One Book, One College

Developing empathy and learning to recognize what the other person is thinking are both essential to good communication, and are what this book is about.” – Alan Alda

This year CSN has chosen If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on my Face? by Alan Alda for One Book One College (OBOC). The OBOC program at CSN strives to foster a sense of community, creativity, and conversation through the mutual study of a common reading. Faculty of all disciplines are invited to teach the book (or parts of the book) in their courses, and students and staff are invited to attend the many events related to the book. This accessible book shares Alda’s research into communication, revealing lessons from theater improv and empathy that actually help scientists communicate with laypeople, leaders communicate with their community, and all of us communicate more effectively with each other.

This book is about what we can do about [miscommunication]; about how I learned what I believe is the essential key to good communication, and to relating to one another in a more powerful way. Surprisingly, I found that key in my training and experience as an actor, and it’s helped me teach others how to communicate better, especially about things that are difficult to talk about or hard to grasp” – Alan Alda.

If you haven’t read this book yet there are 15 physical copies at the CSN Libraries and 4 ebook copies available to download. In previous years books that have been chosen by OBOC were The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (2016-17); The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (2017-18); and Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones (2018-19).

Book discussions, workshops, hikes and other events are scheduled to enhance the reading experience and to promote further conversation and connections. Visit the OBOC website for more information about the program and events.

OBOC Hikes

Hikers will meet at 8 am at the Charleston Campus parking lot east of the “B” Building; we’ll be departing at 8:10 am. Bring a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, sturdy shoes, layered clothing, 1.5 liters of water, a snack or sandwich, and your day pack. If you have one, bring your copy of If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? We’ll do a shared reading of one or two compelling passages. If you’ve never read the book, don’t worry! Everyone is welcome. To join the hike, please email Jack Sawyer with a subject line “One Book Hike,” and he will add you to the list: limited to the first 15 people responding. (*Hikes subject to change depending on weather conditions.)

  • Saturday, February 1, 2020. “Calico Tanks,” Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Hike leaders: Jack Sawyer (Library) and Melissa Giovanni (Physical Sciences) This is a 2.3-mile roundtrip hike on one of Red Rock’s most iconic and stunning trails. Elevation gain from about 4200′ to 4700′ and back. The hike includes some scrambling to a natural water tank and ultimately to a view of the Vegas Valley and Las Vegas Strip. (Hike difficulty: moderate to strenuous)
  • Saturday, March 7, 2020. “Ash Creek Spring,” Red Rock Canyon NCA. Hike leader: Jack Sawyer (Library) This is a pleasant, 2-mile round trip hike that includes a tree-lined stream and dramatic sandstone formations. Elevation gain/loss of 3800’-4000′. (Hike difficulty: easy)
  • Saturday, April 4, 2020. “Stanley B. Springs,” Kyle Canyon, Spring Mountains N.R.A. Hike leader: Jack Sawyer (Library) This is a 3-mile round trip mountain hike at the confluence of two streams. Kick off Spring Break by enjoying the fabulous pines and firs and maybe catch some early shooting stars or Columbine flowers. Elevation gain from 7000′ to 7800′. (Hike difficulty: moderate)
  • Saturday, May 2, 2020. “Wild Horse Canyon,” Spring Mountains N.R.A. Hike leader: Jack Sawyer (Library) Depending on the eagerness of the hikers, we will go some or all of this 3-5 mile hike. Elevation gain from 8300′ to 9200′. We’ll see beautiful wildflowers as we hike along a stream in the shade of ponderosa pines. We may even see some wild horses too. Prepare for final exams by de-stressing and enjoying the fresh mountain air. (Hike difficulty: moderate)
Librarian Jack Sawyer with students and faculty on an OBOC hike to the Sloan Canyon Petroglyphs