23 Following


Currently reading

Paddy's Lament, Ireland 1846-1847: Prelude to Hatred
Thomas Gallagher
Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One
Jenny K. Blake
When in French: Love in a Second Language
Lauren Collins
Beyond the Job Description: How Managers and Employees Can Navigate the True Demands of the Job
Jesse Sostrin
Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing
David Hubel, Margaret S. Livingstone
Achieving Your Potential As A Photographer: A Creative Companion and Workbook
Harold Davis
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age
Sherry Turkle
Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs (Voices That Matter)
Roberto Valenzuela
Man's Search for Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl, Harold S. Kushner
Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection
Jacob Silverman

Understanding Austen: Key Concepts in the Six Novels

Understanding Austen: Key Concepts in the Six Novels - Maggie Lane I got about halfway through this book. I need to return it to the library. I may or may not get back to it.It is a very close reading of Austen's novels with the emphasis on understanding words or concepts used frequently by Austen. It would be good to read as a companion to re-reading one of the novels. Just reading it straight through gets a little monotonous.

Teaching Minds: How Cognitive Science Can Save Our Schools

Teaching Minds: How Cognitive Science Can Save Our Schools - Roger Schank I've read through chapter 7 and need to return it to the library. I may or may not get back to it. There were some interesting ideas, but the author came across as cranky and crotchety, so it wasn't a pleasure to read. Effective teaching means teaching these things:- how to be a critic- whom to respect and copy- how to know where you fit- how to take action- how to thinkAbilities should be taught, not subjects. "why don't kids like school? Because we teach them knowledge they won't need. How do they know this? They know that their parents don't know this stuff -- that is how. Many kids don't like math much and it is clear why. They find it boring and irrelevant and to anything they care about doing. If we think math is important, then why not teach it within a meaningful context, where it actually is used?" p. 89

