If you’re a scholar thinking of writing a book, be it for a general or scholarly audience, check out my post on Leanpub’s blog, Lean Scholarly Publishing With Leanpub. All types of authors experience advantages using Leanpub, but there are also some considerations that are particularly relevant to academics.
This is a response to a Globe & Mail article by Harvey Schachter, “Technology’s productivity paradox”, last updated Monday, Sep. 08 2014, 2:23 PM EDT. That article is itself a response to a recent Forrester® report:
A Crisis Of Attention: Technology, Productivity, And Flow
Using The Science Of Knowledge Work To Restore Flow To The Workplace (July 14, 2014, by David K. Johnson with Josh Bernoff, Christopher Voce, Elizabeth Ryckewaert, Heather Belanger, Thayer Frechette)
To address the problems that are alluded to in the G&M article and Forrester® abstract, one needs to adequately specify the requirements of cognitive productivity. This is where most solutions fail.
This is a copy of my review of Nicholas Carr’s book _The shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains (Kindle Edi.). I posted the original this morning on GoodReads.com
Nicholas Carr’s book The shallows is an entertaining book that raises flags about the impact that technology is having on our reading habits. He essentially claims that we (more specifically, our brains) are becoming superficial processors of information because of technology. In carefully reading the book, I found that he supported his thesis through insinuation and rhetoric rather than from premises to the clear conclusion you’d expect from the subtitle of his book.
There are plenty of good things to say about this book. However, I will focus on its significant problems so that we can address them.
This is a review of Mortimer Adler’s book, How to Read a Book, which I posted this morning on GoodReads.com
I have delved into Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book several times since the 1980’s. The book addresses major problems all readers face. Even if one doesn’t adopt the strategies it proposes, it’s useful to think about these problems.
In my previous blog post, I introduced the challenges we face in taking notes with technology.
Today, I have added to Cognitive Productivity: Using Knowledge to Become Profoundly Effective a free OmniOutliner “meta-doc template” for taking notes about information that really matters to you. It may be a particularly high quality e-book, a potent TED talk, a very important lecture, an appealing podcast, or something else. If you don’t take notes about the content, then you have to rely on your memory. And we know that memories fade! If you do take notes about the content, you might as well take them in a systematic way such that you can easily find the information later when you need it.
There are several good reasons to take notes about information you process. Most people don’t, because they lack note taking systems or the motivation to use them. Technology has made note taking both easier and harder. Easier, because one now has more tools than ever to take , organize and find notes. Harder, because there is now what seems to many to be an unmanageably large amount of information to take notes about.
Moreover, none of the tools are entirely satisfactory in themselves. For example, note taking apps such as Evernote® and Microsoft® OneNote® have major drawbacks, such as locking your information in an opaque, proprietary database (remember Lotus Notes?) whose contents cannot be accessed using standard file management utilities. To use Sharon Bratt’s expression, they have low “pedagogical utility” —despite their appeal for certain problems, they are the opposite of what you need to stretch your mind when “delving” potent content.