#RPLDiscover: "Humans of New York: Stories" by Brandon Stanton
Public Services Assistant
Reference & Adult Services Department
Sometimes I read 400-page books, but not often, and they tend to take a month.
Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton, though, took two days.
Filled with candid color photos and even more candid and colorful stories, it's a compilation of Stanton's five years of walking the streets of New York and engaging strangers in conversations ranging from easy topics like fashion and humor to rich, personal subjects: ambitions, aspirations, mistakes, regrets, problems and solutions.
You may have seen the Facebook page Humans of New York (or HONY, as it's usually abbreviated) on the news or in the news. In the past two weeks, Stanton and his followers have raised over $1 million for cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
If that doesn't demonstrate the power of well-done social media to move people to action with a few photos and words, I'm not sure what does.
But it's because those photos and words provide such clear glimpses and insights and behind-the-scenes access into other human lives that Stanton and this book are so successful.
After I finish my shift at the bakery, I start my shift at Starbucks. I work ninety-five hours per week at three different jobs. One of my sons graduated from Yale, and I have two more children in college. And when they finish, I want to go to college, too. I want to be a Big Boss. I'm a boss at the bakery right now, but just a little boss. I want to be a Big Boss.
It's the diversity of human perspective that makes this book and the continuing social media feeds remarkable. Stanton seems fearless, approaching people who may not look casually approachable but open their hearts and minds after a few minutes.
I admire how Stanton presents these experiences without a whiff of judgment. There's no editorializing, no moralizing, no chastising his subjects for what they tell him. Which helps explain why they say what they do. It's refreshing in an age of instant opinions, first impressions, and too much outrage to find a book that lets people be who they are in full view.
This book encourages you to consider perspectives you might not have otherwise considered. It introduces you to people who may be like yourself, but probably aren't. It invites you to embrace the variety of life, encompassing all colors, ethnicities, faiths, cultures, genders, socioeconomic statuses, ages, sexual orientations, and more.
I'm glad I discovered this book, this page, this phenomenon. So many things are called eye-opening or life-changing, but Humans of New York: Stories is life-opening.
You can find our copy on the New Nonfiction shelf, 974.71 STA.
I'm going to be an inventor. I already have some good ideas. I had an idea for an electronic cigarette with a whatchamacallit in it that makes mist so you feel like you're smoking but you really aren't. And also a toothbrush where you put the toothpaste in the bottom and it comes out the top when you're brushing.
STANTON: Those are some good ideas. Anything else?
A fart gun.