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality - Jacob Tomsky Let's call it 3.5.It was certainly compelling, although it was a little tedious towards the end with all the blow-by-blow description of the employee disciplinary actions. Definitely enlightening about how to maximize your hotel experience -- provided you've got the cash for the tipping involved. At times it was really funny. But it was also sad. Just a confined life. He ends up in anger management group therapy -- and one would hope he also addresses his alcohol issues. I guess the same could be said about an intense career in restaurants, bars, etc. His advice: watch the front desk agents in action for a few minutes before checking in. Choose the one who seems most competent and efficient, even if it means waiting in line for that agent while another agent is open. Give the agent your credit card and drop a twenty on the desk. "This is for you. Whatever you can do for me, I'd appreciate it." If you want something specific such as late checkout, a view, whatever, name it.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business - Charles Duhigg I liked this a lot. I think Duhigg did a good job of using examples to build his points. It was logical, incremental, and well written. Part one: the habits of individuals. How habits work. Cue – routine – reward. The craving brain. New habits are created by putting together a cue, a routine, and a reward, and then cultivating a craving that drives the loop. Part two: the habits of successful organizations. He looks at Alcoa (new CEO turns the company around by focusing on worker safety, a keystone habit that is foundational for a lot of other good practices that they needed to focus on. It was something that labor and management could agree on, so it was a great place to start. Starbucks and the habit of success, when willpower becomes automatic. Rhode Island Hospital – a toxic work environment where everyone deferred to the surgeons, resulting in many dramatic errors. A crisis forced an attitude overhaul. How Target analyzes data to predict and shape your buying habits. On ‘keystone habit’: “It might have been hard at another company to fire someone who had been there so long,” O’Neill told me. “It wasn’t hard for me. It was clear what our values dictated. He got fired because he didn’t report the incident, and so no one else had the opportunity to learn from it. Not sharing an opportunity to learn is a cardinal sin.” P. 124 “At the core of [Starbucks] education is an intense focus on an all-important habit: willpower. Dozens of studies show that willpower is the single most important keystone habit for individual success. …[Starbucks] executives recognized that success required cultivating an environment that justified paying four dollars for a fancy cup of coffee. The company needed to train its employees to deliver a bit of joy alongside lattes and scones. So early on, Starbucks started researching how they could teach employees to regulate their emotions and marshal their self-discipline to deliver a burst of pep with every serving… The company spent millions of dollars developing curriculums to train employees on self-discipline. Executives wrote workbooks that, in effect, serve as guides to how to make willpower a habit in workers’ lives.” P. 131-132“If you want to do something that requires willpower – like going for a run after work – you have to conserve your willpower muscle during the day,” Muraven told me. “If you use it up too early on tedious tasks like writing emails or filling out complicated and boring expense forms, all the strength will be gone by the time you get home.” P. 137The LATTE method. We Listen to the customer, Acknowledge their complaint, Take action by solving the problem, Thank them, and then Explain why the problem occurred. P. 145 – Interesting example of “naming it” – a method that I just read about in Practice Perfect.Organizations’ habits/routines. “Most economists are accustomed to treating companies as idyllic places where everyone is devoted to a common goal : making as much money as possible. Nelson and Winter pointed out that, in the real world, that’s not how thing work at all. Companies aren’t big happy families were everyone plays together nicely. Rather, most workplaces are made up of fiefdoms where executives compete for power and credit, often in hidden skirmishes that make their own performances appear superior and their rivals’ seem worse. Divisions compete for resources and sabotage each other to steal glory. Bosses pit their subordinates against one another so that no one can mount a coup.Yes despite this capacity for internecine warfare, most companies roll along relatively peacefully, year after year, because they have routines – habits – that create truces that allow everyone to set aside their rivalries long enough to get a day’s work done. “ p.162How new songs are marketed, new products are promoted: “Whether selling a new song, a new food, or a new crib, the lesson is the same: if you dress a new something in old habits, it’s easier for the public to accept it.” P. 210Part three: Habits of societies. Rosa Parks as an example of strong ties (lots of firsthand relationships) and dozens of groups throughout Montgomery that didn’t usually come into contact with each other (weak ties). “Which is why the second aspect of the social habits of movements is so important. The Montgomery bus boycott became a society-wide action because the sense of obligation that held the black community together was activated soon after Parks’s friends started spreading the world. People who hardly knew Rosa Parks decides to participate because of a social peer pressure – an influence known as “the power of weak ties” – that made it difficult to avoid joining in.” p. 222The third aspect of how social habits drive movements: for an idea to grow beyond a community, it must become self-propelling. Give people new habits that help them figure out where to go on their own. P. 239The neurology of free will chapter looks at compulsions, addictions, and actions done unconsciously. “Once you know a habit exists, you have the responsibility to change it. By trying hard, you (could) rein in the habit.” P.271Appendix. A reader’s guide to using these ideas. 1. Identify the routine,2. Experiment with rewards. Test different hypotheses to determine which craving is driving your routine. Are you craving the cookie itself, or a break from work? If it’s the cookie, is it because you are hungry? Can you substitute a different food? Or do you want to socialize in the cafeteria? Can you socialize in a different way that doesn’t involve mindless eating? Look for patterns. After each activity, jot down on a piece of paper the first three things that come to mind when you get back to your desk. Then set an alarm for 15 minutes. When it goes off, ask yourself: do you still feel the urge for that cookie? Writing down the 3 things forces a momentary awareness of what you are thinking or feeling. Writing down a few words also helps in later recalling what you were thinking at that moment. At the end of the experiment, when you review your notes, it will be much easier to remember what you were thinking and feeling at that precise moment. 3. Isolate the cue. Experiments have shown that almost all habitual cues fit into one of five categories: Location, Time, Emotional state, Other people, Immediately preceding action. Write down these 5 things the moment the urge hits.4. Have a plan. Write a plan. “At 3:30 every day, I will walk to a friend’s desk and talk for 10 minutes.” He sets his watch alarm to do this. It doesn’t work immediately. But on the days that it did, he ended the workday feeling better. Eventually, it got to be automatic. When he couldn’t find anyone to chat with, he went to the cafeteria, bought tea, and drank it with friends.

