Book Review: Read My Pins (along with a look at some of mine)

 Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box
by Madeleine Albright
Harper Collins
2009
176 pages

Like Madeleine Albright, I love wearing pins.  I’m not always very good at the schmoozing and small talk that I often need to do for my job, so in business settings I’ll sometimes wear a pin as a conversation starter.  I’m guessing Madeleine Albright doesn’t have that problem. What she might have difficulty with is deciding which pin to wear, because according to this book, her choices are limitless as she has hundreds to choose from.

My Betty is a bit of a girly-girl, to say the least, and I borrowed this book from the library in an attempt to use the pictures of the jewelry as a way to introduce her to one of the world’s most accomplished women.  I wound up being more enthralled with the book than she was.

Read My Pins is a coffee-table type of book that is both filled with glorious photos of beautiful pins but also stories about the pins’ history and their place front and center of world events.  As Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright often chose which pin to wear each day with great care and deliberation, often with subtle significance to a negotiation or a meeting with a world leader or some situation happening on a global scale.  Her choices were thoughtful as well as sometimes whimsical.  (After reading this, I’ve noticed I’ve become more deliberate about my choices of pins now.)

In this book, Albright gives her reader a peek inside her jewelry box with photos of more than 200 of her pins that she has collected over the years, from purchases in small boutiques and villages to extravagant gifts.  I don’t have anywhere near the number of pins as Madeleine Albright has, but as part of this review, I thought I would share some of my pins, including my newest pin which has special significance for this weekend.

And my newest pin, which I actually purchased last year (not actual size):

I’m not sure how many people outside of Philadelphia know about these pins, but it is a brilliant example (in my mind) of a successful fundraiser and frankly, a great cause-marketing campaign. Some consider him controversial (among other things) but every morning I listen to Michael Smerconish, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host based in Philadelphia. (I’ve been listening to Michael, of whom I am a very big fan, for probably seven years now.On his radio program and in his newspaper columns, Michael writes and talks extensively about 9/11 and how our world truly changed on that fateful day nine years ago.

Last year, Michael partnered with Philadelphia jeweler Steven Singer (a marketing and branding genius in his own right), who created the pin above as a way to raise money for the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, PA, estimated to cost $58 million.  For $10, you receive the pin and the proceeds are donated to the memorial.  You don’t have to be in the Philadelphia area to purchase a pin; they are available online here

As of this writing, sales of the pins are over $100,000.  Yes, there are some definite promotional benefits for Messrs. Singer and Smerconish, and some might argue that donors shouldn’t need a promotional incentive to contribute to the memorial fund.  But I’ve been in the fundraising business a long, long time and in this economy, it would be incredibly difficult to raise that kind of cash one $10 donation at a time.  I highly doubt it would have happened in a matter of weeks, as this year’s effort was.  It is an admirable effort, one that remembers and honors an even greater admirable and heroic effort that took place nine years ago as of tomorrow as well as those who lost their lives on that September day.

As I said, I often wear pins because they are a natural conversation starter.  This one is no exception.

Because in my mind, we can never talk enough about the event for which there are no words. 

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo’s Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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