Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Daily Thoughts 4/29/09
Today is rather interesting. We had a morning meeting discussing the many things which are currently happening. We are doing a lot with getting the library collection more organized. I spent a considerable amount of time making sure the law collection was being covered properly today.
We have a reggae poet doing a workshop right now. I stopped in for a minute to check on things. He was talking about how to do free writing. He has a cd of his poetry which he is giving to participants. There is also a class visiting from the local baptist church who are working on a project on different countries around the world. The final thing which is happening is a city Green Committee which is meeting for the first time in the community room. We are making a concerted effort to increase community involvement in the library. The reggae poet did very well. He wants to come back again to do another workshop. He gave two of his spoken word cds to the library.
I started working on a bookmark for graphic novels. It has a nice short selection of what I think people might like to read. I might also do one for writing as well.
On the train home, I started reading Good To Great Why Some Companies Make The Leap... And Others Don't by Jim Collins. There is also an accompanying monograph called Good To Great And The Social Sectors Why Business Thinking Is Not The Answer by Jim Collins. The monograph is quite short, only 35 pages of text.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The Power of Positive Confrontation is about how to confront people in a polite, clear manner. The book discusses more than just confronting someone. It also gives many examples of how to improve your conversational skills by stopping self discounting and other bad habits.
The information in the book is both practical and useful. It is not theoretical. Barbara Pachter covers both verbal and nonverbal aspects of confrontation; personal space, nervous habits, facial expression, listening, proper diction, politeness, and eye contact are reviewed.
There are no pictures and no charts in this book. It is only text. The descriptions are often broken into actionable numbered lists or steps. The language is clear and straightforwad. There is even a section on how and when to confront someone in writing.
I was surprised to find information on technological etiquette in this book. This is not something which I have seen before; email, phone, voice mail, and cell phone etiquette were described.
The final section of the book is how to be polite and diffuse potential confrontations; sharing space, greeting others, and avoiding cultural conflict.
This is a useful, practical book which gives many actionable tips on how to confront people in a polite prepared way. It is well worth reading.
Daily Thoughts 4/28/2009
I spent some more time going through the technical processing area today. We are starting to put out the new video games for patrons. We have Fallout 3 for the Xbox 360. It has a bobblehead doll of the vault dweller that comes with the packaging. We are going to use it as part of the display of the new game material. We also have Guitar Hero II. This is the first time we are going to circulate video games.
I also spent time filing looseleafs and weeding some more of the 700s area. Things are getting a bit more organized.
I am looking forward to going to the Westchester Library Association Conference on May 8, 2009. It should be very interesting to go there.
On the train here, I read Eat This Not That by David Zinczenko. It is very interesting. It is a menu guide comparing different foods and which ones you should eat. It gives the pictures of the best and worst items from fast food restaurants like Taco Bell, McDonald's, Appleby's, Denny's and others. There are also comparisons of different food items in the supermarket; popular brands of cereal, salad dressing, snacks, ice cream, and other food items. There were also guides to choices for food during holiday meals. Do you pecan pie or pumpkin pie?
I learned a few things about food. Green tea and grapefruit help you with losing weight. Sherbet and frozen yogurt are better for you than ice cream. Oatmeal is one of the best foods you can have for breakfast. The tips were simple and useful. The pictures were all in full color. The descriptions and layout were well designed. I can recommend this book. It is a fast easy read.
I am looking forward to getting the Eat This Not That Supermarket Guide.
On the train home, I tried to read Ideas Triumphant Strategies for Social Change and Progress by Lawrence Lader. I could not read that far into the book. The problem was one where the author always seemed to present his side as winning. There was never a retreat from a losing argument, or an attempt to regroup around an idea. I found that it did not portray the full span of conflict between opposing ideas. I believe in the concept of a "war for ideas" where there is continuous conflict about what ideas will become prevalent. The book was too one sided in its presentation for me to read.
The second book I attempted to read was The Anarchist In The Library How the Clash Between Freedom and Control Is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System by Siva Vaidhyanathan. The thing which threw me off with this book is how he portrayed freedom as anarchistic and control as oligarchic in a kind of dialectic. I am not a big fan of dialecticism. I follow with the idea that Descartes was wrong about people being divided into two parts, rational and emotional or the mind and body. People develop rationality and spirituality from baser emotions.
I find myself thinking back to a book called Descartes Error which has influenced my thinking considerably. I like to think of things in a more holistic way. I often find the concept of everything being split into two sides fractious.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Daily Thoughts 4/27/2009
Today, I went through a bunch of gift books that had been in storage for a while. These were things which we had planned to add for a while. We are slowly catching up with a back log of books. I prepared four shelves of books to be added. There were several x-men graphic novels which I thought that people would like
I also finished up ordering adult fiction titles for the month. There were a few other miscellaneous tasks that needed to be done; bringing down some art books for storage and filing some law looseleafs.
I took some time to look at a site called http://www.earlyword.com/ , a site which connects librarians and publishers. There are a lot of forthcoming publishers catalogs. They also have some very interesting sites for forthcoming books.
Amazon Popular Preorders
Barnes & Noble Coming Soon
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Daily Thoughts 4/26/2009
Right now, I am reading The Power of Positive Confrontation by Barbara Pachter with Susan Magee. It is a self help style book focused on effectively confronting people. So far, it is excellent. I especially like the sections on nonverbal behavior during confrontations and how to eliminate self discounting language.
I watched some more episodes of Roughnecks Starship Troopers on Youtube. At this point, the alien skinnies have joined the human war effort against the bugs. It is turning out to be every enjoyable to watch. It is a bit different than most other Youtube videos because they have some advertising embedded in the videos. It makes it almost like television in a way.
I also watched the last part of Sidewalk Stories on dvd. It is rather touching. It is about being homeless. It was not obvious at the beginning of the film. It is a silent film with an orchestra.
I often take time to look at statistics for my website, mainly inbound and outbound links. I checked Google Webmaster tools this morning. Bookaddiction.org-- Betty Ford For the Bibliophile has a number of inbound and outbound links to my site. This is a link to the site http://bookaddiction.org/ I am adding it to blogs that I read.