Muscular Retraining for Pain-free Living: A Practical Approach to Eliminating Chronic Back Pain, Tendonitis, Neck and Shoulder Tension, and Repetitive Stress Injuries

Muscular Retraining for Pain-Free Living - Craig  Williamson Easy to understand, very good overview. Lots of detailed discussion of specific muscle areas and photos/descriptions of exercises to address issues. "Kinesthetic dysfunction is the inability to sense your kinesthesia accurately, even when you intentionally attempt to pay attention to it. In my professional experience, I have found that problems with kinethesia are an extremely common cause of muscular pain, yet most people are unfamiliar with this connection.If you have kinesthetic dysfunction, you cannot accurately sense whether certain muscles are relaxed or engaged. As a result, tensed muscles remain tense, and sooner or later the tension becomes painful. As long as your kinesthetic awareness is dysfunctional, you cannot correct the way you carry and use your body." p.15"Kinesthetic dysfunction is not caused by nerve damage, nor is it an injury. Rather, it is a problem with how you *perceive* the messages coming from you kinesthetic receptors. You need 2 things to correct KD: new sensory input and a willingness to pay attention to it." p.15"Your neuromuscular system requires accurate kinesthetic perception to use your muscles properly. It is not know exactly how kinesthetic dysfunction occurs, but it certainly does occur. When kinesthetic perception is dysfunctional, the neuromuscular system cannot properly execute muscle control or create balanced muscle tone. Dysfunction of this sort commonly occurs in people with chronic muscle tension from pain reactions, injuries, inefficient body alignment, or prolonged psychological stress. This condition is completely invisible. It cannot be detected with x-rays, MRI, blood tests, nerve conduction tests, or strength tests. Kinesthetic dysfunction can only be discovered by asking a person if he or she can perceive the effort and relaxation of muscles and then testing whether this perception is true to what the muscles are actually doing." p. 17

Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better

Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better - Doug Lemov, Katie Yezzi, Erica Woolway I got a lot from this book -- now I just need to practice! It's written by educators (specifically, training teachers), but it applies across the board. They do a good job giving examples for other professions as well. Focus on the number of techniques being worked on. Do fewer things better. Many professional development programs lack focus, intensity, follow-up and continuity. Practice should involve people practicing success, even if it means simplifying the activity. Most people assume that the higher you go on the competency scale, the less drilling you need to do and the more scrimmaging. In fact, we argue, the opposite is true. P. 15Book summary: “In the first chapter we’ll look at common assumptions about practice and as a starting point ask you to reconsider them. The second chapter will focus on design principles for running effective practices. The third looks at the role modeling can play in increasing the effectiveness of practice sessions, and the fourth explores the important role of feedback. The fifth chapter considers practice as a social activity and therefore one that both expresses and relies on a culture of openness, transparency, and humility. What comes after practice, and how decisions about hiring, evaluation, and implementation make the work you do more effective, is the focus of the sixth chapter, and in the final chapter we reflect more extensively on the application and importance of practice in achieving better results in professional endeavors."The 42 rules and their examples follow. I like the afterbits about implementing on "Monday mornings" for organizations, for a mentee or a small team, and for yourself. I also liked the appendix which talks about some of the teaching techniques that are covered in Doug Lemov's book, Teach like a champion."

Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

Where'd You Go, Bernadette - Maria Semple Loved the satire and the Seattle setting and all the plot twists. Just lots of fun.

Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life

Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life - Winifred Gallagher I had great expectations for this book, but it fell short. I kept plugging away at it, but it was uneven, and well, not focused. I liked the idea of introducing an "attentional regimen" -- a combination of exercises that strengthen concentration and benignity. "Attending to others also invites interaction and feedback, which helps you feel useful and connected to the larger world.... paying attention is an individual effort, but it's also a kind of social cement that holds groups together and helps them feel part of something greater than themselves. ... As well-matched tennis partners, chess players, book-group members, and spouses can attest, along with the benefits of bonding, such relationships provide a benign stimulus to be "the best you can be." p.86Productive people who have totally mastered a difficult skill can feel challenged and lose focus. High achievers can avoid burnout, depression and even self-destructiveness by "going wide," or focusing on a new vocation or avocation along with their business as usual. p.107The antidote to leisure-time ennui is to pay as much attention to scheduling a productive evening or weekend as you do to your workday. "Not coincidentally, an important recent discovery in flow research has a social as well as a personal dimension. Once you focus on an activity -- ranching or marketing, haiku or horticulture -- and start to develop the skills required, you need to take on progressively greater challenges to keep on experiencing flow. In this way, writes Csikszentmihalyi, optimal human experience is a Darwinian dynamic that can slowly transform society and even affect evolution by encouraging activities of ever-greater complexity, countering business-as-usual mind-sets, and offering alternatives to obsolete, destructive behavior." p. 113"Not paying attention to anything in particular sometimes just plain feels good. Research conducted by the U of Michigan psychologists Rachel and Stephen Kaplan shows that when you gaze dreamily at drifting clouds, twinkling stars, rippling water, or other natural stimuli, you drift into a soft-focused state of "fascination" that allows your mind to relax and unwind, reduces the incidence of dumb "human errors," and even lower physiological measures of stress." p. 151

The Connected Child

The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family - Karyn B. Purvis Picked up a few ideas that probably would apply to any child. (I'm not a parent; I'm an aunt.)I liked the "re-do's": Let's try that again. Guide the child in an upbeat, playful and fun manner. Re-do's are not punishment, but instruction. If necessary, demo the re-do. Let the child copy the re-do one or more times. Praise the child lavishly and sincerely upon completion of the corrected act. Things that don't work: time-outs, questioning about why the child did something (makes him defensive, he's not sophisticated enough to engage in a verbal defense with you), debate. Instead:-- respond quickly-- clarify expectations-- offer simple choices-- present consequences-- give immediate training and the opportunity to re-do-- practice, practice, practice-- keep the child near you (don't isolate them in a timeout)-- offer praise for successMaking eye contact is very important. -- Move your head into the child's field of vision.-- Briefly stop talking. The pause will pique his curiosity or concern, and he will typically look up at you.-- Say something, using his name in the context of the sentence.-- Ask for eye contact directly with such phrases as "Let me see those beautiful eyes." -- If he physically moves away, playfully move back into his field of vision. Parents should use words, too, but few of them. Instead of swooping down and picking up the child when he is misbehaving, stop him with words. Use short, simple phrases and direct him to make good choices. By using words to direct your child, you'll provide a great role model. TV, movies, electronic games. "Children who tend to be somewhat dissociative or lack attachment skills will seek out TV and play electronic games frequently... That aloe is enough reason to restrict these activities. You need to increase the amount of time your at-risk child spends with people and reduce the time he spends alone with machines or objects. ... Remember, TV and electronic games cater to short attention spans. You want to encourage activities that extend the attention span. ... Don't hand over a toy and say, "now go play alone." Play with the toy together. When at-risk children are encouraged to spend more time with inanimate devices, it further decreases their social skills, weakens their attention, and increases their propensity to aggressive and poor social choices." p. 15-16Respecting their own life story. "A healing parent's job is to simply give neutral information so a child can work out the past for himself or herself. An example: 'I do not know very much about your mother. I know she was very young and she may have used drugs and she may have lived on the street, but I don't know how she felt when she was pregnant with you. What do you think she felt?' This approach opens a window through which your child can begin to look at and share his life's story. Accept and honor what the child tells you and the emotion he shares about it. Let the child be the authority on his own life." p.71-72

pain erasure the bonnie prudden way

pain erasure the bonnie prudden way - bonnie prudden I read the first edition. Myotherapy, exercises and stretches. Makes sense, but in my experience, it lessens the pains, it doesn't erase it. The book provides lots detail in diagrams and photos, but is still easy for a layperson to follow. The photos from the 80's are kind of fun to look at as well.


Tilt-a-Whirl - Chris Grabenstein I needed to escape into a quick fiction read. This filled the bill. I didn't like the style of writing at first (a bit choppy), but I was quickly interested in the story and the characters. Put that together with a long morning bus commute and I was well on my way into the story. Liked the twists and turns -- I didn't see them coming. I especially liked the references to Springsteen lyrics woven throughout the book.

