Archive | December, 2013

Reading List – 2013

30 Dec

Here is a list of books I’ve read in 2013.

  1. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown
  2. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink
  3. The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t by Nate Silver
  4. You’re Doing It Wrong!: How to Improve Your Life by Fixing Everyday Tasks You (and Everyone Else) Are Totally Screwing Up by Lee Thornton
  5. The New Rules of Lifting for Life by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove
  6. The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
  7. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson
  8. Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
  9. Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
  10. The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin
  11. The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators by Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton M. Christensen
  12. Earn the Right to Win: How Success in Any Field Starts with Superior Preparation by Tom Coughlin and David Fisher
  13. Moneyball by Michael Lewis
  14. Another Day In Cubicle Paradise: A Dilbert Book by Scott Adams
  15. The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
    by Bruce Feiler
  16. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle
  17. The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do It So Well by Camille Sweeney and Josh Gosfield
  18. The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives by Katie Couric
  19. For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge of Time – A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics by Walter Lewin
  20. Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  21. What’s Math Got to Do with It?: How Parents and Teachers Can Help Children Learn to Love Their Least Favorite Subject by Jo Boaler
  22. The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity by Alan Cooper
  23. Rework by Jason Fried
  24. Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything by Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell
  25. The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini
  26. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini
  27. And The Mountains Echoed by Khalid Hosseini
  28. Inferno by Dan Brown
  29. Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? by Billy Crystal
  30. The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance by Tony Schwartz, Jean Gomes, and Catherine McCarthy
  31. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
  32. How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by by Scott Adams
  33. Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley and David Kelley
  34. Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein – Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe by Mario Livio
  35. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  36. Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration by Buzz Aldrin and Leonard David
  37. Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes by Tom Rath
  38. Tell Me the Truth, Doctor: Easy-to-Understand Answers to Your Most Confusing and Critical Health Questions by Richard Besser

Reading List – 2012

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The Revolution That Wasn’t

12 Dec

Apple released the first iPad in April 2010, and the world swooned at it. It was an innovative personal computing device that was ultra-portable and had a touchscreen. And it came with thousands of apps.

In my office, a few people predicted that it’s going to revolutionize the higher education industry. Students would stop buying print books because they are very bulky and hard to carry. You could potentially carry tens of books on a device that weighed less than a book. There was no reason to buy a print book.

Many companies started converting their print books to iPad-ready ebooks. Some start-up companies, most notably Inkling and Kno, began creating beautiful and interactive books especially for iPads. In the last 3.5 years, different versions of iPad have come up in addition to countless Android and Windows tablets.

iPad in classroom

As part of my user research for a print and technology-based publishing company where I work, I went to the University of Cincinnati several times this year to talk with undergraduate students. I ask them to meet me in the lobby outside the cafeteria of the business school. At any time, there are about 15-20 students studying, talking, Web surfing, and eating. About 80%-90% of those students use their laptops, both Mac and PCs. I have never seen a single student using an iPad or any other tablet. Tablet adoption among college students is at least 30% and most want to have one. Then why is nobody using a tablet to study? Where is the revolution that was supposed to kill print books and laptops (and Microsoft)?

I have some theories.

  • Tablets are very portable and much easier to carry than a book. However, students don’t seem to mind carrying laptops, which are already getting lighter every year, in their backpacks.
  • Students don’t carry books to classrooms. They read books in their homes or residence halls when portability is not a factor.
  • Short articles can be easily read on tablets. However, when students study for longer periods of time, they don’t want to sit in front of a screen. It’s hard on the eyes and is very distracting.
  • Students who are in college now have been raised with print books so they have a preference for print books over ebooks. When kids who are using tablets now grow up, they will prefer to use ebooks. I think that’s wishful thinking because most schools still use print books though many kids use ebooks at home.
  • When college students study, they don’t just read books. They highlight, take notes, take online quizzes and online homework, write papers, make presentations, etc. A tablet has a poor form factor for most of these activities.
  • The on-screen keyboard takes up half of the screen space,  which is already small, and typing is very slow. It’s difficult to do any productive work on a tablet. A laptop provides a much better form factor because you don’t have to hold the screen with hands.
  • Students find it easier to refer to a print book while doing their homework or paper writing on a laptop.
  • A tablet doesn’t allow running of full-blown applications that many students need.

Tablets are very useful devices for many purposes. However, the revolution that was predicted has not happened despite some schools adopting iPads (and some retracting). I believe the people who made those predictions were school administrators, policy makers, business people, and others who were most removed from the students’ experience. Students won’t use a device the way someone wants them to. They will use it the way it works for them. And for now, they prefer laptops and print books more than tablets.

Related readings
iPads Could Hinder Teaching, Professors Say
iPads in Class