Friday, November 15, 2013

Audio excerpt: Why not Why

Listen to author Ogden Rogers read a short piece from Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work. This piece, from pages 57-58 in the book, is titled "Why not Why."

Beginnings, Middles, & Ends reviewed in Journal of Social Work Values & Ethics Fall 2013

Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work was reviewed in the Fall 2013 edition of the Journal of Social Work Values & Ethics, released this week.

Reviewer Stephen M. Marson, Ph.D., who is also editor of the journal, said in part:
The mood that the author sets is the best aspect of this book. It reminds me of the mood set by the writers of the TV show MASH. There is a mixture of drama and comedy that is perfectly blended to capture the attention of a casual reader. I found the entire book a joy to read. Personally, I found it therapeutic. 
 He also called the book "a profound piece of creative literature that will reinstill idealism within senior social workers who are on the threshold of being cynical about their work."

Read the full review at: Journal of Social Work Values & Ethics, Fall 2013 edition.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ogden Rogers Interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio About the Social Work Profession and His New Book

Author Ogden Rogers was interviewed by Al Ross of Spectrum West on Wisconsin Public Radio on November 7, 2013. They talked about the social work profession, as well as about Rogers' new book, Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work. Ross read a few of the shorter stories out loud as part of the broadcast.

The interview provides insight into the thought that went into the writing of the book. The interview is archived online. You can listen to it here

Then go to or White Hat Communications to order the book and read the rest of the stories!

More Reviews for Beginnings, Middles, & Ends

Since Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work was released almost a month ago, the book has continued to receive favorable reviews.

Today, we heard from Bradford Sheafor, author of social work textbooks over the past three decades. Here's what he had to say:
“Many textbooks, including my own, carefully describe social work and what social workers do. Few of these books, however, capture art and heart required when applying the knowledge, values, and skills of this important profession. Ogden Rogers, in Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work, provides a masterful complement to the existing texts. Although usually not labeled as such, in each of his stories a critical value, principle, or guideline for social work practice is illustrated. My thought after reading each story was, “Yes!!! That is what social work is all about.” Further, Rogers’ unabashed enthusiasm for this profession is indeed a welcome addition to the social work literature.”
Bradford W. Sheafor, Ph.D. 
Professor Emeritus, Colorado State University 
A customer on, L.M. Ferro, said this about the book:
"LOVE THIS BOOK! I shared it with my interns who are young social workers. I would HIGHLY recommend it! Makes a great gift for social workers."
The book was well-received at the recent Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting, where Rogers was on hand to autograph copies.

The book is available at in print and Kindle editions, as well as at White Hat Communications' online store. 
Order now for holiday and graduation gift-giving, or put it on your own wishlist!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Today Is the Day--Beginnings, Middles, & Ends Official Release Date!

We are very excited to announce that today is the official release date of Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work, by Ogden W. Rogers!

This book of fun, funny, insightful, wise, and--yes--educational stories will make a great gift for any social worker or social work student.  Terry L. Singer, Ph.D., said, "This read is a gift to all, whether they are starting or ending their journey of service to others.”

We are very appreciative and excited that the book has received advance praise from readers. Also, reviews and interviews with the author have been published by Social Work Career Development blog and Social Justice Solutions. Thank you!

Author Ogden Rogers calls the book a mixture between "The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Social Work Universe" and "Everything I Needed To Learn I Learned in Social Work School."

To celebrate the book's release, the publisher is offering a 15% discount now through October 22, 2013.  Go to the White Hat Communications store and use coupon code LAUNCH15 to receive 15% off this book (and other social work books, too).

Beginnings, Middles, & Ends is also available at in print and Kindle formats.

Additionally, it is available in ebook format at the Google Play Store.

Enjoy, and thank you!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Beginnings, Middles, & Ends Reviewed by Social Justice Solutions

Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work has received another great review! Published on October 7, the review and interview appears on the Social Justice Solutions site.

