Recommendations on Learning, Education and Academia Books

Given that I work in higher education, have accumulated a handful of degrees, and have taught about 100 college courses, I've spend a good amount of time about learning, education, and academia (yes, those are largely different things with overlapping commonalities) and having just finished a Master's in Education, I thought I'd take a walk down book memory lane to see what are those different books that impacted my thoughts on learning, education, and academia.

Like I warned in this post on social media books, I don't necessarily agree with everything said within these books, but they build an interesting conversation around ideas on learning, education, and academia.  Again, feel free to ask questions or leave comments about your favorites or those you really dislike.


Recommended Books for Learning, Education, and Academia

Book cover: My Word! by Susan Blum.  Image Source: http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/sites/default/files/book-image/my-word-plagiarism-college-culture.png
  • Anderson, Chris. Free: The Future of a Radical Price. New York: Hyperion, 2009. Print.
  • Anderson, Chris. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. New York: Hyperion, 2006. Print.
  • Anderson, Chris. Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. New York: Crown Business, 2012. Print.
  • Arbesman, Samuel. The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date. , 2012. Print.
  • Ariely, Dan. The (honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone-Especially Ourselves. , 2012. Print.
  • Bauerlein, Mark. The Digital Divide: Arguments for and against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Networking. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2011. Print.
  • Berger, Jonah. Contagious: Why Things Catch on. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013. Print.
  • Bilton, Nick. I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted. New York: Crown Business, 2010. Print.
  • Bissell, Tom. Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter. New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 2010. Print.
  • Blascovich, Jim, and Jeremy Bailenson. Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds, and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution. New York: William Morrow, 2011. Print.
  • Blum, Susan D. My Word!: Plagiarism and College Culture. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009. Print.
  • Botsman, Rachel, and Roo Rogers. What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption. New York: Harper Business, 2010. Print.
  • Boyle, James. The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2008. Print.
  • Brafman, Ori, and Rom Brafman. Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior. New York: Doubleday, 2008. Print.
  • Brown, Brené. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Center City, Minn: Hazelden, 2010. Print.
  • Carr, Nicholas G. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. Print.
  • Chabris, Christopher F, and Daniel J. Simons. The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us. New York: Crown, 2010. Print.
  •  Chatfield, Tom. 50 Digital Ideas: You Really Need to Know. London: Quercus, 2011. Print.
  • Chatfield, Tom. Fun Inc: Why Games Are the 21st Century's Most Serious Business. London: Virgin, 2010. Print.
  • Chatfield, Tom. How to Thrive in the Digital Age. London: Macmillan, 2012. Print.
  • Chertavian, Gerald. A Year Up: How a Pioneering Program That Teaches Young Adults Real Skills for Real Jobs - with Real Success. New York: Viking, 2012. Print.
  • Christakis, Nicholas A, and James H. Fowler. Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. New York: Little, Brown and Co, 2009. Print.
  • Christian, Brian. The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive. New York: Doubleday, 2011. Print.
  •  Collins, Gail. As Texas Goes: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda. New York: Liveright Pub. Corporation, 2012. Print.
  • Crawford, Matthew B. Shop Class As Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work. New York: Penguin Press, 2009. Print.
  • Dewey, John. Experience and Education. New York: Macmillan, 1938. Print.
  • Diaz-Ortiz, Claire. Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print.
  • Dick, Walter, and Lou Carey. The Systematic Design of Instruction. Glenview, Ill: Scott, Foresman, 1978. Print.
  • Donovan, Jeremey. How to Deliver a Ted Talk: Secrets of the World's Most Inspiring Presentations. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace, 2012. Print.
  • Drout, Michael D. C. How to Think: The Liberal Arts and Their Enduring Value. Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, 2013. Sound recording.
  • Duhigg, Charles. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. New York: Random House, 2012. Print.