I thought this article in support of libraries from Last Kiss Comics was very interesting. http://www.lastkisscomics.com/2009/04/23/the-library-comics-and-me/
A podcast from 2008 Book Expo, How Libraries Buy-- http://bookexpocast.com/2008/07/24/how-libraries-buy-librarians-reveal-their-methods-for-collection-development/
Barnes and Noble Library Market Bookstore-- http://btob.barnesandnoble.com/home.asp?btob=Y
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Daily Thoughts 4/25/2009
Today was an interesting day. I spent some time this morning working with Professor Teaches Publisher 2003, a computer program which teaches people how to use Microsoft Publisher. I came in a little early to get this done.
We also did a cleanup around the library, raking up garbage and trash, and picking up bottles and other things. We spent around two hours picking up around the building. It also looked like the post office picked up around their lot and building this morning. The city is signing people up for block cleanups. Groups would get extra pickups for garbage on the weekend. It is part of Earth Celebration Week. There is also a small display of books for earth day in a case. The local high school special education department did a display on alternative energy in our front lobby. We had a nice earth week.
Early today, I also had a few minutes to go into the technical processing area and review some of the books for mending in the cage. Not everything will make it to the mending shelf.
I am sitting here looking at fiction reviews. It is a very nice day outside. I have picked out a few titles, Paulo Coelho, The Winner Stands Alone is one of them. Paul Coelho puts a page up with pirated versions of his own work to increase his print sales. He also comments on various issues with the internt. http://piratecoelho.wordpress.com/ . I also picked out books by a few popular authors, Dorothy Cannell, Stuart Woods, and Robert Littlell.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Daily Thoughts 4/24/2009
On the train home, I read Look, Speak, and Behave For Men, Expert Advice On Image, Etiquette, and Effective Communication for the Professional by Jamie Yasko-Mangum, C.I.C. Certified Image Consultant. This book was not very deep, however, it did provide a few useful pieces of information. It has some very exact guidelines for how to dress in a business casual environment with pictures of the attire. It also gives tips on how to dress in a creative environment which most books don't cover. There are also some wardrobe suggestions for business casual.
Charles Lane one of our patrons lent me a film which he had produced Sidewalk Stories. It is a silent film with some humor in it set in the 1980s. It looks like it is in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. So far, it is mildly entertaining. It is shots of people walking around doing things. There is a classical score to the film.
Today, I spent more time in the technical processing area sorting through unprocessed books. We catalog some of our government documents. I sorted through these picking out things which needed to be prioritized. I also pulled some more books which needed to be processed for the Job Information Center. I am going to have sort through the books to be mended as well.
I also did some ordering of books. A few graphic novels. They are coming out with a new graphic novel of the forthcoming Star Trek move called Star Trek Countdown. I also selected several plays like Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under The Elms, a few poetry books by Kay Ryan the current poet laureate in the United States, the new Pulitzer prize winning novel, Olive Kittredge by Elizabeth Strout, and a variety of other works.
There were a few other miscellaneous minor tasks that needed doing. I filed some law looseleafs, and thought about producing a bibliography for graphic novels. I think I might do this. It would be an interesting thing to do. The other bibliography I might do is books on writing. Sometimes thinking about things sets you on the right track.
Now I am pondering about sleep.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Daily Thoughts 4/23/2009
I have a day off today. I spent much of the morning relaxing and unwinding. I watched a few more episodes of Roughnecks Starship Troopers on Youtube. I am enjoying it a lot. The CGI animation is excellent. There is also a lot of action in the shows.
I received the confirmation for Automatically Yours from Baker & Taylor for some fiction authors. They were not able to do all the authors I would have liked, but still covered quite a few authors. There are a lot of authors which are popular just at our library because of cultural and social composition of our community.
I also did my exercises from the book Yoga RX and listened to the hypnosis tape that came with the book I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna. I found a flaw with the book. While it has gotten me to eat less and lose some weight, it has not told me the specifics of the kind of food I should be eating. I will probably have to go back over proper nutrition to lose more weight. I am going to have to read some books on what to eat, not how to eat. I am going to try the Eat This, Not That! series of books by David Zinczenko and the Volumetric diet.
I'll probably walk up the hill to my local library and drop off some books. I am going to read something light and entertaining next. Maybe, a science fiction novel, or a nice graphic novel to take my mind off work. I went to my library and dropped off two books. I did not find anything I wanted to read. When I got back I got a recommendation to read Good to great : why some companies make the leap--and others don't by James C. Collins. It is very nice outside and the sky is clear.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
It reminds me of both O'Reilly's nutshell books and West's legal nutshell books.
Daily Thoughts 4/22/2009
I am listing to Donovan singing The Jabberwocky. The blog, The Genteel Arsenal has a post on literary music. It is worth listening to. http://thegenteelarsenal.blogspot.com/2009/04/literary-music.html
I just joined the Librarian Twibe on Twitter. I wonder if I can join any other Twibes.
I am also trying the Book Twibe. http://www.twibes.com/group/books
Today has not been too bad. I spent some more time going through the cage sorting books to be processed. They have cleared out all the reference books and have prioritized some of the backlog of books to be put out. There are several books which I am looking forward to reading.
I spent some time pulling more books from the shelves to be put into the oversize section. I also did some weeding based on condition and currency. I am going through the 700s, the art section right now.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Daily Thoughts 4/21/2009
Today was another incredibly busy day. I reviewed a new librarians orders with them before they were sent in. There were a few orders for books related to libraries. I am looking forward to getting Pop Goes the Library: Using Pop Culture to Connect with Your Whole Community by Sophie Brookover and Elizabeth Burns.
I also went over a new arrangement for our technical service area with one of my colleagues, and spent some time sorting through books which came in separating reference books and books that needed to be processed immediately.
I am planning on ordering many of the plays and musicals which are currently running on Broadway as well as several books which people have requested.
On the way home, I finished reading Here Comes Everybody, The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky. There are a lot of interesting ideas throughout this book. For example, on Sourceforge, a site for free open source software, only 5% of the open source software accounts for most of the traffic. Open source allows for lots of experimentation and failure, people are free to create the software and fail at it with little consequence. The software that succeeds becomes very successful because people very quickly add to the successes.
I made it into The Best of the Web blog directory. This is not so easy to do. It is a human edited directory of web sites that is very particular about who they will add. http://blogs.botw.org/Arts/Literature/
Monday, April 20, 2009
1977 Stamp United States 4 Cents.
Daily Thoughts 4/20/2009
I decided to create a Linked In page. Linked In is a professional social network. It is mainly focused on making contacts for business and networking. I had a page before, but it was never fully filled in. I only have a few contacts right now. This will change rapidly, I think.