Reviewer Victoria Brewster captured the essence of the book in her review and interview of both the author and the publisher.  She says:

"Seasoned or more experienced social workers will be nodding their heads and smiling while remembering their own beginnings in the field. Social work students will see the book as a wonderful learning opportunity and get an idea of what lies ahead and those relatively new to the profession will ‘see’ or ‘be’ a mixture of the two" 

She asked author Ogden Rogers to summarize his book. His response:

"I like to say the book is sort of like 'The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Social Work Universe' meets 'Everything I needed to learn I learned in Social Work School'… The book is a collection of 99 stories, some of them quite short (I call them 'potato chips') that reflect beginnings, middles, and ends- mostly about social work relationships.... The idea is that there might be something in any story to think, feel, or resonate with the reader."

Brewster asked Linda Grobman, the book's publisher, why she chose to publish this book. Grobman said, in part:

"Simply put, I loved the early to mid-90s...that’s when I 'discovered' the brilliance of his writing. I first published one of his pieces in 1995 [in The New Social Worker]. This very real—he’s willing to write about mistakes he made along the way and how he learned from them, so others can learn from them, too. But he also uses an artistic story-telling approach to show readers how social workers can think outside the box to come up with creative ways to find solutions to problems."
Read the full review and interview here.

To purchase Beginnings, Middles, & Ends:
White Hat Communications Online Store (publisher's site) (print) (Kindle)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Social Work in the Middles (Book Excerpt)

The following is an excerpt from the "Middles" section of Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work," by Ogden W. Rogers.

Social work is always about being in the middle. We are always guests in another’s house. The social worker in the hospital is the one who knows most about outside of the hospital. The health care worker on the street is the person who knows most about getting into the hospital. The genius of the social worker is that she or he is always between things. The master of the art appreciates the muddle that is life and demands a profession that dances down a razor’s edge. The worker who has “it” is the worker who knows that between me and thee is a fuzzy ball, a place where you invite “the other” to come in. To place hands upon the keys and make music. A place to cast off the cast iron of failed expectation and work in the muddle of the moment. What will emerge is anyone’s guess, but at least it is not the pain of what once was.

If life were black and white, we’d have no need for social work. Police and lawyers and judges and accountants could solve most of what could be called conflict. But life is really quite a gray thing, and despite the anger that wells in those who rail against gray, who want things black and white, they know they need us.

To order Beginnings, Middles, & Ends, visit the following:
White Hat Communications (publisher's online store) (print edition) (Kindle edition)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Beginnings, Middles, & Ends -- New Developments and Buzz!

As we approach the "official" publication date of October 15, Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work is getting some "buzz" around the Internet and offline, too.  Here are some recent developments:

Additional reviews and interviews are forthcoming, so please stay tuned to this site!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Beginnings, Middles, & Ends Featured on Information for Practice

Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work was featured on the Information for Practice website in August. IP is a great site that brings together social work "news, new scholarship, and more from around the world." Its mission is "to help social service professionals throughout the world conveniently maintain an awareness of news regarding the profession and emerging scholarship."

Thank you to Dr. Gary Holden  at NYU Silver School of Social Work!

Please check out IP here:
IFP post on Beginnings, Middles, & Ends
IFP home page

To order Beginnings, Middles, & Ends, please visit the publisher's online store.  Kindle edition is available at

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kindle Edition of Beginnings, Middles, & Ends

Have you been waiting for Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work to come out in a Kindle edition? Well, it is here!

You can also view a sample of the first several stories in the book by going to the Kindle page and clicking on the book cover.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Social Workers Explore Inside and Outside the Box

from page 20 of Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work

Available now directly from the publisher.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Excerpt from Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Content, Process, and Boundary

Content, Process, and Boundary
by Ogden W. Rogers

This excerpt is from page 16 of Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work, by Ogden W. Rogers. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

I pulled aside the curtain. The patient was lying on the gurney, bandaged in several places and on an IV.

