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Showing posts from June, 2018

Review: Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations

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Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations by Dan Ariely
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short but intriguing book will be useful for not just leaders but really for anyone who is looking to understand his or her own sense of motivation as well as those of others that someone works with. It's a fairly short book and one that you can get the gist of from Ariely's TED Talk. Known for conducting a range of curious tests with humans to better understand human nature (previous works include The Truth about Dishonesty and Predictably Irrational), Ariely takes this book to explore how we tend to profoundly misunderstand how motivation works and therefore regularly fail to achieve the outcomes we are expecting in others or severely cramping the possibilities. He unpacks some rather strong misconceptions about how extrinsic rewards (e.g. more pay) can fail to increase or even decrease productivity or how purpose and meaning on behalf of the individual drives more productivity. Thi…

Books for White Folks Part 9: Identities and American Culture

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Some might think that this list is overkill or poorly executed, but alas, I couldn’t think of any better way to describe it.  There’s such a rich mixture of books from sociology to critical studies to African American studies to psychology to legal works and so on that discuss race, identity and privilege.  As you’ll notice this list overlaps with so many of the previous lists.  In some ways, I feel like this pulls together books from education to history to peripherals to systematic view to education and more.  Maybe so, I still think they may a good list on their own.  


Yet again, there are so many damn create books to choose from, but I will settle on one:  Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea J. Ritchie.  Ritchie’s writings are a powerful exploration of women, girls, and transwomen of color and their challenges in modern society with regards to the criminal justice system.  There are heart-wrenching and frustrating moments to this book…

Now That’s What Love Sounds Like Part 4

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So for those just tuning in, this is a 4-part series on my love of audiobooks.  You can catch up by checking out Part 1Part 2, and Part 3.
Voices Among the StarsAudiobooks changed me and when I say I have a deep love of audiobooks, it means I worry about a time when I may lose my hearing (C’mon science, forget jet-packs, cures for hearing loss are my priority).  It means I am almost never without an audiobook.  I have them on my phone, on my iPod (which comes with me almost as much as my phone), on my computers, on my tablet, and in my car.  I spend more hours listening to audiobooks in a week than I do watching screens, twiddling away on social media, or any other single activity, with the exception of sleep, probably.

The thing is, by the time I found Adams in audiobook form, I had already attempted suicide and even in finding Adams, I wasn’t out of the danger yet.  I was in my own teenage black hole of despair, anger, self-harm, and depression—a cliché for sure, but still one that …

Review: The Art of Thinking Clearly

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The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dobelli works his ways through some 98 different biases and faulty thinking practices that he has witnessed and experienced in his life as an author and businessman. With each, he introduces the concept in clear and easy to understand prose with some great examples to illustrate how each works. While the format remains largely the same, the text is still lively, fun, and helpful. I enjoyed learning about and realizing the different fallacies that I have regularly stumbled with and ways of trying to get around them. He smartly emphasizes that we cannot use a list like this all the time, but when we are pressed to make the big decisions in life, it is useful to go through such a list to make sure we're not missing something in our thinking. The one strong critique I have of the book is that his final chapter, labeled, "Why You Shouldn't Read the News: News Illusion" entails many of the fallacies to which…

Year #3: Week #2: The Lows and Highs

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I skipped doing the end of Week 1 because, well, it's been an intense two weeks!  So week one was definitely challenging as we delved into working towards our QPP.  The first challenge I found was that while I had one topic, it wasn't gelling with me and another topic that I had been working on in parallel with this one was calling me stronger.  So mid-week last week, I completed reversed direction.  As a result, I essentially doubled the work. 

For those that know me, my research has been focused largely on thinking about open educational resources and their place within the classroom and how they impact teaching and learning.  In particular, this past year, I became interested in how deficit framing of OER may have negative impacts on how faculty utilize them or view their students.  This strain of thought came from seeing how OER is often framed in a deficit approach, wherein OER is needed because students can't...afford textbooks, access publisher content, refuse to buy…

Now That's What Love Sounds Like Part 3

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So for those just tuning in, this is a 4-part series on my love of audiobooks.  You can catch up by checking out Part 1and Part 2.  

Listening to the UniverseDuring one of these audio-fetching sojourns, I came across Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy again.  I looked at it; it looked at me.  It taunted me, reminding me of the times I had tried to read the book and failed. It was antagonistically flirting with me.  Just trying to get a rise out of me; figure out what got me going.