Today has been another long day. I have been pulling oversize books from the regular collection to be put in the oversize collection. This is making the shelves a bit more presentable and freeing up some space. Tomorrow, I will start shifting some of the older books in the 700s (art and music) section to the storage area.
I also went over ordering with one of our new librarians. We are ordering job books for the city; building inspector, fireman, account clerk, and payroll clerk. Civil service functions which keep the city running.
We are also reorganizing the cage for technical processing where the new books come in. The shelves are going to get new labels by dewey number or category, and the inside is going to be rearranged. Our first priority is getting all of the reference books done, then processing the books with current 2009 dates on them.
Last Saturday, a carpenter came to inspect the area where our new slat walls are going up for displaying the new books. It should be a big improvement in the way our library looks.
I read some more of Here comes Everybody. As I read and observe more about the idea of software based platforms that become organizations, I am recognizing some additional characteristics of these companies. They are global in scope, they can reach anywhere an internet connection exists, they are multilingual because either they will use translation programs or hire people or recruit volunteers to translate the platform, and they can rapidly gather people together over seemingly trivial activities.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Daily Thoughts 4/19/2009
I am reading the CREW Manual from Texas State University. They have an interesting acronym for weeding or as some people call it deselection.
M = Misleading (and/or factually inaccurate)
U = Ugly (worn and beyond mending or rebinding)
S = Superseded (by a truly new edition or by a much better book on
T = Trivial (of no discernible literary or scientific merit; usually of
ephemeral interest at some time in the past)
I = Irrelevant to the needs and interests of your community
E = The material or information may be obtained expeditiously
Elsewhere through interlibrary loan, reciprocal borrowing, or in
There were also a few interesting selection lists in the online manual as well.
Video Round Table’s Notable Videos list at
Gaming Core Collection Titles” from Young Adult Library Services online at
I started reading Here Comes Everybody The Power of Organizing Without Organizing by Clay Shirky. The book started out rather slow, but has become interesting in the second chapter. It is about how the new communication tools make it possible to very quickly organize around a common interest for very little cost with minimal needs for hierarchical management.
This is a fragment of a sentence from P.107 of Here Comes Everybody, "The more an institution relies on information as its core product, the greater and more complete the change will be."
The book reminds of the earlier book on Google and Wikipedia which I have read. There seems to be a common thread running through these organizations. They are platforms for doing a specific task, Google started as a search engine, and Wikipedia started as a free encyclopedia. They both are becoming much more by harnessing a new set of social and organizational philosophies.
There seems to be an emerging pattern in the new social platforms; The are built initially by a very small group of people, they can scale very quickly, they require some kind of voluntary participation, there is usually a common interest attached to each platform (books, photography, fashion, etc.), all rely on continuous incremental improvement, all have easy to follow measurements, there is a strong customer service ethic, the technology is easy to use, they rely on the virtual world (not the physical world of atoms), and they can easily move into new ventures. You can say this of Twitter, Facebook, Google, Flickr, and many other successful social network platforms.
All I can say for libraries is that not far down the road, we have to be prepared to change rapidly. Google has previously indicated with books if it is in a library, it is worth scanning. The public domain is going to become a giant free platform available through dozens of different channels, flickr, Wikipedia, Google, Project Gutenberg and other locations. This platform is going to expand rapidly as people add to it forming novel ways of handling information. Wikipedia is already morphing into Wikibooks, Wikimedia, and other things. The technology comes first, then a period of disruption, and finally a new reality. I am not sure what it will be, but it will be a lot different than todays libraries, publishing and bookstores.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Portrait of the writer Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy. Oil on canvas. 84.4 × 70.5 cm. The State Literature Museum. Moscow, 1896, Repin
Daily Thoughts 4/18/2009
I am almost done reading The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines. It was very enjoyable. Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty team up to rescue prince Armand after he is kidnapped, ensorcelled and carried off to fairyland. There are two more books coming up in the series, The Mermaid's Madness and Red Hood's Revenge. Jim C. Hines wrote the Jig the Goblin trilogy which I reviewed earlier. It is an excellent series which turns fantasy gaming writing on its head. We purchased the Jig the Goblin series for the young adult collection.
I walked to my local library and dropped off a few books. I picked up a book I had on reserve, Library Collection Development Policies School Libraries and Learning Resource Centers by Frank W. Hoffman and Richard J. Wood. It is a list of collection development policies broken into samples of gift, acquisitions, weeding, budgeting/funding, intellectual freedom, copyright, collection maintenance, collection evaluation and other subjects.
I also took a break from reading and watched an episode of Roughnecks, Starship Troopers on Youtube which ran for about 21 minutes. It was a nice break.
Collection Development Training for Arizona Public Libraries. Very useful. An overview of collection development. I read much of it earlier today. http://www.lib.az.us/cdt/
CREW: A Weeding Manual For Modern Libraries -- Continuous Review Evaluation and Weeding.
http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/pubs/crew/crewmethod08.pdf A Simple Book Repair Manual
This book is written by Jimmy Lih who was an editor for Wikipedia for over four years. The book itself reads very much like Wikipedia does. If you like using Wikipedia, you probably will like this book. Mr. Lih seems to use the NPOV (no point of view) style which Wikipedia uses in writing the book. If you look in the notes section, the majority of citations come directly from the Wikipedia site.
There is a lot of precursor material to when Wikipedia starts. The technology behind Wikipedia is very much a history of open source software, linux, and "the hacker ethic." In 1995, Ward Cunningham invented Wiki software which was a quick way to edit and create web pages by any person involved. It was not until 2001 that Wikipedia was started. Wiki is the Hawaiian word for "quick."
The book describes how already existing technology coalesces around a new form of organization to make an online encyclopedia. Wikipedia is based on volunteer time. Very few people on Wikipedia are paid. A lot of the people who are editors on Wikipedia come from http://slashdot.org/ a premiere technical community. Many of the same people who work on open source software which is free work on Wikipedia which is also free. The majority of the licensing on Wikipedia's content is copyleft, an idea created by Richard Stallman, a famous computer programmer and proponent of the GNU free documentation license.
