Subscribe to The Horn Book

I Can Cook Too

photo by Mark Flinn

No sooner did I leave New York last week when I was off to Columbus for two days of meetings with my  fellow Mediasource Inc. editors (Rebecca Miller of SLJ/LJ and Susan Marston of JLG) and all the top brass, including what seem to be the zillion new vice-presidents (five, actually). It’s very helpful to do this once in a while–while the three companies are editorially independent, we share infrastructure and sometimes programming (like the BGHB announcement at Day of Dialog) and ultimately report to the same CEO, Steve Zales.

But the language these folks use. The problem is that if one, fearing embarassment or demotion,  fails  to ask what a KPI is the first time, the discussion become increasingly confusing, and one is put  in the even more awkward position of feigning comprehension. And, with me, these words don’t stick–I did summon up my courage to ask my boss David Greenough privately, and not for the first time, what a KPI was and I’ve forgotten it again already. One of the cooler terms I heard creatively was Hunters and Farmers (“and Serial Killers,” one VP added waggishly), which I think has to do with ways of getting and maintaining business but which in my head become opposing clans in a thick fantasy novel, each clan determined to gain the Stone of Rosetta. But THEN they both find themselves facing the dreaded Scrum Master and his hordes from the fabled city of Quantilus. Would you read that?

The best part of our time together was an activity I had been positively dreading. Steve had told us that the fifteen of us were going to cooperatively make dinner at a restaurant that specializes in just such corporate team-building events. When I’m cooking at home, Richard has only to look into the kitchen  for me to snap “You’re in my way,” so you can imagine my anxieties about this dinner. Plus, knives at work? But it was SO MUCH FUN. We were divided into teams of three, with each team given a spacious table, pre-measured ingredients, kitchen tools, and a recipe. HR director Tara Marallo, Sales VP Mark Flinn, and I were Team Risotto, and it was delicious. And while, thank God, there was no overt educational component to the evening, it did make me think about my management style: I don’t read directions until after the fact and I am one bossy boss.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. So glad to hear that too many cooks didn’t spoil the Risotto. Or the fun! Well done, Roger.

    I’d say more…but must rush off to hunt down the Stone of Rosetta and battle the dreaded Scrum Master.

  2. Susan Marston says:

    Roger, it was great fun to be with you and all the other folks-new and old. David laughed out loud when I passed him a note asking about KPI–because I too, have trouble with all those abbreviations. For word people we do poorly speaking corporate.

  3. I googled it. Key Performance Indicators: a possibility? I live to serve. (But not to cook.)

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind