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Review: The Generation Myth: Why When You're Born Matters Less Than You Think

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The Generation Myth: Why When You're Born Matters Less Than You Think by Bobby Duffy My rating: 4 of 5 stars Duffy's the argument that I've been thirsting for. He takes a solid crack at the often-tepid, reductive, and wildly over-abused generational-differences discourse around Silent-Gen through Generation Z (or whatever we're calling this group). He illustrates how these approaches do harm to understanding generational experiences (which, of course, are not universal and should not be the means for HR training and the like) and stress more understanding of how life spans play out in similar ways across generations but often at different collective times.  Much of the reasons for these differences are not grounded in innate elements of each generation or age cohort but rather in what is happening in the larger cultural space. Generations all go through similar challenges but may experience them at different times in their live

Review: Move: How the New Science of Body Movement Can Set Your Mind Free

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Move: How the New Science of Body Movement Can Set Your Mind Free by Caroline Williams My rating: 3 of 5 stars There's lots of anecdotal and scientific evidence that elevates the connection between mind and body--essentially raising the question of whether they are separate (as Global North cultures like the US often insist through discourse and policy).  Williams grabs hold of this consideration and reframes our thinking, offering that our brains evolved in relation to humankind's ability to move and be active in particular ways (on our feet, interval activity throughout the day, moving in natural ways that reflect the life of a hunter-gathering life, etc). The book then proceeds through different types of movement (aerobic exercise, muscle building, breathing, rest, stretching, etc) to explore what the current scientific studies have to say about how these impact and relate to our state of mind (from mental health to alertness to cre

Review: Prophet Against Slavery: Benjamin Lay

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Prophet Against Slavery: Benjamin Lay by Marcus Rediker My rating: 4 of 5 stars On one level, this graphic novel has struck a spark in me to find out even more about its subject, Benjamin Lay, an 18th-century abolitionist Quaker.  Born in England and raised in the Quaker religion, Lay challenges the hypocrisy of Quaker leadership who at the time still profited and made use of slaves.  Throughout his life, he is chased out of Quaker communities and ends up in Pennsylvania.  Continually dismissed for his ideas (and likely discrimination for his kyphosis--extreme-forward curving of the back), he challenges Quakers to align their beliefs with their actions.  While he does not see the fruit of his labor, his lifetime of work and humble living (literally living in a cave on a vegetarian diet) inspires younger Quakers and has a lingering effect in many Quakers abandoning and rejecting the supposed necessity of slavery in the 1800s.  The sketching lin

Review: The State Must Provide: Why America's Colleges Have Always Been Unequal--and How to Set Them Right

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The State Must Provide: Why America's Colleges Have Always Been Unequal--and How to Set Them Right by Adam Harris My rating: 5 of 5 stars The depth to which white culture and citizens have gone to deny Black people equal opportunity has been well-documented in the realm of housing, criminal justice, primary education, and many other spaces.  Intentional calculations about how to legally avoid, subvert, and manipulate policies are a hallmark of white supremacy in the United States--and, of course, when that doesn't work, mob violence in the form of lynching, riots, and even storming the Capitol are practices white people are willing to take to assert their supposed right to feel mightier than Black people.  Harris's book brings another well-documented and critical look at how these practices and policies also played out in higher education over the history of the US. Harris balances a complicated argument quite effectively as he fo

Review: The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward

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The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward by Daniel H. Pink My rating: 4 of 5 stars We live in a culture that tells us we should have "no regrets"; we should be forward-looking, forget the past, and charge into the future, never pause to linger on mistakes we've made, opportunities we've missed, or considering how our life might have been different.  We'd be silly to be George Bailey of It's A Wonderful Life (of course, then, we'd also be dead and not able to regret or learn from our regrets).  That's the picture that Pink paints in his opening chapters as a means of justifying his book to explore regret.  How truly the average person ignores engaging in regret seems to still be up for question but Pink might frame it as a "no regret" epidemic.  If that opening sounds overly critical of the book, it probably is but that's because largely what Pink is offering is not the power of

Review: Arriving Today: From Factory to Front Door-Why Everything Has Changed About How and What We Buy

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Arriving Today: From Factory to Front Door-Why Everything Has Changed About How and What We Buy by Christopher Mims My rating: 4 of 5 stars What does it take for something to show up on our door when we order it online?  Mims uses this premise as his starting point to dive into the deep and complex infrastructure creation, transportation, and delivery that fuels modern consumer capitalism.  It's a challenging picture to consider because on the one hand, it is filled with massive feats of humankind in terms of how we are able to make things, move things, and consume things (then create waste-removal systems that are equally complex) and yet, at every point in this process, sits (or stands or moves) a precarious class of workers who are often exploited in numerous ways and are often forgoing their health for often unliveable wages in order to deliver goods at an unnecessary speed (e.g. 1-2 day delivery).  Mims balances this picture for the m

Review: Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally

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Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally by Emily Ladau My rating: 4 of 5 stars Ladau proves an accessible and helpful guide on understanding the complexities of disability in modern society.  Her approach is a not a definitive guide but an introduction to the expansive and complex with an invitation to go further but by starting with this book, the reader is off to a good start.  She doesn't claim perfect knowledge or understanding of all the complexities of disability and comes to it from her own intersectional experience and her own research on the topic.  The book has a little bit of everything to offer if you are new to the topic from a brief history to explaining the different categories of disability, to examining language and appropriate ways to interact with people with disabilities.  On that last point, it boils down to treating people with disabilities as the humans they are, asking and not assum

Review: A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School

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A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School by Jack Schneider My rating: 4 of 5 stars Schneider and Berkshire's critique of charter schools and the privatization of public education is a sharp and insightful analysis that helps unpack the complex forces at play in actively trying to dismantle public education. They demonstrate that the current push toward charter schools is part of an ongoing effort by right-wing conservatives that has moved from peripheral to center over the past 80 years.  Initially arising as a means to work around equally funding schools for Black children or allowing for integration, charter school's historical legacy and contemporary means of being able to do a great deal of harm to students and teachers without any public accountability raise a range of questions about who is benefitting (i.e. profiting) from these structures.  Schneider and Berkshire help to answ

Review: Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home

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Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home by Charlie Warzel My rating: 4 of 5 stars Do you work to live or live to work? Do you have some other way of concieving your relationship to work in a society that centers work as a central identity? Warzel and Peterson delve into work culture, its history, the assumptions of the present paradigm, and the possibilities that await us in the post-pandemic world. They posit that after pandemic, we have what feels like a once in a lifetime (or century even) opportunity to thoughtfully and intentional reconsider what work can and will be and that individuals and companies should seize this moment to shift to a more sustainable means of employing people if they actually care about their staff, care about a more productive company, and worry about losing to competition. On that final point, it's unclear if their book is likely going to change or influence businesses and their decisio

Letter to the Editor - Inside Higher Edu

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Estimated Reading Time: minutes  It happened again. Someone wrote something and I had some thoughts that I decided to respond with; we know the deal!  In this case, it happened at Inside Higher Ed, a news site that focuses on higher education.    " In a recent blog post,  Matt Reed raises concerns about gas prices and their impact on the majority of students on physical campuses (that is, commuter students).  This is a real concern and one that I was thinking about back in the early part of the 2010s when I first started developing and teaching hybrid flexible courses. Before the pandemic made it obvious to all, my concerns focused on the fact that there are real barriers to getting to campus that will continue to multiply. Students who have been marginalized will also feel the effects the most.  Gas prices, natural and unnatural disasters, and pandemics are some of the ways that disruption will continue to occur." Read the rest here . This was one of those posts that just s