Wikipedia is not the first major reference work which asked for donations of free time to create. The Oxford English Dictionary put out general requests for donations of dictionary entries. The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester chronicles a story in the creation of the OED. Wikipedia takes it one step further, it asks for donations and then makes the information freely available.
There is a story of Wikipedia taking what is already available in the public domain, editing it and expanding it into encyclopedic entries. Wikipedia absorbed the United States census data and used it as a template for creating descriptions of towns and cities in the United States. The CIA World Fact Book entries were taken as descriptions of countries and then expanded with user generated content. When I use Wikimedia, I see many images from the Library of Congress archives which are in the public domain. This is incredibly useful, however, it has some problems with reliability.
The human factor is both the strength and weakness of Wikipedia. Because anybody can contribute to Wikipedia, there are a number of problems. Wikipedia acknowledges they are not a primary source of information, the majority of their information is secondary. We learn they are not seeking to be a place for original research. I thought this was very interesting. When I use Wikipedia, I find the citations in Wikipedia's entries to be far better in many cases then the written entries because they link to primary or original research.
The structure of Wikipedia described in this book is very loose. The code of conduct seems to be more important than fixed rules. This looseness has led to a lot of controversies; inaccurate biographical entries, editors who are other than they say they are, a focus on self-promotion, a preference for popular articles over more academic works, and a way of work based on the idea of consensus. The infighting and the controversies inside Wikipedia are described in detail inside this book. We get the story of how spammers, trolls, libelous content, edit wars, and other problems are addressed.
I liked reading this book. It gives a lot of insights into how people can build on peoples previous works. I also like Wikipedia and find it a useful. This book tries to be objective, it is not pure praise which makes it much better than many recent books on technology. The writing is journalistic in style. The book has citations and an index, but no pictures.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Daily Thoughts 4/17/2009
This is a very nice list of book review sites on the internet. http://www.acqweb.org/bookrev.html#av I have added it to my side bar.
Since I have been moved to collection development I have asked for minor changes to the way things are shelved. I am trying to make sure that the oversize books are properly kept in their own section. Oversize or quarto is measured as 26 centimeters in size. There is also some moving of books into the storage area which are still essential but not high circulation.
One of our new librarians suggested a revision of the way we are tracking books that people ask for which we do not have. It should be helpful.
Youtube is now hosting full length television shows. I found something I have wanted to watch, the complete run of Roughnecks: Starship Troopers, a CGI cartoon. http://www.youtube.com/show?p=rzDK6m3JihA
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Daily Thoughts 4/16/2009
I was very busy yesterday, much more so than usual. I did not get a chance to write. Yesterday, I went to another Earth Day committee meeting. I picked up some trash bags for the cleanup around the building. The post office has agreed to clean up around the building across the street. I also dropped off some flyers at the YMCA across the street.
I am thinking about what needs to be done next week. I have made sure that there are flyers for the program next week on setting up a home office. Also, we have flyers put up for the poetry workshop on April 29. I am looking forward to the workshop. It will be the final poetry event for National Poetry Month.
I finished reading Wikipedia Revolution on the train this morning.
We have another new librarian who started on April 14, 2009. The reference desk is filling up now.
Two new books came in for me to read, Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky and The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines.
This week is National Library Week, April 13-19, 2009. Take some time to visit your library and check out a book, or if you are not so book inclined check out a dvd or sit down and use a computer for a bit. We are here for people to visit and use.
Turn it off
Turn it all off
Sit quietly for a few moments
No electricity no machines
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Daily Thoughts 4/14/2009
Today was another day at work. We are going to add The Multicultural Review which is a quarterly journal to our routing list. It is one of the journals which we subscribe to. We had a collection development meeting today. I described what I had ordered, some 800s and a set of graphic novels on the New York Times bestseller list. I also have to put several Job Information Center titles on order which are being requested regularly.
I updated the displays for current events and Earth Day which is April 22, 2009. I also put together a list of supplies to ask for the Earth Celebration Week. I basically broke it down into two categories, planting supplies for flowers, and cleanup supplies. I have to call the people who I called before to confirm what we need tomorrow. I have another meeting tomorrow.
I also ran an open microphone poetry program today as well. It went much better than I expected. Fourteen people came in and out this time. I have a decent supply of poetry of my own, plus we had about seven people who had brought their own poetry to read as well as several books of poetry which I brought in case somebody did not have anything to read of their own. There were a few people who came in just to listen. We had the usual refreshments, mini-muffins, apple juice, coffee, and water. The microphone was set up a little better this time. The crowd was a mix of late teenagers and adults. It is an inexpensive program if you can do it right. April is national poetry month.
I read some more of The Wikipedia Revolution. This book is very interesting. It is as much a history of the internet as a story about the creation of the Wikipedia Encyclopedia. The technology for creating Wikipedia was already in place by 1995, Wikipedia is in some ways more of a social innovation and a new way of thinking about organizing people than a technological breakthrough.
There are a lot of fascinating ideas in this book. For example a search engine does not need a volume number nor does it need for terms to be alphabetized for it to work. Also, a lot of the information from Wikipedia came from public domain sources like the census and the CIA World Fact Book. Wikipedia essentially took the CIA World Fact Book and expanded it with lots more information to make many of the Wikipedia country entries. A lot of the town descriptions are compilations of United States census data that have people adding additional information to make a more complete entry.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Poster from 1940 Promoting Children's Reading
Daily Thoughts 4/13/2009
When I get back I will start helping one of the new librarians with selecting reference books for the business section. I plan on showing her a few things about selecting books. We subscribe to the American Reference Books Annual which compiles reviews for all reference books and also have a nice core list of business reference titles.
My library system finally has copies of Pride and Prejudice with Zombies. Of course, there is a waiting list when you place a hold on this book. I look forward to reading it.
I walked up the hill to my local library and dropped off a few books. I picked up a copy of The Wikipedia Revolution How A Bunch of Nobodies Created The Worlds Greatest Encyclopedia by Andrew Lih with a Foreword by Jimmy Wales Founder of Wikipedia.
A link to the books available through creative commons. I mostly look at the computer books in the nonfiction section and the science fiction books in the fiction section. Some of them are quite odd. http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Books
I was looking through http://www.acqweb.org/ which is a site for acquisitions and collection development librarians. It has lots of information on this subject. From there, I went to Queens Library Collection Development policy. I found it interesting because it lists the journals they use for collection development as part of their policy.
