Books, Professional Development

Book 535: Nudge – Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

I’m really taking to heart all of the articles I read about the most successful people and I’m trying to read one nonfiction book that will teach me something every month this year. I just looked back on all my stats from the last year and I’ve averaged 16 nonfiction books a year.

I’m still not 100% sure what list I saw this on, but I picked up a copy back in August of 2016. It was probably when I started reading about the importance of mental acuity and keeping your mind sharp and constantly learning how to do new things. That or it was when I was dealing with some craziness at work and needed all the advice I could get! Pick any number of these books and you’ll see what I mean, specifically those dealing with conflict.

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ARC, Books, Professional Development

Book 403: What Millennials Want From Work – Jennifer J. Deal & Alec Levenson

Deal, Jennifer J. and Alec Levenson - What Millennials Wany From WorkLong story short, Millennials are just like everyone else so quit complaining about us! 😉

When I saw the title I knew I wanted to read it as I’ve been reading everything I can recently on management, the workplace and professional development topics that interest me. The publisher, McGraw-Hill Professional, kindly provided a pre-publication copy* and it will be available the first week of 2016.

Obviously, the ultimate lessons of the book are a bit more complicated than the opening of this post, but it really does boil down to something as simple as we’re all the same, just reacting to ever-changing technology, economy and society. It was reassuring to see this with well backed global research and written in an approachable and readable way.

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Culture Corner, Reading Events

An Evening with Rebecca Skloot

So this sounds a lot fancier than it was. I’d love to say I sat down one-on-one and picked her brain about what is arguably one of the mos successful book responses I’ve ever written for this blog. And we’re obviously besties, I mean Ms. Skloot favorited my “On the Blog” tweet this past year,

2015 09-29 Radcliffe College DNA Seriesbut alas I didn’t get to sit down one-on one. However, I did get to attend a really cool talk as part of a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study of Harvard University lecture series: The Past, Present, and Future of DNA.

I first read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks back in July of 2012, two years after its original publication and a year after it came out in paperback. Apparently this was far enough ahead of the curve that my response was the highest visited response on this site until recently. (Thanks Mr. Coehlo!) Not to be a hipster or anything, but yeah that.

2015 09-29 Radcliffe College Skloot EventWhen I found out about the lecture from my friend Martin, I jumped at the opportunity. I remembered really enjoying the book and I knew that it had become this cultural phenomenon through book groups and word of mouth. What I wasn’t expecting was how packed the auditorium was. I’m glad I got there as early as I did because not only was the main auditorium full, but the balcony and two over-flow rooms were as well! It was cool to see Radcliffe up-close and personal as I’ve only ever walked around/by it and never walked through the grounds, unlike the main Harvard campus.

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ARC, Books, Professional Development

Book 380: Doing Good Better – William MacAskill

MacAskill, William - Doing Good BetterI’m torn on this one and not for any obvious reasons. I think MacAskill does an excellent job laying out the foundations of “effective altruism” and I think this is something fundraisers and nonprofits need to be aware of for the future. However, I feel like there wasn’t enough to convince me 100% that this is the best way to move forward, probably because I had questions about MacAskill’s own nonprofits and experience.

Let’s start with the good. MacAskill has created a solid evidence-based way of helping alleviate some of the world’s biggest problems. Learning what a Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY, pronounced kwalee) challenged my perception of how to rate a nonprofit, but more importantly raised questions about whether things should be comparable when you’re talking about life-saving research. The answer is yes, with a bunch of caveats.

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ARC, Books

Book 332: Male Sex Work and Society – Victor Minichiello and John Scott (eds.)

Minichiello, Victor and John Scott - Male Sex Work and Society

This book simultaneously highlights what is good and what is bad about the white tower of academia. It explores a specific topic (Amazon Afiliate link) in depth, while establishing absolutely nothing, other than the need for more research. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest opinion.

I’m going to start with my frustrations with the book (or academia/academics in a broader context) first and then move to what they did well. What frustrated me most about the entire collection were the isolationist tendencies of the authors. In a move to over-compensate for any sort of collective or global identity (and not Western-wash everything) every single paper started out within the first few paragraphs by using the almost exact phrase of, “due to cultural circumstances, male sex workers (MSWs) circumstances in this country cannot be compared to those in any other country.” The reason this was so infuriating is that there were clearly overarching themes, sexual identity (or lack thereof), technology and public health, to name a few, that Manichiello and Scott picked out and even acknowledged. However, rather than encouraging the authors to use them to tie everything together within the papers across borders and identities, they were used to bridge each of the papers between the papers in editorial asides. Seriously, if they would’ve just taken this as a given, at least 50 pages could’ve been cut out of the book due to repetitiveness.

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