9 Things A Leader Must Do Summary Essays
Every essay or assignment you write must begin with an introduction. It might be helpful to think of the introduction as an inverted pyramid. In such a pyramid, you begin by presenting a broad introduction to the topic and end by making a more focused point about that topic in your thesis statement. The introduction has three essential parts, each of which serves a particular purpose.
- The first part is the “attention-grabber.” You need to interest your reader in your topic so that they will want to continue reading. You also want to do that in a way that is fresh and original. For example, although it may be tempting to begin your essay with a dictionary definition, this technique is stale because it has been widely overused. Instead, you might try one of the following techniques:
- Offer a surprising statistic that conveys something about the problem to be addressed in the paper.
- Perhaps you can find an interesting quote that nicely sums up your argument.
- Use rhetorical questions that place your readers in a different situation in order to get them thinking about your topic in a new way.
- If you have a personal connection to the topic, you might use an anecdote or story to get your readers emotionally involved.
- For example, if you were writing a paper about drunk drivers, you might begin with a compelling story about someone whose life was forever altered by a drunk driver: “At eighteen, Michelle had a lifetime of promise in front of her. Attending college on a track scholarship, she was earning good grades and making lots of friends. Then one night her life was forever altered…”
- From this attention grabbing opener, you would need to move to the next part of the introduction, in which you offer some relevant background on the specific purpose of the essay. This section helps the reader see why you are focusing on this topic and makes the transition to the main point of your paper. For this reason, this is sometimes called the “transitional” part of the introduction.
- In the example above, the anecdote about Michelle might capture the reader’s attention, but the essay is not really about Michelle. The attention grabber might get the reader thinking about how drunk driving can destroy people’s lives, but it doesn’t introduce the topic of the need for stricter drunk driving penalties (or whatever the real focus of the paper might be).
- Therefore, you need to bridge the gap between your attention-grabber and your thesis with some transitional discussion. In this part of your introduction, you narrow your focus of the topic and explain why the attention-grabber is relevant to the specific area you will be discussing. You should introduce your specific topic and provide any necessary background information that the reader would need in order to understand the problem that you are presenting in the paper. You can also define any key terms the reader might not know.
- Continuing with the example above, we might move from the narrative about Michelle to a short discussion of the scope of the problem of drunk drivers. We might say, for example: “Michelle’s story is not isolated. Each year XX (number) of lives are lost due to drunk-driving accidents.” You could follow this with a short discussion of how serious the problem is and why the reader should care about this problem. This effectively moves the reader from the story about Michelle to your real topic, which might be the need for stricter penalties for drinking and driving.
- Finally, the introduction must conclude with a clear statement of the overall point you want to make in the paper. This is called your “thesis statement.” It is the narrowest part of your inverted pyramid, and it states exactly what your essay will be arguing.
- In this scenario, your thesis would be the point you are trying to make about drunk driving. You might be arguing for better enforcement of existing laws, enactment of stricter penalties, or funding for education about drinking and driving. Whatever the case, your thesis would clearly state the main point your paper is trying to make. Here’s an example: “Drunk driving laws need to include stricter penalties for those convicted of drinking under the influence of alcohol.” Your essay would then go on to support this thesis with the reasons why stricter penalties are needed.
- In addition to your thesis, your introduction can often include a “road map” that explains how you will defend your thesis. This gives the reader a general sense of how you will organize the different points that follow throughout the essay. Sometimes the “map” is incorporated right into the thesis statement, and sometimes it is a separate sentence. Below is an example of a thesis with a “map.”
- “Because drunk driving can result in unnecessary and premature deaths, permanent injury for survivors, and billions of dollars spent on medical expenses, drunk drivers should face stricter penalties for driving under the influence.” The underlined words here are the “map” that show your reader the main points of support you will present in the essay. They also serve to set up the paper’s arrangement because they tell the order in which you will present these topics.
- A final note: In constructing an introduction, make sure the introduction clearly reflects the goal or purpose of the assignment and that the thesis presents not only the topic to be discussed but also states a clear position about that topic that you will support and develop throughout the paper. In shorter papers, the introduction is usually only one or two paragraphs, but it can be several paragraphs in a longer paper.
For Longer Papers
Although for short essays the introduction is usually just one paragraph, longer argument or research papers may require a more substantial introduction. The first paragraph might consist of just the attention grabber and some narrative about the problem. Then you might have one or more paragraphs that provide background on the main topics of the paper and present the overall argument, concluding with your thesis statement.
Below is a sample of an introduction that is less effective because it doesn’t apply the principles discussed above.
An Ineffective Introduction
Everyone uses math during their entire lives. Some people use math on the job as adults, and others used math when they were kids. The topic I have chosen to write about for this paper is how I use math in my life both as a child and as an adult. I use math to balance my checkbook and to budget my monthly expenses as an adult. When I was a child, I used math to run a lemonade stand. I will be talking more about these things in my paper.