  • Edery, David, David Edery, and Ethan Mollick. Changing the Game: How Video Games Are Transforming the Future of Business. Upper Saddle River, N.J: FT Press, 2009. Print.
  • Forni, Pier M. Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002. Print.
  • Fraser, Matthew, and Soumitra Dutta. Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom: How Online Social Networking Will Transform Your Life, Work and World. Chichester, England: Wiley, 2008. Internet resource.
  • Freedman, David H. Wrong: Why Experts* Keep Failing Us-and How to Know When Not to Trust Them : *scientists, Finance Wizards, Doctors, Relationship Gurus, Celebrity Ceos, High-Powered Consultants, Health Officials, and More. New York: Little, Brown and Co, 2010. Print.
  • Friedman, Thomas L. Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. Print.
  • Gallagher, Winifred. New: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change. New York: Penguin Press, 2011. Print.
  •  Ghonim, Wael. Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People Is Greater Than the People in Power : a Memoir. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print.
  • Gottschall, Jonathan. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print.
  • Grandin, Temple, and Richard Panek. The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum. , 2013. Print.
  • Hadnagy, Christopher. Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley, 2011. Print.
  • Heath, Chip, and Dan Heath. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. New York: Broadway Books, 2010. Print.
  • Herbert, Wray. On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits. New York: Crown Publishers, 2010. Print.
  • Hofmann, Jennifer. The Synchronous Trainer's Survival Guide: Facilitating Successful Live and Online Courses, Meetings, and Events. San Francisco: Pfeiffer, 2004. Internet resource.
  • Horton, William K. E-learning by Design. San Francisco: Pfeiffer, 2006. Print.
  • Howe, Jeff. Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business. New York: Crown Business, 2008. Print.
  • Johnson, Marilyn. This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All. New York: Harper, 2010. Print.
  • Johnson, Steven. Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age. New York: Riverhead Books, 2012. Print.
  • Johnson, Steven. Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation. New York: Riverhead Books, 2010. Print.
  • Joosten, Tanya. Social Media for Educators: Strategies and Best Practices. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012. Print.
  • Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. Print.
  • Kelly, Kevin. What Technology Wants. New York: Viking, 2010. Print.
  •  Ko, Susan S, and Steve Rossen. Teaching Online: A Practical Guide. New York: Routledge, 2010. Print.
  •  Kozol, Jonathan. Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools. New York: Crown Pub, 1991. Print.
  • Kozol, Jonathan. The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America. New York: Crown Publishers, 2005. Print.
  • Lehrer, Jonah. Imagine: How Creativity Works. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print. 
  • Levine, Robert. Free Ride: How Digital Parasites Are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back. New York: Doubleday, 2011. Print.
  • Li, Charlene. Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010. Print.
  •  Lih, Andrew. The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia. New York: Hyperion, 2009. Print.
  • Mager, Robert F, and Peter Pipe. Analyzing Performance Problems, Or, You Really Oughta Wanna: How to Figure Out Why People Aren't Doing What They Should Be, and What to Do About It. Atlanta, GA: Center for Effective Performance, 1997. Print.
  • Mager, Robert F. Preparing Instructional Objectives: A Critical Tool in the Development of Effective Instruction. Atlanta, GA: Center for Effective Performance, 1997. Print.
  •  Mali, Taylor. What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World. New York, N.Y: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2012. Print.
  • McCracken, Grant D. Culturematic: How Reality Tv, John Cheever, a Pie Lab, Julia Child, Fantasy Football, Burning Man, the Ford Fiesta Movement, Rube Goldberg, Nfl Films, Wordle, Two and a Half Men, a 10,000-Year Symphony, and Roflcon Memes Will Help You Create and Execute Breakthrough Ideas. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Press, 2012. Print.
  • McGonigal, Jane. Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. New York: Penguin Press, 2011. Print.
  • McQuivey, James. Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation. Cambridge, Mass.: Forrester Research, Inc, 2013. Print.
Book Cover:  Brain Rules by John Medina.  Image Source: http://buildingcreativebridges.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/medina-brain_rules.jpg

