Recommended Books

Book Miniviews

Many of my ideas come from the books I've read and relating these ideas to college students and their lives as well as my own. I've included these to provide a quick review (minireview) and an affiliate link to those books on amazon (I'll be rich ;)).  These are listed based on the rough order I read the book and include a quick synopsis on the book's ideas.  Personally, I write my own detailed notes on these books, but don't provide everything here since I think the authors deserve you reading their books.

Minireview: What got you here won’t get you there

mini comments: If you want to understand what interpersonal skills may or may not be impacting your success, Goldsmith takes through the process of understanding how our success may be making us blind to our weaknesses, and he provides a methodology of how he would coach us to improve.

mini recommended: all

link: My full review of this book.

Minireview: coming soon…

mini comments: This book not read yet

mini recommended: ?

Minireview: Contagious

mini comments: This book follows up ideas from  Tipping Point and  Made to Stick.  Berger has deep insights onto why things become viral and how important word of mouth is to products.  Excellent book for learning about aspects of marketing and why ideas propagate.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: You, Inc

mini comments: This book is a classic how to make yourself appear as a quality individual.  Some good tips and the book is easy to read.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Teaching and the Case Method

mini comments: This is probably the best book I've read about improving teaching.  Even though the book is titled that it's about a certain type of teaching (the case method), the ideas and cases themselves provided me with great insight.

mini recommended: graduate students, professors

Minireview: Real-World Data Mining

mini comments: This book gives a thorough introduction and classification of what data mining is, how it relates to business analytics, and what are the common software packages and algorithms used.

mini recommended: undergraduate students, graduate students, all interested in data mining introduction

Minireview: Rework

mini comments: Rework is a quick read about a software company and how it achieves and succeeds.  Ideas here are counter-views on many ideas such as: "Think outside the box".

mini recommended: software entrepreneurs

Minireview: Drunk Tank Pink

mini comments: A pop-science book that looks at our psychological biases (and we have many).  Very entertaining and interesting read.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Opposable Mind

mini comments: Opposable Mind takes a look at how we think versus how great people think.   The book provides lots of insight into thinking that I had never been exposed to before.  For example, the book talks about "abductive reasoning".

mini recommended: all people who want to more think 😉

Minireview: Smartcuts

mini comments: This book perspective is on success through "hacks" where a hack, I might argue, is an efficient approach to getting somewhere or something.  The stories in this book are very interesting and the hacks themselves seem applicable.  That means the book is entertaining and helpful.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Liespotting

mini comments: This is a great book in terms of me imagining that I'll be able to detect lies like a fancy Sherlock Holmes.  The reality is that is not the case and these skills take practice.  I still enjoyed the read and think the ideas are interesting.

mini recommended: future and present liespotters willing to practice

Minireview: Think Like a Freak

mini comments: Another book in the "Freak Series" (Freakanomics, Super Freakonomics) where the authors try to help us achieve what they have in their fascinating economic based discovery stories.  I just like this type of book, and I wish I could do what they do.  Not sure this book can get me there, but it is a starting point.  My favourite idea in this book is the "self-weeding garden".

mini recommended: people who like pop economics

Minireview: Reinventing Discovery

mini comments: This book looks at where we are in generating new ideas and the importance of tools and open data in pushing us forward.  The key concept for me was "praxis" and how the author worked with this in our modern discovery.

mini recommended: advanced undergraduates, graduate students, professors, researchers

Minireview: The Advantage

mini comments: This book discusses and explains the importance of organizational health of institutions.  This includes universities, schools, businesses, or better any institution where people work with one another.  This book is an excellent read for anyone in any organization who wants some diagnosis and medication for improving their institutions.

mini recommended: everyone in an organization they think can be better - particularly leaders

Minireview: Power Cues

mini comments: Want to understand how you convey yourself and lose your power?  This book takes a look at many factors involved in power.  It includes the importance of stories and explains how a story is not an anecdote (which many of us confuse).  Excellent book.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Making Their Own Way

mini comments: Baxter Magolda a professor from my current university - Miami University - has convinced me of one of the major impacts of college education - self authorship.   The book has many evidence-based quotes that might lose the casual reader, but to understand the depth and importance of this research the book is excellent.

mini recommended: professors, researchers, teachers, college employees

Minireview: Willpower

mini comments: Fascinating book that tries to explain how willpower is a characteristic that is not unlimited and depends on many body factors.  One of the most fascinating things it explains is why dieting is so hard.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data

mini comments: For a well-written description of what statistics are and how to understand them, this book is the best I've read so far.  If you want to have a feel of how to interpret our world of stats, then you need to read this book once a year.

mini recommended: all, especially people who want to understand what they're being told by media outlets 50% of the time.

Minireview: Understanding by Design

mini comments: This book is for teachers (professors) to show them how to design a course focused on teaching certain learning objectives.  The main idea is that this is not a forward design process, but you start from the objectives and work backwards.  Excellent for teachers who want to improve their courses.

mini recommended: professors, teachers

Minireview: Focus

mini comments: Goleman argues that focus is one of the key skills for your future career.  He defines different types of focus and states how they are all needed for different situations.  Excellent book that is another contributor to the 10,000 hour theory of expert.

mini recommended: all, undergraduate students, high school students

Minireview: Punished by Rewards

mini comments: This book changed the way I thought about motivation (along with Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us).  In particular, this book explains how rewards, when not received feel like punishment.  This book makes you question much of the carrot and stick aspect of our educational institutions.

mini recommended: professors, teachers, graduate students, students

Minireview: Marketing for Scientists

mini comments: This book tries and help us researchers communicate with the public.  There is some useful knowledge for this select niche.