In the introduction above, the opening line does not serve to grab the reader’s attention. Instead, it is a statement of an obvious and mundane fact. The second sentence is also not very specific. A more effective attention grabber may point out a specific, and perhaps surprising, instance when adults use math in their daily lives, in order to show the reader why this is such as important topic to consider.
Next the writer “announces” her topic by stating, “The topic I have chosen to write about…” Although it is necessary to introduce your specific topic, you want to avoid making generic announcements that reference your assignment. This technique is not as sophisticated and may distract the reader from your larger purpose for writing the essay. Instead, you might try to make the reader see why this is such an important topic to discuss.
Finally, this sample introduction is lacking a clear thesis statement. The writer concludes with a vague statement: “I will be talking more about these things in my paper.” This kind of statement may be referred to as a “purpose statement,” in which the writer states the topics that will be discussed. However, it is not yet working as a thesis statement because it fails to make an argument or claim about those topics. A thesis statement for this essay would clearly tell the reader what “things” you will be discussing and what point you will make about them.
Now let’s look at how the above principles can be incorporated more effectively into an introduction.
A More Effective Introduction
“A penny saved is a penny earned,” the well-known quote by Ben Franklin, is an expression I have never quite understood, because to me it seems that any penny—whether saved or spent—is still earned no matter what is done with it. My earliest memories of earning and spending money are when I was ten years old when I would sell Dixie cups of too-sweet lemonade and bags of salty popcorn to the neighborhood kids. From that early age, I learned the importance of money management and the math skills involved. I learned that there were four quarters in a dollar, and if I bought a non-food item—like a handful of balloons—that I was going to need to come up with six cents for every dollar I spent. I also knew that Kool-Aid packets were 25 cents each or that I could save money and get five of them for a dollar. Today, however, money management involves knowing more than which combinations of 10-cent, five-cent, and one-penny candies I can get for a dollar. Proper money management today involves knowing interest rates, balancing checkbooks, paying taxes, estimating my paycheck, and budgeting to make ends meet from month-to-month.
- In the first line the writer uses a well-known quotation to introduce her topic.
- The writer follows this “attention-grabber” with specific examples of earning and spending money. Compare how the specific details of the second example paint a better picture for the reader about what the writer learned about money as a child, rather than this general statement: “As a child, I used math to run a lemonade stand.” In the first introduction, this statement leaves the reader to guess how the writer used math, but in the second introduction we can actually see what the child did and what she learned.
- Notice, too, how the reader makes the transition from the lessons of childhood to the real focus of her paper in this sentence: “Today, however, money management involves knowing….”
- This transition sentence effectively connects the opening narrative to the main point of the essay, her thesis: “Proper money management today involves knowing interest rates, balancing checkbooks, paying taxes, estimating my paycheck, and budgeting to make ends meet from month-to-month." This thesis also maps out for the reader the main points (underlined here) that will be discussed in the essay.
More than half the world’s population is under 30 years old. This prompted Global Shapers to make an unprecedented large-scale survey with a goal of determining the mindset of this young generation. The Global Shapers survey, published in September last year, revealed that these young people are concerned about climate change, environmental sustainability, corruption, government accountability, unemployment, and lack of economic opportunity among other issues.
To get a further sense of how these young leaders would like to change the world, I approached some of them with an important question: If you were leader of your country, what would you do? This is what they told me.
Clockwise from left; Jack Greig, Chethna Ben, Zanele Mabaso, Renard Siew, Desy Karapchanska, Khalid Machchate, Lorena Rios, and Meghan Stevenson-Krausz.
Jack Greig, 26, Associate at Teach for Australia, Melbourne, Australia
Invest in wellbeing projects because our children’s future demands it. As technology progresses at a rapid rate, we know that the future of work will look very different to the one that we are educating our children for right now. Schools around the world that are effectively educating for the future are focusing on wellbeing, and the things that matter, like how to strengthen positive relationships, enhance personal resilience and explore what it means to be a contributing global citizen. In other words, students in these schools are not just being taught the facts, but are learning how to think and thrive in our complex and interconnected world. If we want to genuinely catalyze a shift to future-oriented teaching, we need to be equipping our teachers with strategies to practice and promote wellbeing on a daily basis.
Chethna Ben, 25, Assistant Lecturer at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji
Focus on solving the socio-economic challenges in the country. I draw inspiration from the principles on Nelson Mandela: to dream big, walk to freedom, to be resistant, to promote equality, and uphold persistence and confidence. If I were a prime minister, I will be the first female prime minister in Fiji; a country which is beautiful, yet still developing. Much of this attributes to the insecurity for women and children and rise in crime. Gender discrimination at work, street harassment, and rape are becoming a growing concern.There is an urgent need to foster safety at home, schools, workplace, and the community at large. I have a vision of a nation where all citizens will be given due respect; regardless of sex, ethnicity, or disability. I will work with communities to alleviate poverty and ensure that every family has food on their table. I will encourage all citizens to play their part in facilitating economic growth, social security, and environmental sustainability.