The Power of Focusing: Finding Your Inner Voice

The Power of Focusing: A Practical Guide to Emotional Self-Healing - Ann Weiser Cornell Using focusing to deal with action blocks (such as writer's block): "As you sense this block in a new way, you may even discover that what you thought you wanted to do isn't really so. One woman worked on a block that stopped her from doing sports. ("I've had this block for 10 yrs.") After Focusing with that part of her that didn't want to do sports, she announced, "I realize that I hate sports!" She then formulated a new goal: to be more active in vigorous body movement. She joined a dance class; no more block." p.59... feel the positive energy hidden inside the fear. "I'm afraid I'll be too tired" might become "I want to have energy." "I'm afraid people won't like my work" might become "I want my work to be appreciated." p.62

In the Basement of the Ivory Tower: Confessions of an Accidental Academic

In the Basement of the Ivory Tower: Confessions of an Accidental Academic - Professor X Professor X obviously has very mixed feelings about his students and his role as an adjunct English instructor. While many of his reactions and observations are understandable, it's hard not to squirm a bit (or a lot) about some of what he says. "My time in the classroom keeps me marvelously connected to the larger culture. The students keep me young -- it's an awful cliche, the sort of thing I try to banish from their writing, but it's true. I watch how the young ones dress, catch snatches of conversation, observe the dance of the sexes, and modern life seems vital and worthwhile to me, not just a debased version of what I have already experienced. I note my own interactions with the older students and understand, for the first time, the profoundly important role that age plays in relationships. ... As a basis for mutual understanding, age trumps sex, age trumps race, age trumps race, age trumps education and social class." p. 99-100"My students and I are of a piece. I could not be haughty, even if I wanted to be. Our presence in these evening classes is evidence that something in our lives has gone awry. In one way or another, we have all screwed up. I'm working a second job; they're desperately trying to get to a place where they don't have to work a second job. All any of us want is a free evening. We are all saddled with children or mortgages or sputtering careers, sometimes all three. I often think, at the beginning of the class, that a 5-minute snooze, a sanctioned nap period, would do us all good. We carry knapsacks and briefcases spilling over with the contents of our hectic lives. We reek of coffee and tuna oil. The daytime students are fed by the college food service, which understands its mandate to be at least marginally nutritious. My people eat cakes and chips out of machines -- when there's anything left in the machines.The poignancy of my students can be overwhelming. I see them trying to keep all the balls in the air: job, school, family, marriage. Of course it isn't easy. On our class breaks, they scatter like frightened mice to various corners and niches of the building, whip out their cell phones, and try to maintain a home life at a distance. Burdened with their own homework assignments, they gamely try to stop on top of their children's. (Which problems do you have to do? All right, then, just the odd numbers. That's good, right? One, three, five, seven, nine and you're done. Don't think of it as nine problems. Just do them one at a time. Finish that and then do the spelling. Now put Daddy on.) I hear husbands and wives trying to conduct a whole domestic life within the boundaries of a 10-minute call, talk of parent-teacher conferences and appointments with plumbers that often disintegrates into argument. "What do you want me to do?" I have it heard it said many times by trapped people standing in empty classrooms. "What do you want me to do?" I think sometimes that we'd all be better off without cell phones. After the breaks, it's difficult to reconnect with some of the students. I can tell they are replaying the last phone call in their minds, frustrated and helpless as they sit trapped in the classroom while the world outside, they imagine, goes to hell." p. 107-8"The sheer shock of college is a recurring theme in my students' papers, and