Thursday, July 29, 2010

Reading :: The Power of Pull

The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion
By John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison

In the last section of this book, "Further Reading," the authors cite several books I've reviewed on this blog: books by Benkler, Florida, Malone, and Shirky. Take all of these books. Add the complete works of Alvin Toffler, the later texts of Drucker, Gladwell's Tipping Point, and maybe a few pages from Senge. You have some Charlene Li or some Don Tapscott? Bring that too. Put those texts into an immense blender, sprinkle some contemporary examples from BoingBoing, and puree for 7-10 minutes. The slurry that results will look a lot like The Power of Pull. It goes down easily, but there's not much texture.

I'm sure this book makes some unique contribution that synthesizes the above books, but for the life of me, I couldn't find it.

Reading :: A Better Pencil

A Better Pencil: Readers, Writers, and the Digital Revolution
By Dennis Baron

Do you doubt that the pencil is a writing technology, or harbor the idea that handwriting is inherently more thoughtful than keyboarding? If not - and I imagine few readers of this blog do - then this book will be of quite restricted interest to you. I skimmed a lot.

The book looks at the development of various technologies of writing and at nostalgic attitudes surrounding them. Told in a breezy style that is half Life in these United States, half Connections, the book breaks down the target audience's assumptions about literacy technologies. Think of it as a helpful, accessible tract for the Baby Boomers in your life.