  •  Medina, John. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. Seattle, WA: Pear Press, 2008. Print.
  • Mele, Nicco. The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath. , 2013. Print.
  •  Menand, Louis. The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University. New York: W.W. Norton, 2011. Print.
  • Merriam, Sharan B, and Rosemary S. Caffarella. Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1991. Print.
  • Miller, Donalyn, and Jeff Anderson. The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass, 2009. Print.
  • Miller, Peter. The Smart Swarm: How Understanding Flocks, Schools, and Colonies Can Make Us Better at Communicating, Decision Making, and Getting Things Done. New York: Avery, 2010. Print.
  • Moss, Frank. The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices: How the Digital Magicians of the Mit Media Lab Are Creating the Innovative Technologies That Will Transform Our Lives. New York: Crown Business, 2011. Print.
  • Nilson, Linda B. The Graphic Syllabus and the Outcomes Map: Communicating Your Course. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2007. Print.
  • Norman, Donald A. The Design of Everyday Things. London: MIT, 1998. Print.
  • Norman, Donald A. The Design of Future Things. New York: Basic Books, 2007. Print.
  • Noveck, Beth S. Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens More Powerful. S.l.: Brooking Institution Press, 2010. Print.
  • Pariser, Eli. The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You. New York: Penguin Press, 2011. Print.
  • Pink, Daniel H. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. New York, NY: Riverhead Books, 2009. Print.
  • Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. New York: Viking, 1985. Print.
  • Postman, Neil. Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. New York: Knopf, 1992. Print.
  • Ravitch, Diane. The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. New York: Basic Books, 2010. Print.
  • Reese, Byron. Infinite Progress: How the Internet and Technology Will End Ignorance, Disease, Poverty, Hunger, and War. Austin, Tex: Greenleaf Book Group, 2013. Print.
  • Rifkin, Jeremy. The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print.
  • Robinson, Ken. Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative. Oxford: Capstone, 2011. Print.
  • Rose, Frank. The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2011. Print.
  • Rushkoff, Douglas. Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now. New York: Current, 2013. Print.
  • Rushkoff, Douglas, and Leland Purvis. Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age. Berkeley, CA: Soft Skull Press, 2011. Print.
  • Sahlberg, Pasi, and Andy Hargreaves. Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?New York: Teachers College Press, 2011. Print.
  •  Shirky, Clay. Cognitive Surplus: How Technology Makes Consumers into Collaborators. New York: Penguin Books, 2011. Print.
  • Shirky, Clay. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. New York: Penguin Press, 2008. Print.
  • Sommers, Sam. Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World. New York: Riverhead Books, 2011. Print.
  • Standage, Tom. Writing on the Wall: Social Media, the First Two Thousand Years. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. Print.
  • Steiner, Christopher. Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World. New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2012. Print.
  • Steiner, Christopher. $20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better. New York: Grand Central Pub, 2009. Print.
  • Stiglitz, Joseph E. The Price of Inequality: [how Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future]. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2012. Print.
  • Sunstein, Cass R. Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge. New York ;Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.
  • Surowiecki, James. The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies, and Nations. New York: Doubleday, 2004. Print.
  •  Tapscott, Don. Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009. Print.
  • Tavris, Carol, and Elliot Aronson. Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. Orlando, Fla: Harcourt, 2007. Print.
  • Tennant, Mark, and Philip Pogson. Learning and Change in the Adult Years: A Developmental Perspective. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass, 1995. Print.
  • Thomas, Douglas, and John S. Brown. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Lexington, Ky: CreateSpace?, 2011. Print.
  • Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. New York: Basic Books, 2011. Print.
  • Vonnegut, Kurt. If This Isn't Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young. New York: RosettaBooks, 2013. Print.
  • Waal, F B. M. The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society. New York: Harmony Books, 2009. Print.
  • Waal, F B. M. Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are. New York: Riverhead Books, 2005. Print.
  • Wagner, Tony, and Robert A. Compton. Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World. New York: Scribner, 2012. Print.
  • Wagner, Tony. The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need-and What We Can Do About It. New York: Basic Books, 2008. Print.
  • Wasik, Bill. And Then There's This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture. New York: Viking, 2009. Print.
  • Weinberger, David. Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room. New York: Basic Books, 2011. Print.
  • Willingham, Daniel T. Why Don't Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2009. Print.
  • Williams, Juan. Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate. New York: Crown Publishers, 2011. Print.



