A Short List of Favorite Books

My favorite books of all time have three things in common – two of those things are more relevant than the third:

  • They are short in length
  • The information/story presented is right on
  • They are all blue (like I said, not as relevant) (at least I do not think so)

On this list for a long time now have been Johnathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, and How a Writer Works by Roger Garrison. An addition a couple of years ago was The North Star by Peter Reynolds. The most recent addition is my just completed read of Doug Johnson’s Machines are the easy part; humans are the hard part.

Johnson knows ed tech, and the role it SHOULD play in education, extremely well. The book itself is a testament to the new world of technology, as he self-publishes it on Lulu.com. Its available as a free download there in .pdf, or for a mere $12 for the print book (well worth it).

The book is a series of observations (rules, laws…) on technology in schools, sorted into categories. Most if not all are very obvious, but delivered in a straight forward, funny style that commands attention. For example, observation number 21 states, “Beware the law of unintended consequences.” One of the provided supporting examples to this observation is, “Ask that all work be word-processed, and paper and toner bills sky-rocket.” A second provided example is, “Give parents real-time access to their children’s progress, and teachers become overwhelmed with e-mail.” Obvious, yes, but put in a way to diffuse the issue, and make light of what really matters.

Reflecting on my short list of books, I dusted off the Garrison since its been a long time since I have read it. One of my favorite items in there is the Buzzword Generator (p. 41). Its a fun nonsense tool that helps you create three-word, seemingly important, phrases. It has made parallel reciprocal mobility something for everyone. :-)

Check out any of the above mentioned books and others on my Shelfari page.