inspires some of their most heartfelt writing. Even with their limited academic gifts, many have managed to cruise their way through high school. American public education has not served these students very well, and now, as they enter college so vastly unprepared, there is a real poignancy to their growing recognition of this astringent truth. How can I stay angry at them? They want me to show them what literature is all about; they know, dimly, that those who matter in the world are versed in its mysteries. They call me "professor." They did it without thinking. I stopped making a fuss about it. Why should I rain on their parade? In my mind, I was a government worker masquerading as an academic. Why should I let my feelings of fraudulence interfere with their college experience?I drive home that night in my old car. Is that radiator leaking? I seem to be leaving small green puddles whenever I park. I have one headlamp out, but if I keep my brights on, both work. I pull up to a quiet traffic light near the college. A car waits across the intersection from me. My brights are shining right in his eyes. He flashes his own lights a few times to get my attention, but I ignore him. I don't feel I can click mine down. He just thinks I'm an inconsiderate asshole. I burn to tell him: That's not me! There's more to me than that!" p. 111-12"Credential inflation can be insidious. After a while it starts to seems that a particular occupation require a degree, when it simply may not be the case. Consider the illustration of nursing. Currently, approximately 60% of nurses graduate with a 3-year associate's degree, but that wasn't always true. Although a few baccalaureate programs in nursing began in the late 19th century, they never provided more than 15% of the new nurses each year; most nurses originally came from diploma programs affiliated directly with the hospitals. The model was that of an apprenticeship; the nursing students were essentially employees. The discovery of antibiotics expanded the need for health care services, and by the end of WWII the US faced a serious shortage of nurses. ... recommending a game change: the nurses be educated in colleges and universities, an idea that suited many of the young women entering the profession as well as the hospitals, which had begun to find their nursing programs burdensome. ...The Associate Degree in Nursing, originally a 2-year program, has grown to 3 years. And now the Carnegie Foundation... has put in its two cents: a new study from their Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recommends a B.S.N, a 4-year program, be a prerequisite for all those seeking to work as nurses." p. 241"They will manage to find new and endless innovative ways to flummox me, my students. But I don't care. Years of teaching have left their marks on me; I feel scarred, nicked, marked up, chipped, bearing the signs of life lived as vividly as the old wallpaper in my bedroom. But I wouldn't dream of stopping. Ever. It's too good, in its own singular way. Adjuncting used to be something I struggled to fit into my world; now, years hence, I've come to see how much it anchors and enriches that world -- how much it actually is my world. Without English 101 and English 102, I think I might well be bereft. Doesn't that seem odd? It does to me." p. 247-8"While you watch American Idol and Dancing with the Stars, we're gathering for another semester in the basement of the ivory tower. Students and teacher alike share flickerings of wonderment and uncertainty. How did we all get here? The classroom surroundings are familiar, even cozy: there's a comfort to sitting in rows, and desks wrap around the students protectively. The textbooks seem compendia of all the world's knowledge. ... A few students will thrive; many will wither. We are, all of us there gathered, trembling with fright, short of breath, sick at heart, but perhaps hopeful. That our senses are so alive is thrilling. The whiteboard markers give off a vaguely medicinal smell. The edges of posters from semesters past curl away from the wall. Motes of dust bob in the light from the overhead projector. The old heating unit comes on with a shudder. There seems a meaning in all this mundanity that lies just beyond our grasp. Every new assignment, at least, starts us all thinking." p. 249