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The Hat Trick: 3 Masters Degrees

I just submitted my final project for my last class for my third (and probably not final) master's degree.  Funny enough, it is just under ten years ago that I started my first Master's Degree.  Having accomplished the aforementioned hat trick, I thought I would discuss a bit about the experiences and kernels of wisdom gleaned about the process.

Degree Breakdown

First, I should clarify what I have gotten.  Mostly because the first issue I'll be talking about is that not all Master's Degrees are equal in a variety of ways and it's important to note that my experience is not likely the same as other people who are pursuing degrees that are substantively different from the ones I've earned (e.g. biology, geography, etc).  Here they are:
  • Masters of American Studies at University of Massachusetts in Boston with a focus on gender and sexuality and popular culture.
  • Masters of Public Administration at Suffolk University with a focus on nonprofit organizations.
  • Masters of Education at University of Massachusetts in Boston with a concentration on Instructional Design

What led me down this course?

Most people go for a single Master's Degree, while others may end up with two by odd circumstances.  Yet I'm signing off on #3.  What am I thinking and why don't I just get a doctorates? All great questions and none of which I think I have a good straightforward answer.  To understand the Master's Degrees, one needs to understand the rest of my educational background.

When I entered into college, my plan was to become a high school history teacher after my mentor and all-around favorite teacher, Mr. Metropolis.  He was an inspiration to many and his class was intellectually intriguing.  In fact, that's what drew me to become a teacher was the draw to ideas, discussing them, relating them, and figuring them out.

Statue of Woman in Thinking Pose: Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/81/A_woman_thinking.jpg
A chance conversation with my adviser in the Honors Program, Dr. Pat Ould made me rethink the plan to go back and teach high school.  "You need to get your doctorate's degree," she declared with a sincerity and matter-of-fact tone that I still hear in my head today.  She quickly explained what it was all about and that given how excited and engaged I felt with the academic nature of college, that more degrees seemed obvious.  This made a lot of sense to me and thus, I re-shifted my focus toward attaining a doctorate and most likely teaching at the college level.  However, by the beginning of senior year, I was facing a bit of burn-out as a result of lots of work on my Honor's thesis and personal drama.  I realized that I wasn't ready for grad school and needed time off, so I got a job in the interim.

One side benefit of this job was tuition assistance for employees enrolled in a degree program.  The money would barely be enough to cover one or two courses a year in a graduate program at most.  However, if I took courses at my local community college, the money could go far.  I decided that since I still wasn't sure what I wanted to do for graduate school, I would go to community college and get an associate's degree (in criminal justice).  This choice did several things for me.  It staved off paying school loans (so long as you are enrolled in two courses or more, you do not have to pay your loans) and it helped me stay in an academic mindset until I was ready for graduate school.

Eventually, I realized that I had several different areas to pursue:  Media Studies, Writing, and Sex and Gender Studies.  Thus I applied to programs at Emerson College, Salem State College, and University of Massachusetts-Boston.  I got accepted to all three but for financial and just driving interest at the time, I went with UMASS Boston's Masters in American Studies, where I would focus on gender and sexuality.  It's still definitely one of the best decisions I made in my life.  The program was hard and kicked my ass regularly, but made me a much better critical thinker.

I barreled through the program in two years (which I did with all three degrees) and by the time I was finishing, I had shifted away from my first college job in an online retailer to working in youth residential programs.  The shift was significant especially as I thought about my next move.  I learned a lot about gender, sex, and sexuality over those two years and it had me thinking about how and what I could do with that learning.  Another degree made the most amount of sense because while the program was fantastic, it was also largely cerebral and abstract so I wanted some good technical skills to balance it out or at least apply what I learned in the program.  I applied to Suffolk University for a Master's in Public Administration and either Northeastern or Boston University for a Masters in Sociology (I forget which one).  I got into Suffolk University but not the other, so I went to Suffolk.

