Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weekend Reading

I have projects going out early in the week, so blogging has been shuffled lower on the list. More ridiculously is that it's even lower on the list than reading, a task required to sustain my work, but here are three weekend reads waiting for me:

This first one is super exciting to me because the author takes on brain science to answer the question about multitasking.

Two tidbits caught my eye as I flipped through it: “If you are a successful entrepreneur in the United States, you are three times more likely than the general population to have been diagnosed with a learning or attention disorder.” She cites research from Cass Business School, University of London.

And later, she grabs my interest with a discussion of multitasking with this:
The present conversation about multitasking raises implicit questions. Was there ever such a thing as monotasking? Were we ever good at it? Or did we just come to think we were decent monotaskers after a hundred years of school and workplaces reinforcing the ideal of focused attention to a specific task?
And then she asks more complex questions. I’m interested in this discussion because I teach in a computer lab where, on the desks in front of students, is the most distracting tool of all time: the Internet.

Once in awhile, I hear faculty say they turn off the monitors to keep students’ attention, but I have only rule I have about technology. The keyboards are very loud, so my rule is that none of can type on those keyboards when others are talking because the noise is distracting. I don’t have rules about what’s running in the background of the computers, as long as everyone is engaged with the work in front of us. I don’t have rules about cell phones, and honestly, I don’t need them. The cell phone isn’t the distraction that it once might have been.

Moving on...

Patrick Lencioni’s book Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty (J-B Lencioni Series) (2010) has been tucked in the glove compartment of my car for the moment when I found myself waiting and my bag of work not with me. Have you read any of Lencioni's books? He writes them in narrative form, offering lessons about business strategy along the way. Usually a management consultant must learn Big Life Lessons. I enjoy this style, but the main character in this particular book is coming off a little dim. Anyway, I made it to page 66 while waiting. It's a fast read, so I'll make it to the end.

And last...

When Wired arrives in the mail, I immediately look to see what Clive Thompson is writing. I knew when I saw that Clive Thompson was writing about Pinterest, I had to read his column. If anyone could figure out what people were doing besides posting cute baby outfits, it had to be Clive.

He reports how a psychologist is using it to get patients to describe their feelings through a board of images that map out their feelings. He explains that “Pinterest’s appeal is that it gives us curiously powerful visual ways to communicate, think, and remember.” My students tell me that Pinterest can be a huge time suck, so I’ve avoided it so far because, frankly, I’m the first to get distracted by a cute baby outfit. 

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