jan 2020, 09:14
The appendix notes and resources sound like a helpful addition to this memoir. It’s nice to read an inspirational story and having an idea of where to go/what to do after reading it makes this more appealing than a traditional memoir. The dry bits are a little discouraging but, overall, the book sounds great!
It's a pretty good book for readers interested in leadership, despite the dryness. Thanks for the comment!

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Post by Cotwani » 18 Jan 2020, 00:26

Education, women and leadership -wow! I am still trying to decide whether to board! One thing, I like the nondescript beginning to an unimagined high, with everything in between. Could be inspiring.
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Post by Kanda_theGreat » 18 Jan 2020, 09:50

Reins is an admirable character and it's auite encouraging that she defied the odds and broke a record in a field deemed as "men's affair".
Great review!
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Post by Tomah » 18 Jan 2020, 13:46

Kanda_theGreat wrote: ↑
18 Jan 2020, 09:50
Reins is an admirable character and it's auite encouraging that she defied the odds and broke a record in a field deemed as "men's affair".
Great review!
Cotwani wrote: ↑
18 Jan 2020, 00:26
Education, women and leadership -wow! I am still trying to decide whether to board! One thing, I like the nondescript beginning to an unimagined high, with everything in between. Could be inspiring.
True, the author did rise from an unlikely place, which can be inspiring to future leaders. Thanks for the comments!

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Post by Julius_ » 19 Jan 2020, 01:14

An author's memoir about his presidency days, accompanied by event photos sound amazing. Thanks for the review
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