For this week’s Humpday Grumpday post, I’m going to subject you to reading my thoughts about what I’ve been reading. So, get reading.
Let’s check out what I’ve read in 2014 so far over on my Books page.
Let’s break up my readings into some categories to get down and dirty in their details.
Higher Education/Work/Social Media and Tech Ish
College (Un)Bound – Jeffrey Selingo [3.5/5]; The Idea of the Digital University – Frank McCluskey [3.5/5]; The I’s Have It: Reflections on Introversion in Student Affairs – Amma Marfo (illustrated by Sue Caufield) [5/5]; Play at Work: How Games Inspire Breakthrough Thinking – Adam Penenberg [2/5]; What Happens In Vegas Stays on YouTube – Erik Qualman [3/5]; Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All – Thomas Kelley [4.5/5]; Rewire – Ethan Zuckerman [4.5/5]
Out of this set of books, I definitely enjoyed Amma’s The I’s Have It the most, because if you know Amma, it was basically like hearing her in your head as you read – she has a knack for writing in a way that is easy for the reader to flow through, and is just as casual and informative as when you sit down for a cider with her.
Honestly, the biggest let downs were Play at Work (a concept which has so much potential, but which is seriously let down by the books structure and lack of followthrough) and Erik Qualman’s What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube, which I feel like was a repeat of the last three years of any conference presentation on digital identity, social media, and the internet from other colleagues. Yes, Qualman is a thought leader in this area, and has some sick videos that explain concepts well, but this book was a let down.
The ones I most highly recommend would be Creative Confidence and Rewire. Creative Confidence was written by the founders of IDEO, and was a required reading from Leah Westcott of CronkNews.com in preparation for #TheresSomethingFunny (which if you have not registered for, you are in danger! Or if you are a grad or new professional, you are also in danger if you haven’t applied for my Polar Bear Scholarship). Rewire, a look at the modern digital cosmopolitan, is a tour de force on data, news, communication, modern global events, basically all the things that are amazing and should be read about. I highly recommend both.
History/Architecture and Urban Studies Stuff
America’s Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis – Sarah Bradford [4/5]; The Architecture of Happiness – Alain de Botton [4/5]; Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families – Anthony Lukas [4.5/5]
I’m going to up Architecture of Happiness here big time, because this was my first full-length foray into my recent and hopefully lasting obsession with the urban condition and urban design, particularly how they relate to campus ecology theory. Recommended by Eugene and Adam Welker, his fellow Knowlton School grad and all around top-notch Gap model, this book delves into how architecture influences human use and the human condition, and was a quick, but deep and thoughtful read. Expect blogs about this book and Creative Confidence down the line.
Common Ground is also a must read on many fronts – the urban condition, history, and Boston culture and history.
World War Z – Max Brooks [4/5]; The Road – Cormac McCarthy [2/5]; The Casual Vacancy – JK Rowling [4/5]; Ready Player One – Ernest Cline [4/5]; Pastoralia – George Saunders [3.5/5]; The Engines of God – Jack McDevitt [4.5/5]
This one is tough, but I’m going to go for it.
Sci-Fi-ish Breakdown: The Engines of God > Ready Player One > World War Z >>> The Road
Obviously, you can tell I hated The Road, sorry. World War Z is a very different, but very real, and very engaging zombie book.
Ready Player One is a must read sci-fi book for anyone even remotely into social media, computers, and the future of digital humanity. It’s like Second Life on steroids, and it is very good (although it feels young adult-ish sometimes in dialogue and plot).
The Engines of God may be the best sci-fi book I have read in years, trying to think back and figure out another book that made me flip the pages as fast as I did through McDevitt’s start to this series. Part archaeology, part space travel, part Star Trek exploration, this book is a must for anyone who even remotely enjoys sci-fi.
So, there you go. I’ll probably do another one of these in the fall. Please recommend me some books in the comments as well!
Merry Humpday Grumpday to all.