By contrast to UMASS, Suffolk University was disappointing.  It lacked the rigor and intellectual complexity that I was used to from UMASS.  However, I figured I would at least have a better sense of ways of how to work with the different systems in society to advocate for better understanding and appreciation around gender, sex, and sexuality.  While working this Master's Degree, I was witnessing another shift in my career.  Over the course of two years, I had turned into a full-time  part-time instructor at several colleges and universities in the Greater Boston area.  My involvement with this grew enough that by the time I was done with my Master's at Suffolk University, I turned to focusing on teaching and writing for a few years.

Then, I became the Coordinator of Instructional Design at North Shore Community College.  In acquiring the job, I realized that though I was qualified, I still needed a stronger background in education.  That is, there was much that I intuited from my experiences as instructor and student, but needed a bit more formal training and technical background to fill in gaps.  In looking for graduate schools this time around, I did not bother to search much.  With the new position, state colleges and universities were the best bet in terms of affordability and UMASS Boston has a Masters in Education with a concentration on Instructional Design that fit.

I do plan on getting a doctorate's degree, but I will start the search process next year with the goal of starting in 2015.  I have a few projects to get off the ground in the interim.

Professional vs. Academic Master Degrees

As I mentioned above, my American Studies Master's Degree was much more challenging than my Public Administration master's degree.  My Instructional Design master's wasn't much more challenging than the Public Administration degree.  The reason is that there tend to be (at least) two kinds of Master's Degree:  the Academic Master's Degree and the Professional Master's Degree.

A good way to contrast this different is in the total work per course one expects.  In an academic program, a course usually has at minimum five or more books, minimum reading of 200 pages a week, and requires at least two papers, one of which is likely to be fifteen pages or longer.  The professional program typically has at most two books, requires less than 100 pages a week, and rarely includes more than ten-page paper.

Lance Eaton - Zombie version
Sometimes, this is what it takes to get through
an academic Master's degree.
The professional degree is typically easier and demands less of students, which for some is a winning endorsement.  However, that's where the degree is at its weakest.  In both professional programs, what I found most disappointing is the level of feedback.  If we take that term "Master" to mean anything, I would think it meant mastery of said subject matter.  But mastery is something that takes a lot of work and since we're talking about intellectual mastery, then it should follow that there should be intellectual rigor.

One's brain should get a serious workout.  However, that workout comes in two forms.  It comes in the form of being exposed to new information (reading, viewing, discussing newly exposed content) and it comes in the form of critically revising prior understandings about the content.  The key to this happening is offering up one's take and having it evaluated and criticized.  That is, critical feedback about how the student is making sense of the new content and progressing towards mastery of the topic is needed.  To some, this can feel like a brutal process wherein one funnels their energy, mind, and heart into (what he/she believes is) an awesome paper, only to have it returned with ample feedback that can feel negative (and even petty--and sometimes, that is true).  But the criticism feedback loop is essentially to pushing thinking and understanding of the subject by the student.  And it's this element--critical and articulate feedback--that I've found most lacking in professional Master's degrees.  It's just not there to the degree that I experienced it in the academic degree.

Why I found that so irksome is that particularly the contrast in what I was paying for my first Master's Degree (the academic one) and my second (the professional one), was substantial.  I paid triple the cost for a professional Master's Degree that gave me 1/3 the quality and intellectual return.

Thus, if I have one nugget of wisdom to bestow upon people looking for Master's Degrees, it would be to spend some time thinking about what kind of degree do you want.  Are you looking to be fundamentally challenged on a subject matter or merely for more professional opportunities?  More than anything else, that could significantly help you find a program that fits your needs most.

What have been your experiences with your Master's Degrees?  What did you like or dislike about them?



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Tales of Running: What's in My Tool bag?

