An Absorbing Errand: How Artists and Craftsmen Make Their Way to Mastery
Janna Malmud Smith
While we may not all be destined to be great artists, we do all face the expectations of mastery of certain skills and capabilities in the workplace. A useful read for understanding the journey to mastery.
The Age of Missing Information, Bill McKibben
Every thought to compare 24 hours of 90+ channels of television to 24 hours spend out in the woods? While that comparison might not fill a sucking psychic void for you, it is the premise for this stimulating book. Yes, Bill McKibben is an unapologetic tree hugger, but his writing does open a window on some interesting questions.
Blink, Malcom Gladwell
A book length treatment of individual judgment and what judgment looks like in the hands of experts, with a particular focus on the successes and failures of intuitive thinking.
Integrity, Stephen L. Carter
Judgment without integrity is a cold, unappetizing plate. Per Carter’s book, we’re ready to instantly applaud for integrity even if we aren’t always sure how to practice it. This book provides a framework for reflection on integrity while not relieving one of the burden of judgment
Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatley
Wheatley looks at how our notions of leadership are based on a rationalist, Newtonian perspective on the world and how those notions of leadership are crumbling under the crush of modern demands. She suggests that the values and perspectives of quantum physics offer us a way out of the mental and spiritual traps of 18th century scientism. Ironic that an engine of technology might provide an exit from the same.
“Saddam’s Delusions, The View from the Inside” Kevin Woods, James Lacey, and Williamson Murray, Foreign Affairs, May/June 06
The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit, Sherry Turkle
This book is fascinating for its snapshot-in-time quality looking at the moment just before the internet exploded onto the American social scene. In a way we are too much with the Internet now to be able to get a clear picture of it’s impact and Sherry Turkle gives us an insightful picture into how technology shapes our thinking as well as our relationships from a pre-internet vantage point
Six Degrees: The Science of Networks, Duncan J. Watts
Watts turns the Six Degrees of Separation game into something of a scientific inquiry on the nature of social networks. This is more than the usual social sciences “we’re a real science too, darn it” chat as Watts comes out of a biology background and ranges well beyond social networks. If we’re moving from the Industrial Age to the Network Age, this will provide some useful insight on how that new age might work.
Technopoly, Neil Postman
Postman makes a persuasive argument that we have allowed the values of technology and technologist to supplant all other standards of judgment and interaction.
Thinking Fast and Slow
An investigation into how we process information with surprising insights into divisions of labor within the brain that may subvert rational decision making and implying that we need to work harder at making data driven decisions.
The Tipping Point, Malcom Glawell
Where Blink leans more towards an examination of individual judgment, this work is squarely focused on the process of collective judgment, how cultures pick up, transmit and discard various items and ideas of interest. Taken together, they provide a useful guidebook for navigating the digital/analog decision terrain.