Category Archives: Recommended reading
It has been a few years in the making (from the first conceptual idea to publication) but the baby has been delivered and is now available at CRC Press.
I recently came across the following document by Professor Alan M Johnson, which appears to be distributed freely by Elsevier and entitled “Charting a Course for a Successful Research Career: A Guide for Early Career Researchers – 2nd edition“.
Just completed the reading of the book the Art of Explanation by Lee Lefever. I must admit that although I really like Nancy Duarte’s duo Slide:ology and Resonate, Lefever’s book does focus on concepts that are also not that well covered in the other books. In particular, knowing your audience: to whom are you presenting and for what purpose.
Enjoy: The Feynman Lectures on Physics.
One must give credit when due. Organizing Creativity’s Daniel Wessel pointed out to me on the previous blog post “Time to go analog” that this concept of starting your presentation as an analog process gets a full chapter (Chapter 3) in a book entitled Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds.
Seth Godin has written an very interesting (and free) manifesto about the US school system (though the birth of Canada school system is very similar in origin): Stop Stealing Dreams. The book is very well written and will take only a few evening to get through.
Many instances had me stop reading and ponder. The example of LEGO (item 51 in the book) is something me, friends and colleagues have been discussing for a while; it is the concept of pre-made LEGO model which comes with instructions. It removes much of the creative process and turns the fun of doing LEGO into a purely technical step-by-step process. Generic LEGO are clearly missing (not to say that the new LEGO cannot be fun).
Similarly, I found more than often very bright students finishing their undergrad studies with extremely good grades but in a situation where they are unable to to function in graduate school because the “questions” are not given to them: they now have to ask their own questions and also find the answers. These students had become extremely proficient at performing on “imposed” questions with very clear answers such as exams, finals and so on, but are lost when they have to tackle a much less rigid projects (e.g. a PhD thesis).
The majority of graduate students that I had the chance to supervised (yes I consider student supervision as a core mission of being a researcher and university professor) have this spark in their eyes. Creative thinking is usually not the biggest problem they will face. In fact, for most of you getting tons of ideas is rarely the issue. Selecting, focusing and successfully bring one or a group of ideas to completion (meaning scientific publication most of the time) tends to be critical issue. As Vince Lombardi once said: “if you don’t keep score its just practice”.