It's time to go for a run and you're thinking that about going for a long one.  What do you pack?  What's a must for you to have on any run?  Not just the physical goods but what's in that toolbox (ok, probably a bag since who runs with a box, right?)?  Well, I was thinking about what I need to pack both physically and mentally and here's what I came up with for my tool bag:

Physical Tools for Running

Vibrams five-finger shoes
Vibram five-finger shoesThey're a must for any run as I've said many a times here.  I find it hard to run otherwise.  

Content Belt
For lack of a better phrase, it is essentially a fanny pack.  But short of a backpack, there's not any other ways to carry extra items without weighing down your shorts/pants.  The belt holds tight to the waist and largely doesn't bother your form.  I've found that the one I have and sometimes also provide some back support depending on where I position the pack part and how tight I have the belt clip.

iPad Nano
Music is the tool that has gotten me past many a literal and metaphorical finish lines.  I have to wonder if the increase in running can be directly correlated to the increasing individual music machines (mp3 players) that are light, long-lasting, and rechargeable.  I tend not to fixate on one particular band or even genre but just an amalgam of music that I've found motivating over the years.  

Bandanna
I've tried hats and will use them if it a particularly sunny day but they are slightly irritating to my bald head.  By contrast, bandannas are perfect for keeping my head protected and soaking up the sweat.  Also, if tied correctly, the back part of the bandanna can become the low point for the sweat to exit from so that it drips down your back and not on your face.

Honey Stinger Chews
People use different fuels for the runs when they need to load up on some more carbs while logging in longer distances.  I like Honey Stinger Chews because they are tasty as well as organic.  Ultimately, anything will do and if I don't have Honey Stingers, I'll opt for whatever else is around.

A few bucks
I generally don't like to carry a water bottle during my runs.  They are distracting to me and I'm never likely to be able to carry as much as I need for a long run without seriously weighing me down.  Therefore, I carry about $5 on my in order to grab drinks on the go as well as back up money if something happens and I need to make a call.

Identification
Unless it's an official race that I registered for, I will typically carry my license and health insurance card on me in case something happens to me.  I know there are Road ID bracelets but one more thing to put on my wrists (see below) might be too much.

Basis
Basis watch for health monitoringMy Basis is a great tool as it gives me heart-rate and steps taken.  I've talked about it before and though it may be a bit ridiculous in tandem with the GPS watch below, I'm still inclined to run with both.  I'm sure the next generation of gadgets I get 2-3 years down the line will have them both combined.

GPS Watch
The GPS watch I have isn't great.  It takes usually 7-10 minutes to sync and sometimes, I'm know sure about its accuracy.  But it does give me a good sense of my distance and can help me keep track of my progress.

Mental Tools for Running

Always one more step.
It's a mantra I have readily accessible, particularly when I know I'm having or going to have a rough run.  I simply tell myself repeatedly and almost exclusively to all other thoughts, "There is always one more step you CAN take."  And there usually is.

All this is profit.
I coined this phrase when ran the marathon back in October.  It \ means that once you've pasted a distance that you haven't done before (or past the distance that you had originally planned to do), that every step after that is purely beneficial and supremely rewarding.  As someone who used to hate running, this is a profound concept for me.  I never ran more than I had to and usually did my best to get around even that.  So finding myself in a place where I want to go further than before is profit of all sorts.

Projecting running when not running.
Particularly when I'm gearing up for a big race where I want to achieve a new distance or new time, I make sure to spend a lot of time in the weeks leading up to picture myself running and in doing so, feel the muscles throughout my body.  I have also talked about this in a previous post as well of trying to get my mind and body preparing before the actual run.  Training the mind can help to train and prepare the body for the challenge that awaits you in any run.  