What Is The Measure of A Man?
Do you do things in increments?
The new digital order does.
Do you measure each action?
The new digital order does.
Are you tethered to a smart phone?
The digerati are plugged in.
Is your laptop with you at all times?
Company people are always on.
Are you linked into social networks?
Company people are linked together.
Are you incremental, measured, tethered,
Plugged in, always on, linked together
Welcome to the new digital machine.
You have become the measurer of man.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Ralph Waldo Emerson Portrait
Daily Thoughts 4/12/2009
We The Media, Grassroots Journalism By The People For The People by Dan Gillmor
In We The Media, Dan Gillmor lists four characteristics of an excellent blog, voice, focus, real reporting, and good writing. I like to think my own blog has an original voice-- my own, a specific focus on books, librarianship, and publishing, takes the time to talk about real issues, and tries to be entertaining and informative. I am of course still working on these things. The center change in journalism according to Dan Gillmor is that it is no longer a lecture but a conversation between writer and reader.
Sometimes when you are reading a book you learn something which surprises you. This book is available through a Creative Commons license. This means you can download and read it, but not sell it. Here is the web address. http://oreilly.com/catalog/wemedia/book/index.csp . I wish I had known this earlier, I would not have waited for the library to finish labeling and adding security sensors to the trade paperback I had just read.
I don't think this book really needs a deep review because it is readily available go and read it online if you can. If you write for the web for a living this book is pivotal. If you believe in citizen journalism this book is excellent as well. One of the opening quotes is "Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one." -- A.J. Liebing. This book shows you how you can partake in the press through the internet.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Bookplate of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Daily Thoughts 4/11/2009
I put The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines on hold. He writes humorous fantasy. This book was on the Locus bestseller list so I thought might be fun to read.
I am focusing right now on reading Fundamentals of Collection Development & Management by Peggy Johnson. The book is very nice general overview. It does not go into a lot of detail, but it gives you some guidelines about what a collection development librarian does. The book was printed in 2004, so it is within the last five years in terms of practice. I found an interesting quote which I posted on twitter in the book, "The high purpose of book selection is to provide the right book for the right reader at the right time." Francis K. Drury. I might replace the word book with either information or media to update it to current practices, but it is spot on.
I finished reading this book tonight. Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management was an interesting book. It told me much of what I might need to do in the coming months: put together a user survery, review the way our books are shelved, review collection policy, look at our standing orders, examine our holds reports to see what we need to purchase, think about a three year plan for collection development are some of the ideas presented which may be worthwhile. It also went over the history of collection development and a lot of theory.
What it did not do is show me in any way how to do collection development. This is a common problem with the professional literature of librarianship, the literature tells you what you should do, but not how to do it. There is an assumption that you will learn by doing in a hands on sense. It is very hard to find books that are oriented towards practice. Maybe I have to read more professional journals, blogs, and wikis to get the current practice part.
I am also reading We The Media. It is quite enjoyable. They already mentioned a book called The Transparent Society by David Brin. David Brin is one of my favorite science fiction authors. There seems to be a strong connection between writing about the intenet and being a science fiction author. Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross are both on the Locus Bestseller list for science fiction and are very involved in issues around intellectual freedom and the internet.
Friday, April 10, 2009
During the 1966 and 1967 first run of the television show Batman starring Adam West in Japan, it was decided that a comic based on batman would be produced in Japan. Jiro Kuwata wrote the manga during these two years.
This book is a unique story using a Japanese style manga to create stories on batman. Many of the stories are original with new characters like Doctor Faceless, Lord Death, and Go Go The Magician. The style and feel is slightly different than the original batman. I still like it very much.
There are a few original characters adapted from the western market, Clayface being the most prominent. I like that Clayface turns into a giant mantis in one scene. There is also a focus on the villains stealing art work. One of my favorite scenes is a fight at the Bat Monument which is batmans face on the side of a cliff. I did not know there was one before.
Batman has a few devices that we don't see in his western incarnation. He has tranquilizer shuriken which he throws at the villains. Also in some of the pictures of the advertising posters for the comics we see batman in bat scuba gear as well as Robin riding in the sidecar of a motorcycle with missiles attached to it which I found to be really neat.
The book has many full color photographs of original batman tin toys from Japan. They range from cap pistols, batarangs, bat flashlights, toy airplanes, to little batman robots. The colors are striking and the pictures are really interesting to look at.
This is a really interesting book. I found the drawing to be entertaining and lively. It switches between plain black and white, and a kind of brown, orange, and black earthtone background. It is worth reading. I read it this morning while I was sitting in Barnes and Noble. The book is a large coffee table book.
Daily Thoughts 4/10/2009
This article was on Publishers Weekly. It is the experience of a childrens bookseller with the new ebooks and a reminder that there is a tremendous amount of free material available now.
http://www.publishersweekly.com/blog/660000266/post/1700043170.html It looks like a rehash of other articles I have read. I think of it as a confirmation of what may happen in the future. I am finding it easier and easier to get free ebooks to read. It is pretty much a guarantee that everything in the public domain will be put up on the web eventually. Not only will it be put up for free, people will continuously work on making it more accessible and easier to use. One person will see it, then decide it was too hard to read and try a new way to present it so it becomes easier to read.
The free ebooks will not only drive the new ebook sales, they will drive the technology forward with open access. People will innovate to make it easier to use the free content that is available. I predict this will bring a lot of more obscure books out of the academic world into the mainstream. Classics will become sources for all sorts of new experiments like this monstrosity which I have been looking for in the library, Pride and Prejudice With Zombies. The canon will become experimental and mainstream.
Right now, I am sitting in my local library typing away on the computer. I just wrote the Bat Manga review. I was at Barnes and Noble earlier today looking at books. Sometimes, it is relaxing to sit here and type away.
I am back home. I watched Fantastic Four on dvd today. I really enjoyed it. Many critics gave it very bad reviews. It was good enough to make me want to watch the sequel, Fantastic Four The Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Right now, I have two books in front of me, both of which I have started reading, We The Media Grassroots Journalism By The People For The People by Scott Gillmor and Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management by Peggy Johnson
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I rather enjoyed this article from the New York Times Books section. It is about how Americans are reading a lot more fiction, especially romance and science fiction. I rather like that people are reading more romance. People need a little more romance.
