You know those people you meet and you just know right away they’re for keeps? That’s exactly how I felt about Rana DiOrio after I ended up in a seat next to her at dinner one night in Ethiopia. Rana is the owner of Little Pickle Press and, it turns out, a tremendous person to whom I am inexplicably drawn.
At her company she focuses on children’s media that communicates meaningful messages, and she brought a few of her picture books along on the trip to pass out to the children we met. While there, I had the opportunity to flip through one of those books — What Does It Mean To Be Present — and was blown away by the beauty, quality, and message.
Naturally then, when she offered to send me LPP’s newest release, Ripple’s Effect, I couldn’t dream of turning her down and I jumped at the chance to kick off the book’s blog book tour today.
This weekend, as I thought about what I could tell you about this book — aside from how much you’ll be drooling all over its beautiful illustrations — I kept coming back to the other day. The day I told you that since returning from Ethiopia I’ve felt like my wheels are spinning, that I’m so small in such a big world and yet so big in such a small world.
Recently Rana forwarded me an email with a passage in it that used a lot more words, but when boiled down said:
When we act as champions for a positive cause we contribute energy to a movement that creates a world in which that positivity is reflected.
Ripple’s Effect couldn’t be more succinctly summed up. Written by Shawn Achor, a man who has spent more than a decade studying happiness at Harvard, and Amy Blankson, a Harvard and Yale grad who has been consulting with businesses on how to create positive leaders for just as long, Ripple’s Effect is the story of a dolphin (Ripple) who turns an aquarium on its head when he challenges the authority of a surly Shark appropriately nicknamed Snark.
Eventually, Ripple’s tiny gestures create big waves of change and an environment of happiness in his aquarium — something that everyone, even Snark, benefits from.
In the back of the book, in a note to parents and educators Shawn and Amy write, “[Research has proven] that happiness leads to success, not the other way around. Happiness is a choice and a learned skill — and happiness spreads.” and go on to conclude, “If positive individuals gain control from bullies and negative people, they can refashion a world that is based on the advantages that happiness brings.”
I’m not sure what the research says, but I can tell you that in my own concerted efforts to bring happiness to our lives, only good things have followed. If I can teach my children to do the same, I can’t see how it would hurt them — or anyone else.
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Disclaimer: Rana sent me a copy of Ripple’s Effect for free upon my request, but all opinions are my own.