Portnoy Online Discussion

Now that we’ve finished reading Portnoy’s book, we’d like you engage in some online conversation about the text in preparation for our in-class conversation about the text on Tuesday, April 28. So, here’s what we’re asking you to do:

  1. We strongly recommend you choose this as one of your 4 Reading Responses (RRs), and if you choose to do that, then step 1 is to post your RR.
  2. Read through your classmates’ RRs, and choose at least 2 to respond to by leaving a comment.
  3. View the comments people have left on your RR, and respond (with another comment) to at least 1 of them.
  4. Have fun!
  5. Hustle.

One thought on “Portnoy Online Discussion

  1. A general grievance I have about the Portnoy book, while I enjoyed it, is that it seemed to contain more flash than substance. It read well as a motivational text, I wanted to start my own non-profit after reading it I was so pumped, but other than that it seemed as if I was getting page after page of the same information repackaged in similar ways, equipped with interchangeable metaphors/pop culture references. (I also read the word “story” so frequently it lost all of it’s meaning as a word)

    Not to say the book was devoid of interesting or informative content, but the structure of it made little sense to me. Especially in the beginning chapters where I felt like the idea of “story” and it’s importance was repeated over and over with no seeming direction. It read as if I was on a roller coaster going up a hill but the end never came, we just kept trekking up the hill, we just kept getting told how important our “story” was, but when and where we would get told what this meant exactly was seemingly a mystery.

    It was obvious the author believed in and was excited about what he was saying, but his train of thought did not read linearly to me and came off as confusing. Eventually the coaster crested the hill and we dove into the logistics of “story” and the implications of it’s importance rather than saying it was important over and over, but I still left the book feeling a bit uncertain and unsatisfied- I wanted a bit more focus and direction.

    That being said- as an introductory text I feel it served it’s purpose. The book contains a lot of common sense that gets looked over for precisely that reason: it’s so obvious you don’t think about it. Such as when to schedule your major events and how people give more in December, or that making donating easy by making it as little clicks as possible will keep people from not donating due to laziness, or not to spam people with emails. These are all things that when said to us we’d be like “Well, duh- that makes perfect sense” but might not have thought of independently, or if we were really running a non-profit, not after some potentially devastating trial-and-error.

    I’m curious about if anyone else felt similar frustration or annoyance with the structure of the book, I realize my opinion is based entirely on how I’m used to academic texts being presented- so therefore I’m biased towards certain set-ups. I’d also like to know if anyone disliked how solely focused on “story” the book appeared to be, and how anyone with more experience in non-profit work feels about his interpretation of how they should be run. I know little to nothing about non-profits, so I was going into this book blind and would appreciate more informed opinions.


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