Principles of Scientific Management Frederick W. Taylor
I read this book online for free, it was written in 1911. Frederick W. Taylor was considered the father of efficiency in management. Many people find his ideas quite controversial as well as demeaning to labor. The ideas which came out were not what I expected. I felt that many of the ideas which were expressed by Frederick W. Taylor seemed to be exaggerated. He often says that where they were applied they were 100% effective which sounds very unbelievable.
He did numerous time motion studies at Bethlehem Steel where he timed how long it took laborers to do certain actions. What was really interesting and almost counterintuitive was that he found that people need breaks every couple hours, and that an 8 1/2 hour work day was as efficient as a ten hour work day in terms of productivity. Still he described workers as being not that intelligent.
He also describes how it is necessary to adjust the tools to the job, redesigning things like shovels into multiple varieties depending on the type of material and the job being done. He also describes a process of advancement which we follow now, describing starting as a laborer, advancing to a mechanics helper, to becoming a mechanic. It reads ike civil service advancement.
The issues he is describing in the study don't seem that different from the issues happening in todays workplace. One of his central themes is that you must pay laborers more if they are going to be more productive. It is one of the few incentives that work. He also states that management must do half of the job and labor must do the other half in terms of productivity and planning. He is as hard on management as labor in this book. Management is expected to work directly with people to make the job more efficient and easy.
The book seems to have a lot of impractical idealism in it. There seems to be an underlying assumption that people will not take advantage of each other in a well run workplace and there is no need for unions if people are paid well and given the right atmosphere. Unfortunately, many of the ideas in this book can be abused easily like time motion studies, a goal of maximizing the amount of things being produced, and speeding up the workplace. There is not enough focus on quality, proper use of resources, and the problem of overproduction.
Another idea which he says is that profit sharing is not very practical because of the problem of losses. You can't expect laborers who are paid very little to give back to people who are earning far more than they are.
The major contention unions have with the ideas in this document is his intense push against what he calls soldiering ( slowing down the workplace ). I find this idea to be questionable. He describes a very divisive process of paying some people more to get them to speed up the workplace. It is very much a hard edged style of management.
This is a link to the book which I read on the web. The document is short and easy to read.
I read another very short work today. I got it from my local library. It was a nice day for me to walk up there. The guide is called Collection Management and Development Guide No. 8, Guide For Training Collection Development Librarians, edited by Susan L. Fales, American Library Association, c1996. The book is a bit dated, it could have used more content on selecting electronic materials and using the internet.
This is a short focused work of 61 pages. It tells you that the need for training in collection development is an immediate practical one. Then, it gives a variety of checklists of things which a librarian needs to show a new person selecting books, as well as what a collection development librarian is supposed to be doing. I really have not put together a three year plan like they suggest. It gave me a few ideas of things which I need to do. It is more of a checklist than anything else of things that you might need to do.
The guide reminded me to review the outstanding holds at my library and how they are being presented to us. Also, it has an interesting format for reviewing a library for collection purposes. I may photocopy the section in the book on this and fill it in. I would not recommend it unless you were looking for a checklist of what a collection development librarian does.
This afternoon, I watched some of the movie, The Fantastic Four while I was doing some stretching. I am enjoying the film, even though the critics panned it. I have also started reading We The Media Grassroots Journalism By The People For The People by Dan Gillmor. This book is supposed to have quite a bit about blogs as a source of news.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Daily Thoughts 4/8/2009
I have decided to read Principles of Scientific Management by Frederick W. Taylor. It is the first text on ideas about modern efficiency. I have heard quite a few horror stories about this work and what it means to laborers and unions. I would like to see what it says. I am going to read this book online as an etext because there is only one copy of this book in our library system and it is currently checked out. This is one of the reasons places like Project Gutenberg and other sites for free online books are so useful. The book is on longer under copyright. http://www.eldritchpress.org/fwt/taylor.html
This morning, I was reading some more of On The Road, The Original Scroll by Jack Kerouac on the subway and came across one of those sentences that comes out as a strong theme in this novel, " At the end of the American road is a man and a woman making love in a hotel room." I also learned that Potchky a dog owned by Lucien Carr chewed up the last few pages of the ending. They present a possible ending, but it not quite the same as the rest of the book. This is one of the deep ironies of this book.
We had a reference meeting today where we discussed different books. One of my colleagues discussed Benet's Readers Encyclopedia which is excellent and well written. I talked about Wikimedia Commons which is Wikipedia's media collection. The Deutsche Fothothek uploaded 250,000 images under creative commons to Wikimedia on March 31, 2009. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Deutsche_Fotothek I find Wikimedia Commons to be a tremendous resource for images.
We hung up a huge marigold colored poster for Earth Celebration Week in the lobby of the library. It is four feet by eight feet and really stands out. I also put out a bunch of flyers near the circulation desk for the city on Earth Celebration Week. We will a place for neighborhood groups to sign up. The committee meeting was today as well.
They finished processing We The Media Grassroots Journalism By The People For The People by Dan Gilmor and Step by Step Microsoft Office Publisher 2007 by Joyce Cox and Joan Preppernau. I am going to have a long weekend starting tomorrow. I will have a few things to read.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Daily Thoughts 4/7/2009 Would you buy a vook. It is a strange hybrid of book, video, and twitter. I signed up for the beta to see what it was all about. Maybe I will learn something.
I read some more of the Jack Kerouac, On The Road, The Original Scroll. It includes names like William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg in the text. This was not possible to include because of libel when the book was originally printed. There is a lot of very racy content. The language at times is vrey beautiful. Here is a quote, "Soon it got dusk, a grapey dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red, the the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries." P.182
We got a giant post 4 feet x 8 feet, I think for Earth Celebration the week of April 18-25. It is being put up in the library lobby. I am still calling people for preparation for the 25th, the cleanup and planting around the library. I called Cornell Cooperative Extension to see if I could get one of their Master Gardeners to come down and give some suggestions for planting. There is a New York state grant for existing garden clubs, but apparently our city garden club disappeared several years ago. It is a kind of mystery, no one seems to know what happened.
