The Art of the Interview (x2)

An intriguing-looking book: The Art of the Interview. Actually there are two books of that title (different subtitles). The Art of the Interview: A Step by Step Guide to Insightful Interviewing by Martin Perlich, and The Art of the Interview : Lessons from a Master of the Craft, by Lawrence Grobel. Even though I found the book(s) by a reference to Grobel’s (Amazon lists Perlich’s book on Grobel’s book page), I like the Amazon reviews for Perlich’s better. Both authors are journalists, and both books claim to give how-to advice, Both tell stories of interviews conducted.

Perlich’s reviewers spoke of his book in more glowing terms. But they also offered intriguing nuggets of their own…From a guy who hired him way back, (“Local boy makes good”)…. to the tension between structure and formlessness to artistic creation that is the interview itself…

The author, Martin Perlich presents the interviewer begining with a blank sheet of paper or glob of clay and it is his/hers task to create the Mona Lisa or drop the ball, so to speak. The end product becomes a work or art; hence the title. The book gives some very practical advise on how to prepare for and conduct a good interview.

…to the elevation of the ordinary and everyday, and how interviewing improves one’s place in the world of a human among humans—- “Knowing how to be interested in others makes us more interesting.”

What impressed me most goes beyond the nuts and bolts of interviewing. His book brings into focus the fact that people, not just “celebrities”, generally like to tell their stories to others. It’s flattering to most of us when others take an interest in who we are. This book has helped me to understand this and has given me valuable tools in knowing how, and what questions to ask, in order to get to know others better.

The reviews of Grobel are less inspired.

The book seems to be part memoir, part how-to, and doesn’t really satisfy as either one. It’s too repetitive and not quite in-depth enough to be a good how-to, and it’s not quite personal enough to be a memoir.

Okay, it gets better later on. Grobel writes well, and the book does make a good memoir. And oh, there are the celebrity stories. One reader (who mentions Grobel’s Interviewing class at UCLA) is impressed with how much he works to prepare for an interview. But in the end, I don’t see Grobel’s reviewers making discoveries on the same level as Perlich’s.

So, which The Art of Interviewing will I go for? The one written by the guy who sparked his readers to say inspring things. Isn’t that what an interviewer does?

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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on March 22, 2006 in • Interviewing
2 CommentsPermalink

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The Michigan Oral History associaton is interested in the release forms you are using,  where products of the eletronically conducted interviews are deposted for educatonand historical use, and like information.  Adherence to the Oral History Association guidelines are as vital to scccessful and legal interviews of family members as of another others.
  Michigan Oral History Assn.


“where products of the electronically conducted interviews are deposited”

Are you asking where interviews I  have conducted with my family members have been deposited? So far, inside my house, and a coupla copies with other family members.

Your eagle eyes have honed in on the part where my information and practices are still the weakest (good intentions so far, but…), and where I’ve the most to learn and research—-and I will. The topic of legal releases and what to do calls for an entire section in the how-to and at least one article. To say nothing of news/blog entries, the first of which I’ll begin composing and posting very soon, thanks to your mention here.

What I said in my site introduction article [scroll way down] about legality pretty much is how things stand as of today:

<blockquote>And that leads to

Susan A. Kitchens  on 03/26  at  05:00 PM

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