I was young and still new to audiobooks.  Everything to date, I had already read or there was no textual equivalent for.  But if I listened to the audiobook of Hitchhiker’s Guide, it would be cheating, right?  Could I really say that I read it?  Would trying to listen to it be an admission of failure or just a means of getting it out of the way?  After all, I could then say I had “read” it, and that it sucked and to please stop recommending it (we were still a handful of years away from Amazon’s recommendation f…

Review: The Serpent Bride

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The Serpent Bride by Sara Douglass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About five years have passed since the fall of Tencendor to the Time-Keeper Demons and the conclusion of Douglass's previous (and second) trilogy, Wayfarer Redemption. But rest of the largely unexplored world continues. King Maximillian of Escator has been offered a bride from Ishbel, a woman who comes from the Serpent's Nest, a curious cult with macabre practices. Meanwhile the Tyrant of Isembaard is beginning to put into an action that will ruin the kingdoms to the north, including Maximillian's. Powerful forces are at play which results in the return from the world beyond of Douglass's premier hero, Axis Sunsoar and even, his father, Stardrifter. There's a lot that is happening in this novel and like many of Douglass's works, she keeps the story going; it's not like other epic fantasies where you can go hundreds of pages without anything happening. In this first of the trilogy, the world is turned …

Books for White Folks Part 8: Education

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Obviously, as someone so deeply involved in education, we knew that I would compose a list of books on education.  With education being the backbone of how a society creates its sense of cultural identity, explains its past, and facilitates youth into the present, education is many things in our society.  And there is easily a library’s worth of research out there about how schools from kindergarten to college reproduce inequality and produce different outcomes for different groups of people.  

It makes sense that education is a fiercely contested space.  It is a collective space to which people place their most personal object (their child--since in the US, you are responsible and have legal rights over that child).  So that makes for a really interesting tension.  Throw into that mix, a long history of depriving marginalized folks from education (though making them pay for taxes to educate white folks), generations of redlining, denial to access many of the elite colleges, and variou…

Now That's What Love Sounds Like Part 2

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So for those just tuning in, this is a 4-part series on my love of audiobooks.  You can catch up by checking out Part 1.  
The Sounds in the StarsFast-forward a few years.  I’ve found my love for reading.  The slow trickle of new Star Wars books that arrived starting in middle school saw to that and by summer of sophomore year, I fell equally hard for Sara Douglas and her Axis trilogy, opening me to epic fantasy and the mammoth books that would follow.

When I find stories that move me, I want to know all about them.  Hence, I read a serious chunk of the Star Wars materials that came out (and am still getting over the fact that it’s all been erased by Disney).  I loved to get to fully explore a fictional universe, discovering and turning over the many different rocks.  I would eventually do this with the DragonLance series as well and then move onto Asimov’s Robot and Foundation series.  But I love to get all the nuggets and experiences of the universe.  It’s why I devoured so much past …

Review: Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living

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Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jes Baker is just amazing and delightful to listen to (seriously, the audiobook blows the book away because she reads it herself). Baker confronts head on the challenges, judgments, discrimination, and disregard that Western culture (particularly the U.S.) has for fat girls (the term she uses and in a standard method of cultural resistance, reclaims as a badge). Her approach is multifaceted from calling out the questionable literature around health issues related to fat people to critiquing the de-normalizing of larger bodies by consumer culture, particularly fashion--she even makes room to discuss the intersectionality of size and other elements of identity. Besides laying down a critical framework around deconstructing fat in the US, she also repeatedly finds ways to speak to fat girls in particular but really, everyone dealing with self-image, self-acceptance, and self-love issu…

Year #3, Day #1: Chomping At the Bit

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I won't make any cliche comments about time and how long or little it took to get to this final June session.  It's been 2 years, 12 courses, innumerable pages, and many thoughts about the direction of my research (and two job changes).  But here I am at the first course in the program that specifically deals with research involving the dissertation process and another course that serves as a capstone to the foundational courses.  A nice way to end one portion of the program and start another.  

So how am I feeling about this?  As the blog title hints, I am chomping at the bit.  That is, I feel like the last two years have been training for the marathon and now, in this June session, I stand poised to start the race.  There's a nervous energy permeating through me as I think about what's the come and determine what mental strategies and external support I'll need in order sustain myself to the finish line.  That I feel this way, tells me that the program has done it…