I recently emailed the authors of SQL Server MVP Deep Dives (Manning Publications, 2009). I asked them one question: You have a life, a job, family... why contribute to a book and donate the royalties to War Child? Some of the responses follow (in alphabetical order of the authors' last name):
I’ve been blessed in my life to live in a country as great as ours, to have enough resources to not worry, and to have friends and family. In order to keep these blessings, I believe we need to share with those less fortunate. In the grand scheme, the couple of hours I spent on the article is inconsequential; however, the lives that will be blessed and the impact of our combined effort is immeasurable.
Agreed with Denis. I could donate $50 easily enough, but that's a one-time (or repetitive, but still limited) engagement. By writing about SQL Server, and contributing to such a book, I can easily *help* contribute a whole lot more than I could by myself, and it is much more persistent. Based on the online sales so far, and how quickly the hard copies were swept up at the PASS Summit, I think our collective support of War Child will be far greater than we could have ever done individually. As for the opportunity cost (my time, my life, etc.), I usually spend many hours per week helping out on the newsgroups, StackOverflow, and blogging. This wasn't much different, except I had editors and peer reviewers critiquing my work. :-)
I have been blessed with a good job, a rewarding career, and a supportive family. Writing two chapters for the SQL Server MVP Deep Dives book was just a small way to give back to the community and support a very worthy charity. I got the opportunity to write about two subjects that I was very interested in, so it was an easy task.
John Paul Cook
My family and I have always had all of our needs met. There are so many children around the world who have great needs. I liked the idea of working with all of the others to do something to meet some of those needs. Besides, Paul’s and Kalen’s enthusiasm was irresistible. I was around both of them when it was just an idea. When they say something is a good idea, that’s all I need to know!
Having a family makes me even more aware of the needs of other, less-fortunate, families (and particularly children). Being involved in a book that supports a charity like WarChild not only gives money to them, but encourages others to do more for all charities too
The answer is pretty simple......yes I can donate a fixed amount to a charity.....or I can contribute to this book which will sell well after word gets out since a lot of the the authors will blog/tweet about this book and this will have a much bigger financial contribution to the charity than my contribution alone.
This was such a great idea for a noble cause so to me there was just no reason to *not* participate.
It's a no-brainer. MVPs are MVPs because we spend our free time helping others in the community. Usually, the things we do benefit other SQL Server professionals. This project also helps children: those most in need throughout the world. This was one project I couldn't pass up.
I'm a geek and what is better than writing for a book by geeks for geeks. Or rather a bunch of uber geeks writing for various degree of geekdom.
The reason I like the idea of contributing to a book and donate to War Child (or any other organization taking care about the children around the world) is quite simple. I’m a father of two young boys (aged 5 and 2.5). As a father I see my kids growing and know how big their needs are. I just can’t imagine the tragedy of those kids touched by the war conflicts in any way. That’s why it seems natural to me to support the organizations like War Child when the opportunity happens (especially when at the same time I can create something interesting together with my MVP fellows!).
Probably the biggest reason is that this book gave me the opportunity to do something that I love (writing about SQL Server Integration Services) for a great cause (War Child International) and to do it on a reasonable scale (one chapter instead of an entire book). I write and present about SSIS pretty regularly, but the effort involved in writing an entire book is quite daunting. When Paul and Kalen started talking about this charity book, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. I travel quite a bit, and my chapter came together on a flight between New York and Seattle, and was complete before the editors were ready to accept submissions. And as for why War Child, I think the charity speaks for itself. There are so many conflicts going on in the world today, and most people affected by war are children. I have two children of my own, and would do anything to keep them safe. Donating royalties to War Child let me do a little something for other children around the world. What’s not to like?
Because I feel lucky, and I want to share this. I was lucky enough to study, live in a developed country, do what I love to do and earn money for it... I just want to share this with those who were not so lucky.
Tom van Stiphout
For me that *is* the reason: the book project enriches my life, my job, and my family.
Several factors influenced my decision to contribute to the MVP Deep Dives book. First, it was a great opportunity to collaborate with a bunch of really smart people that I admire and respect. That alone made it a worthwhile endeavor for me.
Additionally, I liked that all proceeds are going to help women and children in war ravaged areas of the world. By buying the book, people who may not ordinarily be inclined to donate to such causes will indeed contribute to the charity while getting a good source of technical information in return. Everybody benefits in those kinds of arrangements.
And lastly, but definitely not least, I feel that I have been tremendously blessed in this life and this was an opportunity to be a good steward of those blessings. We are called to help care for the widows and orphans of the world and this project helped to do that in a small but symbolic way. I hope it inspires other similarly benevolent projects and even more needy are reached.
Every so often, I get the desire to share my thoughts with others in written form. Whether or not I act on that desire usually depends on how recently I've written something. I'm not one of those people who can just start typing and end up with something coherent in an hour or two - typically, it's a long and painful process for me, and doing it every couple of years is usually enough. When the opportunity to participate in the SQL Server MVP Deep Dives book came along, I was already buried in fairly hectic and complex writing project for another book. Normally, that would have been enough for me to take a pass on it. However, the fact that this book was for charity struck me as a very good thing - a way to combine my enthusiasm for SQL Server with giving back to the community. And the choice of War Child as the charity was appealing, as it's a very worthwhile charity. On top that, there was opportunity to write alongside the other authors, many of whom I've read and admired since I started with SQL Server. Sacrifice a bit of sleep and my personal time in order to work with a great group of people to make life better for some children? It was an easy choice.
Neat idea. Here are my reasons:
1. We got to choose our topics
2. I got to share authorship with many other MVPs I greatly admire
3. It was a great way to give to a worthy cause -- the gift that keeps on giving :-)
There were two motivating factors in being part of the book:
1) Contributing something to children who are unable to help themselves in a very meaningful way.
2) Being part of a group of SQL Server MVPs coming together to put their best work in once place.
We donate to historical sites, give at church, serve on educational and adult learning foundation boards, but with this book I was able to give to a worthy cause the passion I have for SQL Server, so that others can learn, and their purchases contribute to the great cause as well.
I think about the end of this chain of events. At some refugee camp in Africa or the Middle East, there's a child who has lost more than we can fathom in the US. Because they're just a child, they are incredibly resilient - their young minds quickly interpretting and categorizing catastrophe and humiliation in an attempt to understand and make sense of it all; blocking some memories while re-writing others. Survival is a daily concern. Not in the sense we use the word "survival" - in the literal sense.
I wrote and edited for a few hours at night and on weekends - something I thoroughly enjoy and am honored to do - and the result is a chapter in this book. Others are buying the book to learn more about their craft - to improve their skills. Because of something in which I was honored to participate, that child is going to get a sandwich or some rice or maybe just some clean water to drink one day in the near future. I can't adequately describe how that makes me feel. I want to do stuff like this all day every day.
I also interviewed the editors of the book and posted some of their responses in this post.