Zanele Mabaso, 25, Regional Advisor at Girls Globe, Cape Town, South Africa
Make a commitment to the country-level implementation of global and regional declarations, agendas and strategies. I’d invest in the socioeconomic empowerment and political representation, participation, leadership, involvement and meaningful engagement of young people and women. Science, technology and inclusive innovation through education, would be a national agenda and I’d commit to the prioritization of the health and wellbeing agenda of every woman, every child and every adolescent everywhere. The protection of human rights of all citizens and non-nationals would be at the heart of development and progress. Ensuring the nation understands the constitution and relative laws, I would challenge violations and call for policies that are more responsive, inclusive, holistic and for “everyone”.
I’d encourage youth-led entrepreneurship, intercontinental trade, and infrastructural development by investing in holistic quality rural and township development. Most importantly, I would serve (not rule) through the basis of equality, by being a steadfast feminist.
Renard Siew, 29, Environmental Advisor at Sime Darby, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Counter intolerance and extremism in all its forms. Almost everything these days have reached its tipping point. When you look at politics, the world is now more divided than united. When you look into the economy, there are clear gaps between the rich and poor. When you look into ideology, faiths, and beliefs are being manipulated. There are always two extremes. I would strive really hard to promote moderation within the country. The concept of moderation embraces a wide range of issues, from religion, social justice and political systems to the challenges that the global economy faces. I would lead by example and choose to practice moderation in my thoughts and actions rather than just talking about it.
Desy Karapchanska, 29, Curator at Global Shapers Community, Athens, Greece
Try to improve the education system and the lifestyle of citizens. A small but crucial improvement would be the increase of first grade teachers' wages.
First-grade teachers are the most important influencer to children after their parents, and the ones by which children will spend more time during the creative and vulnerable ages of 6-10 years old. These experts should be paid well as one’s lifestyle and everyday life reflects their mood and attitude. You cannot expect someone living on the minimum wage to inspire, educate and mentor your children.
Additionally, I would develop new city parks that will improve citizen’s physical and psychological health, strengthen communities, and make cities more attractive places to live and work.
In my country, Greece, I would do everything possible to prevent the brain drain the economic crisis has caused and together with young people fight for a better tomorrow.
Khalid Machchate, 24, Chief Executive Officer at Kandw Technologies International, Rabat, Morocco
Push tax reforms on monopolies in my country to help small and medium-sized enterprises flourish. I would create easier foreign investment policies in education and scientific research, encouraging companies to create R&D centres in Morocco, opening opportunities for repressed talent. I would create open-market policies, pushing innovation and innovators further, giving them access to proper tools. I would create procedures which stopped corruption, and help to rescue initiatives from crumbling due to lack of funding. But first of all, through a massive national campaign with all private, public and social hands on deck, I would work non-stop to reduce our 48% illiteracy rate at least by half before hoping to see the other changes emerge.
Lorena Rios, 28, Consultant at Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), member of IDB Group, Asuncion, Paraguay
Paraguay currently has a demographic bonus, 70% of its population is young, under 35 years. If I were prime minister there are several challenges as a country, personally, I would work on to improve governance and regional integration. I will love to continue working at Paraguay Plan: building a nation inspired by the following vision. Paraguay is a competitive country, among the most efficient food producers in the world, with booming and innovative industries that employ skilled workers. We're also a supplier of products and services which promote the knowledge economy. We feature highly in social development indexes. We are connected and open to neighbors and the world. We are environmentally and economically sustainable, with high levels of legal and citizen security, with attention to indigenous peoples and a strong roles for women. Young people with vision are leading the way in our country, with a democratic, supportive, transparent state that promotes equal opportunities.
Meghan Stevenson-Krausz, 26, Global Shaper, San Francisco Hub, San Francisco, USA
If I were President of the United States, I would make all education through the collegiate level, or equivalent, free. Education increases opportunity for everyone. But not all education is equal. Currently, US public schools are funded through property taxes. In areas where property values are low, taxes are low, and schools face a shortage of revenue, forcing already cash-strapped teachers to buy supplies out of pocket. I would nationalize the system and create a pool from which all schools are funded depending on the number of students and the needs and valuation of that community. In addition, I believe we have overvalued the college diploma and undervalued trade schools. College is not right for everyone, yet in today’s economy, it is increasingly difficult to make a living wage without a diploma. As President, I would build a stronger trade economy through existing union networks to empower individuals through opportunity.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
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