Saturday, May 31, 2008

So, what are you reading?

Current reading...latest is at the top....

Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell - Success is as much about being born at the right time to the right parents in the right culture as it is a function of lots of practice and hard work.

The Forever War
- Dexter Filkins - Amazing reporting by NY Times correspondent who was in Afghanistan in the 1990s, NYC on 9/11, and Iraq after the invasion and during the insurgency. The clash between the Islamic world and the US is complex and destructive to both sides.

The Post-American World - Fareed Zakaria. Columnist for Newsweek describes the impact of economic growth in the developing world on a macroeconomic and political level. Zakaria takes Tom Friedman's 'flattening of the world' ideas and applies them to the position of the post-imperial USA in global affairs.

The Chosen, by Chaim Potok. Wonderful story about two friends growing up in Brooklyn in the 1940's, about fathers and sons, and set amidst the backdrop of the end of World War II.

My Stroke of Insight - by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. After watching the TED video, I had to read her book. Brain scientist suffers stroke and recovers. In so doing, she describes the physical, mental and spiritual impacts. The book is much more than just about her medical experience, but delves into what it means to learn, to understand, how our brains function (or not), and ultimately, who we are and how we encounter the world around us. She gets a bit preachy, but well worth it.

Shut Up, I'm Talking - by Gregory Levey. Canadian law student gets internship with Israeli mission to United Nations. Ends up as speech writer for Ariel Sharon. Comedy ensues! Hilarious, and with keen insight into the issues whirling around the Middle East.

Maeda's book led me to Tom Wolfe's short discussion on modern architecture, From Bauhaus to Our House, which should probably be subtitled, Why Do We Have All These Ugly Buildings, and Who Can We Blame? More great stuff by the author of The Right Stuff.

The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda. Superb advice on design, teaching, organization, life by the new President of RISD. The ideas here are well suited to a discussion about how we teach our classes, online and F2F.

Here's Maeda's latest presention at TED.

Clemente by David Maraniss - Great biography of the Puerto Rican slugger. Reinforced my dream of going to the Caribbean World Series.

Originally posted for my spring quarter classes:

So, what books are you currently reading? The holidays and the break brought a number of books to my nightstand. I've got a habit of starting one and leaving it for a while, as another one grabs my attention. Here are a few recently completed or with active bookmarks.

Baseball and Billions and May The Best Time Win, by Andrew Zimbalist. Two books about the business and economics of baseball. These are in preparation for a class on the business of baseball that never got off the ground, although the subject is still fascinating.

Marley and Me, by John Grogan. Yes, it's sentimental fluff about a man and his dog, labeled the World's Worst Dog. But, it was a good distraction during some recent times when I needed some distraction.

The Brothers K, by David James Duncan. A gift from my daughter who insists that I read this novel about brothers growing up in the 60's.

Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy. Another gift, this one from my son. McCarthy wrote the novel No Country for Old Men, the Academy Award winner.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (and Persepolis 2) - A must read. Graphic autobiographical novels about a young girl growing up in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution and the Iran/Iraq war. The books provide a sorely-needed human perspective to the events that shaped modern Iran and the Middle East.

Housekeeping vs. The Dirt, by Nick Hornby. This is a compilation of Hornby's book reviews written for The Believer. Another great, quick read by an excellent writer. Also recently finished Fever Pitch, about Hornby's devotion to Arsenal, the English football team. But, this book is about being a sports fan and does the best job of capturing the obsession of following a favorite team. Being Hornby, it's also about growing up, relationships with his father, friends, women, all packaged around the matches that he's seen over the years.

Demon Box by Ken Kesey. A great set of loosely connected essays and stories by the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Kesey is insightful and hilarious.

From Summer, 07....

Songbook, by Nick Hornby – Hornby makes me laugh at loud as he describes pop songs he enjoys and that provide meaning to him. A great, quick read.

The Greatest Generation, by Tom Brokaw. Picked this one up at the Seattle Public Library Book Sale. Was particularly inspired by the stories of everyday people performing extraordinary duties. And, was moved by the stories of women and non-white Americans during WW 2.

Waxwings, by Jonathan Raban – a novel set at the turn of the century in Seattle during the Dot-Com boom, the WTO riots, and terrorist threats. This is a great read that captures the tensions of our local culture, as well as highlighting the immigrant experience here.

A Year in the Merde, by Stephen Clarke – A Brit is hired as a consultant to a French company. Hilarious!

And, a few from the past that I also recommend...

Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott - Insightful, wonderful advice about how to do the difficult task of writing, being honest and living....

Let My People Go Surfing , by Yvon Chouinard – One of the best business strategy books I've ever read. Yvon Chouinard is the founder of Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and equipment provider. Chouinard shares his insights as a reluctant businessman, as well as his environmental and social philosophy. These folks walk the talk, practice what they preach, and put their money where their mouth is.

For perspective on the world today, my strongest recommendations are reserved for
The World is Flat - A Brief History of the 21st Century, by Thomas Friedman. This should be required reading for anyone who plans on living and working in that century.

BTW, what has Nick Hornby been reading?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Stroke of Insight

An amazing TED lecture....Jill Bolte Taylor discusses her personal experience with a massive stroke as both a brain researcher and as a human connected the Big All.

And, another one......Yochai Benkler on Open Source Economics....

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Thought Provoking Pieces

I've posted these in my online classes for more than several quarters, but putting them in the T & L blog makes more sense....

Steve Jobs' Commencement Address at Stanford, 2005. Do what you love.

Rick Steves' Innocents Abroad. How Travel Changed His Life.

Robert Rubin Commencement Address at Harvard, 2001. Making difficult decisions in an uncertain world.

Let My People Go Surfing. Yvon Chouinard is the founder of Patagonia, and his perspectives on sustainability and building a company that will last 100 years are worth considering...

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture.
Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch, diagnosed with terminal cancer, has some words to live by that ring particularly true.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Cognitive Age

David Brooks describes the world in which our students will compete. Sure, he is a political writer, and one on the conservative side, but he is on target with his observations about the impact of technology and globalization on how business is done, and what students need to be able to do.