Joel Daniel Harris is the founder and executive dreamer of TomTod Ideas.
A Malone University alum, Joel lives in Canton with his wife, Joy, and two daughters, Everett and Amelie.
Q. What is the first book you remember reading?
A. I was a strange kid (some might contend not much has changed). Starting in second grade, I began making attempts at the unabridged version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” (311 pages, 1882), finally accomplishing the 250-plus page journey on Christmas break of fourth grade.
Q. What book got you interested in your career?
A. “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement” by David Brooks (448 pages, 2012) is fascinating, but specifically, there are two pages describing the science behind imagination (extrapolated from various works by Mark Tuner and Giles Fauconnier). The concept that imagination is a skill that can be developed and leveraged toward action and not only as a fantasy additive has been critical to the development of TomTod.
Q. What is the book you always come back to?
A. “Jayber Crow” by Wendell Berry (384 pages, 2001). Following the fictional account of one man’s life journey in rural America, Berry delivers incredible insights on community, love, transition and life.
Q. What is a book you wish you had written?
A. Pretty much anything by Parker Palmer. His insights on the integration of faith, vocation, life and paradox are challenging for anyone seeking to have an aligned existence.
Q. What is the last book that made you cry?
A. “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson (368 pages, 2015). A challenging, compelling story of the need to reimagine our justice system. Mr. Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative are doing some of the most important work in our country today.
Q. What is next up on your reading list?
A. “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World” by Adam Grant (336 pages, 2017); “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman (499 pages, 2013); and “Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists” by Courtney Martin (224 pages, 2010).