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Review of My Life as a Furry Red Monster
Book by Kevin Clash
(with Gary Brozek)

Review by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.

I'm going to say a lot of serious stuff about this book, so let me say first that it is fun to read and has lots of interesting stories about the lives of Elmo of Sesame Street and Kevin Clash.  And remember: Elmo loves you.

Everybody can read My Life as a Furry Red Monster and learn something important from it while being entertained and amused.  I promise the learning part will be not only painless but a joyful experience. 

Parents should read this book to see a model of good parenting and the effects of attention, support and encouragement upon their growing children.

Teachers (of all levels, including college) should read this book to study the mechanisms of getting students of all ages to pay attention and get involved in or even passionate about their classes.  It illustrates the simple process behind student motivation. 

Performers and wannabe performers should read this book to remind themselves of the hard work and persistence it takes to fulfill their dreams and that the rewards are worth the price.  They will also be reminded that "getting there" is a collaborative effort involving a network of supporters. That in the end, the network of supporters may be the greatest reward.

Managers should read this book to appreciate the many ways they can "hook" the child within all of us to motivate employees and help them achieve excellence in performance and  high productivity.  All the good books on human performance explain the need for employer attention, respect, concern, listening and appreciation in motivating employee achievement.  This book does one bang up job of modeling how that works -- starting in childhood.  It never changes.  What you learn in simple illustration in this book should illuminate the more extensive and complicated explanations offered in business related books.  There is a very good reason that the introductory course to human motivation in most psychology college curricula is called "Motivation and Emotion."

Every individual will benefit from reading this book by learning about the subjects Kevin Clash sets out to teach: love, joy, creativity, tolerance, courage, friendship, cooperation, learning and optimism.  He teaches them well and fully.

You will find them in the context of a charming tale of a life (so far) well lived and a pleasure to read.



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