A Reading List for the Next Congress

By Pamela Ray
Government Relations Expert
Pamela Ray & Associates, LLC

Dear U.S. Congressmen, U.S. Senators, and Key Staff:

Following is a proactive reading list for February 2012. Your public approval rating of 12 percent demands changes of quite some magnitude if America is to believe you are leaders in putting this country on the right track.

This list is based on my belief that we, as individuals, communities, organizations, institutions and a nation, should always strive to improve through personal and professional growth.

I am not alone in wanting you to succeed in doing what is best for this great country, and I won’t give up my hope that one day soon you will begin to collectively work toward your fullest potential.

Here is my recommended reading list for the 112th Congress:

  • The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, by Stephen R. Covey. This book, which will help you find your voice and inspire others to find theirs, teaches us to listen with empathy—one of the most important communication skills we can possess. Covey also extols the virtues of the “Indian Talking Stick” exercise as a powerful transformational tool in teaching people how to listen, because the person holding the stick gets to talk until they believe that the listener understand what they are saying and feeling. Once they feel understood, the stick is handed to you to repeat the exercise. This isn’t the first time politicians have been encouraged to use this approach. The Iroquois Federation taught the Indian Talking Stick idea to the founding fathers in Philadelphia, and Covey believes it heavily influenced the content of the U.S. Constitution.
  • The Triangle of Truth: The Surprisingly Simple Secret to Resolving Conflicts Large and Small, by Lisa Earle McLeod. The bottom two angles of the triangle represent “my truth” and “your truth,” says McLeod, which is pretty much where today’s political debate stands. If you were to compromise, a solution would be represented by some point along the bottom line of the triangle. So in fact there would be no triangle, just a straight line, which McLeod believes isn’t sustainable over the long term because compromise requires us to water down our truths.

What McLeod’s model promotes is a mind shift from “either/or” choices to combining and co-creating higher-level solutions. The top of the triangle represents an all-encompassing solution where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. She illustrates the use of the triangle model by recounting how Thomas Jefferson and John Adams co-created the Declaration of Independence. They did not choose between their opposing conservative or liberal views, and they did not choose Jefferson’s commitment to freedom of thought over Adams staunch believe in the rule of law, but rather, out of love for their new country were willing to combine their ideas in more high-level thinking and come up with an amazing document that was bigger than both of them.

McLeod says: “We don’t have to make a choice between being strong and being kind. We can be both, and in doing so we can achieve greatness in the grand tradition of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.” In addition to being an author and keynote speaker. McLeod is a Be Inkandescent columnist.

  • All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum. Because we all need laughter, every day, I suggest this mostly comical reminder about the basics of getting along with others. Whether they are friends, family, neighbors, or national or global leaders, some elemental rules we should never forget to apply in our daily life. I firmly believe that every member of the 112th Congress should have a copy on their bulletin board of this important document:

Robert Fulghum’s Kindergarten Credo

  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Don’t hit people.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
  • Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.
  • Flush.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  • Live a balanced life.
  • Learn some and think some.
  • And draw and paint and sing and dance.
  • And play and work everyday some.
  • Take a nap every afternoon.
  • When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
  • Be aware of wonder.

It is my hope that you will find this reading list filled with inspiration for yourself and for all those American citizens that want you to succeed. I have faith that collectively you will become leaders and achieve greatness by rebuilding a strong and vibrant country for our children and grandchildren.


About Pam Ray

Ray has achieved success in her own government-relations business for 16 years. She strongly advocates transformative solutions in the face of today’s economic challenges. With more than three decades of in-depth experience in policy and politics, Ray has transformed her business to include a focus on local strategic partnerships in developing new solutions at the federal and local level of government.

From the platform of job creation, Ray is also engaged in motivational speaking and spreading the word about the issue of STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), its relationship to job-creation (meeting business and industry needs), and the strategic decision-making that should play a part in today’s high school and college career choices.

For more information, visit www.pamrayllc.com.