I am helping my colleague on shifting and weeding the 500s and 600s. Most of the weeding is done, now it is getting stuff transferred into storage, and shifting books that needs to get done. I also spent some time today going over ordering for the 100s and 200s with the new part time librarian. Some of the discussion was fairly philosophical. Some of the ways I see the public library are as a place of self-education, a way to improve the ability of people to have harmonious communities, make people more functional in their jobs, and a repository for culture. It is going fairly well. I still have a few miscellaneous tasks which I have to catch up on. It has been very busy lately, a lot more than before.
Monday, April 6, 2009
The Octagon Library at the Queen's or Buckingham House, original home to George III's collection of books, 1819
Daily Thoughts 4/6/2009
I read The Claws That Catch by John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor on the train to and from work. It was a light entertaining science fiction read published by Baen Books. If you need a little bit of escape with a mix of politics, speculation about future technology, and some fighting at the end it is a fun book. Oh and add in music as a weapon and a bit of mind bending anime and you have just the right amount of silliness to add an extra laugh.
Right now, I am reading Jack Kerouac On The Road, The Original Scroll. He was high when he was writing the scroll. He claims that it was only "coffee" but other people say differently. Supposedly he taped together eight long pieces of writing paper to make the scroll. I have started reading it. It reads continuously as one single story. There really is no need for paragraphs in the way he is writing. It is of a singular journey focused on a single character. The book is truly amazing and much more raw than the novel. The first part which is literary criticism is kind of boring, except for Jack Kerouac's life. But then writers biographies have always been more interesting to me than commentary on their writing.
I have been coordinating the shifting, weeding, and relocating of books of one of my colleagues who is on vacation. It took a bit of time to do it correctly. I also have been working a little bit more on Earth Day. I spent a little time this morning reviewing processing of books for the Job Information Center with technical services as well. I am waiting for them to finish processing We the Media: Grassroots Journalism By the People, For the People (Paperback)by Dan Gilmor(Author). I think there is quite a bit on blogging as journalism in the book.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
The message is that Google is wonderful, even a bit divine, and I want to tell you the many ways this is so. Not only is Google wonderful, but all the companies surrounding Google are wonderful too; Zipcar, Facebook, Flickr, Blogger, and others.
This book talks about the strategies which Google uses to be competitive in glowing ways. The one he brings most to the fore is "don't be evil." It reminds us with truisms that the customer can ruin your day with access to blogs and forums, the best advertising is a great product, simple and clear are best, measure everything, free is a business model, and ephemeral online sales are cheaper then the physical world of atoms.
There are points where the book seems to be a bit overstated. Jeff Jarvis uses the word Googley to describe things in a positive way as well as Googlejuice for companies like about.com who benefit from partaking in Google's success.
He also asks hypothetical questions about what if Google entered the telephone market, the car market, the airlines market, the alternative energy market, or the healthcare market. Google is heavily invested in the alternative energy market, he does bring this up, but I wish he had covered this aspect a little deeper. There is a lot of speculation involved in parts of this book. Also Sergey Brin is an investor in the electric car company, Tesla Motors.
The book is very entertaining and quite relevant. Many issues are brought up about how the world is being changed by the explosion of broadband. The newspaper industry is moving online, giving away free content generates advertising revenue (this is why we will see more and more books being brought into the public domain), pixels are cheaper than paper, and business is becoming an open conversation.
There are numerous links to interesting websites, suggested articles to read, and titles of books to check out throughout this book. Also, there is a lot of name dropping. Many prominent figures in the internet industry are named; Chris Anderson who wrote The Long Tail, Seth Godin marketer extraordinaire, Craig Newmark of Craigslist, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and many others.
There is nothing academic about the writing in this book. It is very populist in style, he even lauds Howard Stern. He seems to be aiming to talk to the reader directly. There are no pictures in this book. It might have been a little better with some color pictures. However, there is a blog which goes with this book, http://www.buzzmachine.com
If you want an evangelistic, positive, praising book to read about Google and what they do, read this book.
Daily Thoughts 4/5/2009
I have been reading more of What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. Jeff Jarvis has a blog at http://buzzmachine.com/ . The blog includes quite a bit about this book. The book seems to be very speculative at points. There are questions like what if Google owned an airline or a telephone company? Still, I am enjoying reading the book.
One of the nice things about reading books and writing about them on the web is that you can put links right into your reviews. I often put links I find in a book as part of my review. For example, I am currently reading about http://www.avc.com/ in the book a venture capitalist.
I finished reading What Would Google Do? a few minutes ago. The author suggested Here comes everybody : the power of organizing without organizations by Clay Shirky as somethin to read. I remember seeing this at my library. I put it on the waiting list of things I plan to read.
I noticed that my Sitemeter is different than what I saw this morning. I had many less visitors than what I saw this morning. Also, while I was at my local library, I had problems getting to my blog. Is anyone having difficulty looking at this site? Sometimes the only way to know these kinds of things is to look at your site from another computer.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Have you ever picked up a book which you learned a lot from, but know you aren't really qualified to comment on it because you really don't have the necessary expertise to understand completely what is being said. I think I understood about half of what was being said in this book. This book is a seminal book on management theory which many people go back to as the basis for modern management practices. It was written 1960 and people still make reference to it.
There is a lot discussed here which is meant for the advanced practitioner or c level executive in a large publicly traded company. It is way over my head. There are portions of it which I can relate to strongly. The premise is that the manager is not in control, they are there to teach, develop, and coach the workers so that they can become self-motivated, self-teaching, and self-actualizing. A lot of the ideas in this book draw from Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs. In this book, management is not focused on controlling people but getting people to meet and fulfill goals inside a company.
There is a focus on management by objective and limiting the amount of job descriptions and formal organization charts. In Theory Y management people should be encouraged to work together as groups and rated on their ability to get things done. People are not given formal performance appraisals instead they are given objectives to fulfill.
The job of the manager is described as a problem solver and motivator for line staff and specialists. Leadership comes from training in formal methods of motivation and organization. It is supposed to be spread throughout an organization. Performance is also supposed to be rewarded through a formal incentive structure like the Scanlon plan.
Incentive structures described in this book like the Scanlon plan are practically non-existent in government work. I am not sure how you could apply some of these ideas in a library because of the focus on a non-hierarchical structure which does not match with most civil service positions.