“Hi. How can I help you?”

“I’m not sure how. I don’t know that I need help from you.”

“Ahh. OK. Let me start again. What brings you here today?”

She laughed. “Ahh, an ambulance?”

I stepped back and bowed my head. “No. You are absolutely right. I’m in a hurry and I’ve started this all wrong. Please allow me to begin again.”

I knocked on the door. “Hello? Mrs. Hamline? I’m Mr. Rogers. I’m a social worker here in the Emergency Department. Dr. Macalester told me that he’s spoken with you about being admitted to the surgical unit, and he told me that you have concerns about your children at home. I’m wondering if we could talk together. Is there anything I can do to assist you?”

She smiled back. “Hello, Mr. Rogers. I’m Arella Hamline. I’m also a social worker at City Department of Social Services. I am glad you’re here. I’ve apparently been in a serious auto accident, and they’re going to admit me to the hospital, and I might go to the operating room tonight. I was on my way home from work. My children are probably at home now from school, but I haven’t been able to contact them. I need to call my neighbor to see if she can watch them until I can get ahold of my mother and father who might be able to look after them. I don’t have my phone, and I’m afraid I don’t know her number.”

“Ms. Hamline, it would be my pleasure to help. Let me slip over to my office and get my directory and a phone. I’ll be right back.”

She laughed. “It’s a pleasure doing business with you.”

Ahh. Beginnings. So important.


For more information and to order the book, please visit the publisher's website.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What Is a Sideways Story and Other Thoughts on Beginnings, Middles, & Ends

From the preface to Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work, by Ogden W. Rogers

The idea for this book came from what I call a “sideways story.” A sideways story is some little (or big!) moment in life when you thought you were doing one thing, but you ended up learning another. A sideways story can also be a poem, or prose, that, because of the way it is written, may not be all that direct in its meaning. What’s nice about both clouds, and art, is that you can look at them and just resonate. I think that can be good for both the heart and the mind.

Some months ago, I received a letter from a professor with whom I had studied in undergraduate school. He had been the chaplain at the college I attended, and I remembered him as a gentle man of integrity. He had seen an article about some work I was doing in the college alumni magazine, and sent me a letter commending my efforts. I was quite flattered.

In the letter, he wrote that he was reminded of a story I had written as a young man, apparently for one of his classes. The story, he said, was about an old man whom I had come to know while working in a hospital, and who had died. A line in the story he remembered went: “Mr. Etters died yesterday. And with his death, a story ended. Not just a person had died, but a history, memories, and an unfolding story of life that could only be told by this one man also ended.” He told me that he had never forgotten that story, and that he reflected upon it as he had gone into semi-retirement and pastoral counseling of persons with terminal illnesses. I was deeply moved that anything I had ever written had “stuck” with somebody.

While the story sounded familiar, I did not remember it, and I went scouring about in my files, looking at all my undergraduate work, to see if I had kept it. (I am a world class “pack-rat” and have thrown away almost nothing in my life!) Looking off and on for weeks, I could not find the story anywhere in my files. In the search, however, I had come across all sorts of odds-n-ends of things I had written.

I have always, since a small boy, been prone to writing some of my thoughts and observations down in various forms...almost all of it mostly for myself, or shared with small audiences of clients, students, or colleagues. Not really published.

It dawned upon me that like Mr. Etters (and everybody else in the world), I too had accumulated a basket of stories. In re-reading the scraps of essays, poems, and stories I had written, I considered that in some ways they were less about “me” (whatever that is!), and more about a life following a path of a social worker.  I became arrogant enough to think you might enjoy reading some of them. I’m the hero in some of the stories; sometimes I’m the fool. I have probably learned more from the ones where I am the fool.