Setting markers for walks.
This is something that many people do not always value or understand especially when running long distances; planning and taking time to walk.  Granted, this is not relevant if you are trying to win a race against others.  But I'm talking about us who are largely just racing ourselves.  Particularly when it comes to half-marathons or longer, I usually get out about 4-5 miles and then use the water stops as a time to hydrate and walk for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  While some people feel this might threaten a personal best, I find that time and again, it has helped me achieve a personal best.  First, it breaks up the running into smaller chunks that are easier for me and my body to handle.  It also alleviates inner stress of thinking about how many miles to go before I can comfortably stop, even if it's only for a minute. Finally, it keeps me from having to stop outright.  Many  people run until their body is so worn they can't keep going or they get progressively slower.  By planning your walks, you better care for your body which helps get you to the end quicker and healthier.  

A high and a low mark for success
I try to set a range for my finished time.  The low-goal which is something I think is feasible but still requires me to give it a solid effort.  The high-goal is something I aspire to and may not achieve in this run but having it in my sights gets me mentally ready to achieve it some day.


Thinking cup - Image Source: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3023/2808468566_6d19c9e090_o.jpg
Thoughts for Running
I often try to prepare a few things to think about on my run.  Though even when I don't have them, I usually find them.  It's a great opportunity to get lost in thoughts and problem solving or reflecting.  This also helps the time go by quicker as you try to figure out something in your head.


Tools that Don't Accompany Me on My Run

Phone
I see many people use their phones in versatile ways, but I'm not at a point where I enjoy taking my phone with me (unless I find it absolutely necessary).  The distraction to take photos of scenic landscape or check my email and messages is also a bit too strong and would take from the run itself.


So what's in your tool bag?




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Recommendations on Social Media Books

I do a lot of reading as we all know and I'm quite interested in social media and its relevance to modern society.  I regularly get asked for recommendations for books to help get a grasp on social media.  I often find it hard to recommend just one book.  It's like asking who is your favorite pet or child.  Well, here is my list of books on social media that I've read and found useful.  It's a list of books I both like (Jeff Jarvis, I'm looking at you) and dislike (Nicholas Carr, this one's for you), but all of which are relevant in the discussion.  This list was composed in November, 2013.  I anticipate that I will need to update it again in another year as I continue to devour books on the subject.  All that being said, if there's any that strike your fancy, that you've read, or that you're interested in knowing more about, don't hesitate to let me know.

The cumulative knowledge that I have culled from reading all of these has been that social media may be a new format of interaction for us but is not entirely in terms of how we excahnge and have dialogue among humans.  There is ample meaningless communications that go on day-to-day ("Hi, how are you?") and there's also deep and profound communications that occur.  Social media is no different--except that unlike ever before, it can be captured and quantified.  So while some may think Twitter is a sign of the end-times and full of irrelevant material, they miss how much of our day-to-day is full of irrelevance and meaningless banter ("It's a nice day.").    And like many things in our culture, it's easy to point to simplicity (ignorant tweets) than to point to complexity (because that requires context and nuance).  But there is more value to be gained than problems when as we move into social media.

