Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

WSU Reads 2017: The Influencing Machine

Teaching Resources

  1. Questions can either facilitate or hinder discussion. Discussion leaders may want to ponder these questions, or it may help the discussion to ask them to the group:
  2. What was your initial reaction to the book? Did it hook you immediately? Which part or story got you most interested in completing the book?
  3. How did the structure of the graphic novel affect you? How would you have reacted to the book if it were in a different format?
  4. Gladstone introduces herself by saying she likes it when people cry when they tell her stories. How did this make you feel? Why would this trait make a difference in a report?
  5. Helen Thomas (p. 38) says reporters are public servants. Do you think most reporters see themselves as public servants? Which news outlets or agencies use or see reporters as public servants?
  6. The author explains that the "Goldilocks number" (p. 49) refers to estimates that seem reasonable. Do you feel sloppy journalism is as bad as yellow journalism? What's the difference?
  7. On p. 61 the author asserts that mainstream media quotes more conservatives than liberals. Do you agree?
  8. The author asserts that the public trusts neither journalists nor politicians after WW I (p. 99). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was formed by the Communications Act of 1934. do you think the FCC was formed to help networks gain the public trust, or were there other motives to create this agency?
  9. The author asserts that 1949 regulations required broadcast networks to set aside time to present all sides of the issues they cover (p. 103). This was the Fairness Doctrine, which remained in place until it was eliminated in 1987. Why do you suppose the author did not use the proper name? What was going on in the world that might have prompted Congress to eliminate this policy in 1987? What have been the repercussions for eliminating this policy? Would (or how would) additional policies help combat fake news?
  10. The author mentions biases on p. 117. Would knowing our biases help us make decisions, or would it prompt us to make decisions that are not true to ourselves? How could knowing our biases improve our path to self-actualization?
  11. On page 129, the author explains that homophily reflects and reaffirms our perspectives of the world. Are you interested in expanding your world view? Do you actively seek out alternative viewpoints? How would one go about searching for stories that are opposite from our personal view?
  12. Do you feel technology connects you more closely with people (p. 139), or helps you have meaningful conversations? Why or why not?
  13. What is the central theme? Do you think this theme will be relevant in 10 years? 50?
  14. Did the book make you feel hopeful, depressed, angry?

Common Reads Gallery

book cover

Wichita State Common Read 2021: What the Eyes Don't See

What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City By Mona Hanna-Attisha is the selection for Wichita State Common Reads 2021. 

book cover

Wichita State Common Read 2020: Some Were Paupers, Some Were Kings

Some Were Paupers, Some Were Kings: Dispatches from Kansas by Mark E. McCormick is the 2020 selection for the Wichita State Common Reads program. 

book cover

WSU Reads 2019: Designing Your Life

Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans is the 2019 WSU Reads selection.

book cover

WSU Reads 2018: Just Mercy

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson is the chosen book for the 2018 WSU Reads program.

book cover

WSU Reads 2017: The Influencing Machine

The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone and illustrated by Josh Neufeld is the chosen book for the 2017 WSU Reads. 

book cover

WSU Reads 2016: Start Something That Matters

Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie is the chosen book for the 2016 WSU Reads. This guide provides more information on the WSU Reads program, the book, and related topics, materials, and initiatives.

Wichita State University Libraries, 1845 Fairmount, Wichita, KS 67260-0068 | Phone: (316) 978-3481 | Comments/Suggestions | Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube Channel Federal Depository Library Program HathiTrust Digital Library Patent and Trademark Resources Centers