Book Review from Peter Prevos, MBA, Coliban Water ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The defining aspect of civilization is order. We all like to live in a perfectly predictable world where everything and everybody follows logical rules. But what happens to water utilities when this predictable and ordered utopia is disturbed?
Melanie Goetz’s latest book provides compelling stories of the power of people dealing with the unpredictable nature of reality, written in her signature storytelling style. While most books about managing water are written in abstract terms and treat water as a predictable physical entity, this book reminds the reader that managing water is not about physics and chemistry, but about the unpredictable social reality of the people that rely on these services.
Power of People provides practical solutions for what might seem to be insurmountable problems. Melanie’s book cuts through the problems of managing complex issues like a hot knife through butter. Although the stories form the foundation of the book, the knowledge contained in these pages is based on the latest research in human behavior and best practice in communication. The book reads like a collection of short stories, each of which closes with the ‘moral of the story’ and provides useful practice advice on how to manage similar situations.
Melanie’s stories are not only fascinating in themselves, they also provide a compendium of lessons from the past and they have a textbook like quality in the directness of the practical advice. Highly recommended.
Book Review from Amy Conklin, Coordinator, Barr-Milton Watershed Authority ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Melanie Goetz’s second book on the importance of educating the public is as inspiring and entertaining as her first. Power of the People gives real life examples of the folly of ignoring public opinion in providing high quality water using humor so effectively that I was often laughing out loud. How often can you say that about a book describing water communications?!
As a water professional who has spent years convincing other water professionals how essential it is to engage the public, it is a relief to now be able to give them concrete examples of what’s at stake. I found several examples I intend to pursue in my water education efforts and will be using her examples in preparing Scopes of Work to advance water education in my state. If we follow the advice in Melanie’s book we can effectively engage the public without resorting to fear tactics or waiting for crises.
Book Review from Aaron Jansen, P.Eng., City of Calgary ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The book was full of unique examples of what has been done and can be done in terms of engaging the public on water conservation, utilities rates, and hidden infrastructure. Whether dealing with good news or bad news, the stories in the book highlight examples of communicating on all things water. It is a worthwhile read to all involved in water.
Book Review from Rob McElroy, P.E., Prince William County Service Authority ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book is an eye-opener on many levels! Filled with “light bulb” and “aha moments”, Melanie draws you in with her apt analogies and hits you square between the eyes with new revelations on almost every page. From the new manager wondering how to connect with the customer base to the seasoned pros looking to hone their communication skills to razor sharpness, there is something here for everyone. A must-have on the shelf of every manager if effective communications and positive results are your goal!