Matt B. (BuffaloSavage) was named our Member of the Month for May 2016.
How long have you been a PBS member? How did you find PBS? How has PBS impacted your life? What does PBS mean to you?
I have been a PBS member since 2006, so I am coming up on the 10th anniversary. I found PBS through a web search in which I was looking for a book for purchase; that is, PBS had a book review of it. The offer was a pretty good deal and the PBS way of doing things contrasted with another service’s chaotic (to me) and grabby ways. I had stacks of pocket and trade paperbacks I had promised myself to cull, and getting to a post office was no problem since a branch was within walking distance of my office. Since then, PBS has given me the chance to meet nice people. PBS represents to me the means by which I can score many curious books that I would not have found otherwise. Like at a used book sale, I never know what I am going to find.
What book impacted you most as a child or young adult?
The book that impacted me most as a child was Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. It is a family memoir that describes growing up in a family with twelve children whose parents, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, were both efficiency experts in science and industrial engineering. Frank was the first to propose that a surgical nurse hand instruments to the surgeon during a procedure. After Frank died suddenly of a heart attack, Lillian made great contributions to the design of kitchen appliances and household furniture, not to mention the design and marketing of feminine hygiene products. Her reports were models of lucid argument and precise writing.
Saving time and energy and effort became very important to me. What I learned from that book was that there were better ways to do everything, all I had to do was think, be creative, and consciously avoid getting into ruts by testing new ways to do jobs. Emphasizing efficiency, practicality, feasibility, planning; doing more with less; and even making due with limited resources have all helped me in my professional life. It just shows there no knowing how a book will influence a certain kid in a certain place in a certain time. Sure, my parents taught a strong work ethic but I was lucky that book was assigned in school, maybe 5th or 6th grade.
What is your favorite or most meaningful book read as an adult?
The books I re-read as an adult are self-help books by Albert Ellis. One is A Guide to Rational Living and the other is How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything: Yes, Anything. Both books argue that it my belief that I’ve been, for example, needlessly hassled or disrespected or whatever that leads to my upset feelings. I make myself upset, not other people, not the world as it is. Ellis would advise that I dispute my irrational thoughts, by asking myself, ‘Just what is the evidence that so and so harmed me? I don’t know what was going through his mind.” Or, “Even if he did slight me, where is the law of the universe that says everybody I meet has to be friendly, talkative, and all round overjoyed to talk to scintillating me?” Ideally, I use reason and logic to develop and support disputing ideas. And I focus on what I can control: my own responses, my own will, the one thing that I have power over, the one thing that cannot be taken from me.
What are you reading now?
Now I am near the end of The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1944-1945 by Ian Kershaw. It’s the grim story of the terrible things Hitler and the Hitlerites did to Jewish people, foreign workers in Germany, and the German people as the Allied armies advanced from both the west and the east. The books explains why the Nazi leadership, the military, and the civilian population fought on though the war was obviously lost.
Do you know of another PaperBackSwap member who just seems to go above and beyond? One who makes you smile, or helps you figure out something about a swap, or who simply makes you glad she or he is part of the club? You may just have found yourself a MoM (Member of the Month)!
MoMs are special members, ones who put a little extra effort in for the benefit of others, even when they think no one may ever notice. Maybe they send their packages well-wrapped bearing cheerful stickers on the outside, or they post interesting topics in the Discussion Forums that get people thinking and talking, or they work behind the scenes to correct book listings or upload images to book listings. Maybe they’re Tour Guides and help other members navigate swapping, or maybe they create extra-fun games in the Games forum, the kind after which everyone feels like they’ve made new friends.
If you believe that you have encountered a MoM, submit your nomination to us here. Tell us why you think the member is a MoM — the more details, the better! The Member of the Month gets a newsletter mention and a nifty MoM icon to wear on profile and forum posts with pride. So go for it! Tell us who’s helped you in the Forums, who’s been a great swapper, who in your opinion is a credit to the club. Who knows–the next MoM might just be YOU!