I think this book gave me a lot of insights into the language of management. I learned about concepts like Theory X and Theory Y as well as ways managers might talk about employees. It is not a language which I am used to. One of the reasons I was able to at least partially understand what was being written was that the text was annotated with commentary throughout the book. The commentary was mostly from Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld who is a senior researcher at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Engineering Systems Division. Also, there was recommended reading at the end of each chapter and a set of questions to ask yourself about what was being said? This made it a bit easier to understand the book.
The end of the book had an appendix with the original papers which the book came from. They were short and clear. There is an extensive index as well. Even if you don't understand most of what is being said, you may learn a few things from reading this book.
Daily Thoughts 4/4/2009
I finished reading The Human Side of Enterprise by Douglas McGregor. It is the basis for "Theory Y" style management bringing into vogue things like management by objective, training, group cooperation, ambition, self- motivation, and self control. One of the ideas in this book was the Scanlon plan a form of bonus program. The funny thing about this is that there are no bonuses or performance incentives for public servants. Public librarians are public servants. I will be writing a review of the book shortly.
I walked up to my local library and got a new library card. It was cold, but pleasant outside. I tried the card but it didn't work on the public computers initially. I did take a look at the new books. I picked up a copy of What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. It is a book about Google's management strategy. I think it should be interesting. The book opens by mentioning Ten Things Google Has Found To Be True. http://www.google.com/corporate/tenthings.html
Another Way To Look at a URL (Search Tip):
This is a url from wikimedia.
It can be broken into three pieces:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/ -- The site for the Wikimedia
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ -- The homepage for Wikimedia
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Reading_In_Art A specific category in Wikimedia.
In online recruiting the breaking apart of url's into separate pieces is called stripping. It is a way to look at a website that does not require a search engine.
Recognizing how to break urls into different pieces is a way of searching websites. Often pieces of a url also are usable as a search type. In many search engines, the url: commaand allows you to search a specific site for content. You can add search terms to the url command to allow you to dig deep into a specific website. There is also the link: command which allows you to search for which sites are linked to a website. This allows you to search a webiste inside a search engine instead of looking at a website directly. It is often a quicker way to find specific information inside a site.
You can combine url commands with the filetype: commands like .doc (word document), .ppt (powerpoint),.xls (excel spreadsheet), or .pdf to find documents inside a website.
The Library of Congress will be on youtube. http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2009/09-055.html
Friday, April 3, 2009
La Lecture, Pierre August Renoir, 1889
Daily Thoughts 4/3/2009
The Human Side of Enterprise Annotated Edition Updated With New Commentary by Joel-Cutcher Gershenfeld by Douglas McGregor. This is considered a classic book on management theory. It is the book which named Theory Y. This book contains commentary, annotations, suggested reading, and a few brief questions at the end of each chapter to help you think about what was being written. I am finding it very interesting.
Reading books on business management is a kind of strange experience for me. The books have this tendency to veer between being extremely controlling or having a kind of sticky sweet cooperate with the company message (cinnamon bun or big stick). It is like reading another language which often makes little common sense. But, I am learning a new perspective which at times is very uncomfortable. I am trying to read practical books, not motivational sales authors like Zig Ziglar or Og Mandino.
April 30, 2009 is Poem In Your Pocket Day which is part of National Poetry Month. This is a link for some of the poems for your pocket. http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/409
I put the new graphic novel, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 1910 by Alan Moore on hold. I am looking forward to reading this soon. I also put Slumdog Millionaire on hold on dvd.
I have been going over ordering books with a new librarian. It has been interesting. I went over reading reviews in magazines like Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. The starred reviews are usually the ones which people are most likely to buy. The last line of a book review often says whether or not to buy the book or not. In Choice magazine, an academic book review journal on the last line of the review they tell you what type of library should buy a particular type of book; academic, undergraduate, public library, etc.. Last lines and paragraphs are often what you should read before looking at a whole book review.
I also showed her the Library Journal online review section http://www.libraryjournal.com/community/Book+Reviews/47112.html as well as Powell's review summary, http://www.powells.com/reviews/all . This was fairly easy stuff to do.
We also have a breakdown of circulation by call number so this was helpful in finding what books are popular. In addition, we write down things which patrons ask for which we don't have. We ordered two more copies of The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Sometimes what people want more than anything is something that tells them that they are wonderful.
I often check the shelves to see what is there. Usually I check for the most popular authors, subjects, and publishers. Most publishers are on the web now, so it is very easy to see what publishers are just coming out with. Sometimes you learn more by explaining what you are doing than doing it.
I spent some more time at city hall this afternoon discussing Earth Day. A lot of it was acknowledging I could get people to come and asking for supplies; flowers, some some small plants, trash bags for cleanup, and other things.
I am going to have to go over the standard way of doing things in the next week or so. I put several books on collection development and collection management on hold for my local library. I think I need to review what I am doing.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
The Way We Talk Can Change The Way We Work Seven Languages For Transformation by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey
This book observes how we talk about problems at work and tries to create tools to manage our ideas about criticism. It describes a process by which criticism and complaints are turned into observable assumptions about the way people are acting. These assumptions are then used to learn new wasy of taking action on a personal and organizational level. The book is very academic and mostly uses examples from academic settings.
The process starts with a committment to change, followed by a description of what a person is doing or not doing to make the change happen, then a list of fears or counter committments against the original committment, and final the assumptions we are making about our committments. The process is very self analytical and a bit touchy feely. It looks like it is something which would not be workable if people were resistant to it.
The book moves from the personal level to the organizational level. I did not find this very practical. However, the ideas were interesting. The most interesting and possibly useful idea in the book is how to do "deconstructive criticism", or criticism that relies on problem solving instead of praise or blame.
This book seems to be focused on a very cooperative open management style. I am not sure how it would work in a very controlled environment. There is a lot of talk about creating regard for the people you work with as well public agreements about change. The public agreements remind me a bit of management by committee.
I have a mixed opinion of this book. There are many useful ideas, but much of it seems very impractical in the work world. Both of the authors of this book are professors at Harvard. This makes a book of ideas with excellent writing.
Daily Thoughts 4/2/2009
April is National Poetry Month. Don't forget to take some time to read a poem or write one too.
Rolls over rocks
Today was incredibly busy. So busy I almost had no chance to write anything. I'll write about today tomorrow. As they say, "When I get around to it."