Dauphin County Library System - Open for Discovery!

< Back to Beyond The Shelves


What They’re Reading: Dr. John J. “Ski” Sygielski, President and CEO, Harrisburg Area Community College

Sunday May 3rd, 2020

John J. Ski Sygielski

Whenever John Sygielski served detention in his high school library – apparently a regular occurrence – Brother Balconi sat him in the biographies section.

Sygielski – “Ski” as he is widely known in the Harrisburg community, says that started a lifelong habit of reading biographies for leadership lessons.

“Be who you are,” Ski says. “Be decisive. Take risks. Try to look forward.”

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for librarians,” Ski says. “They were my advisers. They were my research analysts. They were my supporters, my encouragers.”

What are you reading now? “The Motive,” by Patrick Lencioni, and “The Obstacle is the Way: The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage,” by Ryan Holiday.

Why those particular books? During a time of unprecedented change, “The Motive” provides leaders an opportunity to assess their true motivation for leading. I really like the author. He talks a bit in fable. I’m reading “The Obstacle is the Way” because, as a lifelong student of stoicism, it provides an opportunity to learn from some of the greatest leaders in contemporary history on how to overcome difficult situations.

What’s your favorite thing about the library? I see the library as a community convener. It is a safe, neutral place for people to come and be comfortable and explore. You think you know a little, but there is so much more to learn. Students tell me they trust librarians. Librarians hold such a special place in my heart. They are the counselors, the advisers, the educators.



The above piece represents the views of the author and is meant to inspire dialogue and increase understanding and a sense of community. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of The Library. Members are welcome to comment below or contact us privately by using our online contact form >