Moby Dick or The Whale

Moby Dick or The Whale - I listened to this on audio, read by Anthony Heald. I've read the book before, but I got so much more out of hearing it with this great dramatic reading.

Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life

Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life - Gretchen Rubin It felt redundant to the original book. While I still enjoyed parts of it, it felt a re-tread and an opportunity to make more sales without covering new ground.

Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age

Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age - Clay Shirky Cognitive surplus, creativity and generosity in a connected age. Clay Shirky.The shock of inclusion. “Despite half a century of hand-wringing about media contraction, my students have never know a media landscape of anything less than increasing abundance. They have never known a world with only 3 TV channels, a world where the only choice a viewer had in the early evening was which white man was going to read them the news in English. … A much harder thing to explain to them is this: if you were a citizen of that world, and you had something you needed to say in public, you couldn’t. Period. Media content wasn’t produced by consumers; if you had the wherewithal to say something in public, you weren’t a consumer anymore, by definition. …. People who published pamphlets or walked around with signs were assumed to be unhinged. William Safire… summed up this division: “For years I used to drive up Massachusetts Avenue past the vice president’s house and would notice a lonely, determined guy across the street holding a sign claiming he had been sodomized by a priest. Must be a nut, I figured – and thereby ignored a clue to the biggest religious scandal of the century.” P.60-61“The harnessing of our cognitive surplus allows people to behave in increasingly generous, public, and social ways, relative to their old status as consumers and couch potatoes. The raw material of this change is the free time available to us, time we can commit to projects that range from the amusing to the culturally transformative. If free time was all that was necessary, however, the current changes would have occurred half a century ago. Now we have the tools at our disposal, and the new opportunities they provide. …. We still have to explain why. … What is motivating The People Formerly Known as the Audience to start participating? Motive. “The design of a website may not seem to have much to do with fostering a sense of membership, but something designed by an amateur can actually create better conditions of membership than a professional design can…. [An amateur design] sends the message ‘You can play this game too.’” P. 79-80Amateur motivation, public scale. Feedback loops. Intrinsic motivation, public action. When you see people acting in ways you don’t understand, you may ask rhetorically, Why are they behaving that way? A better question is this: Is their behavior rewarding a desire to for autonomy, or for competence? Is it rewarding their desire to feel connected or generous? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, you may have your explanation. If the answer to more than one of those questions is yes, you probably do. P. 93Opportunity.“We often think of competition as pure conflict, the way firms compete in a market, happy to drive one another out of business. In groups of people who know one another and share the same interests, though, competition can take on a collaborative quality. The Z-boys [skateboarders] competed not to end the development of skating techniques but to extend it. Instead of trying to come to some final or right way of skating, or to master some hidden and uncopyable technique, they developed new styles and tricks out in the open, challenging in order to invite a response. “ p. 102“Market pricing may seem inherently incompatible with communal sharing as a way of organizing human affairs, and it’s easy to assume that the less market-oriented a given culture is, the greater the likelihood that its members will be reflexively generous and open with each other. As a way of testing this hypothesis, the Ultimatum Game has been tried in a variety of different cultures, and it turns out that selfishness and market forces are indeed correlated. The surprise is that they are correlated in the opposite way you would expect. Markets support generous interactions with strangers rather than undermining them. What this means is that the less integrated market transactions are in a given society, the less generous its members will be to one another in anonymous interactions. … The market acquaints people with the utility of making transactions with people you don’t know and with the idea, however implicit, that those transactions are an appropriate way of interacting with strangers.” P. 109The Copenhagen airport has posted its rules via cardboard cutouts of airport employees, photographed holding up signs like “Don’t take luggage carts up the escalator.” The informational content of the sign is no different from before, but having it held by a picture of a person triggers the sense that human beings are behind all the rules and requests. Under the right circumstances, we are good at coordinating our actions with regard for other people, even those not present. This skill isn’t universal, however; it requires figuring out how to encourage mutual regard for one another and balance selfish motives against it. That challenge is part of any group dynamic (both competitive and collaborative aspects). What’s new is the prospect of creating that mutual regard across much larger and more widely dispersed groups, groups who pool their efforts without sharing a physical locations, and whose creations can be valuable not just for the participants but for the rest of the world as well. P. 114Social production: people you don’t know, making your life better for free. “When we want something to happen, and it’s more complex than one person can accomplish alone, we need a group to do it. … For large scale, long-lived tasks: 1) the private sector. A task will get done when the group to do can be assembled and paid for less than their output will fetch in the market. (This is the world of the firm; this is how most cars are built.) 