We talk nowadays about “research informed practice and practice informed research.” Throughout my career, I’ve considered many theories. Theory about human behavior, theory about social change, theory about the nature of reality have all swirled about in my life and practice. I have used, and been used by, theories. At times throughout this book, you might find a footnote or two that might point you to investigate something further. But mostly, this book is about how a life in social work is made up of stories.

The stories in this book are sideways...not always linear. Each one of them had some meaning for me when I wrote it, but sometimes never what I intended. Taken together, they might reflect upon some of the things I have learned on the path to becoming a social worker. Perhaps, some of the writing might create some reflections for you, too. I might suggest that you consider each story after you’ve finished reading it. What (if anything!) might it have to do with living a social worker’s life? (If nothing else, if you read them before bedtime they might induce sleep!)
Ogden W. Rogers

Beginnings, Middles, & Ends is available now from the publisher's website.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tears of Soulful Recognition and Laugh-Out-Loud Moments of Wonderful Remembrances--Thoughts on Beginnings, Middles, & Ends

We have just heard from Terry L. Singer, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Louisville. He read Beginnings, Middles, & Ends, and he said (in part):

I literally moved back and forth between tears of soulful recognition and laugh-out-loud moments of wonderful remembrances. There is something truthful and powerful about the artist who is willing to put a masterpiece together and leave the telltale signs of failed attempts. Too many who reflect on their past do so to minimize imperfection, setting standards unreachable by others. Ogden Rogers has charted a course of professionalism that encourages creativity, allowing for errors, and guided by honest reflection and dedication to those whom he would serve.

Click on the "Praise" tab to read more comments about Ogden Rogers' collection of stories, poems, and thoughts about life in the profession of social work.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Beginnings, Middles, & Ends -- About the Cover

Here is a glimpse of the front cover of Ogden Rogers' Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work. The image of three leaves shows three stages in the life of the leaf...the beginning, middle, & end.  Social work practice (and life) is made up of these same three stages...beginnings, middles, & ends.

The book is available for pre-ordering from the publisher (White Hat Communications) now!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Coming soon: Beginnings, Middles, & Ends--Stories of social work worth reading!

Written in the spirit of DAYS IN THE LIVES OF SOCIAL WORKERS, this book is built from the life of the days of a social worker.

Ogden Rogers has written a collection of essays, poems, and other writings about life in social work, and about life in general. It is called BEGINNINGS, MIDDLES, & ENDS: SIDEWAYS STORIES ON THE ART & SOUL OF SOCIAL WORK.

The book is filled with humor and with candid real-life stories of what it's like in the profession of social work.

Here's a short excerpt from the book's Preface:

It’s my hope that some of the things here might make some moment in your thinking or feeling grow as a social worker. If they provoke a smile, or a tear, or a critical question, it’s worth it. Some of the pieces are experiences from my interior and may not seem immediately relevant to your life as a social worker. If you get bored, skip a piece, and read something else.

... I wrote this book for colleagues, social work students and their teachers, and to be very honest, for myself. In the seasons of studying social work, students have to read a lot of textbooks and professional literature. I know, I’ve had to read a lot of those things, and they are good to read...but sometimes, it’s good to take a break and just read something that’s just a little off center and not in APA style! Something to read, well, just for the heck of reading.
This book of a hundred stories reads easily, and the author tells tales that operate at many levels. The stories exemplify role modeling and transformational learning theories, and  readers are encouraged to reflect and consider their own thoughts and reactions to each piece. It's written in an easy, non-linear style that is filled with wit, wisdom, and drama. In many ways, it is a book that looks at social work from the inside out, and seeks to provide the reader with opportunities for validation, surprise, critique, and reading enjoyment.

Ogden W. Rogers, Ph.D., LCSW, ACSW, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Social Work at The University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has been a clinician, consultant, educator, and storyteller. Read more about him on the About the Author page.

So, if you are curious to learn more, please use the "Follow by e-mail" form on the right side of this page, and we'll keep you updated on new developments on this exciting new book. And we'll let you know when and how it's available!