The Allure of Physical Books

May 31, 2016

TsundokuSee also here

I made an attempt to move over to ebooks a few years ago, mainly in the hope of realising some more space (I literally have hundreds of physical books, many from when I was an academic).

However, over time, I’ve realised that I really prefer physical ones (except for travel). I was curious why this was so and Michael Hyatt has given 8 reasons:

1. Ebooks Are out of Sight and out of Mind

2. Ebooks Engage Fewer Senses

3. Ebooks Make It Easier to Get Distracted

4. Ebooks Result in Less Retention and Comprehension

5. Ebooks Feel Too Much like Online Reading

6. Ebooks Are More Difficult to Interact With

7. Ebooks Are More Difficult to Navigate

8. Ebooks Provide Less Satisfaction in Finishing

My current approach is to read a new physical book through a local library (which also helps keep it going, so that’s a win-win) to see how good it is. If they don’t have it in stock it’s easy and cheap to request it (even for quite technical books eg through inter-library loans). In fact through the British Library you have access to most books that have been published (at least in the UK).

I’ve found in practice that having my own copy is now not that important and I now only buy a few ‘exceptional’ ones (ie ones that have a large and lasting impact on me).

However, I wonder if this is also generational. I was brought up on physical books but for someone brought up on ebooks (and digital media in general) it might be quite different.

 

Advertisements

How Likeable Are You?

May 21, 2016

3059358-inline-i-5-how-to-know-which-skills-to-develop-at-each-stage-of-your-careerClick to enlarge

When I first saw this I thought it was a bit simplistic and naive but after thinking about it a bit more (in the context of my own and colleague’s careers) I’m now thinking it could be right!

That being said, I think the ability to ‘get things done’ is probably key.

There’s supporting info in the original article here.


Success in School and/or Life

May 8, 2016

A recent provocative article from The Book of Life is well worth a read and here are some extracts:

We want to do well at school for an obvious reason: because – as we’re often told – it’s the primary route to doing well at life.

Few of us are in love with the A grades themselves – we want them because we’re understandably interested in one day having a fulfilling career, a pleasant house and the respect of others.

But, sometimes, more often than seems entirely reassuring, something confusing occurs: we come across people who triumphed at school – but flunked at life. And vice versa.

This leads on to some general remarks on schools:

This helps to explain the many bad habits schools inculcate:

– They suggest that the most important things are already known; that what is is all that could be. They can’t help but warn us about the dangers of originality.

– They want us to put up our hands and wait to be chosen. They want us to keep asking other people for permission.

– They teach us to deliver on, rather than, change expectations.

– They teach us to redeploy ideas rather than originate them.

– They teach us to expect that people in authority know – rather than letting us imagine that – in rather inspiring ways – no one is really on top of what’s going on.

– They teach us to trust that they have our largest, best, life-long interests at heart; without letting on that they are merely interested in our achievements in a very parochial and narrow obstacle course they control. They can’t save us and were never incentivized to do so.

– They teach us everything other than the two skills that really determine the quality of adult life; knowing how to choose the right job for us and knowing how to form satisfactory relationships. They’ll instruct us in Latin and how to measure the circumference of a circle long before they teach us those core subjects: Work and Love.

ending with

That said, it isn’t that all we need to do to succeed at life is flunk school. A good life requires us to do two very tricky things: be an extremely good boy or girl for 20 years; and simultaneously never really believe blindly in the long-term validity or seriousness of what we’re being asked to study.

We need to be outwardly entirely obedient while inwardly intelligently and committedly rebellious.

That’s quite a big ask but a thought-provoking one none the less!


A National Innovation Plan – Call for Ideas

May 6, 2016

nip_block_2

From the UK Department of Business, Innovation & Skills:

Innovation can transform lives. It can help to address our biggest societal and economic challenges such as energy supply, food security and managing the impacts of demographic change. It enables businesses to develop new ideas, products and services, create new jobs and export opportunities.

The UK has a long and strong history in science and innovation, and a world-leading reputation, being ranked second in the Global Innovation Index in 2015. But there can be no complacency about the global challenges we face and the increasing levels of competition. At the same time, the nature of innovation is changing towards greater use of digitally connected technologies and data. This is changing how goods and services are produced and delivered, and transforming established markets. This survey seeks views on how the UK should further develop its innovation framework and system. This will help us to develop a National Innovation Plan.

See here.

The call ends on the 30th May 2016.