2) the public sector. Employment comes with an obligation to work together on task that are of high perceived value, even if they are not compensated in the market. (This is the world of government and nonprofits; this is how most roads are built.) The single most heated political debate in the last century was how to best balance the competing values of those two modes. The result, after the collapse of Communism as the maximum case for a pure public option and after the rise of the welfare state tempered the idea of a pure market, has been a convergence to a broad center, with different mixes of public and private creation in different places . 3) Social production. Creation of value by a group for its members, using neither price signals nor managerial oversight to coordinate participants’ efforts. (This is the world of friends and family; this is how most picnics happen.) Social production was not included in the heated political debates of the 20th century, because the things people could produce for one another using their free time and working without markets or manager were limited. Two things happened to end that consensus. First, behavioral economics upended the idea that humans always determine value rationally. … The second thing that has happened is that the emergence of a medium that makes group coordination cheap and widespread caused many of the old limits on social production to recede. … “commons-based peer production” : work that is jointly owned and accessed by its participants, and created by people operating as peers, without a managerial hierarchy. . p. 118-119“In 1973 Mark Granovetter showed in a seminal paper, “The Strength of Weak Ties,” that people tend to find jobs through casual acquaintances rather than through close friends or family. Since then an increasing body of research has demonstrated the importance of social networks to our well-being. … Habits and traits spread through social networks through up to 3 degrees of separation, and those these traits are not contagious like a virus, they are contagious in that they spread through social contact. “ p. 128Community, cost, clarity and culture. Culture, a community’s set of shared assumptions about how it should go about its work, and about its members’ relations with one another. To really take advantage of combinability, in other words, a group has to do more than understand the things its members care about. Its members also have to understand each other, in order to share and work well together. “ p. 143Both CouchSurfing.cm and the Association of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women offer ways of mitigating the specific dangers women face, but they do it in different ways. CouchSurfing is a kind of communal resource, combining individual responses into a market for surfers and surfees; its value is mainly enjoyed by its participants (and the risks are largely mitigated by its participants as well). The Association… , by contrast, was a civic intervention, designed to make India safer not just for the women who mailed the chaddis but for all women who want to be free of the threat posed by Sri Ram Sene. The differing methods and results of these two groups illustrated ways that voluntary participation can change society. P. 171While these various forms exist on a spectrum, we can identify 4 essential points on that spectrum. 1) Personal sharing, done among otherwise uncoordinated individuals; think ICanHasCheezburger. 2) a more involved form of communal sharing takes place inside a group of collaborators; think Meetup.com groups for post-partum depression. 3) Public sharing, when a group of collaborators actively wants to create a public resource; think the Apache software project. 4) Civic sharing, a group is actively trying to change society; think Pink Chaddi. The spectrum from personal to communal to public to civic describes the degree of value created for participants versus nonparticipants. With personal sharing, most or all of the value goes to the participants, while at the other end of the spectrum, attempts at civic sharing are specifically designed to generate real change in the society the participants are embedded in. p. 173The amount of public and civic value we get out of our cognitive surplus is an open question, and one strongly affected by the culture of the groups doing the sharing, and by the culture of the larger society that those groups are embedded in. As Dean Kamen, the inventor and entrepreneur, puts it, “In a free culture, you get what you celebrate.” Depending on what we celebrate in one another, we can get a few pieces of public and civic value, like those we see today in Wikipedia and open source software and the Responsible Citizens, or we can celebrate people who create civic value, making it a deep part of the experience of users everywhere. Getting what we celebrate highlights the tension between maximizing individual freedom and maximizing social value. Social media introduces social dilemmas into a number of environments where they didn’t previously exist; prior to the present historical generation, motivating unpaid actors to do anything for the civic good was left to governments and nonprofits, themselves institutional actors Today we can take on some of those problems ourselves, but the more we want to do at the civic end of the scale, the more we have to bind ourselves to one another and to achieve (and celebrate) shared goals. Improving the odds for social media.1. Start small. Projects that will work only if they grow large generally won’t grow large. Start with a system that is small and good and work on making it bigger rather than starting with a system that is large and mediocre and working on making it better. 2. Ask “why?” Even knowing what intrinsic motivations are, we can’t predict how people will react to a given opportunity. Why would users care about this particular opportunity, given all the other things they could be doing with their time? Designers have to put themselves in the user’s position and take a skeptical look at what the user gets out of participating, especially when the motivation of the designer differs from that of the user. 3. Behavior follows opportunity. 4. Default to social. By assuming that users would be happy to create something of value for each other, Delicious grew quickly, since the social value attracted new users, and their subsequent use of the service created still more social value.