mini recommended: researchers, scientists, engineers

Minireview: Too Big to Ignore

mini comments: The book provides a good introduction to the buzzwords "Big Data".

mini recommended: people interested in understanding the basics of "Big Data"

Minireview: Knowledge Representation

mini comments: If you want to understand the breadth (and some depth) of how we have invented ways to represent knowledge, then this is the book to start from.  The book covers a surprising amount of ideas including logic, ontologies, semiotics, fuzzy logic, ...

mini recommended: researchers, scientists, engineers

Minireview: Creative Intelligence

mini comments: One of the many books that looks at creativity.  This is a good one that looks at five competencies of creativity.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Practice Perfect – 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better

mini comments: More in relation to the 10,000 hours theory of expert.  In my notes I wrote down 29 of the rules that I thought were useful.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Top Dog

mini comments: Top dog helps us understand the role of competition in our daily lives and what impact it has on us.  There is some science references to how competition differs between males and females, and there is, also, a look at how competition relates to our workplace and team aspects.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Playing to Win

mini comments: This is another book on competition, but the focus is on truly assessing what winning is as opposed to just competing.  In the book, winning means being the best/winner at FILL IN THE BLANK.  Then the book takes a detailed look on how to strategize to get that win.  I like the focused direction of this book.

mini recommended: all, great for people in institutions who want to make winning changes.

Minireview: What they didn’t tell you in Graduate School

mini comments: This book is a supplement to graduate school that lays out many of the things that academia, as a job, is not revealed while pursuing a graduate degree.  I read this in the third year of my tenure track and even then got some good suggestionss such as: for grants, make an advisory council, go to invited lectures even if busy, and meet with the universities board of trustees at least once.

mini recommended: graduate students, post-docs, researchers, early and mid-professors

Minireview: The Pragmatic MBA for Scientific and Technical Executives

mini comments: For those of you considering pursuing an MBA, this book and The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business are my two recommendations to understand why you might pursue such a degree, and this books case, what you will learn.

mini recommended: people considering an MBA degree

Minireview: To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

mini comments: Pink, the author, and another author by the name of Gladwell made me love pop science and pop psychology books.  This book takes a look at how important selling is to all of us (beyond products are ideas and opinions) and goes into describing how to do it well.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

mini comments: This book and The Black Swan are both excellent books to read and have fascinating ideas to think about in relation to our statistical weakness of believing the past predicts the future - absolute.  This book looks at the idea of things that are adaptive to potential failure and shows how many of our human designed systems lack this.

mini recommended: all, engineers

Minireview: The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail–but Some Don’t

mini comments: Silver has become a household name based on his predictions during the last two presidential elections.  This book looks at some of his ideas and how he does prediction.  Good read for those of you interested in data analytics.

mini recommended: all interested in data analytics

Minireview: Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: 21 Powerful Secrets of History’s Greatest Speakers

mini comments: This is one of two books that I used to improve my public speaking abilities.   I wrote down 16 tips from this book that provide insight on how to become a better speaker.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Lend Me Your Ears

mini comments: This is another great book on public speaking.  There are some key ideas in here that taught me why you need to over perform your speech and other key tidbits for speaking.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love

mini comments: This book focuses on career and challenges the idea that your should pursue your passion.  Interesting perspective on the subject and a good read for students.

mini recommended: students, all

Minireview: Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence

mini comments: Stories are fundamental in our abilities to communicate and this book takes a look at cognitive ideas and how stories can take advantage of those ideas.  Excellent for story tellers, which should be all of us.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure

mini comments: Hardford, one of my favourite pop-economics writers, makes an excellent case for the importance of failure and why we should embrace it instead of avoid it.  Great book.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

mini comments: This book changed how I viewed love.  I recommend to all.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Imagine: How Creativity Works

mini comments: Another book on thinking and creativity, and one of the best in that vein.  There's a fascinating chapter on discussing why cities are so important.  Blew my mind.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization

mini comments: Another fascinating book with a focus on leadership.  The author, Logan, takes a look at organizations and puts them on a scale of five.  He then looks at how an organization or group can make the transition to the next level. 

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn’t, and Why, Second Edition: 12 Things You’d Better Do If You Want to Get Ahead

mini comments: When I arrived in my current job, I had very little understanding of the office dynamic.  This book gave me a great perspective on career, job, and the real workings of these aspects of your life.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Secrets to Winning at Office Politics: How to Achieve Your Goals and Increase Your Influence at Work

mini comments: This was another book I found helpful when I realized that office politics exist everywhere and you need to know how to behave to flourish in your career.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

mini comments: A useful book that shows you how to differentiate and focus on what (or why) is important.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

mini comments: One of the first of many books that led me to understand - autonomy, purpose, and mastery.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: The Art of Changing the Brain: Enriching the Practice of Teaching by Exploring the Biology of Learning

mini comments: Recommended to all, but this book was particularly important for me to start my study of the brain and it's relation to learning (imagine that).  Great help for us non-biology folks in understanding the basics of what we're learning about learning.

mini recommended: all, teachers!!!

Minireview: The Story Factor

mini comments: Stories are how we communicate, convince, and make friends.  This book takes a look at that in a much deeper sense. 

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers is the New Way To Be Smart

mini comments: This book is packed full of interesting stories about how numbers are being used in our lives to do all sorts of things.  This is a fascinating start into data-analytics and big data.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

mini comments: This is a deep philosophical book into the ideas of statistics, our love of trending, and our shock when the unpredictable happens.  Changed my perspective of the world.

mini recommended: all

Minireview: Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business Without Losing Your Self

mini comments: I wrote down 23 of 52, so I can say that at least one half of the book has tips that I thought were good.

mini recommended: all


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