Recommended Books for Social Media

Book Cover:  The Digital Divide ed by Mark Bauerlein Image Source: http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6048/6261457608_1794643d37_o.jpg
  • Anderson, Chris. Free: The Future of a Radical Price. New York: Hyperion, 2009. Print.
  • Anderson, Chris. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. New York: Hyperion, 2006. Print.
  • Anderson, Chris. Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. New York: Crown Business, 2012. Print.
  • Andrews, Lori B. I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy. New York: Free Press, 2012. Print.
  • Ariely, Dan. The (honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone-Especially Ourselves. , 2012. Print.
  • Bauerlein, Mark. The Digital Divide: Arguments for and against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Networking. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2011. Print.
  • Berger, Jonah. Contagious: Why Things Catch on. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013. Print.
  • Bilton, Nick. I Live in the Future and Here's How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted. New York: Crown Business, 2010. Print.
  • Blascovich, Jim, and Jeremy Bailenson. Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds, and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution. New York: William Morrow, 2011. Print.
  • Botsman, Rachel, and Roo Rogers. What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption. New York: Harper Business, 2010. Print.
  • Boyle, James. The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2008. Print.
  • Brown, BrenĂ©. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Center City, Minn: Hazelden, 2010. Print.
  • Carr, Nicholas G. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. Print.
  • Chatfield, Tom. 50 Digital Ideas: You Really Need to Know. London: Quercus, 2011. Print.
  • Chatfield, Tom. Fun Inc: Why Games Are the 21st Century's Most Serious Business. London: Virgin, 2010. Print.
  • Chatfield, Tom. How to Thrive in the Digital Age. London: Macmillan, 2012. Print.
  • Christakis, Nicholas A, and James H. Fowler. Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. New York: Little, Brown and Co, 2009. Print.
  • Crawford, Matthew B. Shop Class As Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work. New York: Penguin Press, 2009. Print.
  • Diaz-Ortiz, Claire. Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print.
  • Duhigg, Charles. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. New York: Random House, 2012. Print.
  • Matthew, and Soumitra Dutta. Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom: How Online Social Networking Will Transform Your Life, Work and World. Chichester, England: Wiley, 2008. Internet resource.
  • Forni, Pier M. Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002. Print. Fraser,
  • Gottschall, Jonathan. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print.
  • Hadnagy, Christopher. Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley, 2011. Print.
  • Holiday, Ryan. Trust Me I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator. New York: Portfolio, 2012. Print.
  • Howe, Jeff. Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business. New York: Crown Business, 2008. Print.
  • Jarvis, Jeff. Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2011. Print.
  • Johnson, Steven. Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter. New York: Riverhead Books, 2005. Print.
  • Johnson, Steven. Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age. New York: Riverhead Books, 2012. Print.
  • Lanier, Jaron. You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. Print.
  • Levine, Robert. Free Ride: How Digital Parasites Are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back. New York: Doubleday, 2011. Print.
  • Li, Charlene. Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010. Print.
  • McRaney, David. You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself. , 2013. Print.
  • McGonigal, Jane. Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. New York: Penguin Press, 2011. Print.
  • Mele, Nicco. The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath. , 2013. Print.
  • Mycoskie, Blake. Start Something That Matters. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2011. Print.
  • Pariser, Eli. The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You. New York: Penguin Press, 2011. Print.
  • Partnoy, Frank. Wait: The Art and Science of Delay. New York: PublicAffairs, 2012. Print.
  • Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. New York: Viking, 1985. Print.
  • Postman, Neil. Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. New York: Knopf, 1992. Print.
  • Reese, Byron. Infinite Progress: How the Internet and Technology Will End Ignorance, Disease, Poverty, Hunger, and War. Austin, Tex: Greenleaf Book Group, 2013. Print.
  • Rifkin, Jeremy. The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print.
  • Rushkoff, Douglas, and Leland Purvis. Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age. Berkeley, CA: Soft Skull Press, 2011. Print.
  • Rushkoff, Douglas. Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now. New York: Current, 2013. Print.
  • Shirky, Clay. Cognitive Surplus: How Technology Makes Consumers into Collaborators. New York: Penguin Books, 2011. Print.
  • Shirky, Clay. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. New York: Penguin Press, 2008. Print.
  • Sommers, Sam. Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World. New York: Riverhead Books, 2011. Print.
  • Steiner, Christopher. Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World. New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2012. Print.
  • Sunstein, Cass R. Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge. New York ;Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.

Book cover: Grown Up Digital by Don Tapscott.  Image Source: http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4133/4946166454_28ca4b4420_z.jpg
  • Tapscott, Don. Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009. Print.
  • Tavris, Carol, and Elliot Aronson. Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. Orlando, Fla: Harcourt, 2007. Print.
  • Thomas, Douglas, and John S. Brown. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Lexington, Ky: CreateSpace?, 2011. Print.
  • Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. New York: Basic Books, 2011. Print.
  • Waal, F B. M. The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society. New York: Harmony Books, 2009. Print.
  • Wasik, Bill. And Then There's This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture. New York: Viking, 2009. Print.
  • Weinberger, David. Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room. New York: Basic Books, 2011. Print.
  • Williams, Juan. Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate. New York: Crown Publishers, 2011. Print.



Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email. 


Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.